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When asked about an American, most foreigners come up with a not-so-flattering picture. They depict Americans as rude, materialistic, and wasteful that belong to a highly consumerist society.
We as consumers have wasteful money habits and trash our precious dollars in more ways than one. For instance, bank fees, sinful indulgences and a host of other minor spending behaviors that shed a poor light on our society as far as financial wisdom is concerned.
Although we have a right to protest these statements, there’s a lesson to be learned. That is to make smart use of our dollars.
To make some subtle changes in my and your lifestyle and to reduce the number of dollars that goes in the trash. Here are some household items where we can try to cut back on.
9 Silliest Ways Your Dollars Go In The Trash
High credit card interest
In 2015, the average credit card debt carried by the U.S household was $15,310 and $132,086 in total debt. According to nerdwallet.com, a prominent financial website, around $712 billion credit card balance is owed by the U.S consumer as a whole.
Surprisingly, almost 39% of the people with credit card debt require financial help to pay for their basic expenses like education for their children, medical treatment costs, and unemployment.
If you owe an outstanding balance, then it’s worth accessing your credit card usage. Once, you’ve assessed your financial health and have taken stock of your monthly spending habits, you’ll be able to identify the signs of financial disaster.
Useful unclaimed tax refunds
As per H&R Block, a tax company, around $1 billion worth of collective tax refund is left unclaimed by almost 56 million taxpayers. On average, a taxpayer leaves behind $460 worth of tax refund dollars.
Lucrative unclaimed assets
A lot of people have multiple sources of income, but they ignore those and leave them unclaimed due to carelessness. For example, assets of value that can be claimed are stocks, checks, insurance payments, checking accounts, certificates of deposits, and any other items of value.
Precious food waste
Each year, a whopping $165 billion worth of food (in the form of snacks and meals) is wasted by the people, according to the National Resources Defense Council. That amount comes down to $529 per person per year.
Toxic health habits
Due to the high cost of medical treatment, many have broken their banks and had to file bankruptcy. Now, as per the latest data, Americans spend around $2.8 billion on candy just for the Halloween celebrations and another $117 billion or so are spent on fast food consumption. Add to that, almost half of the US people drink soda daily.
Food items like soda (mostly sweetened carbonated drinks loaded with caffeine) and candy lower the quality of health and increase the risk of several lifestyle diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and so on. These diseases put a big hole on an average American’s wallet.
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An average American loses around $400 a year to gambling. Another study suggests that 27.1% of all gamblers who’ve reportedly spent more than 5% of their monthly gross household income.
They have also reported experiencing severe financial setbacks, high outstanding loan balances, guilt, and other emotional disturbances.
To get a glimpse of how booming gambling businesses are, casinos across the country have accrued a neat revenue of $125 billion in 2010.
Binge alcohol consumption
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that an average American consumer devotes almost 1% of his total expenditures to alcohol, or simply put, $1 out of every $100 goes for booze.
Interestingly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also clarifies that people may not be drinking too much alcohol but they are made to pay up more. From 1982 to 2011, alcohol prices rose by 79% (rate of inflation-adjusted) in restaurants and bars.
Petty ATM fees
To withdraw cash, ATMs of bank’s other one’s own can be avoided. But, you’ll have to find out the average cost of the facility.
As of now, there isn’t a proper metric to track and count the dollars. However, in 2011, the average fees paid by the consumers for using out-of-network ATM was $3.81. That amounted to $7 billion in 2010.
Bad energy consumption
According to Business Insider, people trash almost $443 billion in terms of energy waste. Such an estimation was based on annual home energy expenses.
Fortunately, government-sponsored Energy Star opines that consumers can cut down their energy costs by a third, provided they use recommended appliances and equipment and follow the mentioned guidelines.
Silliest Ways Your Dollars Go In The Trash
Thank you, Andy, for this great eye-opening article on needless and wasteful spending!! Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.
Author Bio: Andy Masaki is a blogger at Penny Less Dad and a financial writer associated with the Oak View Law Group. He is a debt expert and a member of several online forums where he shares his advice as well as tips to lead a financially independent life. Follow him on Twitter & Facebook.