Nila Sweeney


There are countless ways you can let your hard-earned cash slip through your fingers, but YMM has picked the 10 easiest ways to lose money.
1. Not using comparison websites 
Whether you want to buy plane tickets, a credit card or health insurance, it’s never been easier to compare products and prices online. And yet, it’s tempting to skip over the research or do the calculations just to make that instant, emotion-charged purchase. This move can leave you hundreds behind.
2. Not diversifying your investments
Growth in capital city property prices is likely to be subdued for the next couple of years, so you can’t afford to simply rely on an investment property to make you wealthy. However, the ASX is expected to be fairly volatile this year. Finally, term deposits are generating dismal returns this year because of the recent interest rate cuts. In situations like this, a poor strategy would be to throw your money into any single asset class. You’re much better off diversifying your investments across a range of assets, all things in moderation.
3. Joining the wrong gym
Most gym membership fees are astronomical, so unless you do your research and pick a low-fee health club your wallet will end up working out more than your body. For instance, expect to fork out well over $1,000 by signing up with Virgin Active or Fernwood Fitness for 12 months.
4. Leaving your income in a transaction account
Yes, term deposits are unlikely to have an interest rate higher than 6% this year. However, the last thing you should do is let your thousands sit in a 0.1% transaction account and collect dust, rather than interest.
5. Spreading your super around
Most of us are guilty of having three super accounts, when we only need one.  As you switch jobs and add another super fund to your list, chances are you’ll have trouble remembering where all your retirement savings are – not to mention paying several sets of fees. 
6. Going to the convenience store
Isn’t it ironic how the prices of some products at convenience stores are anything but convenient? Purchasing grocery items such as milk or bread from the corner shop or the petrol station are likely to be much higher than going to your supermarket, where you can choose from a larger variety of products at more competitive prices.
7. Being greedy with your energy use
Left the lights on after you’ve walked out of the room? Using high-energy light globes? If you have several lights in your home, these habits alone add hundreds to your power bill. Mother Nature won’t be happy with you, either.
8. Expecting to get rich quick
Whether you’ve decided to invest in foreign exchange or equities, nobody can make a million in a month. In fact, it’s this type of thinking that leaves new investors deep in the red. Before you choose to play in any market, thoroughly educate yourself about how the market works, what the risks are and realistic expectations of returns. 
9. Cab it
Catching a taxi is tempting, especially when you’re in a foreign city. However, the cost of taking public transport to get from point A to B can be half the cost of a cab fare. Car-pooling is even cheaper!  Before you jump in the cab, consider if there are better alternatives.
10. Letting a gift card expire
The expiry dates on gift cards we receive for our birthday or Christmas creep up on us, especially when the card has been sitting in the back flap of our wallets for six months. How much have we lost in unused gift cards? About $400 million each year. Ouch. 
-- By Stephanie Hanna
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