A Day of Waste

Have you ever thought about how much money people waste in a given day? Today, I tried to keep track of all of the waste that I witnessed and I was rather surprised, given our economy, how cavalierly people will still waste their financial resources. It made me think back to a time, about 15 years ago, when I was far less frugal, and I was pleased that I have come so far with my financial approach to my life. Indeed, I realized that rather than trying not to waste money, I am at a point in my financial life in which I can actually consistently find ways to spend less while enjoying more.

But back to my original question – have you ever thought about how much money people waste in a


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16 Responses to A Day of Waste

  1. RAJEEV TIPS says:

    Yes .. I totally agree that the biggest scope of saving lies in smallest things that we do in our laife.. saving has to be a way of life..
    few things we can do
    1. Always walk to your local bank or laundry rather than take car.
    2. Switch off lights when not reqd.
    3.Avoidning eating out too much.
    4. Arranging aprty at home rather than at a hotel..

  2. Annie Jones says:

    Great post! My only comment is about rolling coins. We have accounts at two different banks and neither of them will take rolled coins. One has a self-service coin machine in their lobby, but even for account holders, they charge 1% of the total. The other bank spins the coins for you behind the counter, but charges a fee (I’m not sure what it is) for any amount over $30.

    If we take the coins already rolled into either bank, we have to unroll them ourselves; tellers aren’t allowed to unroll the rolled coins. I suppose that’s in case there is any dispute over the amount of money unrolled.

  3. Ann says:

    Ran into a thing when I did my tax returns where you could make payments to the IRS and state on-line, as well as pay other bills. Because I was filing my state on-line and owed a little bit, I figured it was easiest to use that and it only cost me a couple of dollars (paying for convenience) and set myself up for reminders for paying estimated taxes. Well, got the reminder for my April 15th payment and STARTED to pay it on-line but the charge was over $10! I immediately cancelled out, wrote a check and mailed in the estimated payment! Good thing I set up the notice to be two weeks early.

    I’m not always good about keeping track of coupons, but I try. LOL

    One good thing about changing eating habits is that fast food is out of the question. Best way to avoid temptation is to never go there!

  4. Ditto on the rolled coins. Banks won’t accept them! You also didn’t mention observing people paying $4.00+ for coffees. And, how about using thermos’ for water instead of bottles (with 4 kids we are guilty of using bottles but getting better – we now have a rule in the house re: no bottled water). Also, we get $$ back at the grocery store for bringing our own bags. And cars that idle for long amounts of time.

    One other thing I noted, most of these money saving ideas would also help the environment.

    Thanks for sharing this post.


  5. Monkey Mama says:

    Great Post!

    On the volunteering, I understand why some people rather pay though. & same with the DVDs (giving them away). I think somewhat you overlook the value of your time. We will sell anything we can get $20+ for. Sometimes $10+ for. A few old DVDs that aren’t worth much? I’d set them out too. I personally would never envision holding a garage sale. Not worth the effort, in my opinion. Though we sell things on ebay/Craigslist almost every week (around our schedule).

    I can buy my volunteer time at school and put more effort into my work (much more pay). You could argue anyone who lowers their paycheck to volunteer is a money waster. That being said, we prefer to volunteer our school hours (it’s not about the money). But I do understand why many dual income families with little time choose to pay cash instead. It’s a bargain for someone with a high paying job abd little time to spare.

  6. David G. Mitchell says:

    Diane — You make an excellent point regarding water bottles. I use an eco-canteen instead of water bottles. The canteens (we have 6 of them) cost us about $60 but we save about $15 per week by not having to buy bottled water for athletic events.

    Here is a link to the eco-canteen site, in case you are interested.


  7. Cassandra says:

    Regarding the ATM- my bank refunds us for any fee we are charged by an outside ATM. So if I were to go to another’s banks ATM and get charged $2 by the other bank (mine doesn’t charge for any ATM), my bank would refund me the $2.

  8. JB says:

    As for the coins, I use those Coinstar machines to get gift certificates (for the full value of my change — they don’t take the commission on gift certificates) to places like Amazon.com, where I use the GCs to bulk grocery shop (with free shipping). So it’s not always wasteful!

  9. Stacy Adcock says:

    I love this article, it is truly amazing how much money we waste. I love that you took your family home for home cooked pizza and salad instead of dining out. My family paid off $40,000 credit card debt in 2 1/2 years with the help of home cooked meals. Eating at home really helps save money, it was the biggest factor in our debt payoff.

  10. Lou Russo says:

    We do most of the things you pointed out. My wife is an inveterate coupon clipper. We usually only buy things that either have a manufacturer’s coupon or store coupon (or both). Our average weekly savings at the supermarket (there are just the two of us) is $30-$35. Our bill after savings is usually under $50. We try to buy in bulk, especially if there are coupons or other savings. As far as water is concerned, we have a few plastic bottles (we usually buy a case for picnics and recycle most of them) that we just refill with tap water. I haven’s bought a cup of coffee in many years. I’ve never even been in a Starbucks.

  11. Annie Jones says:

    @ Monkey Mama: We hold one or two garage sales each year and make $400-$500 at each one. We usually run them for 1-1/2 days. Fpr is. they are definitely worth our time.

    I also have no problem selling books, CDs or DVDs for a couple of dollars each. It takes almost no time to list them on eBay or half.com using the ISBN or UPC numbers, and just a couple of minutes to stick them in an envelope and slap on a label.

    Making $2 bucks for 5 minutes of my time is the same as making $24 an hour. So, to me, it’s worth it. Small amounts can add up quickly. :)

  12. persephone says:

    Another insightful article!

    Cassandra, please tell us what bank you use. What a great service it provides.

  13. spicoli says:

    Interesting article. I have friends who shop at a convenience store where the prices are much higher, rather than drive the extra mile to a full service grocery store. I can’t understand their thinking.

  14. Lynn says:

    Insightful article, but I can’t help pointing out that a lot of your observations are short-sighted:
    1. I doubt someone was “careless” enough to leave change.
    2. some banks won’t take rolled coins. The coinstar charges no fee if you get a gift card for Amazon or Starbucks.
    3. Washing your car is better for your wallet but worse for the environment.
    Also, peoples actions are based on weighting different priorities like frugality, entertainment, efficiency “being-green”, etc. It’s impossible to reconcile all these values with every action we take, so give people a break.

  15. greyroma says:

    I do the water bottle thing too but I recycle Propell or Gateraid bottles and refill from our fridge water spout and then freeze. The water stays ice cold for hours and also works in a cooler to keep cold sodas on trips. The water bottles stay frozen in the cooler for about 24 hours and we can avoid buying sodas on the road or in the hotel. If the hotel has a fridge I refreeze and I have had the same bottles for about a year. Some of the wimpy bottles won’t freeze well. We also save coins-last time we had $400.00 that went toward our vacation fund. As for garage sales I have one twice a year just to clean out and usually make about $400.-$500. each which also goes in the vacation fund.

  16. David G. Mitchell says:

    greyroma — Bottling your own water is a great way to cut down on your expenses but be cautious in reusing plastic bottles. I have a stainless steel water bottle that I use and it helps me to avoid many of the risks described in the following article:


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