Are You Wasting Your Money?

Money on Fire“Your checking account is overdrawn.  A $32 fee has been assessed.”

Dang… I knew I should have put money in the account yesterday!

“Those movies are late.  An extra $5 charged for the extra night.”

Oops… I meant to get those turned in last night, but I forgot.

“The bill was due last week.  A 10% late fee has been assessed.”

Well… It couldn’t be helped…

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  It does to me.  I have to admit that at times, I have not been the best steward of my money.

Did you realize that each time you do this, you are wasting your money?

I used to not think of it this way.  I just thought of it as a normal part of life.  Until I realized how much I was WASTING through laziness.

One month, I happened to have about 5 or 6 overdafts.  Each one with a $32 charge.  Okay… Part of why it was so many was because of the order in which the items were processed.  In other words, the largest outstanding item debited first, which caused several of the others to happen.  But it all happened because I did not have enough money in the account.

I could have had the money in the account.  For me, this happened because I had not deposited the money I had.  See, I work in a cash heavy job.  I had the cash in my pocket.  I just had not put it into the bank.  If I had, NONE of the items would have bounced.

Laziness.

I have been bad about returning movies and books to the library.  I’ll intend to do it, but forgot.  I’ll get distracted.  Forget.  Then days later, realize.. Ooops… I forgot to take the movies or books back.  Which means late fees.

Laziness.

I’ll go to pay one of my bills.  I realize I’m just a few days behind.  Sometimes, it’s because I was trying to come up with the money.  (Is it any wonder?  Would be much easier if I wasn’t paying $120 in overdraft fees.) But just as often, it’s because I just hadn’t gone by to pay yet.  Even though I had the money in my pocket.

Laziness.

I added it up one month.  Between all these late fees, I was paying $100 to $200 a month.  If you make $1000 a week, that might not sound like much.  But if you struggle to make $300 to $400 a week, that can be a significant sum!

Looking through my bank account statements, I can see other signs, too, of money I was wasting.  $10 a month for a service I don’t even remember signing up for.  (Which, by the way, I knew about for a long time before it stopped.) Another was a service that I liked and used but didn’t really need.  I could get by without it if I had to.

I really hate checks, too.  Some people are SLOW about paying them off.  Like, two or three months slow.  So slow, I’ve forgotten to account for them.  And guess what?  They’d deposit the check, I wouldn’t have it accounted for, and, you guessed it, overdraft fee.  If you don’t use overdraft protection, it’s even worse.  Your bank might charge a bounced check fee each time the payment is presented and the funds are not available (most places will present it at least twice), and the place you wrote the check also charges a fee for bounced checks.  One year, I got hit for nearly $1000 in a short period of time because of this.

The point of this is that when it comes to money, you MUST be vigilant.  You have to take action in the moment to stop wasting your money.  Laziness will lead to you being (and staying) broke.  Taking action in a timely manner is the only way to make sure your money stays in your hands.

What have you done to stop wasting your money?  Share them in the comments below!

34 comments… add one

  • James@ Thoughts On Life September 23, 2011, 4:03 pm

    Hey Bro, sounds like you need to get over your procrastination. hey, been there myself, so I know what you mean. it can be hard, but you have to prioritize things and not get so caught up in other stuff that you get yourself into trouble.

    Been there, done that, and had to fight my way back on top.
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  • Grady Pruitt September 23, 2011, 4:05 pm

    I won’t argue with you on that. I do have a procrastination problem. I’m getting better with it, though.

    Fortunately, I’ve gotten much better than I was. I’ve slipped up a bit more than I did last year, but way better than I was a couple of years ago.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Reply
  • Katia@Laser Treatment for Eyes September 24, 2011, 6:02 am

    Wow! $100 – $200 a month. I’ve never calculated how much money I was wasting because of laziness, but you’ve made me start doing this.

    Reply
  • Grady Pruitt September 24, 2011, 3:07 pm

    It can really add up! Seeing how much you are wasting can be a real eye opener. And when you stop wasting that money, you suddenly have more money to put towards savings, paying bills (on time, of course), going out to eat or to the movies, and just enjoy life!

    Thanks for stopping by, Katia!

    Reply
  • Morgan September 24, 2011, 1:47 pm

    I am right there with you, Grady! I used to think the same way; “eh, I’ll just pay it, it’s only another dollar, whatever.” But by doing that we get into that mindset of not only doing it that one time, but doing it EVERY time!

    Laziness is definitely a killer when it comes to not only your finances but just your life in general.

    I can recall so many times when I could have saved so much money just by not being lazy.

    Great kick in the butt article! :)
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  • Grady Pruitt September 24, 2011, 3:10 pm

    Thanks, Morgan! Sometimes, I have to write an article like this to kick myself in the butt ;)

    I agree with you about laziness. In fact, it’s the reason why, even though this site has been up for a year, it hasn’t really done much… Because I’ve been lazy about doing anything with it… Until recently :D

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Reply
  • Mitch Mitchell September 24, 2011, 3:24 pm

    I can say that I’m pretty good for the most part. Those things I delay in paying come without penalties, but everything else, especially credit card payments, I handle right on time. And you’re right, all those extra fees add up to a lot of money.
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  • Grady Pruitt September 25, 2011, 2:31 am

    Good for you, Mitch! I know I’m getting closer to saying I am as well. I still have my struggles, but over the last couple of years, I have been working hard to reduce those. And my goal for 2012 is no late fees or overdrafts! (You heard it here first, folks! :)

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Reply
  • Justin@Mazzastick September 25, 2011, 9:09 am

    Hey Grady,
    Being lazy or sometimes forgetful or the combination of both can contribute to late fees and overdraft charges. I can’t stand those things either so I became really good at paying bills on time and avoiding overdraft fees.
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  • Grady Pruitt September 25, 2011, 2:51 pm

    Very true, Justin. It’s a lesson that, unfortunately for me, I’ve only recently learned. But I share it so it can help others.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Reply
  • Vic September 25, 2011, 10:21 pm

    Hi Grady,

    I think you bring up a good point. It’s time we start being more aware of how we spend are money. In some cases, we don’t even spend it, it’s just taken away from us. This could be easily avoided. Thanks for sharing!
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  • Grady Pruitt September 25, 2011, 11:54 pm

    Absolutely, Vic! We just accept it and don’t think anything of it. Yet those fees can really mount up.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Reply
  • Jimmy/Life Architect September 26, 2011, 4:09 am

    I am guilty of these as well. I tried automation once. You know those services that automatically deduct money at the end of the month. After a while, I realized that with so many bills to pay, I lost track of who is deducting from my account. Before I knew it, my account was near empty. After that, I stopped all auto payments. I know it could be a hassle but I sure have some forms of control. I also am aware that my deeper problems are my financial woes not forgetting to pay or been lazy.

    Cheers
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  • Grady Pruitt September 26, 2011, 1:27 pm

    Absolutely, Jimmy! I still have a few things on automation, but it’s much easier to keep up with 4 or 5 in a month than having 15 or 20 — especially if there are several “good sized” ones that are only a day or two apart.

    I have no problem paying things online. I just prefer to pay “by hand’ when I know I have the money rather than on a schedule.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Reply
  • Debbie @ Happy Maker September 26, 2011, 9:50 am

    Great wake up call for many, Grady. Yes, those late fees and overdraft charges can count up quickly. I have also found that you do have to watch your bank closely. They try to get you anyway they can.

    Say you have $100.00 in the bank. You have sent through written or used your debit card for times. They do not go by the time they hit your account, but the amount. They will pay the largest on first, so they can charge you an overdraft fee. If you have a regular deposit at the same time every month and they can see that the deposit is coming in the same day as a check that won’t clear with out it. They will send the check through first,(charge you am overdraft fee) and then show the deposit.

    You really do have to keep track of how the bank processes these transaction, because they are ripping people off with overdrafts and fees. When you catch them doing this call them and complain. Many times when you catch them they will reverse these fees.

    Also they like to charge accounts small fees for balance dropping below a certain amount and a number of other fees. When you see new fees, call them and question them about these fees. If they don’t have a solution to this you may want to look for a new bank.

    Banks are not servicing customers like they use too and you do have to watch them closely and stay on top of there charges and fees.

    You are right in that we do have to pay close attention to our finances or we are throwing our hard earned money away.
    Great post here Grady, it is a wake up call for many.
    Blessing to you,
    Debbie
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  • Grady Pruitt September 26, 2011, 1:32 pm

    That is so true, Debbie!

    I know that my bank usually processes deposits first (fortunately), but I have seen larger deductions usually happen before the smaller ones. Which can really be frustrating. Especially when if the larger one was posted last, you’d only have 1 overdraft instead of 4.

    And bank statements aren’t the only place to watch for “fees”. Many other bills will pop up with a new fee from time to time, especially the phone bill. Keep on top of that to make sure you aren’t spending too much.

    Thanks for your reply, Debbie!

    Reply
  • Cathy | Treatment Talk September 26, 2011, 4:02 pm

    Hi Grady,

    Your post is such a great reminder to pay more attention to our money. We sometimes plan everything else in life and leave one of the most important things to chance. I know I feel like I have wasted money at times by buying something I didn’t really need. I am so much more careful now, and I turn it into a game of how low can I keep my spending in one month. It feels wonderful to know you are actually saving money. Thanks for the timely reminder.
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  • Grady Pruitt September 26, 2011, 4:22 pm

    You bring up another great point. I thought about adding that into the wasted money, but things we don’t really need is another great category. It’s great to have certain things, but there are some that we really don’t need.

    How many of us have unread books on our bookshelf? (Okay… most of mine I pulled off my parent’s shelf when they were paring down, but still…) How many of us buy a cup a coffee a day at Starbucks? (Well… I only do this occasionally, but I know others do…) How many have a pack a day habit? (When offered or hit up for cigarettes, I often reply “Smoking is hazardous to your wealth.”)

    There are many ways we waste money we don’t have to.

    Thanks for stopping by, Cathy!

    Reply
  • AnneWayman@freelancewriting September 26, 2011, 5:06 pm

    Well, how about lack of attention to the details around money which isn’t always laziness per say, but you’re right. Every example is a total waste of money.
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  • Grady Pruitt September 26, 2011, 10:50 pm

    I agree , it is a lack of attention, but at the same time, it’s also been decisions to “do it later” that led to the problems. At least for me.

    Thanks for stopping by, Anne!

    Reply
  • Sire September 26, 2011, 10:11 pm

    What you’ve written makes total sense. I used to fall into the trap of paying my bills late but then I started inputting all the due dates into my computer. I haven’t missed a bill since.

    As for late movies, that usually happens when my kids borrow them and if they don’t return them on time I make them pay for the late fees.
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  • Grady Pruitt September 26, 2011, 10:56 pm

    There’s an idea… Putting the due dates into your computer — or even your smartphone, if you have one. That way, it can remind you. You could set “reminders” for the week before, the day before, and the day of so you don’t forget.

    Great idea, Sire, and thanks for stopping by!

    Reply
  • Mrs. Jones September 26, 2011, 11:40 pm

    Well my biggest downfall on wasting money isn’t with the bank, but with MY STOMACH! I love love love coffee and instead of making it at home end up going to RaceTrac or Quik Trip (which is the lesser evil because it’s only a dollar) but OMG sometimes I get a twinge for StarBucks and end up spendin “BigBucks” on my beloved cups of Joe, today for instance, i had a Punpkin Spice Chai Latte which ran me $4.95, and later in the day, got ANOTHER ONE because I was dreaming about the previous cup! that’s $10 today on 2 cups of COFFEE! When I think about it in context it’s ridiculous!

    And also food, sometimes when I’m on the go, I end up eating either fast food or going to a buffet, which I consider saving money because I can eat all I want from $6-$10 bucks, but I go to the buffet about 4 times a week, and eat out at other places about 4 times as well! I love to eat out! So this is my vice, I have to make a VERY CONCIOUS effort to keep my fridge stocked up, and ONLY eat what’s in my house, to save money, however it’s hard for a person as free-spirited, highly-social, and spontaneous as myself, when it comes to nature calling and being ready to satiate my hunger, especially with my home being 15 minutes from my job, I end up justifying my on-the-go eating habits!! Still working on a way to trick myself into not spending so much on food and coffee on a daily basis, that money would be so much better elsewhere!

    And my 2 cents on a good way to save money, is always keep your grocery stores savings card handy, even if you don’t visit that particular store very often, it’s worth the few minutes to fill out the form and attack the scan card to your keychain so that in the even that you find yourself in that store you are saving every cent you can! It’s FREE MONEY don’t throw it away just get the savings card!

    Reply
  • Grady Pruitt September 27, 2011, 8:18 am

    I hear you there, Mrs Jones. I had a Pumpkin Spice latte from Starbucks myself yesterday :D I tend to do coffeeshops more in November, because they’re a convenient meet up place for write-ins or for fewer distractions when I’m trying to do NaNoWriMo, but the rest of the year, I don’t go to them much. But you are very right in that food can be another source of waste. Eating out 2 or 3 times a week could cost as much as a weeks worth of groceries.

    And speaking of groceries, that’s a good tip. Stores that have cards usually have discounts on certain items in a given week that can really make a difference in how much you pay.

    Thanks for your comment!!

    Reply
  • Missy@How Much Does a Freelance Writer Make? September 27, 2011, 6:28 am

    Excellent, well-written article. I’m embarrassed to admit that I could relate to it 100%, and I’m glad I’m not alone. I bounced a check the other day, and you know why it bounced? BECAUSE I DIDN’T DEPOSIT MY MONEY IN TIME. That bounced check ended up costing me an extra $180 in fees, and I was unbelievably mad at myself. I used to be really good about money, so I don’t know what my problem is lately. I make more than enough to pay all my bills, but that doesn’t do me any good if I keep it in my purse instead of my bank account. Sigh.
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  • Grady Pruitt September 27, 2011, 8:30 am

    Exactly, Missy!

    When I started paying more attention to the money that was in my account and when things were going to come out, I easily found an extra $100 or more a month — An amount that often meant the difference of paying bills on time or late, which resulted in another $30 to $50 a month.

    Finances are one of those things in life that require constant (or at least consistent) diligence to do well.

    Thanks for your comment, Missy!

    Reply
  • Larry Lewis September 29, 2011, 12:22 pm

    I’ve always been organised when it comes to my financials. I don’t like having to give any away if i don’t have to. I’ve even avoided using credit cards, much to the dissapointment of both my banks who are constantly trying to get me to use credit. But at least they have my lady. Credit Cards, Store Cards, now lets not forget those wonderful catalogues. Buy now, pay in a years time. How about the supermarket buy 3 get 1 free. How many toilet rolls do we need. Maybe i better put them in my online shop.
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  • Grady Pruitt September 29, 2011, 10:23 pm

    Larry, I commend you on avoiding using credit cards. It’s one thing that we really should not use unless we really have to… Yet too many use them for “minor” expenses!

    Thanks for your comments!

    Reply
  • Chris Antonelli@Reston homes October 21, 2011, 1:53 am

    I never thought that such things waste money but this post has been an eye opener for me. It is true that many of us waste money because of many things laziness being top of the list. It is bad enough losing money but not as bad as losing money where you could have prevented that loss. People should stop wasting money through laziness and see how much they will save.

    Reply
  • Grady Pruitt October 22, 2011, 12:55 am

    I’ve been doing pretty good of late about not wasting money, and then this week, I forgot to return some movies on time, so I think I’ve wound up with a late fee. I knew I needed to, just forgot to carry through. At least I got them back the next day, but that’s still one day too late.

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  • Maria@Forex Agent November 8, 2011, 1:54 am

    The common source of late fees is not paying bills on time. Every time you are even a few days late, many places will often add a late charge. I know some charge 10%, others charge a set amount. Either way, if you’re late, you pay more. And if it’s credit you’re late on, that could affect interest rates as well !

    Reply
  • Grady Pruitt November 8, 2011, 2:12 am

    Most places will give you two or three days, but after that, fees kick in, and those fees can make a huge difference in what you owe. Just a handful of fees can wipe out extra cash you had planned for some other purchase. That’s why it’s best to pay early or on time. Thanks for your comments!

    Reply
  • Forex Analyst December 2, 2011, 1:59 am

    The common source of late fees is not paying bills on time. Every time you are even a few days late, many places will often add a late charge. I know some charge 10%, others charge a set amount. Either way, if you’re late, you pay more. And if it’s credit you’re late on, that could affect interest rates as well! Thanks for this reminder on the “hidden” waste we probably don’t think much about!

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  • Grady Pruitt December 2, 2011, 3:45 am

    Very true, Jerry. And this reminds me that just this last month, I was not checking my bank account often enough and wound up overdrafting (when I had the money) just because I forgot to keep up with it. May not seem like much at the time, but those fees can really make a huge difference!

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