30 Things Twenty-Somethings Need To Stop Wasting Money On

Leah Bourne
coffee main 30 Things Twenty Somethings Need To Stop Wasting Money On

Photo: Elle Australia

We’re all guilty of wasting money in one way or another. Millennials? Well, unchet’s just say our generation has an extra-special knack for blowing through our hard-earned cash.

MORE: 10 Budgeting Tips From Women in Finance

One of our biggest hurdles? That would be food. We’ve been told to eat organic, locally-sourced ingredients—none of which comes cheap. Some of this stuff is so costly (is cold-pressed juice really worth $13?) that it’s not out of the realm to wonder if we’re being taken on a wild spending ride by food marketers.

MORE: 101 Ways To Save Money Right Now: Easy Tips That Work

Paying for convenience is another one of our pain points. It’s a relatively new phenomenon, thanks to the fact that all we have to do is press a button and we can have a car pick us up in three minutes, get sushi delivered in 15 minutes, or a pair of Jimmy Choos overnighted to our door.

Here, a list of 30 things twenty-somethings should think twice about before spending their money on. We aren’t saying you shouldn’t ever splurge—that’s no fun—but we are suggesting you give your spending habits a proper analysis in order to see where you could cut back that wouldn’t end up impacting your quality of living.

1. Daily lattes. Add up how much getting a fancy cup of coffee every day for 365 days is costing you and you might never be able to get out of bed again. Well, we did the math for you: Assuming your coffee is costing $5 a day, that’s a yearly spend of $1,825. Swallow that.

2. Unused gym memberships. We get it, you want to be fit, but sometimes saving money comes down to getting real with yourself. If you aren’t taking advantage of your gym membership, cancel it. You don’t need to be paying $100 a month for the idea that you could be going to the gym if you wanted to.

3. Seamless. The convenience factor of ordering takeout from basically any restaurant in your neighborhood is hard to resist (especially after a long day at work). Just like Uber, if you add up how much $20 here, and $35 there for dinner is costing you, you might just make a vow to never eat again.

4. Kale. We’ve been instructed en masse to eat superfoods like kale, goji berries, and chia seeds. Ever notice how expensive some of these foods are? We are starting to think this might be some massive conspiracy by grocery stores.

5. Credit card interest. Millenials are notorious for racking up credit card debt. Pay attention to your interest rates, and consider plans like debt consolidation, transferring your debt to another card, or simply working out a plan to pay off that debt once and for all.


Photo Via Adam Katz Sinding/Le 21ème

6. Fast fashion. You’ve probably rolled your eyes at stories told to you by your grandmother about how she bought one coat, and then wore it for the next 30 years. But that generation might have had it right. Raise your hand if you’re guilty of buying a huge quantity of clothes, and then only wearing each item a handful of times. Sometimes smart investment shopping will save you money in the long run.

7. Brand names. Do you really need brand-name cereal, brand-name toilet paper, brand-name chips, and brand-name aspirin? We didn’t think so.

8. Throwing away leftovers. Let’s also take a cue from previous generations here, and learn to make use of our food leftovers, not just throw them away.

9. Pressed juice. If you aren’t earning Harry Styles or Selena Gomez type money in your twenties, do yourself a favor and just stop drinking $12 pressed juices. You probably can’t afford it.

10. Late fees. We know, going out on your own is tough. Sometimes saving money simply means staying organized and on top of your bills to avoid late fees. Why pay extra when you don’t have to.


Photo Via Adam Katz Sinding/Le 21ème

11. Uber. There’s nothing quite as easy as pressing a button and having a car appear to take you where you need to go. We don’t need to tell you that your Uber habit is adding up, big time. Give yourself an Uber (or taxi) cap for the month, and do your best to stick to it.

12. Eating out. This is a big one for millennials, many of which plan social activities around eating out. The best way to address this money-waster among your group of friends? Be the one to break the cycle and plan other, cheaper activities that are just as fun (pot-luck dinners, “House of Cards” binge watching sessions, you get the idea).

13. Overdraft fees. Make it a part of your routine to monitor how much money you have in your bank account to avoid overdraft fees.

14. Takeout lunch. How many days are you eating an over-priced salad for lunch during the workday? It requires a little bit of effort, but a huge money-saver is bringing your lunch to work. We know, you’ve heard this advice again and again, but think about it–you could easily end up spending $2,600 a year on salad (that’s five salads a week for 52 weeks).

15. Paying too much for smartpone data. Millenials love their smartphones. They love spending hours on Instagram, on the Internet, but we caution, watch how much money you are spending a month for your phone provider, and if you are paying overage charges for smartphone data. A quick (and beyond) easy trick to minimize these extra charges is to make sure you get on Wi-Fi wherever you can.


Photo Via Adam Katz Sinding/Le 21ème

16. The latest tech gadgets. Is the next iPhone really going to be that different from the current one? Do you really need the latest tablet? Don’t fall under the marketing spell of rushing to buy the newest model of every gadget you own.

17. Not negotiating. Most things in life can and should be negotiated. The price of your cable package, the interest rate on your credit card, the rent increase on your apartment? Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.

18. Overpriced cocktails. We know, that rosewater martini with liquid gold is just so damn pretty, but you don’t need to spend $25 on a drink to have a fun night out.

19. Missing out on tax deductions. This is another item that falls under things we wish our parents still did for us. A lot of millennials find themselves doing their taxes for the first time without parental help, and simultaneously end up missing out on huge tax deductions (that’s free money sitting on the table). Our advice? Think about hiring an accountant for tax season (it’s much cheaper than you might think), or asking a friend who is a seasoned pro for help.

20. Dry cleaning. There’s nothing quite like pulling out a crisp, wrinkle-free garment fresh from a plastic dry-cleaning bag when getting dressed in the morning. The bill that comes with that feeling? Not so fun. Certain items in your closet don’t even need to be dry-cleaned including sweaters and Oxford shirts, and hand-washing delicates is just as effective.


Photo Via Adam Katz Sinding/Le 21ème

21. Fancy shampoo. Remember this the next time you go to buy a fancy beauty product: Aspirational pricing doesn’t make something better. The proof is in the ingredients.

22. Bottled water. If you aren’t using a reusable water bottle at this point, consider yourself burning money.

23. Organic food. We’ve been told ad nauseam as a generation that organic food is better. Well, it’s definitely more expensive. Do your research in order to learn about which foods really are worth buying organic, and save money on the rest.

24. ATM fees. Paying ATM fees to use a bank that isn’t your own is a massive money suck (also, your bank is probably charging you on the back end for doing this as well).

25. Baby carrots. Peel your own carrots, cut up your own pineapple, make your own guacamole, and watch the savings pile up.


Photo Via Adam Katz Sinding/Le 21ème

26. Not going to the dentist. As a younger person in your twenties you might find yourself thinking, “I don’t need to to go the dentist, or the doctor, I’m fine.” You might not be so fine with a $10,000 root canal bill down the line because you didn’t do preventative dental work. Keep that in mind, and go to all your doctors—odds are, you’re paying for insurance anyway.

27. Boutique exercise classes. $35 dollars three times a week to take a single exercise class that lasts 45 minutes? When did that become a normal expense we as a generation were supposed to live with?

28. Delivery fees. Do you really need to overnight your latest clothing purchase? Would it kill you to walk across the street to pick up a takeout order? Delivery fees add up.

29. Not taking advantage of a 401K. If the company you work for offers a 401K match, take advantage of it. Yes, that will mean money deducted from your paycheck, but if you don’t do it, you will be leaving money on the table.

30. DVR, Netflix, Hulu Prime. Pick one, or at least have a game plan where all of this is concerned. You could easily end up spending $40 a month on media subscription services on top of probably paying a cable bill.

Did we miss something? Share something twenty-somethings are guilty of wasting money on in the comments below!