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Do you ever find yourself wondering where all your hard earned money went?

Does it feel like shortly after payday you’re back to scraping the bottom of the barrel and stretching every last penny as far as it will go? There could be several different ways you are wasting your money without realizing it – and how to stop them.

If you’re wearing out from working hard for your money, only to have it gone before you can even get all your bill paid, you might be wasting your money in ways that you don’t even realize.

If you’ve tried every last money saving trick in the book yet are still running low, you might be wondering how on earth are you supposed to save money when you have next to none to start off with.

My husband and I are good with our money and creating frugal spending habits, but as life would have it, just as we got settled into a comfortable system with our money we got thrown a curveball and our lives have gotten so hectic lately that our money habits have taken a bit of a back seat.

All of this has really caused me to realize how much money we truly waste – without even realizing it.

Related: 5 Tips That Will Change the Way You Save Money

Like anyone else, we aren’t wasting our money intentionally, and if I didn’t keep track of our spending, we wouldn’t have realized that we were wasting money until it was too late.

Because we have a plan for our money in place, I was able to catch where we were wasting our money quickly and correct it.

To be able to stop yourself from wasting money, you first need to be able to see where it is that you are wasting money already. You can do this by creating a budget and tracking your spending.

5 WAYS YOU ARE WASTING YOUR MONEY WITHOUT REALIZING IT

1. AT THE GROCERY STORE

Although groceries are one of the average American’s highest monthly costs, it doesn’t have to be like this. The reason that groceries are one of the highest costs is because we end up wasting our money at the grocery store, on things that we really don’t need.

And those things that we wasted our money on? They often end up in the trash.

One way that you can eliminate wasting your money at the grocery store is to start meal planning. When you meal plan you know exactly what food you need for the next week, and you can enter the grocery store with a list and a goal – and walk out of there with not one cent over your budget.

Related: A 6-Step Guide to Learn How to Meal Plan

Another way that you are wasting your money at the grocery store is if you aren’t claiming any money back.

What?! Money back on groceries? – Yup! It’s a thing!

There are apps that you can download on your phone that will literally give you money back when you buy items that are on your grocery list.

The one cash-back app that I use and highly recommend is Checkout 51.

When you use Checkout 51 you can browse through their deals before you go to the store to see if you will be eligible for claiming cash back. After you’re done shopping you simply take a picture of your receipt and claim the items that you are eligible to get cash-back on.

Bada bing, bada boom, you’re getting paid for buying stuff you were going to buy anyway!

If you don’t want to download the Checkout 51 app onto your phone, you can use their website on your computer, instead.

Get Checkout 51 completely free here!

Another great cash-back site that I use is Ebates. If you like to make online purchases, you need Ebates.

When you buy anything through Ebates you get a percent of what you spent back in cash, so if you were going to buy something anyway – why not get money for doing so?

Ebates is also completely free, and when you sign up through my link you are eligible for $10 bonus cash!

2. ON YOUR BILLS

Did you know that your monthly expenses such as cell phone, home phone, insurance, cable, internet bills and Credit Card interest rates may be negotiable?

If you’re paying high rates and not doing anything about it, you might be wasting your money.

By making a simple phone call to your service providers and asking if they have any, a) promotions, b) lower rates or c) loyalty programs that you are eligible for, you might be able to get a lower rate.

Don’t waste your money by spending more than you need to be on these bills.

Another great idea regarding bills is to always go over your statements before paying. When paying your credit card bills it’s always a good idea to first check over your statement to be sure that no extra charges got added to your account.

3. IF YOU DON’T CARE WHETHER OR NOT YOUR MONEY IS EARNING ANYTHING

Did you know that your money shouldn’t be just sitting in a low-interest bank account, not doing a thing, but that it should actually be working for you?

Make your money work for you by making an appointment with your bank to talk over the different options on where you could either invest your money, or different types of savings accounts where your money could be earning you interest.

My husband and I made the mistake of just leaving our money in a savings account and forgetting about it. We didn’t realize that it could be earning so much more for us than it was, and though we knew we should make an appointment with our bank to talk with someone about what would be best for our money, we kept putting it off.

Don’t be like us! Don’t procrastinate on this because the longer you procrastinate, the more money you’re wasting.

4. EATING OUT MORE THAN YOU SHOULD

A coffee here and a coffee there doesn’t hurt anything, right?

Eating out, or even just grabbing a quick coffee for the road, adds up to a large amount of money over the months. You might be thinking that going out to grab a $3 coffee isn’t a lot, but in reality when you do that several times a week, and add the occasional night where you go somewhere to eat out, and you’re spending more per month on eating out than you should be on groceries alone.

Start keeping track of how much you’re eating out and make an effort to cut that amount in half.

A very effective way that you can do this is by using the cash envelope system. Even if you don’t want to use cash envelopes for your entire budget, I do suggest using them for your food budget.

I don’t know about you, but for me, spending money on food (whether it be groceries or eating out) is something that is way too easy to go over budget on. Using the cash envelope system for your food budget will eliminate going over budget, simply because when you’re out of money, you’re out.

5. PURCHASING ITEMS JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE ON SALE

You think you’re saving money because you found a rockin’ deal on something.

But ask yourself this – would you have bought it if it wasn’t on sale? Was it truly something you needed, or did you just decide to buy it because it was a good price?

If it wasn’t something that you needed before it was on sale, it’s probably not something that you need just because it’s on sale.

SALE ITEMS SO EASILY GO FROM SAVING YOUR MONEY TO WASTING YOUR MONEY.

The sale looks way too good to pass up on so you just have to get it, right?

Let’s say it’s three heads of lettuce on sale for just $4, when one head of lettuce is just $2. Sure, if you get the three heads you are saving yourself $.67 per head, but if that extra lettuce ends up in the trash because you couldn’t use it all up before it went bad – you wasted money.

There are great sales that come up, and there are sales that look great, but will really only end up wasting your money – you just have to know how to tell the difference.

Now that you know these 5 common ways that people waste money, do you see any of these money wasting habits in your life? If you do, are you able to eliminate them?

Related:
22 Things That Frugal People Don’t Do
28 Ways to Make Extra Money Every Month
20 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half
5 Easy Steps to Good Money Management
10 Clever Ways to Trick Yourself Into Saving Money
How to Live Below Your Means (+ 5 Reasons Why You Should)

5 Useless Ways You're Wasting Your Money Without Even Realizing It & How You Can Stop
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Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12