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Ten Ways to Waste Your Hard-Earned Money

  • Mary Hunt <i>The Cheapskate Monthly</i>
  • 2005 2 Feb
  • COMMENTS
Ten Ways to Waste Your Hard-Earned Money

Between all the late night infomercials promising instant wealth and zillions of email messages guaranteeing thousands a week for doing almost nothing, there's no shortage of bogus get-rich-quick schemes. And there's a lot of good information on how to spend wisely, too. But that leaves a serious gap in the information spectrum for people who prefer to waste money. After all, if you're going to waste money you really need to know how to do it deliberately.

Buy from a TV informercial with a credit card. This tactic requires more than a passing whimsy such as, "Gee, that's really cool how you can pick up a thin dime, a boiled egg and whip the potatoes with a single 6-in-1 tool." The key here is that you allow yourself to really feel that sense of urgency that you cannot live another day without at least one of these "miracle kitchen tools." Buying with a credit card is extremely important otherwise you might feel like you've actually paid for something.

Lease a car. In the past years the mother of all money wasters -- leasing a new car -- has fallen from favor in light of the zero-interest car loans. But leasing is making a comeback, and oh, aren't we grateful for that! Once again car dealers are making it so convenient for you to deliberately throw away money on what comes down to a three -- or even a four -- year car rental. And if you play your cards right at the end of the lease you have nothing! You return the car along with a big fat check to cover excessive mileage and every ding, nick and smudge. Without a car to trade in or cash for a down payment you're back riding the bus.

Eat out excessively. Work on eating out more than three times a week and you will be on your way to achieving serious money wasting. It is so easy. Just master phrases like, "I'm just too tired to cook," or "Why don't I pick up something on the way home?" to get your numbers up.

Pay credit card interest. A universally accepted way to waste money is to purchase everything you need or desire on a credit card, then only pay the minimum monthly amount required by the card company. This ideal money waster allows you to literally pay for things twice, even three times in the course of time.

Take cash advances. Think of this money waster as credit card interest on steroids. Not only is your cash advance subject to an excessively higher interest rate than putting a purchase on that credit card, you get to start paying the interest the moment you take the advance. There is no grace period! And if that is not purposeful enough, you get to add a cash advance fee to the schedule making the effective interest rate well over 100 percent. Imagine that.

Carry a lot of cash. More than $100 is advisable because that is the point at which money begins to burn a hole in your pocket. You will feel compelled to spend it on just about anything. And don't forget to enjoy the feeling of having a lot of money in your pocket because at the rate you're going you won't have it for long.

Buy a used car. Always buy your car from a man who speaks with a Southern drawl, who wears a white belt and white shoes. You can always count on throwing away your money when dealing with such a shady individual. Always compare the mileage of the car with its condition. The more of a discrepancy between the mileage and the condition the more money you will waste. Such a car shows less than 20,000 miles on its odometer with all the rubber worn off its brake pedal, multiple dents, worn upholstery and inspection stickers from at least 10 states on its windows is a sure buy. This car probably has more mileage on it than a round-trip to Australia (or America for my Aussie readers). But you'll pay a premium price for the claim of low miles, then face enormous repair bills from the moment you drive it off the lot until it meets its final reward in a junkyard (sometimes as quickly as before the ink dries on the title transfer form).

Buy extended warranties. Possibly the most expensive "insurance" on the face of the earth, extended warranties are an excellent way to flush money down the toilet. Whoosh! The lovely thing about extended warranties is they cover the period of time the appliance has the least likelihood of breaking down. If it's going to fail, statistics say that will happen during the first 90 days -- the time already covered by the manufacturer's warranty. So paying for coverage for the period beyond that and up to five years is almost always a colossal waste of money.

Stick to brand names. Always buy brand name goods as opposed to generic if you are serious about wasting money. Frequently the only differences between a brand name item and the cheaper generic product are the packages they come in and the size of their advertising budgets. When you insist on buying a brand name you are telling the company you like the artwork, quality of printing, the color, and the type of container the product comes in, and you love their snappy television and magazine commercials. This will insure the brand name company will continue to strive to make their packages even more attractive, and continue to increase their advertising budget.

Pay full price. For goodness sake, if you are serious about wasting money make sure you pay only full price for your groceries (clothes, gifts and things for house, too). Do not fallow yourself to fall into the trap of reading the week's sales ad or clipping coupons that match what's on sale this week. Don't shop with a list and always shop when you are hungry. Luxuriate in feelings of entitlement and you'll fill up that grocery cart, your house, your garage -- your life! -- in no time flat.

What a waste!


© 2005 The Cheapskate Monthly. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

 "The Cheapskate Monthly" was founded in 1992 by Mary Hunt.  What began as a newsletter to encourage and empower people to break free from the bondage of consumer debt has grown into a huge community of ordinary people who have achieved remarkable success in their quest to effectively manage their money and stay out of debt.  Today, "The Cheapskate Monthly" is read by close to 100,000 Cheapskates.  Click here to subscribe.