The lesson of "waste not-want not" is apparently being lost on many people these days. That's according to the financial experts at the Motley Fool, who have released a list of the top ways Americans blow their money. Some of them are pretty obvious: daily coffee trips, gambling or buying lottery tickets, unused gym memberships, expensive extended warranties. But others were less obvious, like buying designer clothes for babies or paying extra for "speedy shipping" on shopping websites.
Houston CPA and financial planner Michael Parmet has seen many of the items on the list firsthand, and he's got a few of his own as well. One of the biggest ones he sees is timely right now--taxes. "This time of year I tend to see a lot of clients that have done their own tax returns for years, and they often rush toward the April 15 deadline, and they don't take all of their own deductions," Parmet tells KTRH. Another wasteful spending habit he and Motley Fool agree on--bank fees. "A lot of people are still going to the ATM late on a Friday night because they've run out of cash, they're paying for that ATM fee," says Parmet. "These same people tend to also have an overdraft fee because they've taken too much money out of their account."
The top wasteful item on the Motley Fool list is wasted home energy consumption, which costs billions of dollars every year nationwide in higher power bills. Parmet adds some other tips based on his experience, starting with advice for homeowners who may be paying too much. "They have a mortgage which they've had for 20 years, and they're paying a seven or eight percent rate from many years ago, and right now rates are in the 3-4 percent range," he says. "They're just letting money fly out the window on that." Finally, Parmet shares his biggest wasteful spending pet peeve: paying for storage. "People who use storage are usually storing things they're never going to use again," he says. "Just throw it away, donate it to charity, get a tax deduction."