How to Lose Money Everyday in 80 Foolish Ways

If you are a reader of personal finance topics, you often have come across posts teaching saving money or earning extra money. Let’s now see the ways you can lose money. Sometimes it helps to know how can you lose money just to be cautious and careful in your habits.

Losing Money

The secret of saving lies more in how much you can save rather than on how much you can make. Knowing things that can qualify as ‘losing money’ can help you seal the leak.

80 Ways to lose money foolishly

  1. Paying for gym membership, not always but, often.
  2. Buying penny stocks and suffering inevitable loss later.
  3. Buying lotto/lottery tickets, only one in a million gets success.
  4. Buying new dresses too frequently, every week or every month.
  5. Having daily coffee shot at Starbucks or other coffee joints. Some might disagree here. But, its my opinion after-all.
  6. Paying for week-end shopping spree for no apparent need.
  7. Paying for magazine subscription that you don’t have time to read.
  8. Using car for short distance travel regularly.
  9. Not using comparison websites for car, hotel and flight reservations.
  10. Not paying off full credit card balance every month. Finance charges take out more money from your pocket than the cost of the goods.
  11. Paying govt. using credit card, since they always charge service charge for credit cards
  12. Charging your loans on credit card
  13. Preparing shopping list after searching coupons and discounts, rather than the opposite.
  14. Paying for fraudulent charges by not properly scrutinizing credit card bills
  15. Drawing check before checking for sufficient bank balance
  16. Buying software when alternative is available for free (ex. MS Office)
  17. Buying electronics from brick and mortar stores, rather than from online discount stores.
  18. Not bargaining enough to reduce cost
  19. Going after brand name when better and cheaper variety is available
  20. Drinking Bottled water when tap water is available, with similar quality.
  21. Using vending machines for light snacks or drinks regularly.
  22. Buying expensive gas when a regular 87 octane grade is sufficient
  23. Not using cash-back/reward credit card, if you are a credit card user
  24. Paying annual membership fees on credit cards
  25. Investing in stock futures and options, unless you are a pro.
  26. Hiring tax experts when you can self file for free
  27. Smoking cigarette, I am guilty 
  28. Paying for Viagra when other low-cost options are available
  29. Not asking doctors for generic alternatives
  30. Buying Computer maintainance service (ex. Geek squad)
  31. Having home phone when everyone at home uses cell phone
  32. Not using thermostat at home, you lose money towards higher utility bill.
  33. Paying for text messaging plan
  34. Movie subscription,I am sorry if you frowned at me. I don’t use Netflix!
  35. Paying fees for banking privileges. There are interest paying checking accounts which can earn you money on your deposits.
  36. Going for shopping multiple days in a week as opposed to one day
  37. Not having enough insurance coverage, when something goes wrong you lose your wealth.
  38. Paying with check (they cost money to re order) as opposed to online payment for free.
  39. Give in to your kid’s demands most of time.
  40. keeping money in 0% interest account or in cash, inflation eats your money
  41. Not looking for cheaper insurance options.
  42. Drinking alcohol. I do drink but socially. We don’t drink at home unless we are hosting guests. Drinking as habit is surefire way to lose money.
  43. Visiting pubs and clubs regularly. I admit most of us need to go clubbing but not all the time. Cost of food and drink run high at these places.
  44. Not refinancing mortgage for a cheaper rate
  45. Not buying store brands and going for well known named brand for things on which you can go cheap.
  46. Buying greeting cards instead of sending your wishes electronically.
  47. Not using yearly free medical, eye and dental checkups that come with insurance.
  48. Shopping at airports, even if they are duty free, most of time the buying is impulse buying, not out-of-need buying.
  49. Shopping In-flight is almost always buying a things for twice the market value.
  50. Paying for small home/car repairs that you can fix yourself.
  51. Using cheaper utensils, in long run they cost more money than quality utensils.
  52. Buying things from gas station (convenience stores).
  53. Spending on expensive hobbies which do not add much values. 
  54. Not driving a car till its dead, trade-ins are almost always losing deal for you and winners for the dealers.
  55. Day trading stocks if you are not a professional trader.
  56. Giving to a charity you have no clue on how they spend the money.
  57. Driving recklessly, the tickets, coupled with increased insurance premium can drain your money.
  58. Not filing tax on time, or not filing at all. When IRS comes knocking you may find your money
  59. Not disposing documents and old computer safely
  60. Paying for energy drink, all you need to do more, is motivation, after-all!
  61. Not using re-chargeable batteries
  62. Letting water run at home, Save water and stop the money flow.
  63. Paying brokerage for frequent stock/fund trading
  64. Frequent movie theater trips
  65. Paying for things which can be self-taught
  66. Hiring a prostitute
  67. Paying for guided tour. To me, the best way to know a place is to walk
  68. Eating out too often. Brown bagging lunch and cooking your own meal saves a lot of money.
  69. Buying season ticket of your favorite team. Survey shows that more than 50% of season ticket buyers do not watch more than 50% of the games. You decide!
  70. Using overnight courier delivery when the recipient can wait another day or two.
  71. Spending on chewing gums
  72. Spending money in the Casinos. Only rarest of rare people could win money there.
  73. Buying junk jewelry all the time.
  74. Paying hefty tips at restaurants
  75. Throwing too many parties for no apparent reason.
  76. Betting often causes monetary losses.
  77. Not taking good care of your health, take care of your health to keep money in your bank.
  78. Buying new games or music albums without first reading reviews or trying them out.
  79. Falling to Online/internet scams, learn to avoid being scammed
  80. Installing softwares from un-trusted sites and thus revealing few passwords to hackers. Read tips to buying software online.

Every rule has its exception. Likewise, all the above points will have their own exceptions too. Many of us may feel some of these expenses are not really wastage of money. I do agree. Morning coffee, to me, is waste, but may not be for you. Some of the items, I am sure, are pure waste for all of us. Buying lotto tickets is a common habit for many and I wonder each time I see someone buying lotto if the person is sane. Likewise, I can’t think of a situation when hiring a prostitute can be considered a genuine expense.

This list is prepared for a reader who is among general healthy population with average income (USA national average) but, your mileage may vary. Your income can be high enough not to stop putting money away on items like junk jewelry or cigarettes. But, believe me there are 50% of Americans who struggle to meet fundamental needs. For them throwing parties frequently and eating out regularly are nothing but luxury. This blog is for people who want to do better with their finances, we grow One Cent at a Time.

Feel free to criticize, I’ll try to respond. And, if you know of other ways to lose money, do share with us!

Join our community of 5000+ subscribers to increase your net worth and build wealth
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.
The tool that changed the way I manage my personal finance - Personal Capital, The Best Free Personal Finance Tool

Want to start a WordPress blog now? The blog is hosted by Bluehost Web Hosting. For only $3.49 a month, Bluehost can help you set up and host your website/blog quickly and easily.


  1. says

    The problem with personal finances and lists such as this is that it is all subjective. Each person will have a different viewpoint on various issues and bullet points, and most will be perfectly valid (although I would have to agree on the prostitute point). Like with filing taxes late, many situations demand that a return go on extension such as when investing in MLPs or other ventures that need to make adjustments before the K-1s are sent out. Some things like the casinos, throwing parties, eating out, and drinking alcohol are more social in nature or simply things that people enjoy. I mean, if someone stuck to every single thing that was on this list, they may never get out of the house or see other people in a social setting (yeah, I’m being a little extreme, but just to make a point). I think people simply need to prioritize better. Like many of the responses to the post on Beating Broke the other day about being “unfrugal” sometimes, there needs to be a balance in life where you get to actually enjoy and spend the money you work hard to earn.

    • says

      Eric, you have mentioned ‘being unfrugal sometimes’. This ‘sometimes’ is the crutch word. So you admit most of the time we should be frugal and don’t spend on these items.

      I did mention that this is written for average Americans with average salary, and the reality is americans are in debt as the whole country in itself. When you are in debt, you should cut back, casinos and pubs are not for you. Similarly, can’t people enjoy parties drinking juices or soft drinks?

      If you are affluent, go spend your money, spending helps the economy any way by creating new jobs.

      • says

        I only mentioned the fugal part because that was the post I was referring to. I don’t think frugality is all that it is cracked up to be personally, rather I believe in responsibility, taking care of obligations and priorities then enjoying a little of what you worked hard to earn. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us, so for anyone to go scratching for and saving every penny, never to spend on anything that isn’t a “need” is ridiculous to me.

        What would happen if you never did anything you wanted to do or never did anything enjoyable because all that concerned you was saving for the future and that is when you were going to spend it. But what people don’t realize, especially the crazy-frugal people in the PF circles, is that you may not be able to physically do what you plan later in life. Age, health, luck, the course of history all play a role in to. So then you will have all this money and ruined plans and probably kicking yourself for not stopping to enjoy life when you were younger.

        Now, I’m not saying that throwing money around is smart, but if you aren’t hurting economically, are able to meet your obligations and have the ability to save a modest amount as well, then why not live a little when you physically can. There is enough judgement in the world, I prefer to let people make their own decisions for the most part when it comes to their money. None of us are perfect, and what is good for me, may not be good for you or the next person. Like I said before, it’s all subjective

        • says

          I do admit I personally have few habits like i mentioned. I have an expensive hobby (watch and sunglass collection) that takes money. I will again repeat myself this article is written for average american household, with median earning of $46,000 and average debt of $10,000.

          As I have already said in the post, your mileage may vary.

  2. says

    I agree with Eric. A list like this is subjective and should not be considered absolute. The key is moderation and priorities. For the most part, everything on that list is fine to do once and a while (save for the prostitutes and online scams/hackers. Those are never OK), and if they’re important to you (season tickets, gym memberships, movies, etc) and they’re within your budget, then there isn’t a problem.

    • says

      as I said, almost every point is subjected to your perception. I wrote it for average american who is in debt, and I strongly believe, he should avoid most of these, if not all

    • says

      Agree and I know that for many, some of these expenses are very necessary ones. I only hear so far from all comments below or above that Viagra, Gym, Alcohol and Coupons are not as bad of an expense, expected to get a longer list though.

  3. says

    Reading this post is like a kick in the stomach. I am not guilty of many of them, but the ones I am I just think, doh, I shouldn’t be doing that. The gym membership is the only one that I like because I have been with them for so long, my wife and I pay $18/mo for both of us. And since we work out regularly, it feels like we get our moneys worth…even though I have been jogging outside lately. It still works out.

    If I would stop drinking so much liquor I could be in much better shape. Guess I know what I need to work on through the rest of the year.

  4. says

    I don’t understand why “Preparing shopping list after searching coupons and discounts, rather than the opposite” is a bad thing. It has caused me to save money and eat better by planning my meals around the deal vs making my meal plan then finding the deals.

    • says

      I think the reason is that you will spend money to save money if you do it that way. By making the list first, you will know what you need, and then you can knock off some of the cost by grabbing only coupons for those items. By doing it the other way, you are adding extra, possible unnecessary items just because you have the coupons.

  5. says

    Drinking alcohol. This is a cool list, but I have to take exception to this one. No doubt it this is a cultural thing, but being an Australian means that every social gathering and celebration is done so with a drink. I don’t drink to excess, but I do enjoy it.

    • says

      yes, it is cultural thing Hunter. But again, is drinking necessary for living, no. Good you are not in to too much drinking. you are saving money there :)

  6. says

    It’s easy to reduce the need for paper checks via paying online or with a bank card. I’ve cut back considerably on the use of paper checks.

    But not every business or account is yet set up for that. My daughter is moving into her own apartment soon, and I told her to get some paper checks just in case. Sure enough … I had to write a paper check for one her expenses on my account before her checks arrived.

    • says

      another good cause for reducing paper check is added security. Online payments can not be altered or misplaced. Many people have the misconception that online transactions is unsafe, but I do feel its opposite being a technologist.

  7. Nicky says

    I’m a bartender, and in my state people in the service industry are paid less than minimum wage. Tips are our main source of income, not a bonus. If the service is good, please don’t advise against generous tips. I see far too many people who wrack up large bills, tell us we’ve done a great job and they had so much fun, who then leave abysmal tips. If you cannot afford the good service, you should not go out to eat or drink.
    If you want to save money, find a good happy hour or ask about the specials. But don’t skimp on a tip simply to save money.

    • says

      I am sure people who can afford to pay tip shall do so irrespective of they’d read it or not. Good service should get paid back in cash n kind. I am advising against putting up unnecessary high amount of tip on the table.

  8. Ashley says

    I had a few exceptions I wanted to point out, both as a Canadian and someone that owns rental property. I realise this list is US based, but there are a few things that apply to both countries…

    Using car for short distance travel – Unfortunately, with a physical disability, this is necessary.

    Hiring tax experts when you can self file for free – The average person does not need to do this, but if you have a complicated tax situation (I own rental property in the US, for example), it’s considered extremely risky NOT to have a tax specialist look over this sort of paperwork.

    Paying for text messaging plan – Canadian providers suck, I need to be able to text the US and the cheapest way is to add a US messaging plan to my cell phone.

    Having home phone when everyone at home uses cell phone – My cell phone plan does not offer long distance rates to the US, which I need.

    Not looking for cheaper car insurance – Canadians do not have this luxury. This is government run where I live.

    Paying fees for banking privileges – My work requires me to bank with a specific institution for tax purposes (family company). I use fee-free banking for everything except my paycheque.

    Not using chargeable batteries – these are a money loser in some ways. If you won’t replace the battery very often, if at all (a very seldomly used item), non-rechargeables win out in terms of cost.

    Paying for guided tour – in foreign countries where you do not speak the language, this can be an excellent way to get discounted access to hotels, museums and such (travelling with a tour group, IF you are smart, brings group discounts).

    • says

      I was reading the list and nodding my head in agreement. Yes there are exceptions to every rule, didn’t I mention that in the article? Thanks for well thought comment Ashley.

  9. Carole says

    I think if one is frugal by nature then there is pleasure in doing the frugal thing, and it is not thought of as deprivation. I like to read lists like these to see if I can learn from them. Being frugal is a “hobby” for me.

    • says

      Carole I think I can resonate with you. I was raised in an atmosphere where wasting was heinous crime. Now I have plenty but, still I can’t just wash-off with the old habits.

  10. says

    Great information! I have not seen many people talk about how to loose money as that is more important than learning how to make money! You should add one more item to the list “Day trading Unsupervised” as 95% of day traders loose money. It is worthwhile learning how to trade before jumping in.

    I am going to share this article with my twitter readers!

    • says

      Thanks Andy for recognizing the value proposition. Yes I shamelessly agree that I day traded in the past and lost money. It was a good lesson to learn without losing much of it.

  11. Joseph Hogue says

    A good list, though some are kind of arbitrary and others redundant. I think a lot of people get hung up on saving money but then pay no attention to where they lose and waste money.

Leave a Reply