As the recession continues to batter America, it's a perfect time to look at the money wasters in our life. So for the fourth time, we asked our readers what they think are the top ways to waste money.
Click through our gallery and see if you agree with this list that we pulled from our message board. Are there worse ways you waste your money?
"It is ridiculous some of the prices [the restaurants] charge. And go ahead and order a margarita, that's where the moneymakers are for the restaurants. Buy two and you could have gone and bought the ingredients to make your own and have a few friends join you at home!"
AOL User Elo324 Says: "Examples that really bug me are individually-wrapped things, such as cheese. I buy sliced cheese and am perfectly capable of using one slice at a time without extra pieces of plastic to help me figure out how many slices I am using. Quite a few things come in boxes that seem to be almost twice the size of the item ... It also seems like the smaller the item, the greater the chance it will get more packaging to make it look like you are getting more for your money."
"I've tried buying more organic produce lately only to have it spoil in a couple of days. Berries especially seem to go bad really quickly. And I often buy what my kids are really eating a bunch of, only to have them decide this week they aren't interested in apples or oranges or whatever. By the time I find them in the crisper they are green and fuzzy or brown and oozy."
AOL User farenc Says: "Rockstar, Red Bull, Monster ... and so many more. Maybe if people would get off the Internet, stop text messaging incessantly, and go to bed at a decent time of the night, they wouldn't need energy drinks every day to keep them going, which then end up keeping them awake late into the night yet again and causing a vicious cycle. Not to mention the high levels of caffeine are addictive, so people get completely hooked. I know many people who drink 2-3 energy drinks a day at $2-3 each. That's $4-9 a day." Next: Plastic Cups
"Disposable scrubbers, dusters and wipes are the most wasteful items in the store. Swiffer anything, throwaway toilet scrubbers and pop-up wipes are waste in its purest form. Reusable scrubbers, brushes, mops and rags are far more economical and environmentally friendly."
AOL User Fluriach Adds: "You are buying your trash and it's expensive!"
"I cringe when I see elderly people who are cashing their (Social Security) checks then buying their lotto tickets ... I work in a grocery store ... (and see) lonely housewives spending over $50 a day on scratchers and lotto numbers so they can talk to the gals at the service desk about their day/lives/husbands ... I can't see spending hundreds of dollars a month or a week, just to get thrilled over winning $25-50 ..."
AOL User DustinB23 Says: "They are making huge money on things like veils. I made my daughter's veil excactly like the veil at the bridal shop that was going to cost us $200. It cost me $7 for some tulle and a couple of combs, and the one I made was actually better made and more finished looking. It took me 45 minutes to do it ... Also (there is) huge money in weddings in general and they only last a few hours ... Keep in mind it is a party that is over in a few hours and you are left with a huge bill to pay."
"(It costs) 16 bucks to get in, 'X' dollars for each performer and then 35 bucks for a lap dance. If you treat a friend, for no special occassion, it's definately a waste of money. Plus they tried charging $4 for a bottle water."
"It's a waste of money to purchase an extended warranty for small inexpensive items such as radios, DVD players, vacuums, etc. The manufacturer's warranty is sufficient. Retailers and dealers will always offer extended warranties -- but they are not always necessary."
AOL User Sapkovski Says: "We constantly purchase brand names, and I don't mean clothing. Food and medications, just to mention a few. Food brands add marketing and advertising costs ... Is Bayer or Advil so much better than "I-don't-know-this-brand" aspirin and ibuprofen. Sometimes it is, but very rarely. Marketing and advertising don't make products taste or work better they just add to the final price of a product." Next: Luxury Hotels
AOL User TBlasi5847 Says: "The reason I refer to convenience stores as "vampires" is because they suck money out of you a little every day. By the end of the month you can't imagine the large amount of money you gave them ... Everything except the newspaper is overpriced in these stores. Even worse is the fact that what they sell is not good for you -- donuts, cupcakes, beef jerky, cigarettes, lottery tickets etc."
"What happened to everyone coming over for cake and ice cream? Why must we spend hundreds of dollars on 'Build a Bear' (Because we don't have enough plush toys??) and other nonsense like inflatable jumping rentals! To heck with what the 'Joneses' say. They will be bankrupt if the main breadwinner ever loses his or her job."
"Before you PAY to rent a movie, check first with your local or county library, they have 1000's of movies you can take out for FREE. You are paying for this through your taxes so why not get the benefit."
AOL User Thetaterbug7 Says: "I'm sorry, but I think it is crazy to spend $10.00 on a razor with blades you throw away and have to spend $10.00 on more blades each month. You can buy a pack of razors for a $1.00 and the whole thing goes in the garbage and save $9.00 or ... spend a little more and buy a good electric razor and save the landfill. Why spend $160.00 a year on blades? You can spend $60.00 one time and buy a good electric razor and have it for 3-4 years and save $580.00."
"The prices of pet clothing & accessories are ridiculous. A thread and needle can add a few bells or bows to a collar. A grandmother or friend could knit or crochet a sweater or sew a blanket. A store-bought [pet] sweater could run you $25, or a decorated collar $9 versus a plain one for $4."
"I hate to buy paper towels. Anything you can do with a paper towel, you can do with a dishcloth or some kind of reusable cloth. It doesn't cost as much to wash the dishcloth as the paper towels cost. I would feel the same way about toilet paper, but ... eeewwww!"
"Packing your lunch is not only a healthier choice, but also saves you a good amount of money that could be spent elsewhere. If you're eating out every day, spending about $7 a day, you could save around $700 a year, just by packing your lunch two times per week."
AOL User KabeerL Says: "Not shutting the lights off behind you is one of the biggest money wasters in the U.S. Do all offices buildings work 24 hours? Why can't the cleaning staff turn the lights on and off? Why do buildings need to be air-conditioned at night, especially when there is no one there! Energy saved is energy produced. An average household can save at least 10%-12% off their monthly electricity bills. Offices can save much more!"
"Stop wasting money and resources on feeding, watering and cutting a lawn. Plant trees, bushes and most importantly, vegetable gardens. A lawn is ridiculous. You make it grow so you can cut it down. I've never understood lawn people."
"So many people think that if you have a big house you seem more important. No, you don't. You should buy a house that is the right size for your family. If you have a spouse and three kids you should get a four-bedroom house, not an eight-bedroom house."
"Hang your clothes to dry or use a dryer only for socks, underwear and other small items you would feel odd hanging outside. You can also put a drying rack in the basement. Dryers use lots of electricity and gas, plus ruin your clothes over the long term. Dryer 'lint' is your clothing falling apart!"
AOL User waterboils Says: "[The biggest waste of money is] whenever I buy something, only to find out in a few days or weeks that I already had whatever it was I just bought. My complete failure to have any real organization system in my life is so bad, I don't even know half of the stuff I have. I recently gathered all the audio/video cables from the 20 different places I stored them and realized I own enough of them to open a Radio Shack." Post: Share Biggest Wastes of $$ Next: Designer Bags
"When I find a nice second-hand bag at the Goodwill or Salvation Army I'm [darn] proud, when I see someone with a designer bag, I think it's shameful that someone would be stupid enough to pay that much."
"Coffee at the high-end coffee chains is a huge waste of money, IMO. Some of their coffee drinks can cost upwards of $5.00 each. I admit, I do go there as a special treat on a very occasional basis, but to go often really adds up and is not worth the money spent."
"Most people religiously change their oil every 3,000 miles. There is no advantage to this, except spending your valuable money. Oil changes at 7,000-8,000 miles using SAE grade oil have done a great job for me over the years. My cars have lasted over 160,000 miles in highway and city driving. When I got rid of them, it was never ever due to engine failure. Transmission fluid changes at every 30,000 miles has worked out for me over the years also."
"Funny you should ask. Just this morning I was thinking about the fact that I smoke two-plus packs per week, down from a pack a day. Where I live it averages $6.00 per pack. That adds up to $312.00 per year. At least it isn't the $2,184 per year it would have been at a pack a day. Not to mention, that I'm just burning that money."
"Okay, so I am a lady and I like to look good in the clothes I wear ... but, really? $50 for a dress shirt to wear to work? I know some people who will spend over $1,000 a season on the 'new' style of clothes, and no they can not really afford it. Yes, you have to pay for quality but be more practical and take proper care of your current clothes! I still have shirts, skirts and pants from five years ago that are in great condition, stylish and suitable for my corporate based workplace that I wear." Next: Pedigree Pets
"People who spend upwards of $200 for a dog or cat are wasting money and keeping puppy mills in business. I got my dog at the pound 15 years ago for $5 and my cat from an ex-girlfriend for free when her cat had kittens. They are the most affectionate animals Ii have ever encountered. With dogs, it seems that when you get a mixed breed, genetics take the best qualities of all its breeds and incorporates them into the offspring."
"A neighbor lost her car and asked me to pick up a bag of baby carrots when I went to the store. This neighbor was really in financial crisis at the time and I mentioned that unless she was at some specialty store, I thought those were only cut to shape carrots and not real baby carrots. That was a good three weeks or even more ago, but yesterday she told me I was right and she'd be cutting her own carrots from now on."
"I read an article in the Oklahoman (Jan. 11, 2009) about the White House getting new dinnerware -- a 320-piece china set for $493,000. Are you kidding me? There is no one in this world that can make me understand how anyone is worth enough to eat off that kind of dinnerware. That's over $1,500 for each piece."
"I feel it is an unnecessary waste to spend on postage when you send greetings for birthdays, weddings anniversaries and any other occasion. You can always send e-greetings if you have an Internet connection."
"I think new bookstores such as Borders and Barnes & Nobles are huge wastes of money. If you can't find a particular book at the library or a used bookstore, try a friend or a friend of a friend. For the current hot Twilight series (four books), we bought one for my daughter (we paid $14 at Target -- Borders wanted $22) and rotated the books with three of my daughters friends and relatives. They all got to read the entire series in order and we parents saved a fortune while still being able to encourage our kids to read!" Next: Parking Tickets
"Not many things get me more angry and frustrated than when I get to my car and discover a parking ticket! It's always my own fault of course for being absent-minded ... not remembering to put money in the meter, parking too much in the red, parking on the wrong side of the street (street cleaning or trash collection). Not paying attention can be very expensive!!"
"Paying interest is the worst waste of money you can have. That is why banks are so rich and why rich people are so rich. They are in the business of lending money and collecting interest. Get yourself in a position that you don't have to pay interest or pay as little interest as possible. Stop letting them screw you out of your hard earned money."
"With all the large screen high-definition, high-resolution TV available now-a-days to American households, why not wait for it to be released on video from REDBOX or NETFLIX to save, especially for large families?"
"Companies don't hesitate to spend thousands of dollars on meaningless holiday parties for employees, but when it comes to giving them a year-end bonus, tell them that the earnings report for the year doesn't support giving out bonuses. Hogwash! I'd much rather they donate that money to homeless charities than pay catering companies for food that ends up being thrown out."
"I am retired and on a tight budget. Each month it costs me over a hundred dollars in overdraft penalties. Post and chase trying to stay one step a head of the Utilities companies. One unaccounted expenditure cost $35.00 from my bank, then add anywhere from $25.00 to $ 75.00 from the creditor."
"I throw away leftovers because I forget they're in the fridge. I don't like leftovers, but my Grandmother once told me, you'll wish one day you had them. And that's probably true, with the ways things are today."
"I pay rent ... money I'll never see again, and a huge chunk of my paycheck. I get nothing out of it except one more month with a roof over my head. Rent only helps the people that own the place!!! And that ain't me!"
"The economy is bad enough as it is, so charging $17 for a cheesecake or $16 for cookie dough that only makes 12 cookies is outrageous. Give the poor kid a donation and go get your sweets at the grocery store."
"1) Not taking advantage of your Flex plan (the pre-taxed money set aside for medical expenses the government allows). You can save hundreds of dollars by taking advantage of this) 2) Having the money withdrawn for this, BUT ... overestimating your medical costs and leaving a balance in (which your employer then gets to keep) OR ... just not taking the time to do the paper work to get the money."