Getting your paycheck is always exciting, but seeing it disappear right before your eyes is downright heartbreaking.
“I never blow my paycheck on big-ticket items, like designer bags or flat-screen TVs,” you say. That might be true. But it’s also true that you might be slowly burning through your paycheck every day without even knowing it.
To identify how you might be wasting your hard-earned money — and how you can save more money — read up on these 40 common ways people blow their paychecks
1. Paying Too Much on Housing
Since housing is likely your biggest monthly expense, this is where you can really make or break your budget. Personal finance experts recommend spending no more than 30% of your income on housing. You can spend even less and save more by getting a roommate or moving to a different neighborhood or a city where it’s easier to save money.
2. Spending Too Much on Car Costs
Aside from housing, transportation is likely your next biggest expense. Buy a reliable and affordable used car, try to live close to where you work, and consider taking public transportation to cut down on gas and maintenance costs.
3. Wasting Energy
Utilities can eat up about 7% of the average U.S. household’s budget, reports Lifehacker. You can lower that number by conducting an energy audit on your house to find energy leaks such as old windows or water heaters. Even renters can improve their energy efficiency by using insulating curtains and unplugging appliances. Every little bit counts.
4. Buying Movie Theater Popcorn
Movie theaters don’t actually make the bulk of their profits from movie ticket sales — concession sales are the real moneymakers, reports Yahoo Movies. So eat before you head to a show. Or if you’re a little more daring, sneak in your own snacks.
5. Not Planning Meals Ahead of Time
Keep your grocery budget under control by planning out your meals and shopping accordingly. One of my favorite meal-planning apps comes from Food.com. It combines meal planning and money saving all in one app.
6. Grocery Shopping Without a List
Maintain a running list of what you need to pick up at the grocery store to avoid making any unnecessary purchases. You’ll know exactly what needs replacing, and you won’t have to do any guesswork.
7. Buying Coffee
America’s love affair with coffee shows no signs of slowing down. ABC News reports that the average American worker spends $1,100 a year, or $14.40 a week, on coffee. Break this habit, learn how to make your favorite coffee drink at home, and watch your savings soar.
8. Carrying Credit Card Debt
Credit card debt is one of the most expensive types of debt you can carry. Those minimum payments might seem low now, but they can cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars in interest.
9. Paying for Cable
Now is a great time to cut the cable cord. There are plenty of online streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, which cost a fraction of the standard cable service price. To save even more money, share a Netflix or Hulu account instead of getting an individual account for each streaming service.
10. Buying Brand-Name Products
Consumers find comfort in using brands they know and love, but oftentimes generic brands work just as well as their brand-name counterparts. Step away from brand names, and try a few generics. For example, you can save money by buying store-brand medications and Kroger breakfast cereal.
11. Running the Thermostat All Year
There’s no reason to keep your thermostat running at the same temperature all year long. Ideally, you’d only turn it up a few degrees in the summer and down a few degrees in the winter.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, turning your thermostat back 10 degrees to 15 degrees for eight hours during the day can save you 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill.
12. Ignoring Your Phone Bill
Check your phone bill to make sure you’re not getting charged for services you don’t use. You might be paying for things such as unlimited data, texting and other features you don’t really need.