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The ways you’re losing money without realizing it

People are throwing money away in surprising ways, without even knowing, due to poor spending habits or sheer ignorance. CNN made a list with some of the ways we are losing money unwittingly.

1. Unused gym memberships

Many Americans start getting gym memberships around the new year. But the resolution to get fit might mess with your wallet. Gyms anticipate that 18% of members actually use their membership consistently, so paying $50 a month for gym – when you actually go there only a handful of times a year – means you are wasting $600 a year. If you’re not completely sure of the commitment you’re about to make, think of other low-cost alternatives. You can purchase daily passes at a fraction of your monthly cost. Furthermore, if you own a bike, you can ride it to work – this way you exercise and save money on transport as well.

2. Wasted food

Wasting food has become such a common thing that many people don’t realize the extent of it. The average US household throws $640 of food each year, as the American Chemistry Council reports. If you want to avoid throwing away all that food and money, try making weekly grocery lists. Before going to the supermarket, try to see if you don’t already have certain items in your fridge. You might also want to be careful when buying in bulk, because even shelf-stable items don’t last forever.

3. Overspending on restaurant meals

If you’re not careful, eating out too often might result in a serious waste of money. In 2015, the average American household spent around $3,008 on restaurant food, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, food establishments usually charge a 300% markup on the items they serve, so for every $3,000 you spend, you’re paying $2,000 extra compared to what those same meals would cost you if you made them at home. If you’re throwing away loads of money on restaurants and takeout, especially if you’re trying to save up.

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