5 Embarrassing Ways I Still Waste Money

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Hand holding IKEA ice cream cone

Forget meatballs—it’s ice cream that the Swedes do best.

Writing for the SALT™ Blog and reading everyone’s helpful content certainly helped me manage my money better and work toward things like international travel and healthier eating in 2013.

But, hey—I never claimed to be Suze Orman, did I? I’m willing to air out my dirty laundry for the greater good, in hopes that my mistakes help you look closer at your spending habits. You can’t make those resolutions without first taking note of where you slipped up the year before. 

So, counting down, here are the five most embarrassing things I waste my money on.


5. The #13 Combo At Whataburger

Don’t forget the honey mustard dipping sauce and a sinfully sized cup of sweet tea. Just like I like it.

This Texas-based fast food chain is my weakness. I’ve actually gotten out of bed and driven in the rain to Whataburger. That’s right—I crave this meal at night.

Coming from the person who wrote on this blog about healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options, I’m ashamed. Those chicken strips, though …

4. The Dollar Section Of Target

This has not been an issue for me of late, but I remain a sucker for the cluster of $1 item shelves at Target. Cups, pencils, useless toys, desk organizers. I want them all for some reason. “It’s OK. It’s only a dollar,” I think as I fill my cart with $20 worth of … I couldn’t tell ya.

3. Dine Out With A Full Fridge

There should be a psychological term for the act of going to a restaurant the same day you buy groceries (file it next to the term for “snacking while you cook”).

My phone rings as I leave the store. Thai, Mexican, or Korean? Never mind the bag of rice or the fresh salsa I just bought. Sometimes, I don’t even put all the groceries away before I’m out the door again. TACOS!

2. Leisurely IKEA Visits

Look, it’s not my fault that the place that sells the best soft-serve frozen yogurt also happens to sell throw pillows, lamps, and shelving units.

In a place that’s built like a maze and treated like a family outing, I’m embarrassed that I still believe I can grab a quick cone without buying a set of washcloths and steak knives.

1. Sleep Shopping

Every morning, I check my email. On occasion, I see a string of messages from PayPal confirming a payment. Wait. No, it’s not fraud. My memory comes back to me. I bought fragrance oils, five snapbacks, and a giraffe-shaped teapot (don’t ask) about 15 minutes before I fell asleep and hit a REM cycle.

This tops my list of embarrassing ways I spend money because I’m not even fully awake for most of it. When I start sleep-bidding on things on eBay, you have permission to slap me.

What are some cringe-worthy ways you waste your hard-earned cash? 

(Photo: Dorothy Yu)

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  1. Aaron January 9, 2014 / 1:32 pm

    We both know how to cook. We have a very well-stocked pantry, plus a deep-freeze.

    We still order from Foodler.com at least once a week.

  2. Ryan Lane January 9, 2014 / 2:22 pm

    I don’t know if it’s “embarrassing,” but I’m reaching the point where I feel like I’m wasting money on cable. But then I think about cancelling it, and I get worried about all the shows I may not be able watch. (Oh, wait. Upon further review, being “worried” that I won’t be able to watch “Bar Rescue” marathons is definitely embarrassing.)

    • Aaron January 10, 2014 / 10:16 am

      I only justified getting a smartphone by cutting off cable. But now I pay too much for my phone!

  3. Christina Davila January 9, 2014 / 4:51 pm

    *sigh* Taco Bell is still my kryptonite, especially if I’ve worked late. Another embarrassing one for me is late night hot chocolate from 7-Eleven. My hubby and I will go for a walk after dinner to help digest the food. We’ll make it a couple blocks down before I convince myself it’s chilly enough for a cup of cocoa. I mean 7-Eleven is super cheap, I spend like three bucks (every night…)

  4. Bre January 9, 2014 / 6:05 pm

    Argh! The target dollar isle gets me all the time too! My biggest money waster as of most recently has been eating out for lunch while at work. I’ve gotten good at eating dinner at home but I always would eat out. Thankfully I am trying to kick these habits and learning to save money while making extra income. I’m blogging about it too at theweightofdebt.com!

  5. Evelyn January 10, 2014 / 2:33 pm

    @Christina — my neighborhood has a bunch of various Asian restaurants and Boba/Bubble Tea is my weakness! All that sugary goodness is just a short walk away :’(

  6. Synkane January 10, 2014 / 8:31 pm

    Marshall’s!!! Evertime I have a little extra in my pocket…I see it as an opportunity to go through the sale racks in Marshall’s!! Then put on lay away stuff that are still at an original price. Yesterday I ordered the book” the total money money makeover”. Today I downloaded a budget spreadsheet on the net. So let hope 2014 will be a different year.

    • Ryan Lane January 12, 2014 / 8:44 pm

      Good for you, Synkane! Hopefully, SALT can help you in 2014 as well!

  7. Sasha January 14, 2014 / 11:26 am

    Don’t judge me but, definitely MAC cosmetics takes the cake. Anytime I get an email on a new lipstick I love, I go and purchase..not one…but two!

    Oh an etsy.com is the devil!

  8. Ray Dodier January 16, 2014 / 8:30 am

    For me it’s my Verizon cell phone bill. How did something I never thought I needed become my single largest monthly utility bill (3 shared smart phones)? That’s right; I pay more for that than my electric bill, my Comcast bill (phone/cable/internet), and even my winter heating bill. Once this contract is up I definitely need to look into cheaper carriers.

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