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11 Ways You Didn't Realize You Were Throwing Money Away

Those little expenses add up faster than you think. Dimes here, dimes there -- you might not notice it, but that small change can really add up. Just like Box Tops for Education! Each one's worth ten cents, and together they can add up to make a big, big difference for your child's school.

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1. Adding vanilla to your cup of coffee.

Ahh, morning coffee — the great equalizer. Let's do some quick math:

-Say you get a cup of joe every morning at about $3 a pop (substitute "joe" for "latte" and "$3" for "$5" if you're ~fancy~).

-But because coffee is, you know, incredibly bitter, you add a few pumps of sweet, sweet vanilla syrup at around $0.75.

-Multiply that across a five-day work week over the course of the year, and you've spent roughly $195 on sweetening your morning cuppa.

-Maybe realize you like the "vanilla" more than the "coffee" and switch to tea. Just a suggestion.

2. Or adding guac to your burrito.

OK, first things first: Guac is kind of delicious.

Wait, no, scratch that: Guac is obviously delicious. But like most avocado-related expenses, it can add up faster than you can say "Only three dollars extra? Why not?" We're not saying cut guacamole out of your life entirely — we're not monsters — but if you're already adding avocado to your subs, salads, and smoothies, it never hurts to reassess just how much that extra guac can really end up costing. Your wallet will thank you.

3. Hitting the food delivery minimum.

Ordering out is kind of the best. It makes you feel like Batman (in the sense that your food delivery friends are a bunch of attentive Alfreds) and you don't even have to put on pants to eat a gourmet meal. All that said, the dangers of food delivery minimums are a very real trap, and before you know it, you might find yourself adding $7 in unwanted egg rolls just so you can eat that otherwise affordable chicken and broccoli platter in an hour or less.

4. Buying all those lotto scratchers that never let you win.

It's a pretty obvious assumption that the odds probably aren't on your side when it comes to lotto scratchers. While the feeling of winning $10 on a $1 scratcher feels all kinds of great, the buzz is almost always killed when you've already spent $20 to get there. All that said, if you ever find yourself deep in the thrill of lotto scratcher fever, just defer to the immortal words of Kenny Rogers: "Know when to fold 'em."

5. Or all those extra lives in that phone game you're addicted to.

So, spoiler alert: You know that phone game you're not-so-secretly addicted to? Those things are free for a reason. If you count up the average expenditures of the common Candy Crush enthusiast, you might be staggered at just how much one unassumingly spends on those "free" phone games. We'll admit — making it past level 181 feels all kinds of good, but so does buying food with the money you didn't spend on level 181.

6. Racking up late fees with those overdue library books.

Libraries are the best. For lack of a better description, they're pretty much the original Netflix, but with fewer Sharknados and a whole lot more mind-blowing prose. Which is all the more reason to keep an eye on your overdue books! Treasuring that dog-eared edition of 50 Shades of Grey is fine and all — as long as you're aware of just how much libraries are owed every year because of forgetful borrowers.

7. Stopping for snacks at the vending machine.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with stopping off for a snack now and then, and hey, what's more appealing than a vending machine? It's like a slot machine you always win, and when you win you get candy! But keep an eye on just how often you go for that bag of snacks every time hunger strikes — not only will you have a few more dimes to drop on dinner, but you'll probably feel a bit healthier for it.

8. Upgrading your fast-food dinner.

Which brings us to fast food, and just how easy it is to always make that single burger a double, and, hey, while you're at it, a small fry is only $0.50 extra! Fast-food joints can be equated to the auto-shop of the restaurant industry: They're always trying to upsell you on stuff you maybe, sort of, might not really need.

9. Or adding extra toppings on your ice cream.

Ice cream cafes and froyo shops are a vital part of any happy human being (the proven formula looks something like: bad day + ice cream = good day, actually), but it's all too easy to stack your bowl sky-high when fixing up a few scoops for dessert. Decide just what you want before you pile it up, and maybe save those cookie dough chunks (and that pie crust, and those Peanut M&Ms...) for next time.

10. Paying for parking when there's a free spot a block away.

Needless to say, there's a big, big reason the parking industry makes more money than a Hollywood blockbuster. Free parking isn't always an option, and oftentimes ponying up for a parking meter's the only option, but give the block one more once-over before you're stuck feeding the meter.

11. Springing for that extra-large soda you know you won't finish.

Christina Lu / Faye Kahn / BuzzFeed

Real talk: Have you ever actually finished a Big Gulp? It seems silly to go with a small when a medium's only a quarter more — and, on that subject, a large is just another dime or two — but trust your gut! Literally, trust how much free space you've got in your gut before you end up dropping several dollars every week in un-drunk soda pop.

You know what else adds up? Box Tops!

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Each one is worth 10 cents, so save ‘em up! Don’t trash those dimes in disguise.