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Stop the Madness of Wasting Money! 

As March Madness grips the nation with thrilling basketball games, it’s the perfect time to tackle another form of madness that often goes unnoticed – financial wastefulness. It’s reported that consumers waste thousands of dollars annually on unnecessary expenses, often without realizing it. From unused subscriptions to excessive banking fees, the dribble of small charges can add up to significant losses over time. Let’s explore how to take control of your finances, using the excitement of March Madness as a catalyst for change. 

If you feel you’ve wasted some money, you’re not alone! Consider these stats: 

  • Nonessential Spending: Each American spends approximately $18,000 annually on nonessentials, as revealed by a Ladder and OnePoll survey (Vox). 
  • Impulse Purchases: The average yearly cost of impulse buys for Americans is $3,768, according to Ramsey Solutions. 
  • Clothing Waste: Americans discard an average of 81.5 pounds of clothing per person each year, totaling 11.3 million tons, according to 
  • Subscription Services: Monthly spending on subscription services averages $219 per person, as reported by C&R Research. 
  • Credit Card Costs: American households, on average, incur $1,000 in credit card interest and fees each year, contributing to a total of $120 billion nationally ( 

Curb Wasteful Spending 

Some strategies can help you adopt a more disciplined financial lifestyle. Here are just a few tips to assist you: 

  • Distinguish Wants from Needs: Identify essentials for living versus everything else to cut down on trivial purchases. 
  • Create a Budget: Outline income, fixed expenses, and discretionary spending to control unnecessary expenditures. 
  • Cooling-Off Period: Wait before making purchases to evaluate their actual value and necessity. 
  • Envelope System: Allocate a specific monthly cash amount for various spending categories to avoid overspending. 
  • Sustainable Living: Aim for a lifestyle that reduces environmental impact through mindful purchases. 
  • Informed Choices: Understand the root causes of wasteful spending for better financial decisions and well-being. 

Try the 50-30-20 Budgeting Rule. 

A simple way to manage your finances is the 50-30-20 rule, which allocates 50% of your income to needs, 30% to wants, and 20% to savings and debt repayment. This rule can help you prioritize your spending and save for the future. 

Time Your Purchases 

Believe it or not, the time of year can impact the cost of certain items. Here’s a quick guide to the best months for buying various products: 

  • January: linens and bedding, exercise equipment, winter clothing 
  • February: TVs, tax-filing software, cookware, and small kitchen appliances 
  • March: skis and snowboards, high-end fashion, luggage 
  • April: tires, cruise vacations, hotel discounts on tax day 
  • May: mattresses, smart-home hubs, office furniture 
  • June: gardening tools, gym memberships, camping gear 
  • July: swimwear, air conditioners 
  • August: laptops, school supplies, shoes 
  • September: older iPhone models, grills, summer clothing 
  • October: outgoing models of sedans and SUVs, Halloween costumes, patio furniture 
  • November: gaming systems, tablets, large appliances 
  • December: jewelry, toys, wedding dresses 

Manage Subscriptions & Bills 

In the digital age, subscriptions can be a sneaky drain on your wallet. Here are some strategies to manage them effectively: 

  • Set Up Alerts and Checklists: Use calendar alerts and financial checklists to review your subscriptions regularly. This simple step can help you identify and cancel services you no longer use or need. 
  • Empower Your Kids: If your children have subscriptions for games or apps, consider opening a kid’s account and teaching them to manage their subscriptions responsibly. It’s a great way to instill financial literacy from an early age. 
  • Use Management Tools: Tools like the Experian App offer services to track and manage your budget and bills, including subscriptions. It can even help you manage your debt and dispute charges automatically. Taking advantage of these types of tools can save you time and money. 

Review Current Loans & Credit Cards 

Often, loans and credit accounts at various financial institutions can have better alternatives. You can reduce the interest you pay for considerable savings or eliminate unnecessary fees. Consider the following: 

  • Refinance High-Interest Loans: If you have loans with high interest rates, refinancing at a lower rate can reduce your monthly payments and the total interest paid over the life of the loan. 
  • Consolidate Debt: Combining multiple debts into a single loan can simplify your payments and potentially lower your interest rate. 
  • Switch to No-Fee Financial Products: Products like NCACU’s free Checking Accounts and no-fee credit cards can eliminate unnecessary costs. Always review the perks of your cards to maximize their benefits. 


As March Madness teams strive for efficiency and excellence on the court, you can apply the same principles to your financial life. Reduce financial waste by making informed purchasing decisions, managing your loans wisely, taking control of subscriptions, and creating greater awareness of where your money is spent. 

Remember, every dollar saved is a step closer to your financial goals. Embrace the spirit of March Madness and make this the month you start winning your financial game! 

Grandville Branch access is limited by construction. Please access Ivanrest via Prairie Street.