Sneaky money-wasters


Studies find 70 percent of all consumer spending in the U.S. is done by women, but where that money really goes may surprise you.

You have your rent, your car payment, student loans, and business expenses. Those are musts, but what do you waste your money on?

First up, fast food; this year alone Americans will spend more than $110 billion on fast food. Ditching the fast food habit could save you as much as $1,820 a year.

Using the closest ATM rather than one at your own bank is convenient but costly. The Consumer Credit Counseling Service of New York says it costs most people $5 a withdrawal, which is about $40 a month and almost $500 a year.

Although it's tempting to try and win the latest lottery, forget about it. Consumers bought $70 billion worth of lotto tickets last year and most people buy between $10 and $20 worth a week. That can add up to $1,040 a year.

Where you live could also be sucking up all your extra cash. The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development suggests spending less than a third of your paycheck on your home, but most renters dish out about half of their paycheck each month on rent and utilities. So if you make $30,000 a year, aim to spend about $830 a month on rent.