Photo: Pierre LaScott
The shopping mall isn’t the only place where consumers blow cash on pointless purchases.”We’re likely to spend money on something we don’t need if we get what we think is a good deal and assume the item might be handy at some point,” says Danielle Lescure, a professional organiser.
Stumped on whether it’s worth the cash? Ask yourself two questions:
-Does it serve a real purpose?
-Do I have somewhere to keep it?
With the items on our list, your answers had better be NO.
With the advent of Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, video game shortcuts, Apple TV, and just about every major TV network posting shows online, there's hardly a reason to splurge on a fancy DVR system or even basic cable--so long as you're willing to be patient.
Most shows are added at least 24-hours after airing and some networks won't give them up until eight days.
Banks clearly love to slap you with fees at the drop of a hat, but that doesn't mean you've got to put up with it.
'If you travel abroad often, make sure you use credit cards without foreign transaction fees, otherwise you'll be paying an extra 3% to 5% on all your purchases.'
Retailers push hard to sell you extended warranties -- and conveniently pump up their sales figures at the same time.
Don't do it, Schrage warns.
'The only instance I'd recommend a warranty is in the case of a laptop. Otherwise, the warranties themselves can often cost as much as simply buying a used or new replacement for your item, or repairing it,' he added.
The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development recommends spending less than one-third of your income on housing.
Yes, it is still possible to function in society without a smartphone in the palm of your hand, Gregg says.
'We have seen people making less than $1,000/month who are spending over $100 of that monthly on a cell phone,' he says. 'Get an affordable plan and avoid the bells and whistles phones that can be used to upsell you to a higher data plan.'
Bonus tip: Cut your landline at home if you never use it and put the extra cash into a fancy mobile phone, if you must.
Nearly all retailers offer some sort of option that gets your purchases to your doorstep without additional fees.
Rockstars like Zappos and L.L. Bean are among the rarest breed of businesses offering free shipping on every single purchase, says NerdWallet CEO Tim Chen. But most companies will demand a minimum purchase.
To help track down deals on shipping, use Freeshipping.org. The site stores information on expiration dates, tells you much to spend to qualify, and lets you search by store name or product.
Environmental designer Pablo Solomon says picking up knockoff prints and other art is a great way to blow cash for no good reason.
'Nothing sends me through the roof like the art sold on cruise ships and at resorts,' Solomon says. '(They're) basically glorified posters being sold as originals.'
The best way to score deals on art is to track up and comers, he says. You can nab their art while they're starving and desperate and laugh your way to the bank after they've made it big.
You're only hurting yourself (and your wallet) if you're feeding yourself out of the bodega around the corner from your home or office.
'I am shocked at how many people live paycheck-to-paycheck and yet routinely spend $10 per day on fast food and convenience store food,' Gregg says.
If you're looking for an alternative to brown-bagging it, these 15 simple bento box lunch ideas are sure to give you some inspiration.
Buying overpriced insurance for things like accidental death and diseases is an easy way to blow your funds.
'I knew someone who only had accidental life insurance, which didn't help much when he died of a disease,' says Sally Herigstad, a certified public accountant and Creditcard.com columnist.'
'Instead of buying piecemeal insurance policies, get good term life insurance and disability insurance,' she says.
Personal finance expert Dani Johnson suggests you think twice before rushing out to buy Dad another tie this Christmas.
'You should make a pact with your friends and family to give back instead,' Johnson says. 'Pool a percentage of money you were going to spend on gifts and give a secret blessing to somebody who is truly in need.'
Before you co-sign a loan for a friend on something like a used car or a boat, think about the financial risks involved, says Bob Williams, vice president of Delta Trust Investments, Inc.
'If your friend gets into financial problems or loses his job, you're responsible for the loan,' he says. 'It's not worth the risk.'
If you're unable to make payments in your pal's place, you can bet it will drag your credit score down to the pits.
Weight loss pills and supplements marketed as miracles for overweight couch potatoes are nothing but traps.
'Not only are there enough pills and potions that you could start a new one each week, but the negative effects on your health outweighs the money you will waste,' says nutritionist Rania Batayneh.
Often, the 'testimonials' in infomercials or online are false and the models sometimes never had a weight problem to begin with.
'This is a billion dollar industry and the truth is that a lean body does not come in a pill,' Batayneh says.