Keep your avocado toast and morning lattes — we’d never tell you to stop wasting money on those. Instead, focus on cutting out things like bank fees, food waste, and lottery tickets. You know, real things you should never have to spend money on.

We all know there are certain things you should never spend money on — like cigarettes and gambling. These are obvious no-nos.

Then there are items people *say* you shouldn’t spend money on that are just plain ridiculous — like avocado toast and a morning latte. (Umm… hello! These are delicious.)

So this begs the question: are there really things you should never, ever spend money on? Like, some non-clickbaity things you could cut from your life and actually not miss at all?

Turns out, the answer is yes.

Here are nine things you should never spend money on (for realsies).

1. Bank Fees

A gif of a grumpy-looking cat turning to the camera, with the word "nope."


Let me let you in on a secret: bank fees are archaic and outdated. A thing of the past. If you’re still using a bank that’s charging you fees — whether it be for ATM usage, overdrafts, monthly maintenance, etc. — it’s time to let. them. go.

There are better options out there, promise.

Thanks to the rise of technology, dozens of awesome, reputable banks have 100% free checking and savings accounts.

Chime®* and Ally Bank are two popular options that don’t have fees.2 I’ve been using Ally for almost a decade and have never paid a bank fee — even for overdrafts.

So take a moment to comb through your bank account statement.

If you see some sneaky fees in there — whether it be for monthly maintenance, overdrafts, or ATM withdrawals — hop off this page right now and open a free bank account with an institution that won’t take your hard-earned money from you.

Read more:

2. Late Fees

A cartoon gif of an evil witch dressed in white, rising up and saying, "You're too late!"


Late fees are another one to watch out for. Whether it’s a late payment on your credit card, utility bill, or rent, these fees can add up quickly.

The best way to avoid late fees is to set up automatic payments for all your bills. That way, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to pay a bill on time again.

If you do end up with a late fee, try calling the company and asking for it to be waived. Many companies will be willing to do this, especially if you’re a good customer.

Read more: Automatic Payments Explained — Everything You Need to Know about AutoPay

3. Lottery  Tickets

A cartoon gif of hands scratching a roll of lottery tickets, with each ticket saying "Loser!"


Lottery tickets are a huge waste of money. I get it, the dream of becoming an overnight millionaire is tempting.

But the truth is, your odds of winning the lottery are about 1 in 302.5 million. And even if you do win, you’re more likely to end up broke than not.

You’re much better off investing the money you’d spend on lottery tickets or using it to start a profitable side hustle. So please, for the love of all that is good and holy, do not spend your money on lottery tickets!

Read more: Why You Should Never Play the Lottery — and How to Better Spend Your Money

4. Books (Sometimes)

A gif of Marvel's Loki pursing his lips and squinting, with the words, "When the new books arrive at your library..."


Joining your local library is one of my best hacks for saving money. It’s completely free and is a great way to read all the books your little ol’ heart desires — without having to spend a penny in the process.

So anytime there’s a new book you want to read, I encourage you to rent it from your library first.

If it’s something you really love and think you’ll want to reread in the future, then go buy it. (Or just rent it again in the future.)

5. Food that Will Ultimately Get Thrown in the Trash

A gif of a woman looking at the camera, shaking her head, and making a "cut it out" signal with her hands.


The average family of four throws out over $1,500 in food each year. That’s $1,500 worth of perfectly good groceries or take-out, gone forever. If you’re not careful, food waste can quickly become one of your biggest expenses.

So how can you avoid wasting food and save money?

  • Plan your meals in advance so you only buy what you need.
  • Make a grocery list and stick to it.
  • Shop at discount grocers like Aldi or Trader Joe’s.
  • Use leftovers for meal prep or lunch the next day.

Read more: 23 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

6. Impulse Purchases

A gif of Ariana Grande dancing in a pink-lit room, with the words, "I want it, I got it."


We’ve all been there — you’re out shopping and you see something that you just have to have, even though you don’t really need it. This is called an impulse purchase, and it’s one of the biggest ways to waste money.

To avoid impulse purchases, try to wait 24 hours before buying anything. If you still want the item after a day, then go ahead and buy it. But more often than not, you’ll find that you don’t really need it after all.

If you’re an impulse shopper, it’s also helpful to keep a list of things you need before you go shopping. That way, you’ll be less likely to buy something that you don’t really need.

Read more: 6 Tips for a Successful No-Spend Challenge

7. Full Price for Anything

A gif of a couple in a living room, with the woman saying, "You're complaining for the price but I'm saying at least everything was on clearance."


You should never, ever, EVER have to pay full price for anything. This is a bold statement, so hear me out for a second…

There are so many ways to save money on purchases these days. For instance, you can:

  • Wait for the store to have a sale.
  • Search for promo codes or coupons on RetailMeNot and Groupon.
  • Find deals using cash back apps like Fetch, iBotta, and Capital One Shopping.

And if you do end up paying full price for something (which, let’s be real, will happen), using a rewards credit card is a great way to get a discount on the back end.

For instance, I do most of my shopping at Amazon and Whole Foods. So I have the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card, which gives me 5% cash back on all my purchases. It’s a great way to recoup some of the costs.

Read more:

8. Expensive Clothes You’ll Only Wear a Few Times

A gif of a teenage girl in a closet full of clothes, with the words, "I have absolutely nothing to wear."


It’s tempting to splurge on a new outfit for a special occasion, but if you only end up wearing it a few times, it’s not worth the money.

Instead of buying something new, try renting a dress or suit for the occasion. Sites like Rent the Runway and Armoire offer a wide variety of designer clothes that you can rent for a fraction of the price.

And when it comes to everyday clothes, it’s best to stick to the basics. A good pair of jeans and a few simple tops will last you longer and cost less than a closet full of trendy clothes that you’ll only wear once or twice.

9. Money Leaks

A gif of two men standing in a doorway as water pours down from the ceiling.


Last but not least, another way to stop wasting money is to plug up your money leaks. (A money leak is any recurring expense that you’re paying for but not using.)

Some common money leaks include subscription services like Netflix or Hulu, gym memberships, and Patreon subscriptions.

If you’re not using a service, it’s a waste of money to keep paying for it. So, take a close look at your recurring expenses and cancel anything that you’re not using.

The Bottom Line

Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a great place to start if you want to save some cash without it affecting your lifestyle too much.

Cutting out expenses like unnecessary bank fees and late fees and non-essential purchases like lottery tickets, store-bought books, and designer duds will help to keep your wallet happy.

Featured image: pathdoc/

* Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.
2 There’s no fee for the Chime Savings Account. Cash withdrawal and Third-party fees may apply to Chime Checking Accounts. You must have a Chime Checking Account to open a Chime Savings Account.

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About the author

Cassidy Horton
Total Articles: 52
Cassidy Horton is a finance writer who specializes in banking and insurance. She earned her MBA and bachelor’s degree in public relations from Georgia Southern University — and has since published hundreds of finance articles online for Forbes Advisor, The Balance, Money,, and more. When she's not helping Millennials and Gen Zers gain control of their finances, you can find Cassidy hiking around the Pacific Northwest, cuddling her two cats, and eating way too much fried chicken. Connect with her on or LinkedIn to see what she’s up to next.