February 16, 2022

8 Ways Americans Commonly Waste Money

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Even if you watch your wallet and pinch your pennies, there are plenty of ways that we can be more mindful of the money we’re spending—not in the form of cash coming out of our wallet or pulling out our credit card, but by being wasteful of supplies that we’ve already paid for.

Centers Health Care has a look at eight ways that just about every American has wasted their money at one point or another.

  1. Throwing Out Packages or Tubes That Aren’t Empty

You might notice that once the toothpaste appears to be empty from the tube, if you roll the tube together, you can get another week’s worth of toothpaste out of the tube before it’s empty. Shampoo bottles, soap bottles, and cleaning sprays are just a few more objects that we tend to just throw out once the pump no longer works. But by opening the container and pouring the rest of the product into a new bottle, you can fully get what you paid for.

  1. Eyeballing Laundry Detergent

While most caps on laundry detergent are marked to measure the proper amount to use in a load, most of us just eyeball it—and tend to use way more than what’s necessary, especially if you’re using a detergent that’s concentrated liquid. Make your detergent, which isn’t cheap, last a few more loads by accurately measuring before dumping it into your washer.

  1. Not Eating Leftover Food

If you forget that you put leftovers into the fridge, you’re not alone! Even if you have a small amount of leftovers after a meal, you’ve likely accumulated enough to piece together a full meal after a few days. With restaurant and grocery food more expensive than ever, getting another meal out of what you already paid for is a big deal.

  1. Using Paper Towels for Spills

Paper towels can be useful to cover dishes in the microwave or use to wipe down a counter or table after you’re sprayed it with cleaner, but instead of unrolling half the roll of paper towels to clean a spill, opt to use a regular towel instead. An actual towel is more absorbent, will save you money, and is better for the environment.

  1. Not Returning Defective Items

Whether it’s a rotten piece of meat from the grocery store or an item of clothes you get in the mail that doesn’t fit, it might be on our to-do list to go get our money back for those things, but sometimes it slips through the cracks and we don’t do it. In fact, one poll found that 91% of online shoppers in the U.S. either rarely or never return something they buy online!

  1. Not Being a Smart Shopper

Between different items on sale and some stores just having cheaper products in general, breaking up your grocery store trip to two or three different locations can save you a bunch of money. And if you don’t have time to galivant around town, most stores will offer a price-match guarantee, so if you can prove that an item is cheaper at a competing store, the original store will usually honor that price.

  1. Gym Memberships

If you have a membership to a gym, check to see how much you’re paying per month and how often you’re using it. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many gyms have popped up in areas that offer very affordable monthly prices, so now might be a good time to switch.

  1. Trying to “Keep up With the Joneses”

Every situation is different, so if you’re easily influenced by goodies and vacations that neighbors, friends, and family are splurging on—especially with access to these “humble brags” being easier to see than ever on social media—be sure to think twice and not be reactionary before pulling the trigger on an extravagant purchase.

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