Top 10 things we waste our money on & what to do about it

7 min Read Published: 27 Oct 2014

The top 10 things we waste our money on and what to do about it

1. Overdraft fees

Money falling down a drainI know it is an obvious one but UK banks are making billions of pounds every year from our inability to budget our finances. Recent changes have forced UK banks to treat customers more fairly if they go overdrawn but this has not stopped many customers still going into the red on a regular basis. You might as well set fire to your money than pay it out to your bank for no return.

Get to grip with your finances now by reading this article - Start 'big picture' budgeting

2. Credit card interest

One of the biggest drains on our finances is the interest many of us pay on a monthly basis to credit card companies. Now, I know that our financial lives rarely run smoothly and we may need to resort to credit on occasions but this should be a last resort. If you do use a credit card make sure you pay off the balance on a monthly basis so that you never get charged interest.

Start on the road to becoming debt free by reading this article - The 5 simple steps to clear your credit card debt

3. Premium cable packages

Now we all love to watch a good film or a live football match but these luxuries do not come cheap, especially if you do not use them as often as you thought. If you are paying for the full available package you will have more channels than you can realistically watch. With the freeview options now available you can watch a whole range of programmes without paying out for an expensive subscription.

4. Not getting the best energy deal

With the cost of our energy going ever upward it doesn't make sense to not be on the best energy deal possible. Changing your energy supplier is really simple and can be done in just a few minutes.

To start saving on energy costs now read this article - How to find the best energy deal, switch & cashback in 17mins 39secs - a walkthrough

5. Next day delivery charges

When shopping online it can be very tempting to just click the next day delivery option to get your hands on your new purchase quickly. Often we do this without appreciating the cost of quick delivery can mount up, especially if you are an avid online shopper. Why not go for the free delivery option offered by most suppliers, wait a few days and save yourself money.

6. Unused gym membership

Want to get fit? Then just open your front door and run! You do not need an expensive gym if you are never going to go beyond the first couple of weeks. Go to any gym in early January and you will struggle to use the machines as the New Year resolutions start in earnest. Go back three months later and the place will be virtually empty with members paying every month but never going. If you do want to join a gym make sure you can cancel the payments if you lose motivation. Never sign up for an annual membership before you know whether you will use it fully for twelve months. If you do decide to join a gym then read my article 'One way to cut the cost of going to the gym'.

7. Extended warranties

Extended warranties are big money spinners for suppliers and I would avoid them at all costs. Most higher priced items you buy these days come with a 12 month guarantee anyway. Beyond that period you could be entitled to a refund, or free repair, if the goods do not last for a reasonable period of time. So don't be swayed by any slick sales patter, just say NO!

For more information read this article - Don't buy extended warranties

8. Deal  websites (health warning!)

We all love a good bargain and deal websites can provide some great money off deals on a daily basis. The reason for my health warning is that these offers can be very addictive and we get sucked into buying stuff we don't need. It's a bit like going to the sales every day of the week, and how many sale items have you got that are still sitting in your wardrobe unworn? If you can resist the temptation to buy every time you visit a deal website then well done you, but many of us can't.

9. Latest mobile phones

If you are one of those that must have the latest mobile phone just to be cool, then stop now. This silly habit is costing you serious money when the phone you have discarded can do what you need perfectly well. I am not talking about people who upgrade when the contract is up for renewal. I am talking about the people who must have the latest phone the minute it hits the streets, save your money you may need it one day. If you still want to get the latest handset then at least shop around using a site such as uswitch.

10. Unwanted gifts (especially at Christmas)

There will be millions of gifts bought this Christmas that will hit the back of the cupboard and never see the light of day. Why not agree with your family to reduce the amount of presents you all buy this Christmas to save money at this already expensive time of the year. Don't worry they will still love you, even without a present.

Looking for a financial adviser near you?

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Alternatively, Hargreaves Lansdown, one of the UK’s largest firms providing restricted financial advice, is offering a £200 John Lewis voucher* to new clients.