Sense & Centsibility Blog

15 Things to Stop Wasting Your Money On

Have you ever thought about how much of your money goes to waste? From hitting the vending machine or convenience store, little amounts can add up to big money waste. If you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck or feeling like you never have enough money, here are 15 ways to cut expenses without making huge budget changes.

Pull Tabs/Gambling

I put this on the list first because I always tell people I'd rather throw my money down the toilet. Because essentially that's what you're doing when you play and play and either never win, or win $50 after spending $150. If you play frequently, think of how much money you'd have now if you set it aside into a savings account.

In App Purchases

Do you play free games on your smartphone, but make in app purchases for boosters or more lives to keep playing? These small purchases will nickel and dime you to death because all it takes is 1-2 touches on your phone and you've spent money. So stop making those in-app purchases and if you can't, then it may be time to remove your game of choice. And I get it, because I am a candy crusher, but I have not spent a dime playing that game.

Bottled Water

Instead of buying bottles of water over and over, make a one-time purchase of a water bottle that you can refill and bring that with you. I have been doing this for years; you just have to make it a habit to remember to take the bottle with you.


how to stop wasting your money

Just like bottled water, buying those sugary beverages can add up. Save the calories and bring water, or brew your own tea at home and add mint or lemon for a little flavor.

Pre-cut or Pre-prepped Food

If you are one of those people who always buys the pre-cut pineapple or already marinated chicken, it's time to make a change. It may take you a few extra minutes, but you will save more money buying a pineapple and cutting it up yourself.

Appliances with 1 Use

Skip purchasing that salad spinner or pizza oven. Fancy appliances with 1 use waste both your money and space in your home. This is the category where you just have to determine if it's really needed. If not, avoid that purchase.

ATM Fees

This probably should have been second on my list because I loathe paying money to gain access to my own money. Instead, plan ahead and hit your bank's ATM if you need cash. Some stores allow you to use your debit card for a purchase and get cash for free so that's an option, long as you needed to buy something anyway.

Late Fees

Just like ATM fees, this one is just unnecessary. Plus, it may affect your credit if you're late on your mortgage, credit card, student loan, or other loan payment. Avoid these fees by setting up automatic payments and make sure ahead of time that you have enough money in your account. If automatic payments won't work for you, sign up for email or text reminders or put recurring reminders in your daily calendar.


There are so many ways to avoid shipping costs that nowadays it's just not worth paying it. Find promo codes, sites that offer free shipping in general, or have the item shipped to the store where you can pick it up. Or it  might be cheaper just to drive to the store and shop there. Don't over-pay for convenience.


You already know it's an unhealthy habit and I'm sure you realize how expensive it is. So work on kicking that habit and to help motivate you, each time you might have gone to buy a pack of cigarettes, set that aside in a jar or savings account and let it build up. Also, think of the potential savings in insurance/ medical bills when you go tobacco-free. Because even if you haven't had health problems yet, if you continue to smoke you likely will.


Local coffee shops or nationwide chains make some delicious drinks, but they're not cheap. And if you have an app encouraging you to spend more to get points, you may get sucked into that vicious cycle and spend even more. (If that sounds familiar, delete the app!) You don't have to drink cheap or gross stuff either; find a good coffee that you can make and bring from home. Consider fancy coffee shop beverages as a treat every once in a while as opposed to a daily habit.

Overdraft Fees

These fees can get expensive and it's just like paying ATM fees to take out your own money, except overdraft fees are more costly (about $35). Set up automatic payments and make sure you have enough funds. Or set reminders to pay bills and double check your account balance before making payments.

Dining Out

Bring your lunch with you from home as much as possible. When you do dine out, skip beverages, apps, and dessert and just drink water. Also, instead of ordering it for delivery, pick up your food - saving you the delivery charge and tip.

Candy/Convenience Store Snacks

Avoid vending machines and candy/chips from the convenience store. Stick with food from the grocery store and pay at the pump for your gas to avoid those impulse purchases. If you do need a sugar fix, stick with multi-packs from the grocery store or a bag of minis to satisfy your craving and save you money.


Instead of paying for books, head to the library. Many libraries have e-books now as well if you prefer to use your phone or other reading gadget instead of getting an actual book. And it's free with a library card.

There are many more ways to trim your spending without making drastic changes. All it takes is a little motivation and planning and you're on your way to big savings!

Credit card debt/interest is another category that wasn't listed above, but that may be sucking up your income. If you want to pay off your credit cards faster and save money, call LSS at 888.577.2227 for your free financial counseling session. Our counselors will help you determine the best options for you to conquer your debt for good. You can also GET STARTED ONLINE at your convenience.

Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.