10 Seemingly Small Things That Eat Up Your Money

woman with cash savings money piggy bank

1. ATM fees. You’re being charged to get your own money! Either take out enough cash at your regular bank’s ATM to tide you over for a while or switch to a bank with more ATMs in your area—or one with ATM fee reimbursement, like PNC.

2. Credit card minimums. I almost never have cash on me, so I always find myself spending extra money to meet arbitrary credit card minimums at certain shops. I’m gradually breaking the habit, but it’s not easy. Still, know that depending on where you live, these may actually be illegal, and you shouldn’t be afraid to say so if that’s the case (especially if you don’t actually need an extra six apple turnovers to make the quota).

3. Constantly buying small quantities of stuff you use all the time. If you chew a lot of gum, it makes a lot more sense to buy it in bulk or multipacks than it does to keep paying retail for individual packs. The same goes for anything else—cleaning supplies, snacks, pens, you name it. Just be sure you have space for all of it!

4. Spoiled food. Check expiration dates and only buy what you know you’ll definitely use before then—and keep it somewhere it won’t get buried behind other stuff in the fridge. I can’t tell you how much of my boyfriend’s food I end up having to toss for this very reason.

5. Using travel-size toiletries. You’re paying a premium for less product! Instead, get reusable travel-size bottles and fill them with the stuff you use everyday.

6. Ignoring coupons. Most stores time their sales with manufacturer coupon dates. You’re throwing money away by not using these.

7. Not maintaining your appliances. Cleaning your air conditioning filters lets your units use less energy to work. Similarly, keeping the rest of your appliances, like dishwashers, laundry machines, vacuum cleaners, and microwaves clean simply helps them work better, which saves you money on potential repairs and replacements.

8. Low tire pressure. The thing with low tire pressure is that you may not even notice it when you’re driving, but you’ll notice the difference once its fixed. This will up your gas mileage and save you at the tank.

9. Leaving lights on. It’s 8 AM on a summer morning in a room full of windows. It’s not hot yet. It’s sunny. Just open the damn curtains. Turning on the light not only wastes energy, but it also generates heat, which means you’ll be more tempted to blast the AC.

10. Not being prepared. I didn’t pay attention to the forecast last week and ended up having to stop and buy an overpriced umbrella on my way home from work. I have a lot of umbrellas. I shouldn’t have had to do that. The same applies for impromptu hoodie purchases when it’s cold, “convenience” size medicines, and the like.

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