3 Things You're Most Likely Wasting Money On Right This Very Minute


You work hard for your money. You should be using it to spend on things you value, and to save and invest for your future. Unfortunately, if you’re like most people, at least some of it gets wasted in ways that add no value to your life.

In fact, there are three things you are probably wasting money on right now. Find out what they are, so you can stop the waste and put that money into your savings account or use it for fun purchases instead.

1. Unnecessary electricity

Did you know that around 10% of all energy costs of U.S. households are incurred because of phantom or vampire power? This is not nearly as cool as it sounds. Phantom or vampire power is the electricity that your devices use when they are plugged in, but not actually being used.

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Basically, any device in your house that you leave plugged in could potentially be sucking electricity and costing you money — but the most common culprits are:

  • Cable boxes and DVR systems
  • Phone and tablet chargers
  • Printers
  • Desktop computers
  • Gaming systems
  • Any device with an indicator light

Collectively, the costs of running all these devices all the time adds around $200 a year to the average family’s electric bills. That’s $200 you can’t use to pay off your credit cards or spend a night in a hotel or buy yourself a few new outfits.

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Thankfully, you can stop wasting money on this easily. Get a power strip you can turn off when you aren’t using your devices, or just unplug them after you’re done with them.

2. Unused or underutilized streaming or subscription services

Quick, answer this question: How many streaming services and monthly subscriptions are you signed up for right this very minute? And when was the last time you used each one?

If you’re like most people, you can’t really answer either of these questions because there are just too many things we’re asked to sign up for that come with recurring payments and that can be a pain to cancel.

The average household has 4.4 active paid subscriptions, which total $52.97 per month. Around 30% of all those subscriptions are not used, and the average monthly cost of unused subscription services comes in at $25.34 per month.

There’s no reason to continue paying for months or even years for that streaming service you signed up for six months ago to watch the movie you fell asleep 15 minutes into (I’m not the only one, right?). Check your credit card and bank statements today to see what exactly you’re paying for and unsubscribe from everything you haven’t used in the last two weeks. If you end up missing the service, you can always sign up again later.

3. Food you buy but don’t eat

I once saw a meme where someone had relabeled their crisper drawer the “Vegetable Hospice,” because it was where vegetables go to die. While that may be kind of funny, the actual stats on how much food — and money — is wasted are nothing to laugh about.

More than $408 billion in food is tossed into the trash each year, with dairy products most likely to end up in the trash. Vegetables alone cause huge losses, with the average American family throwing out a shocking $1,600 per year in produce.

There are many, many better things to do with that much money than buying carrots destined to decay. You can stop food waste and its impact on your personal finances by making a meal plan and shopping with a list so you buy only the ingredients you need. Stick to that plan, and check your fridge each week to make sure you incorporate any leftovers into the upcoming week’s meal.

Collectively, the costs of these subscription services, wasted food, and phantom electricity add up to $2,104.08 in wasted funds each year. Follow these tips to get that money back now so you can end 2024 with something to show for it.

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