Americans have by and large been seduced into a consumerist lifestyle, made accessible by the ease of credit. Even when the economy dips and households implement changes to cut back, there are still many common ways Americans waste money. According to 24/7 Wall St “Americans spend about 15% of their household incomes on things that they do not need to satisfy their vices or to keep themselves amused.”
As budgetary belts are tightened there are some expenses that have soared. One of the main areas in which spending has increased is money spent on pets. Perhaps as people aim to spend less on themselves they inadvertently increase spending in other areas, compensating for personal frugality by showing money on overly pampered pets. Spending in the sector has increased with a rise in luxury pet products, tempting owners to dress their pets in unnecessary clothing and indulge them in treats.
Eating out and frequenting fast food establishments is a way of life for a high proportion of Americans. Wasting money for the convenience of grabbing a quick unhealthy bite has become commonplace as Americans are often convinced it is time saving, as they try to juggle so many demands on their time. Shopping for food to prepare at home is indeed more time consuming than falling into the convenient habit of fast food. After all it saves valuable extra time for that other American pastime which wastes so much money, namely shopping at the mall, which has turned into a leisure pursuit in its own right.
Even the way many Americans spend their money wastes money. Reliance on credit cards where the carried balances accrue interest is inherently wasteful, as interest payments are an unnecessary expense which can be avoided by living within ones means. Items pounced on in the sales cost far more than their original price by the time the interest is paid.
Many are complacent in their monetary habits, accepting as the norm their willingness to pay fees to hold a bank account or to withdraw cash from an ATM. With a little time spent comparison shopping these unnecessary costs can be ditched by switching to fee free bank accounts that pay interest on balances, rather than paying the bank for the pleasure of holding an account.
Keeping up with the Jones’s has fallen out of fashion for many, yet one area that keeps many Americans entrapped in excess spending is the typical ceremony of gift giving. The often meaningless exchange of gifts which are unwanted can break a budget, with Christmas spending being a typical area which pushes many households into debt. There would likely be a convenient sigh of relief all round if families agreed to curtail wasteful spending in this area providing they don’t then spend all the money saved in further pampering of the pet.
Wasting money is a habit one can aim for when there is excess money in the budget to waste. However, until disposable income reaches the level where one can afford to indulge without paying the price it pays to consider areas where money is wasted and could be saved.