It’s not easy making money, for most of us it means long hours and hard work – but when you look at some of the ways we spend our money as a nation, you could be fooled into thinking it’s easy to come by.
A recent study has shown that a huge amount of our disposable income is spent on the same 8 things – and what’s more, consumer groups say we regret them all enormously.
See if any of these are purchases you make, only to be filled with regret later…
Alcohol and socialising
Drinking costs a lot of money. The same amount spent at a bar could easily translate into a few days or a week’s worth of shopping for some people – but that doesn’t seem to stop us.
Around 90% of people admit to overspending on nights out frequently – and part of the problem is the debt and credit cards that we carry with us.
For example, if you take a set amount of money with you when you plan to have a drink – hitting that limit means you’re unable to keep spending. Take a debit card on the other hand and the limits can quickly be forgotten – especially when there are a few drinks clouding your judgement.
Consuming alcohol can make us more outgoing and carefree with our money, but a hangover is a lot worse when you realise how much that headache has cost you.
Cigarettes and tobacco
Of every item on this list, cigarettes are the one that features most frequently on the list of people’s regrets – especially as there’s unquestionable evidence that it can be damaging to the health of you and people around you.
That said, it’s a very difficult habit to break – and although government schemes to reduce the prevalence of tobacco products in our shops might help to stop people starting, it’s little use to those who are already spending a lot of money on cigarettes.
Talking to your doctor can be a great first step – and will make sure your money stays in your pocket long term.
Cash machine charges
Although this is a small cost, it seems to really bother us that withdrawing our cash can have a charge!
And that’s only fair, since 99% of cash machines are free – and it always seems to be a moment when there’s no alternative but to spend money to access your cash. Even though it’s painful – we tend to go for the lazy option and do it anyway. It might not add up to much, but even using a paid cash machine one a month is like burning significant money each year.
Takeaways and fast food
Convenience at its best! Take away or take-out food is that deadly combination of quick and delicious – and if you choose wisely you can even avoid creating any washing up.
Even though there’s a lot of pleasure to be had with some occasional junk food, as a nation we admit that it’s more the convenience of fast food that appeals – which means it’s high up on the list of regrets when you take time to work out how much you’ve spent on it over the course of a year – not to mention any additional inches it’s put on your waist as a result…
Excessive mobile phone contracts
It’s hard to imagine life without a mobile phone in your hand – and it can cause feelings of panic when you realise you’ve left yours behind when you set of to go somewhere!
That said, when a chunky bill arrives at the end of the month – many people wish they could be without their mobile for good!
Impressive looking data, minutes and text allowances look good when you’re signing up for a contract, but if you’re not using them, you’re throwing money away. Monitor your use and make sure you’re paying for just the required minimum so you don’t regret that bill each month.
Credit card and loan interest
It’s can be a wonderful feeling when you see an increased credit card spend limit or a loan hit your bank account – but that joy is generally short lived, especially when you look at the amount of time you’re going to be spending paying it off.
In actual fact, credit card and loan debt is an enormous source of money problems for many people in the country. What’s more, it can be difficult finding people who’ll support you to work your way out of the debt – making the interest an even more regrettable thing to spend your hard earned money on.
If you’re struggling, have a look at some reviews of debt support companies – like this one on Face The Red – and find people who’ll talk you through some steps that can help.
Automatic insurance renewals
There are very few of us that would choose to actively give our money away to large financial companies – but effectively, that’s what we do when we don’t push for a better deal on insurance renewals.
Your renewal figure goes up each year – and the amount can look criminal when you compare it on a quick and easy to use comparison service – leading to fairly universal anger at companies who are seen to be taking advantage of customers.
In reality, these companies are really only taking advantage of our laziness – as there are plenty of companies out there who will compare your renewal price in just a few clicks. Don’t fall into the trap of regretting your monthly insurance payment – compare and save!
Wasted gym memberships
Now, not only do we regret wasting a lot of money on takeaways each month – we seem to doubly regret the amount of money we spent intending to burn them off!
Gym memberships are a great idea at the time, but virtually none of them are used to their full potential throughout the year – meaning we feel regretful and guilty about the money we spend on them. Next time you look for a gym membership – try not to be swayed by the discounts available for signing up long term – you’re only human – and life often gets in way, leaving a month fee totally wasted…