Top Five Wasters of Time AND Money

time-money-wastersAs I typed away on my first blog posts in January, my (now-former) roommates sat out in the living room playing hours of video games. They had three game systems and about 40 games in our apartment, so they never seemed to get bored of their options. As I watched them sit and play night after night, I couldn’t help but think of the amount of money and time that is wasted by stuff like video games. These types of things not only suck up time, but you have to spend money to do them at the same time.

Video games are expensive, with systems costing up to $400,  single games up to $60, and other add-ons that can take costs into the thousands. Video games can also be incredibly addictive, with some World of Warcraft players ending up in rehab for gamers (yes, that exists now).  It’s very easy to lose track on time while playing, too.  I bought a Playstation 3 a few years ago.  While I enjoyed it, I soon realized how much time I spent playing it. I ended up selling it after owning it for less than a year.

While this isn’t meant to be an all-out assault on video games or other things we do for pleasure, I think most would agree that video games are money and time wasters. Here are some other things we buy (and do) that cost a lot of  money and time.

Online shopping

Online shopping is often easier and cheaper than going to the store, but there are still downsides.  In my experience, online shopping leads to more impulse buying.  On a whim, I can simply jump on to and make a purchase any time of day.

From the time side of online shopping, I’ll get caught up in trying to find the best deals. I could browse shoes at Zappos for hours.  Once I find a shoe I like, I check other online shoe websites to compare prices and see if I can get a better deal.  I then search Google for coupon codes to use on the websites.  A lot of times I won’t even end up buying anything after getting frustrated because it’s taking so long to find the perfect purchasing opportunity.

Going out to bars

Don’t get me wrong: I love going out for a drink with friends as much as anyone.  But I have an issue when it becomes too frequent.  I don’t think anyone will argue that drinks are 2-5 times more expensive at a bar than when enjoyed at home.  Cover charges and tipping add on to the cost, too. Besides the money, going out for drinks always takes more time than I originally plan for.  I get talked into staying longer.  I drink more than I originally wanted to. I stay up later at night. I don’t feel like working after having a few drinks. Yes, it’s fun, but ultimately it costs me time towards working on other things that I want to do.


Commuting isn’t the same as purchasing an item, but it can still be really expensive.  Driving to and from work has always been my least favorite part of the work day, and I’ve decided that I never want to spend two hours of my day in a car.  Driving 25 miles each way to a job can cost $150 a month on fuel alone. Besides the gas, there’s really no safe way to be productive while driving a car.  It’s basically a time sink and an easy way to lose 7-10 hours of free time a week.


Closely related to video games, television attracts even more people.  Cable is ridiculously expensive.  The average customer pays $75 a month, with some people paying over $100.  If you invested instead of paying for cable, you’d have a huge pot of money (and probably a much smaller gut) at age 65.  Combine the price with the average American who watches almost 3 hours of television per day, and television takes the prize as the most damaging double-waster of all.

I understand that no one is productive 100% of the time, and we all need downtime for rest.  I think all of these activities are perfectly fine in moderation.  It’s when they’re taken to an extreme that they really get expensive and stand in the way of goals, too.

Do you have any time and money wasters to add to this list?

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photo by: Rebecca Pollard


  1. I am surprised that playing video games is not on this list because people waste countless hours playing video games

  2. Jenna, Adaptu CM says

    Hanging out on Facebook.

  3. I like a lot of what you say here. Though I think online shopping can be beneficial if kept in moderation… it’s certainly less of a time/money waster than going to a brick & mortar. Also, I know I see this a lot regarding television, but you would never see anyone say that reading is a waste of time…i.e. newspaper subscription, money spent on books, or buying an expensive e-reader…I think many television shows are both entertaining and educational…that being said i watch a lot of the other stuff LOL…but at the same time, it helps me to relax too.

    • I think that’s a good point with reading. Something I try to focus on is not to over-consume by reading instead of acting. That’s been a struggle for me in the world of online business, but I’m getting much better at it lately.

  4. My biggest money waster is eating out. I love it. It’s not really a time waster though. How about kids! They are huge money and time wasters. haha. But I love them too.

  5. Dave @ Money In The 20s says

    I played my fair share of video games while I was in college (way too much Halo).

    I agree with the going out to the bars. Every time I go to the bar, I end p spending way more than I planned!

  6. My biggest time waster is video games. Love to play Dragon Age, Fallout 3 and who can forget Halo. LOL. I set a timer and allow myself a certain amount of playtime and then I get back to work. I think we all have our time wasters. A tip I can share for anyone with long commutes is listen to seminars or audio books in the car while traveling. I load my mp3 player up with audio lessons of various sorts and listen to it via my tape player and adapter for my mp3 player in the car while I drive.

    • Thanks, Jackie. I think timers are great for limiting a lot of things, even
      when doing productive work sometimes.

      I’m really big on podcats, which goes along with your audio lessons
      suggestion. It’s definitely a great way to learn something during a time
      that might otherwise be totally unproductive.

  7. I am really guilty on video games — and now, i really regret it since it is really a waste of time. If use the time to learn investing, I think I am rich now.

  8. Bon Crowder says

    Holy cow – multitasking!

    I’m doing my work and my brain is like my four “Spaces” on my Mac – each one with 12 windows open.

    I ended up here after heading to there when I thought about that because I saw this, that was based on the article I thought I would write that got way too complicated after shooting the pix and trying to import it when the camera wouldn’t connect…

    Writing of which, I think I need to go check email.

    But first, Twitter.

    Shoot me.

  9. definitely all of my big time wasters. I don’t have cable, but that doesn’t mean I’m not watching TV online! I think one of the best things about having a blog is it has made me more moderate–I don’t feel the need to do things to an extreme like watch 13 episodes of something in a row, or spend an entire day shopping at the mall. I can usually stop myself now and ask, what else can I be doing with my time?

  10. My biggest time waste is pointless internet time. I use my computer at home as part of my job, which I frequently do at night; and very often I find myself switching back and forth between being productive and wasting time. I need to master the art of closing tabs like Tumblr and Twitter so that I don’t log on and then realize I’ve killed three hours.

  11. For me, it is really important to spend time and money properly. The old saying never gets old “Time is gold”. We could have big earnings if we know how to spend our time. We could use our time to study on how to invest and apply it.

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