"D'oh!" That's all I can say when I lose money the silly way -- on fees and such that, if I lived right, I'd never have to pay.
Granted these are small potato items (usually), but they're also the kind of things that you really should never encounter. There are plenty of way bigger ways to lose money through poor planning or neglect, but this list is the niggling, silly things that should just never happen. When they happen to me, I feel a mixture of all out fury and head-slapping "Duh!"
This is my personal list of the six STUPIDEST things I tend to lose money on:
1. Parking tickets.
These things ain't cheap. In the last week, I've gotten two for $32 a pop! Both times, I was rushing to feed the meter, when the maid was already printing the ticket.
Stupid.Avoid parking tickets by planning ahead -- bring that roll of quarters with you and fill that meter up. Giterdone quickly so you won't need to refill. Otherwise, take public transportation or park in a garage -- both are always cheaper than a ticket.
2. Library late fees.
This really defeats the purpose of getting things FOR FREE at the library.
And those fees ain't a nickel anymore; try anything from a quarter to a whole dollar for each day your item is late.
Libraries are really generous these days and you usually have three weeks with an item before it has to go back (DVDs you still generally only have a day), so you have time -- read it, watch it, and take it back.Most people I know who have library fees don't have two or three day fees -- they have three and four month fees! Really? You know you didn't read that book or watch that movie over and over -- it was sitting under a pile of unopened mail. At that price, you could have paid for a month's worth of Netflix and bought a book!
3. Any fees, really.
Overdraft fees. There's no reason to ever, ever pay an overdraft fee. That's all I have to say about that.
Finance charges on your credit card. You know the name of the site and the name of the game -- never have a balance on your credit card at the end of a month. I don't do this since I've been out of debt, but you have to keep an eye on your statements -- sneaky banks can change your billing period at will and mess you up. They also like to schedule payment due dates on weekends, when your bank isn't delivering any checks.Fees, just fees period, on anything, suck. But they can almost always be avoided.
4. Rebuying things I already have.
I do this with groceries whenever I don't plan and make a list. It may sound unimportant, but it's a money waster when you rebuy PERISHABLE items that you already have -- having twice as much doesn't mean it lasts twice as long.
The lipliner that's nowhere to be found -- drop $12 at MAC, come home and find the missing liner sitting somewhere obvious, mocking me.
The combination locks I have piled up because I couldn't find them, then bought new ones.Silly. Avoidable. C'est la vie.
5. Buying anything full price at the GAP.
If you shop at this store, NEVER buy an item of clothing at full price. I was always getting punked wearing new jeans or a shirt and then, just in time for me to be unable to get a price match, the crap would be half off. I guarantee that whatever you want will be on sale in a matter of weeks or they'll issue coupons or have reductions online. Now I walk in the store, try on the items I am interested in, find the size that's right, then sit back and wait.
That's true of most of the places where I shop. It behooves me (and it would you too) to just wait before making some purchases. Heck, maybe you won't even want what it is after you sleep on it!
I also no longer shop online without checking for coupon codes on sites like RetailMeNot.com.
6. Poor travel planning.
I save specifically for travel be it to a far-off land or around the country visiting family and friends. But, every now and then, I get got for mucho dinero for failure to plan.
Went to Orlando to stay for free at a Disney resort with my good friend, but I wanted to go to the Universal Studios theme parks -- $40 cab ride one way. If I had thought about this, I could have rented a car for less than it cost for a roundtrip to the park from Disney Resort each way. Or figured out a city bus route. Or, lots of things.
I also coughed up $100 on a hotel when I went to a friend's wedding in Tennessee instead of calling ahead to try staying with one of my many good friends living in the same city.
Didn't go into debt doing any of this, but that coulda been more money for vacation shopping or for a future trip!
That's my list. What's yours?