10 Ways You’re Wasting Money Without Realising It

10 Ways You’re Wasting Money Without Realising It

Everyone is always on the lookout for ways to save money, but sometimes we ignore the fact that we’re actively wasting money every day. Here are 10 ways you might be letting money slip through your fingers.

#10 You Ignore Wear And Tear On Your Home

10 Ways You’re Wasting Money Without Realising It

Your mortgage will almost certainly be your biggest investment, so it makes sense to keep your property in shape. Don’t let repairs linger; the longer you wait to fix something, the more expensive it may become. While there can be dangers in over-renovating in a given neighbourhood, the risk of letting thing run to rack and ruin applies whether you live in a studio apartment or a 10-room mansion.

#9 You Aren’t Maximising Your Credit Card Rewards

10 Ways You’re Wasting Money Without Realising It

We pay for more and more stuff with plastic these days, so why not get the maximum amount of rewards when you do? While we’d always advise using a debit card when you can, if you regularly pay off your credit card before the due date each month, you can stack up considerable benefits. Check out our monthly Ratehacker column for regular suggestions on the best-value credit cards (and lots of other financial product advice as well).

#8 You Have Unclaimed Money In Your Name

10 Ways You’re Wasting Money Without Realising It

It may sound like the least convincing scam ever pulled, but you may actually have unclaimed money that belongs to you out there, just waiting for you to grab it. It may be super money from an old job, forgotten bank accounts, or unpaid wages. Check out the comprehensive set of search tools on the government MoneySmart site to get started.

#7 The Food In Your Kitchen Goes Bad

10 Ways You’re Wasting Money Without Realising It

It can be hard to judge exactly how much food you’ll eat in the next week or month, but when food spoils, that’s money down the drain. Planning your meals ahead of time is your best defence. Check out our guide to waging war on food spoilage to keep it all under control. Photo by Serg64 (Shutterstock).

#6 You Pay Too Much For Your Phone Plan

10 Ways You’re Wasting Money Without Realising It

Your phone plan may claim to offer you hundreds of dollars in credit, but do you actually use it? Conversely, you may be paying for an unlimited plan when in reality you could get away with a cheaper deal. Keep a diary and note how much you actually use your phone to work out if you’re paying too much, or would be better off with a different kind of plan.

#5 You Don’t Hunt Down Bargains

10 Ways You’re Wasting Money Without Realising It

Online shopping makes it easier than ever to find the best price for the goods you want. Don’t just settle for buying at the first location you find; do your research and save a fortune. (For online bargains, a good place to start is our new dedicated Deals page.) When you’re at a shopping centre, check prices online and then see if you can negotiate a deal with the store. It won’t always work, but you won’t know if you don’t ask.

#4 You Don’t Negotiate

10 Ways You’re Wasting Money Without Realising It

No one likes negotiating, but with the right preparation, you can make the whole process a lot easier — and get a lot more for your money. In fact, researchers found that the average new hire could lose out on $500,000 in the long run, just by not negotiating their salary on that first job. There are a number of negotiation methods that work well in different situations , so check out our guide to getting anything you want with minimal negotiation. You might be surprised how much you let go down the drain before you put in a little effort.

#3 You Fall For Tech Myths

10 Ways You’re Wasting Money Without Realising It

It’s amazing how much tech companies try to squeeze out of you when you go to buy a new computer. “Oh, don’t buy that one, it’s six months old…buy this new one!” “O, you should get an extended warranty for an extra $200.” “Here, this $40 HDMI cable should suit your needs.” These sales tactics lead to quite a few myths, such as the claim that new products are somehow better than refurbished products, or that expensive cables will get you a better picture on your TV. If you buy a lot of technology — and if you’re anything like us, you do — you can save quite a bundle by knowing your stuff before you go into the store. Check out these common tech myths that cost you money before you buy.

#2 You Don’t Plan Bill Payments

10 Ways You’re Wasting Money Without Realising It

Paying bills late will invariably result in an extra charge. Paying bills by credit card often incurs a fee you can avoid with a direct debit. Organise your finances and you’ll have extra money to spare, whether that’s to further cut debt or to indulge occasionally.

#1 You Try Too Hard To Save Money

10 Ways You’re Wasting Money Without Realising It

Wait, what? That’s right: Sometimes, trying to save money can actually be counter-productive. For example, some people avoid regular checkups with the doctor or dentist, but then end up having to go in and pay much more for all the things they neglected. Maybe you take store credit card offers and pay the minimum every month, or maybe you do your own taxes and miss out on some pretty big deductions. That’s not to say saving money is a bad thing — it’s just important to pay attention to where all of your money is going, and that you aren’t shooting yourself in the foot with a strategy you’re using to “save” cash.

This story has been updated since its original publication.


  • Here’s a couple more;

    1. You pull money from a ATM that’s not affiliated with your bank. The highest charge I’ve seen on them lately has been $3. If you’re the sort of person who withdraws cash those charges add up really quickly. Some charge for getting a balance as well! If you can’t use your bank you can withdraw money at a shop (like Woolworths or Coles) when you make a purchase and not cop a fee.

    2. Withdrawing money on a credit card. Most cards will charge you to pull money from your credit card and it’s bloody expensive. Try to avoid doing it if at all possible. As far as I can tell there’s no workaround for this one 🙁

    • @skrybe, your #2 is exactly right. The key point is that you start paying interest *immediately* on cash withdrawals on a credit card, not after the 30-50 day repayment period for credit purchases. [Disclosure, I previously worked for Visa and subsequently in the credit card department of a bank].

    • On point number 1, this now only applies to 3rd party and small bank ATMs. All the big 4 bank ATMs are now free to use, regardless of who you bank with.

    • There’s a lot to be said for banking with a bank that rebates any third party ATM fees, which means you can just use any ATM you like fee free effectively.

  • I see people wasting money on all sorts of items on a regular basis.
    The apathy of a majority of mature Australians is pathetic, laziness, too much money, spoiled at an early age by the apathy of parents, no interest in what consists in the value of money, most important, they have never experienced the tough times endured by their forebears to bring forth the birth of future generations.
    They are the selfish, lazy, greedy people of today along with an attitude of apathy.

  • You Aren’t Maximising Your Credit Card Rewards


    What rewards? They’ve gone down about 96% over the last 10 years. They are next to useless.

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