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September 05, 2014


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A freind at work spends around $400 a month on a lease for a Caddilac. He has to have his Caddy.

I find a lease a waste of money in that a person is trying to have a car you would not be able to afford without the lease.

I am definitely guilty of paying my fair (or more than my fair share) of ATM fees.

In my defense, the bank I used before moving isn't in my current city, so I never carry around cash and most of the time it is no big deal until someone at a group meal says, "Oh yeah, you can't use your credit card."

"Why don't you all just give me your cash and I'll put my card down for the whole bill?"


So then I have to schlep to the nearest ATM. Lesson learned: I should just do cash back at the CVS down the block before all group meals.

I incur zero expense of the 10 you list, unless you count my satellite TV package. It isn't the premier with HBO, Showtime etc., but it is a higher tier because of a couple of business channels we watch religiously and they are not in the basic or next lower tier.

I don't spend money on a single one of the ten items.

One obvious way to save is to dump your bank and join a credit union.

The second obvious one is to pay your credit card in full every month.

I also have never hired either a gardening or a cleaning service - we do our own and always have.

I can't say I relate to any of these. The only reason we have satellite TV is it was bundled with some of our other services and costs us maybe $30 per month.

Up until recently I viewed leasing a car to be a less than ideal financial move unless you're deducting it as a business expense. I considered myself to be firmly among the "buy it and drive it until the wheels fall off" set. However, this summer we needed to replace one of our cars and we decided to lease for several different reasons, the main one being because my wife and kids will always be in a newer, reliable car with all the latest safety features. Given the premium brand we chose, some people may not completely understand our decision, but it ended up being the right choice for us for where we are in life. I definitely changed my perspective on this (but I would never lease the car I drive for work - I put on way too many miles for it to make sense).

Me probably guilty of #10. Maybe every other day for a regular coffee.

If you save enough to get to your goals, waste your money on all 10 (well, 7--fees and CC interest are always crap). Life's short.

I very occasionally buy from a deal website (#2) and I do pay for Amazon Prime (#6) but I believe it saves us money in the long run (we order only what we need/want) and we do stream some of their free videos. I agree that if your spending is under control it's about your personal priorities.

I have Amazon Prime and consider it money well spent. Right now I am waiting already 13th day for a book bought from a non-Prime seller and it reminds me how much I like reliable 2 day delivery.

Guilty of #8 - but the kids do swimming lessons there and they have a great and cheap camp, so the side benefits and the eternal hope that I'll find time to exercise don't let me cut the cord.

Others that are probably more worthy than those on the list:

Cell phone contracts
Buying unhealthy foods
Paying for lawn care
Buying too much insurance

The cheapest cable/Internet package in my town that includes HD at all costs $100/mo (before the BS fees). That's without a DVR, even! It's getting to the point where I'm considering dropping service altogether.

:( your spam filter ate my post.

I mostly agree with's really about your overall savings rate more than anything. If you're not saving at least 10%, you're in trouble. 15%, you're ok. More than 15% and you're doing varying degrees of pretty well. A 15% savings rate throughout one's lifetime (not including employer matches) will get you a good retirement...the trick is you have to hold onto decent paying employment until your late 50s or 60s..and that can be derailed by kids, disability, or your job becoming obsolete and losing good paying employment in your 50s (age discrimination is real).

So if you're not saving at least 15%, the extras should be small and inexpensive (and ideally, non-existent, but no one's perfect). If you are saving at least that much and have been your whole working lifetime, then it's ok to spend the remainder however you want. Personally, I want the option of leaving paid employment as soon as possible, so a 15% savings rate would be too low for me, but other people have different priorities and that's ok.

This post reminds me of that article posted on FMF a while ago that said mainstream media often picks on the little things that people should be cutting back on while ignoring the big things that people should be watching out for: Housing, car costs, student loans/education. If you're spending too much on these, cutting back on appetizers is probably not going to fix your underlying problem (or at least not for a long time).

As most of these lists go they serve their purpose to make you think about some ideas, from the truly wasteful (why pay atm fees when there are checking accounts that waive them) to making you think about their value versus cost (looking at the cost of cable or coffee runs "annually" instead of daily or even monthly I think is a good way to determine its cost and then evaluate its worth).

In the end I think these probably get dwarfed by the larger expense wastes, mostly b/c of our tendency to judge waste on a relative basis to the cost than on an absolute basis. E.g. Buying a cup of coffee and drinking it and then being charged $50 for it would cause most people to become irate, but a $100 unexplainable fee that shows up when you buy a car is completely dismissed, even though losing $100 is much worse than losing $50.

7 of these are a total waste, and 3 are sometimes a waste/sometimes okay.

The 3 that might be alright on occasion, in my view, are:

- Deal Websites (sometimes you can get a deal for something would have bought anyway...but the biggest waste is time not money spent on such sites)
- Appetizers (once in great while, why is to enjoy)
- Daily Coffee Trips - (some people have their vices. I've cut back drastically and don't really have any these days, but it's not a big deal)

I would not knock even a $150 premium cable package...if we were movie watchers at all we'd have one and I bet it would save us a ton on entertainment/nights out.

I like my HD cable sports package -- and I can afford it, because I make a lot of money and don't do the other 9 things :)

One other item that many people in California waste a lot of money on is the purchase of very expensive wines. The Lucky & Save Mart chains of supermarkets have several wines that are only $2.48/bottle. I like the Chardonnay and Merlot varieties and at that price I buy a case for what some wine snobs I know pay for a single bottle.

Even when I could afford to pay for every single service/channel/whatever offered by the cable co., I resented the cost. Access to TV does have a certain value for me, but it's not very high.

nada for me either, in addition: my tv is by an antenna in the attic ($35~one time)(thats 30+ channels FREE), my internet is $29.99 all in fiberoptic and my cell phone is nationwide 4G, talk/text/data at $35 total on the At&T network. I drink coffee at home. I use my Wal-Mart price match app and coupons too. Ok, once in a while my GF likes some onion rings at the local diner but, it's $4.95 of almost $3M~ net worth so she's worth it (though not all the time - JK)...

I'm that millionaire next door, my car parked in the streeet in 17~ years old, 190K miles...too..:) The Jeep in the garage is paid for - like all my vehicles since 1984 have been (I had a 48 mo car loan at age 23 in 1983 for about $6K~ but, paid it off month 19. My first "mortgage" was a 30 mo used trailer loan as a 2LT in the USAF at a Credit Union that was paid off on time - I actually made some money selling the 19 yo thing - LoL, and I leased from my parent company a computer/printer for about $5K~ (Before Windows 95 and all of 32K RAM!)in 1993, but, paid it off in under a year too - that's been IT for a lifetime of debt)

But, I retired at 47!

I think there are many other items that we Americans waste our money on, but before I go there, I have to say that I do not waste money on any of your 10.

I think people pay too much on:

1. Taxes
2. Alcohol (at home and particularly at the bar)
3. Cigarettes (e and non-e kind)
4. Restaurants
5. Junk Food of all kinds
6. High Wattage Bulbs
7. Not shopping enough on the internet
8. Not leveraging Free Coupons from many sources
9. Not ASKING for Deals and Discounts
10. Not Negotiating
11. Wasting money on contractors who dupe people regularly (legally)
12. Replacing "ANYTHING" when it is NOT end of life
13. Cell Phone Contracts with Device Rental Built Into Contract
14. Cell Phone Plan Features that they do NOT use
15. Not moving to VoIP Phone lines (if they have to have land line)
16. Completely cutting off TV back to Free Air-waves and Netflix
17. Negotiating on Insurance (car, home, life, liability) and not necessarily moving everything to one company! (really).
18. Most importantly, not stashing away the excess cash flow into vehicles that are out of reach, so as to increase savings.

Granted, my list has habits, do's and don't dos in there, but these are in addition to the 10 your mentioned where pennies/dollars/$100-bills are hidden.

I leverage all of the above as a simple form of habit, and it works well for me to be paid off for 15 years on all my outstanding debt, projects, goals, and it did not come easy, but it is easy now (since I am in simple maintenance mode).

Hope this helps, although it might be too aggressive for some that are just starting to follow 'better' methods.


I'm guilty of #10 - coffee. I tried the Keurig machine but it just didn't taste the same. However, since I don't drink, don't smoke, and don't party, the coffee vice is ok comparatively. I used to be guilty of shopping deal sites a lot, got suckered in, but am now trying to streamline my life. It's easy to get caught up in the material hype.

I have two Mercedes, both are garaged.

My black 1991 560SEL sedan was purchased used from the dealer in 1996 to celebrate getting my 1st. SS check. It's in flawless condition and now has 87,429 miles on it at age 23. I use it as a backup since my wife stopped driving a couple of years ago.

My white 1998 C230 sedan was also purchased used from the dealer in 2002. It's also flawless and now has 71,152 miles on it at age 12.

Divorce is the most costly item I lost almost half of my cash and equity the only way I did`nt go into debt is because I`m not guilty of doing any of those 10 listed and I had saved and saved my money.

I'd fly down and pick those up from you Old Limey, CA registration, SMOG, insurance, yada, lemme bring 'em to WA and enjoy them for 20 more years, say $10K :)

Of course the '98 Ford Taurus I bought for my GF@ $1,500 and put, about $400~ into it to detail it (I farmed that out), do maintenance myself from front to back and SMOG/register has gotta stay (190K miles, I gotta keep, it IS so reliable, easy to work, cheap to insure and drive (22-27 mpg) and I wonder how long such a simple machine can go? And the Jeep was built for me by Chrysler (My name, not the dealers is on the sticker) and it tows the wave runner and gets some sunshine drivin now (just 28K miles)...Let me know when you need to unbruden yourself of those old cars :)

No one should vilify credit cards. They are one of the great things about living in this country. And deal websites are excellent, as are coupon websites. Those who can't control themselves with Nos. 1 and 2 subsidize those who can. In my case...

1. Credit card interest:
In my case, credit cards have made me thousands of dollars in income/free flights & hotels I otherwise would have had to pay for. In other words, I didn't take an expensive vacation to use my points for free. I used my points practically.

2. Deal websites
Saved me thousands again when I furnished my new home.

3. Appetizers - not a problem. We don't eat out much -maybe 4 times a year.

4. ATM fees - not even sure where the card is. I haven't used an ATM in decades.

5. Overdraft fees - never happened/happens

6. Speedy shipping- unless it's free, why do this?

7. Designer baby clothes - no kids

8. Unused gym memberships - home gym and home pool.

9. Premium cable packages - Cable TV sucks. I don't watch TV. Torrents.

10. Daily coffee trips - home espresso machine - a good one.

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