April Fool’s jokes may be good for a laugh, but not when it comes to your money.
GasBuddy.com’s senior consumer analyst, Vera Gibbons, says there are foolish things we do with our hard-earned cash every day that wind up costing us dearly.
Money down the tank
Think you’re wasting time sitting in traffic on your way to work? Well, you’re also wasting money. Gibbons says we spend $1,200 a year sitting in traffic by wasting fuel.
“Consider alternative ways of getting around,” Vera says, “like public transportation, carpooling, even riding your bike.”
And Gibbons says stop feeding your car the expensive stuff, “It’s money down the drain.” A GasBuddy.com survey found Americans waste billions each year on filling up their gas tanks with more expensive medium and premium grade gasoline, which doesn’t necessarily enhance your car’s performance or gas mileage.
Go credit card shopping
Another foolish mistake we make is hanging on to the same credit card for years, even decades. Gibbons says now is a great time to shop around for a new card.
“This is a very competitive environment. You’re seeing extra long zero-percent introductory offers, promotional bonus offers, and very good cash back rewards.”
Money for millennials
As much as you may love your children, Gibbons warns that supporting them well into their adult years could mean forfeiting your own retirement.
“Boomer parents are spending about $11,000 a year supporting their millennial adult children,” she says, and that’s forcing some parents to hold off on retirement.
Hold the lattes
Gibbons says it’s the smaller spending that can creep up on you and do some serious damage to your finances.
Gibbons quotes the “latte effect” to illustrate her point. If you made your own café latte instead of buying one for $3 every day, after 20 years you would have $21,900—that’s not even accounting for any interest you could earn if you put that money in an interest-bearing account. Now that’s a lot of lattes.