An April Fools Look at Foolish Money Mistakes

We all make foolish money mistakes (from not adhering to a budget to making too many impulse purchases), but here are some of the less obvious ones that are garnering some attention now that there are new numbers (in the forms of studies, surveys and reports) attached to them:

Sitting in traffic

According to a study by INRIX, traffic jams cost drivers $1200/year in wasted time and fuel! Time to consider public transportation? Biking? Other alternatives!?!?!

Buying premium fuel

Get this: consumers waste over $2 billion dollars a year on premium fuel.

A GasBuddy survey shows that 12% of motorists are using the expensive stuff—even when their cars don’t require it! Remember: ‘recommended’ is one thing; ‘required’ is another. (Check your manual.)

Using same credit card

A new report from shows that an estimated 32 million credit card holders haven't updated their preferred card in at least a decade; 21 million others have never switched cards!

No matter how you feel about your current card, it’s smart to periodically review new offers to make sure you’re not missing out—especially now, given the super competitive credit card environment we’re in.

What’s out there? Great sign up bonuses, longer zero percent introductory offers (which can help you get out of debt faster) and very lucrative rewards (which can put more money in your pocket).

Supporting adult children

As a parent, it’s your job to support your children on the path to adulthood.  But lots of parents are supporting their children financially even after they’re adults, with kids of their own!

That’s the finding of a new survey by TD Ameritrade.

Any idea how much baby boomers are losing each year to their millennial children? $11,000! And it’s affecting their ability to save for retirement or actually retire.

Assuming small indulgences don’t matter

You’ve heard of the ‘Latte Effect’ but a Ph.D. student recently put a number to it.

Consider this: If you were to make your own coffee, putting the $3.19 for every day you bought a latte into can account earning 6% interest for 50 years, you’d end up with nearly $340,000!

Vera Gibbons is a Senior Consumer Analyst with and founding editor of A former analyst with MSNBC who appeared regularly on the “Today Show,” Gibbons was previously a Financial Contributor with CBS News.