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How to Prevent Thousand-Dollar Money Mistakes

By Will from Holland

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We've been looking at the ways young people waste the most money without knowing it—at least a thousand dollars—and guess what? There are tons of ways, which is pretty scary! Here's a look at the most common disaster spots for your wallet.

Using a debit or credit card for minor purchases. Have you ever gone into a store to buy a bottle of pop and ended up spending ten bucks rather than two bucks because the store has a "minimum" purchase requirement for using a card? You know, you just start grabbing things, whether you really need them or not. Studies show we spend around eight bucks more when we charge small items rather than pay cash.

Many of us make over 150 purchases like this in a year. At eight bucks a pop, that means you're throwing away $1,200 in a year. The Solution: Always keep a little cash in your pocket.

Ordering extras when you eat out. You're ordering the $7 special and feeling very thrifty. Then you order an appetizer, a dessert, and a drink that aren't included in the dinner special. Bingo, your bill is 20 bucks rather than $7 plus tax.

Eat out for lunch or dinner once a week and you'll throw away over $6,500 in ten years. You could buy a used car with that money! The Solution? Refrain from ordering extra-cost items with special meals. Drink water (it's better for you, anyway) and, on the way home, grab a banana for dessert from a convenience store. Pay cash, of course, and buy no other items while you're there.

Entertaining yourself by surfing cool websites when you're bored. Okay, have you ever done this? You're doing a little daydreaming online to entertain yourself, planning to buy nothing. But then an advertisement or a sale grabs your attention, and with the click of a button, you've bought something you didn't really need.

Most studies show that impulse buying on the web is greater than it is in stores. You can easily make $1,800 in unneeded purchases over 18 months, without thinking about it. Solution: Don't leave your credit or debit card info on any website, if possible. Click the option that tells a site to not remember your info—if the site even offers that option. When you take the time to enter your card info every time you shop, it serves as a good roadblock to unnecessary spending.

Not shopping for cheaper gas, and then charging your gas. You can burn a dime a gallon, easily, if you aren't shopping for the cheapest gas. In a year, that dime can add up to a few hundred bucks. And you'll be burning more money if you regularly charge your gas rather than pay with cash or a debit card.

Consumers who regularly charge their gas normally don't pay off their credit card bills in full each month. They end up paying interest for months or years on a tank of gas they probably used up in one week. Not a good idea. The Solution: Don't wait till you're out of gas to fill up. Fill up when you have time to use your smart phone to compare prices. AOL has a good free site that doesn't require you to download an app. And always use cash or a debit card for gas.

Saving small amounts of money is easier than saving big amounts. Give these tips a try and you'll be surprised by how much you can save in a year.

I hope this helps.

Cheers, Will