The other day I was bouncing around the interwebs and I stumbled onto an old Dave Ramsey article that lists ten things Americans waste money on. For the most part, I agree with his thinking but there are a few items that I don’t agree with.
Below I’ve listed Ramsey’s ten money-wasters along with some thoughts of my own.
Credit Card Interest. Well I certainly can’t argue with this one! Using credit cards for convenience and to earn rewards is a smart move, but only if you pay the full balance every month.
Deal Websites. I assume Ramsey means sites like Groupon where you typically buy a service like a massage or a dinner for two at a discounted price. I don’t think I’ve ever purchased anything from those sites but a guy I work with buys from them all the time. Sometimes he gets good deals but more often than not he buys things he doesn’t really need and sometimes he forgets to even use them.
Appetizers. Skipping an appetizer when you’re eating out is an easy way to trim the bill, but who cares? If I’m hungry and in the mood for an appetizer I see nothing wrong with that. After all, going out for dinner is a treat and if ordering some fried calamari is going to add to the enjoyment I’m all for it.
ATM Fees. I despise ATM fees because they are so easy to avoid with a little planning. We use TD Bank and I rarely have trouble finding a branch where we live. And don’t forget you can use your debit card at the supermarket and simply take out some additional cash for no fee.
Overdraft Fees. These fees are a big waste of money but they’re easily avoidable as long as you stay organized and keep careful records.
Speedy Shipping. If I’m ordering a gift online I generally order it far enough in advance that I don’t need to worry about expedited shipping. And I’m an Amazon Prime member so I get extra-fast shipping on most purchases anyway.
Designer Baby Clothes. I agree with this one too. Babies grow out of clothes quickly so you won’t get much use out of most things anyway. Save yourself some money and stick with more affordable baby clothes.
Unused Gym Memberships. Paying for a gym membership is fine as long as you use it enough to get your money’s worth, but too many people never manage to actually make it to the gym to work out! I’ve never belonged to a gym and don’t have any plans to do so in the near future. I’m happy with my running routine which is free.
Premium Cable Packages. While I agree that most people watch far too much television and for many people cable is a waste of money, I also think you have to enjoy life a little. I don’t watch a ton of TV but I like watching movies and I don’t mind spending a little extra for the privlilege. Rebember, it’s all about balance.
Daily Coffee Trips. I love coffee and I would have a very hard time giving it up. But I almost always make coffee at home which is far more cost-effective. Trips to Starbucks are a treat for me, not part of my daily routine.