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May 21, 2021

304 Comments

Small money mistakes can add up to big bucks over time. Whether you’re wasting cash through carelessness or ignorance, your bad financial habits could be costing you thousands of dollars a year.

Here are seven of the biggest money mistakes to tackle:

1. Plastic peril

Credit cards are the most expensive form of debt with sky high rates. Pay off your balance in full every month to avoid paying any interest. If you’re struggling to make minimum repayments, consider switching to a low or no interest balance transfer card.

2. Buying brand-new

The worst example is probably a new car: you lose thousands just by driving it out of the showroom. Second-hand isn’t second-best: vintage and antique items are highly desirable these days. Or you can find “BNWT” – “brand new with tags” – items all over eBay and Gumtree, for a fraction of the original cost. And there’s no point spending $30 on a novel you’ll read once if you can get it for a dollar at a second-hand bookshop, or for free at a library.

3. Forgotten funds

Thousands of people lose track of old bank accounts and credit cards. Not only is it a waste of any money remaining in them, but these old accounts could even be draining your funds through annual fees. ASIC estimates there’s $1 billion waiting to be claimed, so try its unclaimed money search tool.

4. Being a pushover

Nearly all prices are open to negotiation, so always bargain for discounts. Many stores will offer to match better prices, or have secret deals up their sleeve. You can haggle on anything from a home loan to a flatscreen TV.

5. Lack of interest

Keeping spare money in a bank account that pays no interest is just wasting money. Although good rates are hard to find right now, if you hunt around you will still find accounts offering over 3%. It only takes minutes to open a new account and transfer your funds. There’s no easier track to wealth than passive income!

6. Power drain

Being greener isn’t just better for the environment, it’s better for your budget. Many people have a spare “drinks fridge” that is only used for parties – leaving it plugged in wastes around $360 a year. New energy efficient lightbulbs also cost 80% less to run than old incandescent bulbs.

7. Impulse buying

Failing to shop around wastes money: whether you’re buying a house or a holiday, always do your research and never grab the first item you see. Thanks to the internet you can check prices quickly and easily, and it also gives you more time to decide what you really need. Pin “must haves” to Pinterest to indulge your shopaholic urge – a week later, you probably won’t want half of your wishlist.

Being mindful of your money not only plugs leaks, it helps you save for things that are more important to you.  Minor mistakes lead to major money wastage: so be smart and save rather than squander.

Are there any other major money mistakes that should be added to this list? Tell us in the comments below.

  • Bank interest rates are where I am failing! And impulse buying isn’t so bad anymore (if it’s not food related anyway) as you can usually take it back!

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  • Love this

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  • Good points. Impulse buying is a challenge!

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  • Good points, I agree with all of them.

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  • Something small we do is turn the switches off at the power points when whatever is plugged in isn’t being used.
    I also try and turn lights off as soon as I walk out of a room.

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  • Lots of good tips here. I need to find savings accounts that pay better than what I’m getting now.

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  • Buying coffee from a cafe. I’m guilty of this. I would hate to think how much I’ve spent on takeaway coffee.

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  • Impulse buying is definitely a weakness of mine lately

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  • Good article. It seems no matter what I try, we can never get ahead financially

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  • Some great tips. I’ve never owned a credit card and never will. I prefer buying second hand rather than brand new.

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  • I have been off work due to needing surgery for 3 months and these tips are great. Especially the one that said to pull the plug on unused or seldom used appliances

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  • Since becoming a stay at home Mum and now only on one income I’ve been trying to save as much money as I can – thanks for the tips! I find facebook marketplace is AMAZING for buying second hand baby items and toys! :) Most of my sons favourite toys I’ve purchased from marketplace and all items are in excellent condition :)

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  • some great tips here

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  • I wish I knew these as a teen! I started work early but didn’t understand all the ways and ended up with no real savings as an adult

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  • Don’t buy items just because they are sale,think do you really need it!

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