Skip to Content
Online Banking Login Online Banking Login

The Top 10 Things Americans Waste Money On

Home Blog The Top 10 Things Americans Waste Money On

The Top 10 Things Americans Waste Money On

Managing your money is a great skill to learn at any age. We agree with financial guru, Dave Ramsey, who famously said, “Personal finance is only 20% head knowledge. It’s 80% behavior!” While creating a budget is a great first step, the next way to better manage your finances is to decrease surplus spending in order to save more for future plans such as retirement, vacation, or education. At Exchange Bank of Northeast Missouri we recommend examining the following expenses to see where you and your family could be saving some extra funds:


  1. An Unpacked Lunch($10/day) The first part of this solution is finding some affordable reusable containers to store and portion your lunches. Whether you’re using a specific meal prep plan, or simply packing dinner leftovers from the night before, this simple step could save you and your partner hundreds each month.
  2. Cable ($75/month) If you are willing to let go of your access to over 300 channels, you could be putting an extra chunk of cash in your savings each month. Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are great alternatives for cable and satellite, and other options such as SlingTV offer a more affordable way to view your must-see shows.
  3. Emergencies ($300+) Wouldn’t it be great to know you have a safety net anytime an unexpected expense comes your way? That is the reason behind setting up an emergency savings account. By saving up $1,000 or up to 6 months of living expenses, you can ensure that no matter what obstacle life throws at you, you’ll be prepared.
  4. Credit Card Interest (15%+ total balance.) Often times credit cards are used when emergency savings accounts aren’t in place. To help save money on past expenses, we recommend paying these debts down using the snowball method to help you avoid costly credit card interest.
  5. Coffee ($4/day) A great theory presented by David Bach, called the “Latte Factor,” showcases how simple periodic spending can pull down your savings. When you combine these spent funds with their lost potential value, you can truly see how much you miss out by drinking those semi-daily lattes.
  6. Dining Out ($20/day) According to the Simple Dollar, Americans typically eat out four to five meals each week. Depending on the type and style of restaurant, that could add up to nearly $10 per person, per meal. This adds up to an average monthly expense of $80-100. By eating more meals at home and stocking up on valuable pantry and freezer items, you and your family can make a big dent in your monthly food spending.
  7. In-store Upsells ($5+) There are countless tactics retailers use to trick you into buying more while you’re already shopping. Be aware of these tactics, and notice them as you shop, to help ensure you only purchase what you intended.  
  8. Transportation ($648/month) The US government currently values the cost of driving at approximately 54 cents per mile. Using this math, ($0.54) per mile x (60) miles a day x (5) days a week x (48) weeks a year = $7,776 for the cost of your 30-minute work commute. If you are able to carpool, take the bus, perhaps move closer to your place of employment, you could be saving thousands a year.
  9. Over-priced Groceries ($300/month) You’d be surprised how much overspending you could be doing by not taking advantage of your local discount grocer. At these less expensive grocery options you could be saving as much as 40 percent on your weekly grocery run, and that’s without taking advantage of sales or coupons!
  10. Gym Membership ($100/month) While a gym is a great and healthy entertainment option, you certainly don’t need a membership to stay fit. If you’re looking to simply add an element of exercise to your weekly routine, you can save time and money by investing in some free weights and other multi-use workout equipment.

Exchange Bank of Northeast Missouri

Member FDIC

Equal Housing Lender