Americans lose and waste more money per capita than any other nation, worse yet, most don’t even know they are doing it.  Here’s a list of the most common ways you may be wasting your hard earned money.  Instead, consider putting it into saving for emergencies or future purchases or vacations.

Credit Card Interest – Basically, if you have to pay for it with a credit card but can’t afford to pay the card off at the end of the month, you can’t afford it.  The only time you should put expenses on your credit cards even though you can’t pay it off monthly are emergencies.  The average household credit card debt is dropping, but American’s are still paying about $1,350 a year in interest charges.

Special Deals & Websites – When’s the last time you bought some special deal like weight loss, acne creams, and other pills, lotions and potions from a business in town or online saving “huge” amounts with a “massive discount” and used the product in the prescribed manner within the time frame allotted to get the advertised results?

Bad Eating Habits – Ounce per ounce, junk food like chips, candies, and pastries are five times more expensive than regular food.  Frozen dinners are two times as expensive as regular foods that you prepare yourself.  Buy a cookbook and read online how to cook easy to prepare tasty healthy meals.  In a year, the average American will save $2,000, or $3,100 per household.

ATM fees – Using an ATM from a bank other than yours is costly, in 2012 the banking industry raked in an estimated $7.5 billion in ATM fees alone.  Try to use your own bank’s ATM’s, planned ahead, or consider switching to a bank that refunds you whatever you pay in ATM fees, yes those banks do exist.

Alcohol, Gambling & Tobacco – America’s vice.  You may gamble and don’t even know it.  On average, U.S. households spend $1,300 a year on gambling.  Everything from lotteries to horse racing, dog racing, casino boats, and of course, Las Vegas and Atlantic City.  And we drink and smoke or chew tobacco.  The average household spends an estimated $5,870 a year on gambling, alcohol, and tobacco combined.

Unused gym memberships, gift cards – in 2012, an estimated $2 billion in gift cards went unused sending the money back to the retailer’s pocket with a portion also going to the state.  Only 18% of gym membership holders actually use the gym on a regular basis, that’s why gym’s charge so-called “set up fees”, “administrative fees” and “sign up fees”.  Contrary to the salesman claiming those fees cover the cost to sign you up and enroll you, it cost the average gym $2.84 to enroll you, including electricity.  The rest is pure profit.

Extended Warranties – by a large, products are made more reliable than ever, and on average, only 7% of people who buy an extended warranty for their new product will ever have to use it.  Americans have a disposable mindset, throwing away computers, phones and other devices that commonly have extended warranties, every 3 years.  So most likely, you’re warranty will outlast your ownership, thus wasting your money.

Speeding Tickets – American’s pay an estimated $4.5 trillion on speeding tickets a year, with one in six American’s getting a ticket every year.

Wasted Home Energy – Energy Star, a government-supported agency, says American’s waste $450 billion a year on home energy and that each household could cut the electric bills and gas bills by a third by simply following their basic recommendations, let alone the most advanced ones.

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