7 Small Items We All Buy That Nickel and Dime Us to Death

money wasting
When we think about wasting or losing money, we often think about it in larger amounts, like when we get a big hospital bill or when we buy a big ticket electronic item we don’t really need.

Losing a few dollars in smaller doses isn’t always considered wasting money because our money isn’t going out in bulk. It’s just a small loss so why worry about it?

Maybe “worry” isn’t the word, yet you should recognize the smaller purchases we make in life to pay for things that we don’t really need. The fact is, these purchases add up, and they probably end up costing us more than the big ticket items in the long run.

It’s true that what you “need” can often be determined by a person’s unique situation, therefore not everything in this list is unnecessary for everyone, though they are in general very typical purchases that most of us tend to make very often.

The low value or general lack of benefit of the product is what should be taken into consideration.

1. Sodas at Restaurants – Buying a soda in a restaurant will cost you upwards to two dollars, where you could have the same thing at home for less than 40 cents. When you go to a restaurant, water is free, so go with that and save the soda for drinking at home on occasion.

2. Coffee from a Coffee Shop – Like the soda dilemma, coffee from a coffee shop is a lot more expensive than making it at home. In fact, the comparison is something like four dollars to ten cents per cup. Four dollars doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but it can add up if you drink a cup every day. If you need to have coffee every day, bring it with you.

3. Songs off of ITunes – ITunes makes it seems so easy, by allowing us to buy the song we want for just a shade under a dollar. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with buying music, it’s easy to get carried away and not realize that each song is taking a dollar out of our wallets. ITunes is a good place to practice having perspective and exercising self-control.

4. Bottled Water – Unless you’re stocking it away to prep for a disaster, don’t buy bottled water just to drink on a regular basis. Even if your tap water is drinkable, you can buy a filter and spend less than you would buying bottled water all year long.

5. Warranties for Electronic Products – Warranties are usually just a way to get a few extra dollars out of your pocket before you leave the store.

They’re designed to make you nervous and cause you to make a split second decision. Keep in mind that a store and manufacturer’s warranty, both of which comes with a product, will usually cover you for a year. Don’t pay extra to triple your coverage. It’s not worth it.

6. ATM Fees – Using non-bank ATMs can cost you upwards of three or four dollars per transaction. If you need cash, draw enough out of your bank account at the beginning of the week at your bank’s physical location, and avoid getting in a situation where you need to use an ATM.

Yes they’re convenient, but think of them as standing there are tearing up three dollars before you walk away.

7. Magazines – If we’re honest, we don’t get a lot of mileage out of the magazines we read, and with such a wealth of online resources available to us now (Pinterest anyone?), it’s getting to the point where print publications aren’t going to be around much longer. Cancel the subscription and save your $20.


written by:  Allen Jones


Image courtesy of foto76 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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11 years ago

I agree with all of the above except for the electronics. We purchased a tablet and a laptop computer (both top name brands items with very high customer reviews). The extended warranty saved us – twice on the tablet and once on the laptop. We purchase all of our electronics at Best Buy and love the Black Tie Protection warranties. They have not let us down yet. I agree it is extra money that may not be worth it if something you purchase does not have problems, but as you can see above, the warranties saved us hundreds of dollars in the long run!

The Sadder But Wiser Girl
11 years ago

This is great! This is all stuff that I constantly preach to my not so frugal husband and he doesn’t listen!

I found a solution to the magazine situation-my library has a free magazine box. Yes the issues are older, but I can read them and then recycle them by bringing them back if I want or keep them! My kids tend to be pretty hard on that stuff, so I don’t like to check them out lest they get destroyed!

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