Saving money can be hard, especially when there are so many fun ways to waste it. It's becoming easier than ever to put your cash in the trash, but the following five are the biggest offenders that you should be trying to avoid this year.
1. Late night casino visits
When the nightclubs close their doors, the party often rages on at the casino. And with so many bright lights, flashy tables and free buffets, who can say no? Combine all this with the chance to win big bucks and recoup the cost of your night out and you have a recipe for money wasting disaster. The next time you're tempted, remember: the house always wins, and the most likely outcome is that you'll head home with an even bigger hole in your wallet.
2. Online impulse buying
It's always worth thinking twice before whipping out the credit card when you're shopping online. Peter Clatworthy discovered this the hard way, after he was left fuming after spending £450 on a photograph of an Xbox One. The teenager thought he was buying a games console, but when a photocopied image dropped through his letterbox a few weeks later, he realised he'd made a huge mistake. Luckily for Peter, eBay agreed to provide a refund, but you might not be so lucky. Next time you shop online, make sure you read the small print.
3. Splashing out on the small things
One of the easiest ways to waste money is to fritter it away slowly, a couple of pounds at a time. You'd be surprised by how quickly treats like a posh coffee every morning, a gossip magazine at lunchtime, and boosters on Candy Crush Saga can add up. You can keep track of where your cash is going by using our free Money Dashboard service, giving you a true view of exactly how much you're spending on life's little luxuries, and helping you to identify the best areas to cut back on.
4. Shopping hungry
It's no surprise that hitting the supermarket when you're hungry can be dangerous for both your waistline and your wallet. Hungry shoppers are more likely to be tempted by two for one offers, expensive snacks, and food they don't really need. Before you go shopping, write a list of what you need to buy so that you won't be tempted once you arrive. If you find yourself heading to the tills hungry, be sure to stop for a light snack before hitting the aisles.
5. Not using that gym membership
With nearly one in five people pledging to lose weight this year, it's clear that you can't put a price on health. Then again, when that price is more than £50 a month, involves a twelve month commitment, and you can count on just one hand the number of times you've set foot in a gym, it's worth looking at cheaper options. Running, hiking, and following exercise videos on YouTube are great ways to burn calories without burning a hole in your savings account. If you have any money saving gym alternatives, let us know on Facebook and Twitter!