Twelve money losers and expenses that home owners need to watch out for. We recently saw an article about this subject and decided to put our own spin on this list of hidden money expenses and losers. Two more were added which we think would be of interest to our readers as well as potential money saving ideas.

We decided to try to estimate how much money is involved and how much you might save each year. You can plug your own numbers into this list as well to see what your savings would be, to help you decide if you want to pursue savings in this area. Here is our list of money losers:

  • Short Car Trips
  • Bundled Cable or Phone Services
  • Leasing Hot Water Heaters
  • ATM Fee’s
  • Lottery Tickets
  • Gourmet Coffee
  • Cigarettes
  • Infomercial Impulse buys
  • Brand Name Groceries
  • Eating Out
  • Unused Gym Memberships
  • Daily Internet Deals

For each of the money loser items below we have estimated the cost for the average person or family and summarized this cost at the end of this post. It is pretty amazing. Do your own calculations if any of these situations apply to you to see how much money you might save if you were to reduce or eliminate the charges for these items.

Money Losers – Short Car Trips

We all forget things and have to run to the store for an item we need for supper, however with a little planning many of these trips can be eliminated. Every time I run to the store I drive about 5 miles return. This works out to 84 cents per trip in gas alone assuming 25 miles per gallon and $4.20 per gallon. Assuming 3 trips a week for a variety of items this works out to $10/ week or $131.40 a year
Bundled Cable or Phone Services

This is a tougher one to estimate, however if you eliminate one feature that you do not use and save $5 on cable and $5 on your phone services, that is also $10/month and $120 / year. Check out your service packages to assess what you use and whether you can eliminate any services that you do not use very often or not at all.
Leasing Hot Water Heaters

We recently replaced our water heater at a cost of $700 and purchased the unit. Previously we had rented the unit at $14 / month. At this rate it takes us a little over 4 years to pay for the upfront cost. From then on we save $14 a month for as long as the hot water heater lasts!

Money losers – ATM Fee’s

Most people do not pay ATM fees when they withdraw funds from an ATM at their own bank. However it gets very expensive if you make a WD at another banks ATM. Some charge as much as $4 per WD. Let’s assume twice a week for a total of $32 / month and $416 per year. That is a lot of money you can save by avoiding this charge. Use your credit card or plan your money use to control these fees.

Lottery Tickets

Everyone wants to win the lottery, yet the odds are very low that you will win. You can check with your favorite lottery to find out the odds, however let’s assume you spend $5 per week. This adds up to $260 per year for a small weekly lottery purchase and many people purchase much more than this.

Gourmet Coffee

Daily gourmet coffee can get expensive. Even if you purchase only one gourmet coffee at $4 per coffee, think about how much you can save if you purchase a regular coffee at say $2 per coffee. Some regular coffee is priced even lower. Assuming 5 days a week, your annual cost difference works out to $520!


Think about how much better you would feel and how much money you would save if you gave up that pack a day habit. Prices vary, but we used $8 a pack to calculate the annual savings of $2920!

Infomercial Impulse buys

Do you make these impulse buys? How often do they work out and you get the value that was advertised. If you resist, would it be the end of the world if you do not have this item advertised on infomercials? We assumed one a month at a cost of $30 per charge. Plug in your own numbers to get the real cost for you.

Brand Name Groceries

This is a tough one to estimate. Experts feel that brand name products are often as much as $2 per item higher than non brand name products. We assumed that you purchase 10 items per week and could save only $1 on each item, not $2 to get and annual savings of $520, which we actually think is very low.

Eating Out

Restaurants are expensive and the cost varies a lot depending on were you live, what you eat and how many people are in your family. Could you eat out one night less per week at a fast food place and your family of 3 would each a lot healthier as well. Home made food is so much better for you and costs so much less as well. We assumed you would save $20 once a week after taking into account the cost of the food you would consume at home for an annual savings of $1040

Unused Gym Memberships

Many of us get the urge to sign up for a gym membership, go a few times and then stop. We still have to pay whether we use it or not. Don’t sign up. If you cannot go for a walk each night, you are not going to work out at the gym. Memberships can cost as much as $30 per month or annually $360

Daily Internet Deals

Do you purchase internet access while traveling or when you are out somewhere. At an average of $5 this can add up. Some hotels charge as much as $15 per day. We assumed $5 once a week average for a total cost of $260.

The total cost is pretty amazing, $6800 per year. You can really do a lot with all of that money. Plug in your own numbers and figure out how much you would save!

Cost Areas Per Instance Monthly Annual
Short Car Trips $.84 $10.00 $131.00
Bundled  Services $ $14.00 $120.00
Leasing Hot Water Heaters $ $32.00 $140.00
ATM Fee’s $4.00 $32.00 $416.00
Lottery Tickets $5.00 $20.00 $260.00
Gourmet Coffee $2.00 $40.00 $520.00
Cigarettes $8.00 $240.00 $2920.00
Infomercial Impulse buys $30.00 $30.00 $360.00
Brand Name Groceries $1.00 $40.00 $480.00
Eating Out $20.00 $80.00 $1040.00
Unused Gym Memberships $30.00 $30.00 $360.00
Daily Internet Deals $5.00 $20.00 $260.00
Total Costs $372.00 $6807.00