Top 10 Ways You Can Waste Money Without Realizing It

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by Whitson Gordon Lifehacker

     

Everyone’s always on the lookout for ways to save money, but sometimes we ignore the fact that we’re actively wasting money every day. Here are 10 ways you might be letting money slip through your fingers.

10. You Ignore Wear and Tear on Your Home

When you own a home, it seems like the repairs and improvements never stop…but you might have missed out on a few important ones. If you’ve still got drafts of air flowing through your house, you’re probably wasting a lot of money on heating and cooling costs, and might even have some water damage from leaks around the foundation. Check out the three money-saving home improvements you should do right now. While you’re at it, check out our other guides to getting your energy bills down with just a little common sense.

9. You Aren’t Maximizing Your Credit Card Rewards

We pay for more and more stuff with plastic these days, so why not get the maximum amount of cash back when you do? Lots of credit cards come with a good set of rewards, but some are definitely better than others – especially if you have a specific place you want to spend them (like travel). Check out our roundup of the five best reward credit cards, and the five best travel-based rewards cards. Once you’ve found the right card for you, make sure you’re using it in a way that gets you the most back for your money.

8. You Have Unclaimed Money In Your Name

It may sound like the least convincing scam ever pulled, but you may actually have unclaimed money that belongs to you out there, just waiting for you to grab it. Sometimes it’s a savings bond, sometimes it’s an unclaimed 401k, but no matter what it is, it’s actually really easy to look up. Check out our post on the subject for more info about where to go and how to get that money out of financial purgatory and back into your pocket.

7. The Food In Your Kitchen Goes Bad

It’s hard to judge exactly how much food you’ll eat in the next week or month, but when food spoils, that’s money down the drain. Planning your meals ahead of time helps a ton, as does knowing how long different foods stay fresh on the counter, in the fridge, and in the freezer. But, in the end, all it takes is a little attention. Check out our guide to waging war on food spoilage to keep it all under control.

6. You Pay Too Much for Smartphone Data

Most people sign up for a data plan and use their phone without really digging into how much data they use. If you’re still holding onto an unlimited plan, for example, it’s worth looking up how much data you actually use in a month – you might actually save money by moving to a metered plan (after all, 48% of people don’t even use 300MB of data per month). Check out this chart to see how much you could save, and if you haven’t checked your data usage in awhile, give it a look. You might be surprised. Of course, if you do have a limited plan, make sure your phone isn’t secretly wasting data in the background, too.

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