Top 5 Ways People Waste Money In America

POSTED BY Heather Johnson, UPDATED ON February 3rd, 2023
Ways People Waste Money in America

The past six years have seen American families tightening their belts in an attempt to stretch a buck as far as possible. Despite these efforts, there are still several ways people waste money in America. The average family could save hundreds per year by cutting out these top five money-wasting items from their spending.


5. Gasoline

Americans love their cars. They love the speed, the power, the control. Yet, the average American fails to drive reasonably. Worse, the average driver fails to handle basic fuel management tips to save money.

Properly inflating your tires, removing heavy items from your trunk, and changing your oil regularly can improve fuel efficiency. As gas prices continue to climb, the amount saved increases. The longer you can go between trips to the pump, the less you’re spending annually on gasoline. Sadly, most American drivers will waste over $300 per year.


4. Cable Television

The Internet has put digital media into the hands of nearly every American. Movies, television programs, and web-only specials are available for free or for a small monthly fee.

Instead of spending over $100 a month on cable, switch to online media and save over $1200 annually.


3. Bottled Water and Organic Food

Bottled water is a $50 billion per year industry. The secret? Most of these bottled waters come from municipal water supplies. That’s right. They’re tapping water in a fancy package. Using a filtration pitcher or system can save hundreds per year in bottled water.

Certain foods have a benefit when purchased organically. However, the items with the highest markup are often ones with little or no difference between organic and non-organic. Learn which foods you eat that benefit from organic growth and purchase those. Leave the other organics alone, saving thousands in food costs.


2. Credit Card Fees and Interest

Credit cards are a convenient way to make online purchases, cover emergency expenses, and get through until payday when times are tough. The average American now has six credit cards and over $8,000 in balances. The average interest rate? Twenty-nine percent on all purchases.

That can add up to thousands of dollars over the life of the card. Toss in $39 late fees and $39 over-the-limit fees, and the costs continue to pile up. By cutting spending on credit cards, paying off balances, and taking advantage of interest rate reduction programs, a family can save hundreds in fees and interest payments.


1. ATM and Other Bank Fees

A $2 fee to use an ATM at the mall. Another $2 fee to use the drive-up ATM closest to your home. A $10 overdraft coverage fee. A $35 bounced check fee. A $5 fee for using your debit card too much. A $7 fee for writing one check too many.

It’s easy to see how banks are adding fees to their free checking accounts. These fees, small individually, can add up over time. In 2011, the average American spent nearly $200 in bank fees related to a free checking account which makes ‘bank fees’ one of the most common ways people waste money in the USA.

So, know the rules for when your bank charges a fee. Go to your bank branch and use their ATM. Use online bill pay options to avoid using checks. Go inside and speak to a teller to withdraw cash.

By following the above-mentioned tips you can surely avoid common ways how Americans waste money. Do you have any additional tips to add? Let us know in the comments section below!

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