I was reading an article from http://www.cheatsheet.com the other day and in it is something about where Americans waste their money. As you know, I’m totally opposed to gambling because it is a losing proposition for the average guy or gal. Someone even called gambling “tax for the stupid” because a gambling place is always designed to win (mathematically and in reality). But gambling is barely discussed in that article.

In the actual article or post, the money-wasting categories were divided into different generations:  Baby boomers, Generation X and Millennials. In this post I will try to simplify it and just point out a group of them common to all generations. It is in no particular order. I think we can add a dozen more to this but we don’t have to. We can use the list to check whether we have something we want to change.

Here’s the List:

Eating out

Drinking Alcohol

Cigarettes

TV cable subscription

Bottled water

Entertainment

Hobbies

Car or Gas

Credit card interest

Expired or uneaten food

Hobbies

Streaming services

Let me give you some little footnotes on some of them. These are from experiences, some are not necessarily mine – but it may be helpful.

I remember the days when we drank out of drinking fountains with filtered water. These days there are many good filters out there, that can filter tap water way better than commercially bottled water. There’s even some that filter viruses, bacteria and fluoride.

I cut off cable TV subscription and it was one of the best decisions ever. No, we don’t miss regular programming. We pay for some streaming services which is a whole lot cheaper than going to the movie theater or paying monthly cable bill.

About cars – someone wrote “buy (not lease) the best car you can afford and keep it for a long time (at least 7 years). I think that’s a good advice. Good gas mileage in a car saves hundreds of dollars a year. When gasoline prices go sky high (like in 2008), many full-size trucks can be bought at a bargain.

Alcohol probably gets millions of people in trouble and causes many fatalities especially if taken just before driving. Enough said.

I think the best way to quit smoking is cold turkey. It will be hard the first few days, but it is much better than buying nicotine patches because it still cost money and puts poison in the body.

Entertainment expenses uses up tens of thousands of dollars per year for some people. We don’t really need to be entertained every single waking hour, but high pressure and advertising at every corner makes us think that we “deserve” to be entertained, after a hard day’s work. Do we, really?

One of the ways to avoid interest rates on credit cards is to avoid buying things we don’t need and cannot afford, to impress people we dislike.

Hobbies: I like to do have many hobbies, but I’d rather concentrate on the ones I like most. Two hobbies is my limit. It’s less expensive that way and I still don’t have excess time to do them all.

Maybe when I semi-retire?

These are just some of the stuff that’s worth mulling in our minds over and over. Is it a necessary expense?  Maybe we’ll have a fuller life without those things mentioned above? OK, it’s not maybe – it’s for sure. But even a small decrease amounts to much. Eating out one day a week less equals $600 savings a year. Maybe more.

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