14 things Americans are wasting a lot of money on


If you’ve been following Clark’s advice for a while, you’ve probably developed some pretty impressive penny-pinching habits throughout the years.

Over on Reddit, there’s a group of frugal folks who are also really passionate about finding new ways to stretch a buck.

RELATED: 11 fees you should never pay

14 ways Americans waste a lot of money

User coulombsvector recently posed this question, which got nearly 800 responses: ‘What is something that a lot of people pay for, but you think is a total waste of money?’

We went through those posts to highlight 14 things that you may be wasting money on:

1. Razors

It seems like Gillette and Schick are constantly rolling out “new and improved” types of razors, with each model more expensive than the last. The cost of razors is especially frustrating for ladies. We’ve heard from women who buy men’s razors because they’re cheaper. It may sound crazy, but Clark once made a disposable razor last an entire year! His secret? Drying it on a towel after every use. You may also want to look into long-lasting electric razors, which may save you money over time.

RELATED: How to make a disposable razor last 12 months!

2. Bottled water

Americans spend billions of dollars a year on bottled water, something they can get for free! And did you know that a lot of the bottled water for sale is just filtered tap water? Yeah, that definitely qualifies as a waste of money! To save, invest in a reusable water bottle. And if you must buy bottled water, pick up a case from warehouse clubs like Costco or Sam’s Club. The price will work out to about 10 cents per bottle.

3. Tanning

Not only can memberships to tanning salons be expensive, exposure to harmful UV radiation can put you at a higher risk of developing skin cancer. This is one of the expenses that several folks on the Reddit thread agreed was not necessary. Head over to the Skin Cancer Foundation’s website to learn more about getting a bronzed glow without putting your health at risk.

RELATED: Best sunscreen for your money


4. Pay TV

The average household pays more than $100 a month for TV service, according to numbers released in September 2016. That’s more than $1,200 a year! You can put some of that money back into your pocket by hooking up an antenna for free over-the-air TV. Of course, there’s always Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Looking ahead, expect to hear more about new streaming services like DirecTV Now, which gives users access to 100+ channels without the need for a dish.

5. Dog clothing

This may be a bit controversial, but it sure got people commenting on the Reddit thread. Americans spend an estimated $60 billion a year on their pets, including on dog clothing. Some Halloween costumes for dogs can cost just as much as those for small children, $25 to $50! And does your pup really enjoy wearing it? Those who defended dog clothing as a purchase pointed out that a doggie sweater may be necessary for walks on cold winter nights.

6. Weddings

Congratulations, you’re getting married! But how will you pay for it? Some estimates put the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. around $26,000. Here’s how to stay on budget:

  • Narrow the guest list
  • Try an alternate location or date
  • Print your own invitations
  • Borrow jewelry and accessories
  • Negotiate with your photographer
  • Opt for a DJ instead of a band

RELATED: 12 tips for keeping your wedding on budget

7. Paper towels

Is it really possible to say goodbye to the Brawny man? Frugal mom Lydia Senn shared on her personal blog that she uses cloth rags made from her husband’s old t-shirts instead of paper towels.

Here are more of Lydia’s tips to save money around the kitchen:

8. New cars

Frugal Reddit users appear to be in agreement with Clark that it’s best to buy a car that’s two or three years old because new vehicles begin to depreciate the moment they’re driven off a dealer’s lot. For the best possible deal in 2018, consider a sedan or subcompact. Traditional cars are being heavily discounted as drivers gravitate toward SUVs, trucks and crossovers.

Read more: 6 big expenses that will cost you less in 2017

9. Grooming: Manicure, haircuts, spa treatments

Going to a hair salon can get expensive in a hurry, especially if you’re having your hair colored. So why not find some ways to save? In addition to spacing out your haircuts a little further, you may actually be able to make an appointment for a free haircut from a professional stylist. Yes, 100% free. Follow this link for details on how to sign up.

10. Starbucks

We’ve all heard about the latte factor before, but it’s worth repeating because it’s so easy to make your coffee at home and save up to $500 a year. Using the Rule of 752, you quickly realize how these small purchases can add up over time. Let’s say someone spends $20 a week on coffee for 10 years. If that person had invested the money at a 7% compounded rate of return, they’d have $15,040! That may be enough motivation to plug in your old coffee maker.


RELATED: Rule of 752: How small expenses can destroy your budget

11. Gambling

About 85% of U.S. adults have gambled at least once in their lives and 60% within the past year, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling. So why isn’t everyone walking around with loads of cash? The odds just aren’t in your favor. On the other hand, one Reddit user said they go to the casino for the free drinks, cheap food and affordable hotel rooms. So if you include gambling in your entertainment budget, perhaps it’s not a total waste.

12. Cell phone data

Clark says that if you don’t shop around for a better cell phone plan every 18 months, you’re probably paying too much!

Read more: Best cell phone plans and deals right now

13. Name brand clothes and accessories

If you have a closet that’s overflowing with so many outfits that you can’t keep them all straight, maybe 2017 is the year that you can dial it back a bit.

Commenting about upscale purses, here’s what one Reddit user wrote:

‘Why do people insist on Coach or MK? I think it’s vulgar. I have a big Italian leather purse with no name on it. I got it in 2011 for $130 and there is no sign that it needs to be replaced.’

She makes a good point, but if a name brand is that important to you, at least check out the selection at discount retailers like T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Ross before you hit the department store.

Here’s how to turn your old designer clothes and accessories into cash.

14. Magazines

Have you noticed the cover price of magazines sold at the grocery store? Some of them cost more than $5 per issue! Here’s a better option: Go to the magazine’s website and read the content for free. And if you must have magazines delivered to your mailbox, consider using credit card rewards. You may be able to get 12 months of issues in exchange for just a few hundred leftover airline miles.

RELATED: How I paid off my $86,000 mortgage in 2 years


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