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31 Hidden Ways You’re Bleeding Money Every Month

Gabrielle Olya
·10 min read
mammuth / Getty Images/iStockphoto
mammuth / Getty Images/iStockphoto

There are some expenses you plan for every month — your rent or mortgage, utilities, your cellphone bill, etc. — but there are also a lot of hidden expenses you’re paying for regularly that you might not be aware of. These little costs could quickly add up, whittling away at your hard-earned paycheck.

Uncover the hidden ways you’re losing money every month, so you can start making moves to stop the bleeding.

Last updated: Jan. 20, 2021

Danielle Cerullo / Unsplash
Danielle Cerullo / Unsplash

Keeping a Gym Membership or At-Home Workout Subscription You Never Use

If you have a gym membership, live in an area where gyms are open and actually go, great, but if you’re going once or twice a month — or never — it’s not worth the cost. The same goes for at-home workout subscriptions that you may have signed up for at the beginning of the pandemic but no longer utilize. If you put your membership on autopay, you might not realize that you’ve been paying monthly for a resource you never use.

katleho Seisa / Getty Images
katleho Seisa / Getty Images

Paying High Interest Rates on Your Credit Card Debt

Unfortunately, you can’t wave a magic wand and make your credit card debt go away, but you might not have to be paying such a high interest rate on it. Consider consolidating your high-interest debt.

With Discover® Personal Loans, you could get a fixed rate of 6.99% to 24.99% on a loan. By locking in a potentially lower rate, you could save hundreds or thousands on interest. Along with that, Discover offers flexible repayment terms, so you can keep your set regular monthly payments manageable depending on your needs.

©iStock.com / iStock.com
©iStock.com / iStock.com

Paying Checking Account Fees

Some banks charge monthly fees or service charges for their checking accounts. Those fees could end up costing you over $100 a year — and you probably don’t even realize you’re being charged for them. Instead of paying these fees, switch to a free checking account.

FG Trade / Getty Images
FG Trade / Getty Images

Not Making Automatic Contributions to Your Savings

A portion of your paycheck should be dedicated to your savings, but if it all automatically goes to your checking account, you’re likely spending it all. Have a portion of your paycheck automatically deposited into your savings account so you’re forced to spend less.

Find Out: How To Rebound From a Bad Financial Year

©Unsplash / Unsplash
©Unsplash / Unsplash

Paying Premium Prices for Coffee

It might not seem like much, but spending $3 — or more — a day on coffee at your favorite corner coffee shop really adds up over time. That amounts to roughly $90 a month or $1,095 a year. You’re better off making your own coffee at home.

©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com
©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com

Throwing Food Away

You might not think about it, but when you throw food away — whether you purchased it at a restaurant or at a grocery store — you are throwing money away. A 2012 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that the average American family of four ends up throwing away an equivalent of up to $2,275 in food every year, or about $190 every month.

Kameleon007 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Kameleon007 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Keeping Unused Appliances Plugged In

Any appliance that’s plugged in is using energy, even when it’s turned off. A 2015 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that “idle load electricity” accounts for 23% of power consumption in the average household — and about 25% of your electricity bill. Cut down on these hidden costs by unplugging appliances when not in use.

kikovic / Shutterstock.com
kikovic / Shutterstock.com

Ordering Dessert

We’ve all been there — the server comes over at the end of your meal and asks if you want to take a look at the dessert menu. Even though you’re full, you can’t resist the urge and end up ordering another course of food. While it’s perfectly OK to order dessert from time to time, make sure you actually want it — otherwise, you’re just wasting money when you don’t need to be.

fizkes / Shutterstock.com
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

Keeping Your Home Too Cold (or Too Warm) When You're Not There

Leaving your air conditioning or heat blasting when you’re not home is a waste of money. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save up to 10% a year on heating and cooling costs by turning your thermostat back 7-10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours a day. This might be harder to do if you’re working from home, but consider utilizing open windows and ceiling fans when possible to cut down on cooling costs.

LaylaBird / Getty Images
LaylaBird / Getty Images

Not Getting Cash Back or Rewards With Your Credit Card

If you use credit cards for some of your purchases, you could be overpaying for almost everything. If you use a rewards or cash back card instead, it could help make the things you buy cost less or help you save up for the rewards you want.

Find Out More: Tips To Keep Your Finances in Order Without Sacrificing What You Want

anandaBGD / Getty Images
anandaBGD / Getty Images

Paying ATM Fees

Sometimes when you need cash, you have no choice but to use an out-of-network ATM. But if you make it a habit, you’re paying fees you definitely don’t need to be. Stick to making withdrawals at your own bank’s ATMs or switch to a bank that reimburses you for out-of-network ATM withdrawals.

South_agency / Getty Images
South_agency / Getty Images

Paying Premium Prices for Alcohol

Ordering a drink or a bottle of wine with dinner might be your norm, but you’re paying way more than you should be for that adult beverage. Restaurants mark up wine as much as 400%, Business Insider reported.

LeoPatrizi / Getty Images/iStockphoto
LeoPatrizi / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Ordering Out for Lunch Multiple Times a Week

It’s wasteful to buy lunch every day of the week. Try meal prepping your own lunch at least three times a week to save big for the month.

shapecharge / Getty Images/iStockphoto
shapecharge / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Buying Brand-Name Items

From groceries to medications, many generic items are equivalent in every way to the brand-name item — but they are significantly cheaper. If you’re only buying brand-name goods, you’re spending more than you need to be.

©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com
©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com

Living In a Drafty Home

Windows and doors that allow air to escape can add to your electricity bill. Caulking and weatherstripping doors and windows that leak air can cut down on your heating and cooling costs.

Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com
Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

Paying Full Price for Almost Anything

It’s advisable not to buy something just because it’s on sale, but you also should try not to buy anything that isn’t on sale — or that you don’t have a coupon or cash-back offer for. With so many ways to save on everything from clothes to groceries, you should be able to get a discount on nearly every purchase.

There are obviously some expenses you might not be able to get discounts on like emergency repairs. However, if you use a credit card for something pricey like that, you should consider using a personal loan instead or consolidating that credit card debt with a personal loan. Through Discover® Personal Loans, you can choose from flexible repayment terms to meet your needs. You may also receive a lower interest rate, which will help you save money on interest in the long run.

monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto
monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Missing Out on Your Employer Match

Even if you already have no- or low-fee funds in your investment account, there’s another way you could be losing money from your retirement account — missing out on your employer match. If your employer offers a matching contribution and you are not contributing at least the maximum matched amount, you are throwing away free money every paycheck.

Kyryl Gorlov / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Kyryl Gorlov / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Buying Bottled Water

Bottled water is convenient — but it’s also wasteful, and a waste of your money. Instead of spending money on bottled water every month, make a one-time investment in a filter pitcher and a reusable bottle that you can take with you on the go.

Helpful: 19 Ways To Tackle Your Budget and Manage Your Debt

Niloo / Shutterstock.com
Niloo / Shutterstock.com

Paying Full Price for Greeting Cards

There’s always something to celebrate, whether it’s a friend’s birthday, baby shower, wedding or your own anniversary. But every time you pay full price for a greeting card, you’re wasting money. Take a trip to the dollar store and purchase a bunch of cards for every occasion in advance, and never waste your money on full-priced greeting cards again. After all, most of them immediately end up in the trash anyway.

©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com
©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com

Buying Prepped Foods You Could Easily Prep Yourself

Premade baby food and precut veggies are both convenient but are easy enough to prep yourself. Don’t pay extra at the grocery store when you don’t need to.

svetikd / Getty Images
svetikd / Getty Images

Having Everything Delivered

There are some instances when having things delivered is more of a necessity than a luxury — say, when we’re in the middle of a global pandemic — but in other cases, it really is a waste of your money. Delivery fees for your dinner, clothes and other items can really add to your monthly expenses, even if they’re only a couple of dollars each time.

designer491 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
designer491 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Paying Retirement Account Fees

You might be paying fees on mutual and exchange-traded funds that you’re unaware of, and these fees can take a big bite out of your potential investment returns. Look out for high expense ratios, mutual fund transaction fees, commission fees and administrative fees.

Milan  Markovic / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Milan Markovic / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Subscribing To Cable Channels You Don't Watch

Your cable bill can be a major monthly expense. If you’re not ready to fully cut the cord, you should at least make sure you’re using all the services you pay for. If there’s a channel package you’re not watching, cancel it. If you’re paying for an extra box in a room you never use, get rid of it. If you pay a monthly fee to rent a modem from your cable company, consider buying your own, as it will pay itself off over time.

itsovetnik / Shutterstock.com
itsovetnik / Shutterstock.com

Shopping Online Without Money-Saving Plugins

There are many app extensions that help you to save money when you online shop, and if you’re not using them, you’re spending too much money. Some of the more popular extensions include Honey, which scans the internet for applicable promo codes and automatically applies them at checkout, and Rakuten, which gives you cash back on purchases on a number of retail sites.

domoyega / Getty Images
domoyega / Getty Images

Shopping Without a List

If you’re making a run to the grocery store you should always shop with a list and stick to it. Wandering up and down the aisles with no set list of things to buy leaves you vulnerable to making impulse purchases.

Martin Dimitrov / Getty Images
Martin Dimitrov / Getty Images

Shopping for Seasonal or Holiday Items In-Season

Many stores put their displays of seasonal goods up front where they’re hard to resist — but don’t fall into this money pit. Wait until the end of the season or after the holiday when the items are heavily discounted to stock up for next year.

©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com
©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com

Buying Snacks at the Gas Station

As tempting as it is to pop into the convenience store when pumping gas, these snack runs can add to the money you’re already spending on gas every month.

Adene Sanchez / Getty Images
Adene Sanchez / Getty Images

Making In-App Purchases

When you’re in the heat of the moment playing a mobile game, you probably make in-app purchases without even thinking about it twice. But these little charges can add up, especially if you play regularly.

oatzpenz studio / Shutterstock.com
oatzpenz studio / Shutterstock.com

Driving Around With Improperly Inflated Tires

Having improperly inflated tires can be adding to your monthly spending at the pump. You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3% by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

stock_colors / Getty Images/iStockphoto
stock_colors / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Buying Things Just Because They Are On Sale

It’s true that when you buy something on sale or with a coupon you’re saving money on the original price, but if you’re buying something because it’s on sale, you’re spending money you shouldn’t be. You’re just fooling yourself into thinking you’re getting a deal if it’s something you wouldn’t have bought normally.

eclipse_images / Getty Images
eclipse_images / Getty Images

Not Taking Advantage of Your Local Library

You can lower the amount you’re spending monthly on entertainment by taking advantage of the resources at your local library. You can rent books in a variety of formats — including e-books and audiobooks — and movies too, all for free.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 31 Hidden Ways You’re Bleeding Money Every Month