Stop bleeding money: 5 ways people waste their hard earned dollars

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October can be a scary time of year, and you may just scream if you find your routines among the five wasteful ways consumers throw their money away.

According to a news release from the Financial Five, a monthly consumer column from Ohio's credit unions, the five habits that eat away at your money include:

1. Buying coffee and lunch every day. Coffee purchasers typically spend more than $5 a day, averaging $1,092 a year. For lunch buyers, the numbers almost double, averaging $1,924 a year.

2. Paying late fees or penalties on bills. Americans rack up more than $22 billion in credit card late fees and penalties each year. Avoid late bills by setting up reminders on your calendar and participating in online automatic payments.

3. Overspending on cellphone and cable/satellite. A simple audit of what you use, and don't use, could slim down your monthly bills.

4. Not taking advantage of gift cards and coupons. Each year we leave more than $6 billion in unused gift cards buried in our junk drawers or inside our wallets. The Sunday newspaper is full of coupons that, when used properly, can save you big money. However, 98 percent of all coupons get thrown away.

5. Sticking with high-fee bank services. In 2010, consumers shelled out more than $7 billion in bank fees.

The Financial Five release said by stopping the wasteful habits, you can save hundreds and even thousands of dollars a year.

"The best advice any financial advisor can give is to look for ways to cut back and save," said Patrick Harris, Director of Media and Public Relations for the Ohio Credit Union League. "The best way to do this is to look over your last three account statements and point out areas where you spent on something you wanted, rather than needed."

Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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