5 Ways You're Wasting Money- And Don't Even Know It!

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This week’s theme on the blog is all about saving an $1000 starter emergency fund. This “starter” emergency fund is crucial when you’re paying down debt. Once you’ve put out the debt fire, creating a larger, 4-6 month of expenses emergency fund is your next step. One way to build up that emergency fund quicker, is to become aware of money wasters that are busting your budget without you even knowing it!

Whichever emergency fund you’re saving for, you’ll want to build it quickly! The process has the capacity to drag on and on if you let it, which can really bring your morale down. We don’t want that!

If I’ve said it once…everything is a choice.

The choices we make to move a different direction; the choices we make to say YES to our valuesrather than the story we’ve been sold; the choices we make to bring intention and planning to this moment – this exciting, overwhelming, transforming moment where you choose to own your finances and your own strength.

Everything is a choice.

To help you make some of those choices a bit easier, here are five common money wasters and ideas to take that waste and turn it into savings! You can use your newfoud savings to beef up your emergency fund even quicker!

RELATED:  A step by step guide on how to save $1000 in 6 weeks! It includes a FREE printable guide and tracker so you can see your progress!

OK, here’s 5 common money wasters that we’re often not even aware of!


It’s 2018, people. There is NO reason to buy bottled water. There are amazing and beautiful options for water bottles these days. My kids and I all have these insulated klean kanteens. I buy the sport caps to go with them – I hate having to twist off a cap everytime I want a sip of water. (Lazy, right?!) We’ve had them for 2+ years and they’re going strong! They’re pretty indestructible, they’re cute, and they’re made out of stainless steel (which is chemical liner free). There is always a water fountain somewhere you can use to fill them up. Just keep it with you always.

And coffee.

I also have one of these thermoses. I make extra coffee every morning and fill this baby up! So at 2pm when I would just love to stop at Starbucks, I open my thermos and have hot coffee ready and waiting.

Or, in the summer, I do the same thing with iced coffee. Thermoses work either way!

Now, I’m all for a coffee run with a friend every now and then, but it just shouldn’t be a regular occurance. A bit of planning will save you A LOT of money quickly. Do the math. How often do you stop for coffee or soda or any kind of drink? Add it up and see what you’ll save annually if you stop this one habit.


We used to throw away so much food at the end of the week, because we didn’t plan well!

Always, always, always create a menu plan for the week and make a grocery list of items you’ll need to make those meals happen. Don’t buy items that aren’t on your list!

Also, work a leftovers night into your plan. It’s an easy dinner (and a break for all you hard working mamas out there) and you’ll use up all of that produce and food that would otherwise go bad. Total Win-Win!

Another grocery buying tip, don’t buy individually packaged foods. They’re almost always a higher price than buying individually. For example, buy meat and cheese from the deli in the exact amount you’ll need for the week. It will cost less and you’ll have less waste.


Go through your bank statement and your credit card statements and find all of those recurring charges you’re paying and see if you’re actually getting your money’s worth for all of these. Cancel what you don’t use.

Bam… emergency fund here you come!


Data overages can be a huge source of wasted money. It just takes a second to make sure you’re always connected to your wifi when you’re home, or in a place with free wifi. Also, make sure you download podcasts and songs to your phone if you know you’re wanting to listen to them later while you’re out. I have a podcast player that downloads 1-2 episodes of each podcast I’m subscribed to so I never have to stream them.

Also, consider changing to a wifi usage cell phone plan like Republic Wireless or Project Fi.

We were on Republic Wireless for years and loved them except for when our power went out at home we didn’t have phone coverage because our home is in a dead zone for cell coverage. So, we just switched to Project Fi and are LOVING it (better cell coverage in our area). We have the Pixel 2 phone which has an amazing camera, it backs up all your stuff to your Google Drive (so your phone NEVER fills up) AND you’re only charged for the Data you use. If you haven’t used a portion of your data at the end of the month they refund you! It’s amazing. Currently, our average monthly bill for two phone plans is about $35. Yep. $35. Check out Project Fi here!


Natural products are all the rage right now, but they can also be super expensive.

Seriously, why is using natural products more expensive than chemicals made in a lab? That does not compute.

All you need to clean your home naturally is some white vinegar, water and the juice from one lemon. Squeeze the lemon into a reusable spray bottle and then fill it half with water and half with vinegar and you’re ready! Here’s an amazing resource of recipes and how to get started cleaning your home naturally!

Also, don’t worry, vinegar kills germs.

There you have it! 5 money wasters that are likely hiding in your life and holding you back from saving that emergency fund of yours!

The thing with change is that it often feels SO hard and almost impossible. There are so many excuses running through your  head right now:

“I can’t find the time to make a menu plan for our week’s worth of meals.”

“I can’t make coffee as good as Starbucks.”

“Natural cleaning products just can’t be as good as chemicals.”

Friends, I know these excuses well because I had them, too. They’re not true and they’re selling yourself short. I know you can find 30 minutes in your week to create your own meal plan. What we give our time to is a choice.

Choose to not check Facebook for 30 minutes so that you can make a meal plan.

Choose to buy a thermos and make your own coffee. It will feel amazing that you’re saving so much money and you’ll learn a bit about how to brew good coffee in the process. (BTW, my coffee is WAY better than Starbucks 

Just choose.

Choose to make changes and save money in the process.

You got this.

VideoOlivia Zurawski