Want proof that people will waste money on just about anything you can imagine? Consider the following two words:
Yep, last year people bought 12.8 gallons of bottled water. Water! The stuff flows through municipal pipes and into homes across the country. It's available for free in schools, libraries, parks, athletic facilities and nearly every other public building.
It falls from the sky.
Yet Americans insist on practically purchasing it by the pallet.
Water is just one of the silly things Americans insist on buying – things that are cutting into their savings, forcing them into debt and causing unnecessary concern about their financial futures.
Here's a list of the seven silliest things you're wasting your money on and how you can stop it:
Do you pay to access your own money? Most Americans do. In fact, back in 2013 people doled out about $200 billion a year in fees in order to access or pay with cash.
If you're paying ATM fees, statement fees or overdraft fees, it's time to stop. Either stop using cash altogether (as many Americans have) or only work with institutions that don't charge you for accessing and using your own money.
2. Home Entertainment
If you're paying for Netflix, do you really need Amazon, Hulu, Roku and premium cable?
The same goes for HBO and Showtime.
Society has become addicted to redundancies. That's the bad news. The good news is that if you take a little time to think about what you use, you can come up with a list of things from which you can unplug. While each service provides different options, there may be some overlap.
3. Gym Memberships
Can you feel the burn? It's not your muscles getting stronger, it's your money going up in smoke.
Unless you use your gym at least five times a week, you're probably wasting your money –and statistically speaking, there is a good chance you are.
According to StatisticBrain.com, 67 percent of people never use their gym memberships, $39 of every membership is wasted due to underutilization and the health club industry revenues of more than $75 billion is being paid for by people whose finances could be in better shape.
Why pay a premium for two-day shipping when your purchase can arrive in five to seven days?
Plan a little better, be a little more patient, resist the urge to experience nearly instant gratification and you'll have more money to save, invest or spend.
5. Eating Out
If you've ever paid more than $2 for a cup of coffee, $20 for lunch or dropped $50 during Happy Hour, you're wasting money on eating out.
Don't believe it? Take a look at the difference between brewing and buying.
Brewing your coffee at home will cost you about $45 a year. Buying a $2 (and that's cheap) cup of coffee will cost you more than 10-times that.
Same goes for going out for lunch or a beer. Dine and drink in, and you'll save a lot of money.
Gambling is not investing. Your chances of winning are minuscule, you risk becoming addicted and even if you win big, there's a chance you'll wind up miserable.
Don't gamble. It's a waste of money.
7. Unwise Shopping Decisions
Free shipping! Buy one, get one half-off! Buy three, get one free!
All of these common marketing ploys are designed to get you to purchase things you don't need.
Ignore them and save your money for things you do need – like solid investments, whole life insurance and experiences for your family.
Don't be one of the millions of Americans who waste money on water.