top 10 money wasters

1. Non-essential sale items

Everyone enjoys a good deal, and it feels wonderful to purchase what one requires at a lower cost. The catch statement here is “something you need”. In case of buying sale items, you only save money if you had budgeted for them.

Spending money on something you hadn’t planned for does not give you any savings and while you may be paying less than the going rate, you are losing out on cash. Money that you could have spent on other things such as grocery purchases is now gone! This is what most people miss.

In 2022, many retailers have been pushing sale items where people rushed to get these items for a low price.

By presuming that the price difference represented savings, some people who bought stuff on sale could have ended up spending out of their budgets. And regretting later. 

2. Rarely used subscriptions e.g. TV, gym membership etc

A gym memberships can be expensive in the long run and unless you regularly go to the gym often, it’s a waste of money. Instead of a gym membership, active lifestyle options could work better as alternatives.

Likewise, with the TV programmes and music transitioning from conventional ways to online streaming, just like music and movies, any subscription is a waste of money if not used. 

Pick-and-pay models could have been less expensive for you because subscription packages force you to pay for more services than you need. Streaming gives the added benefit of no ads and flexible viewing times.

We have seen aggressive marketing by subscription TV companies where they have engaged in cost cutting and offers for customers. All these have been a waste of money for subscribers who rarely watch TV unless during certain times like football match seasons or other games of interest.

3. Wasting food

In 2022, we have seen and heard of people who are going without food, a story that is told every few years in Kenya. On the flipside, dumpsites have shown that there are people who have been throwing away food for whatever reasons. 

Any wasted food is a cost and this cuts across the value chain with the customer being the biggest loser. Any food we have thrown away is wasted money.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations advises us to:

  • Just buy what you need.
  • Make your meals ahead of time. 
  • Follow your shopping list and avoid impulsive purchases.
  • Select gaudy produce and fruit since despite their being not appealing in looks, they still have the same flavour.
  • Store food properly by arranging your refrigerator or cabinet such that newer items are towards the rear and older ones are in the front. 
  • Ensure that open food is kept in airtight refrigerator containers and that packets are tightly closed to keep pests out.

4. Emotional Spending

What happened this year that led you to spend to feel good?

When you spend money emotionally, it’s usually to make yourself feel better. These feelings could include melancholy as well as joy and celebration.

Impulsive spending is another term for emotional spending; these are decisions made in the heat of the moment to spend money on items that are not necessary or within one’s means.

Even treating friends and family “just because…” could fall under this category if it was not planned for. That is how you could have wasted money in 2022.

5. Paying for convenience

Kenya has been in the limelight globally due to its mobile money innovations. These creations have made life easier for many.

Paying bills, purchasing tickets and paying for shopping, among many other things, have all become so convenient thanks to mobile banking and money transfers that they have almost replaced the wallet.

While not having to carry cash around makes transactions safer, the associated charges sometimes go unnoticed with expensive implications that could put you in debt. 

Do you prefer paying bills via mobile money? If this is a lifestyle to you, then this convenience is a money waster unless the cost to you for paying those bills saved you more than what you spent.

6. Keeping up with the Joneses

“Our neighbours have furnished their house afresh and they even bought a new 65 inch TV set. We couldn’t breathe and we had to buy a bigger TV since our kids could not let us have our peace. To do this, we had to take a loan,” my friend tells me.

My friend adds, “We didn’t need the TV but we got into debt to let the kids not feel like they can’t have a good life. I’m not sure it was worth it.” 

Trying to keep up with the Joneses is one of the biggest money wasters of this year. My friend is now in debt over something that was not a necessity.

7. Expensive tech and gadgets like phones

While it is unavoidable to have gadgets today, expensive ones and those that are regularly upgraded are good money wasters.

For instance, imagine buying a phone in a series released a few months ago and then having to upgrade it because there are a few more functions in a new series. Interestingly, you probably will never use these new functions yet you have upgraded your phone.

With the many releases and upgrades this year, people have been spending a fortune on tech and gadgets. 

Looking back, was it worth spending on a new phone while the one you had was just months old?

8. Buying branded items

Spending a lot of money on pricey products only because of the brand name might be unnecessarily costly. 

For instance, walking into any shop this year has shown that there are many different branded items like hygiene products including tissue paper and just because of that brand name, their price differences are outrageous.

Imagine spending Sh50 or Sh100 more on one of these items when the same is available cheaply? 

Shopping this year has taught me to be thrifty and become price conscious as long as the quality is the same.

9. Waiting until the last minute

If you had to wait until the last minute to shop for an event you were hosting or for a holiday, then you could have wasted your money. 

With little time to compare prices, you frantically had to run to the closest shop to get your supplies which could have cost more than if you shopped earlier, elsewhere.

Also, prices tend to creep up at the last minute since sellers know there are not many options.

If there were instances where you had to frantically shop at the last minute, then the possibility is that you could have wasted some of your hard-earned money in this rush.

10. Mobile money transaction charges

We have mentioned the cost of convenience earlier and this does not happen only with mobile money but also with mobile banking where banking fees apply.

While you can shop and pay for it from anywhere in the world using your mobile phone or ATM card, there are fees that you have to pay for this convenience.

A financial services company may impose transaction fees as a price for using a customer’s account or credit card. Every time you have used your ATM card, there has been a transaction cost. 

Even though the charges may be small fees, cumulatively they add up to some substantial amounts.

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