Common Ways Americans Waste Money

In many cases, the old caveat, Let the buyer beware, can be very worthwhile advice. There can indeed be many times when an individual will get what he or she pays for. But at the same time, quality does not always necessarily equate to spending more money, and in fact, Americans in particular squander away huge sums of cash every day. Listed below are some of the most common ways this is done:

Buying lottery tickets

Yes, in theory, somebody has to win, and you have to play in order to win. But with the mathematical odds being so far against you, buying lottery tickets is akin to taking a few hard-earned dollars that would be far better spent on something productive and setting them afire.

Gambling in casinos

Like lottery tickets, the odds of walking out of a casino with more money than what you entered with are astronomical. Those who run such places know this. Otherwise, they would go out of business.

Over-the-counter medications

Generic equivalents to popular over-the counter remedies for anything ranging from pain relief to suppressing that nasty cough will generally carry a price tag that can be as little as half the cost of that name-brand product. Why pay $5.50 for a bottle of Tylenol caplets when Wal Mart’s generic brand will have the very same ingredients for less than $3.00?

Designer clothing, shoes

Clothes are clothes. Shoes are shoes. Those who insist that wearing items with the latest designer’s imprint is the only way to be cool; especially in the case of children that will grow out of them in a few months, are throwing hard-earned money away. Just as with generic medications, there are plenty of clothing items that not only look just as fashionable, but are also just as durable. Moreover, they will command far lower prices.

Brand new cars

This is a bit tricky, but think about it: While somebody has to initially buy a new car in order for it to become used, it makes far more financial sense to buy a car 2-3 years old. Thousands of dollars are saved over the span of ownership in the form of payments and insurance. If everybody waited until models accumulated a few miles on the odometer and aged a couple of model years, automakers would suffer at first. But eventually, prices of new cars would also come down! This wouldn’t detract from the fact that used cars would still be a better deal, but sales of new cars would nevertheless improve if those window stickers suddenly plummeted $5000-$10,000, wouldn’t they?

Large trucks and SUVs

Why did heavy-duty pickup trucks become so trendy here, anyway? Unless an individual has an occupation that requires frequently transporting large and/or heavy items, such vehicles are not a necessity. A car will get you from Point A to point B at far less cost. Likewise, sport utility vehicles can haul lots of people and cargo, but station wagons and crossover vehicles perform the same tasks, are cheaper to maintain, and burn less fuel.


In regard to transportation, perhaps the biggest money-wasters are those gigantic, 50-ft motorhomes. Because they are usually priced higher than most houses, the terms of financing exceed their useful mechanical life. Add a not-so-great fuel economy rating of about 5 miles per gallon of expensive diesel fuel to the mix, and you’d have to stay many, many nights at the world’s most expensive hotels before even coming close to spending what would be required to maintain one of these beasts.

Ignoring the benefits of AARP membership

Once Americans reach their 50th birthday, they could potentially be throwing away hundreds of dollars each year by not taking advantage of AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) membership. For about $16.00 a year, an AARP card entitles the holder to huge discounts on hotel/motel rooms, many different types of insurance, eyewear, and prescription drugs.

These are just a few of the ways Americans waste money. Certainly, the relative few fortunate enough to have acquired great wealth have the ability to enjoy the finer things in life whenever the whim strikes. On the other hand, the Average Joe or Josephine struggling with staying on top of the bills won‘t have this luxury.

Since most people not only in America but throughout the world will fall into the latter of these categories, it becomes quite wise to acquire an awareness of just how that precious commodity known as money can carelessly and easily be thrown away. Simply giving some thought to the items listed above will likely inspire one to think of many other ways his or her money is wastefully spent.