Connect with us

These are The 7 Dumbest Mistakes (Almost) All Americans Make On The Internet

Avatar photo

Published

on

Advertiser Disclosure

I’m a massive internet nerd, and an embarrassing amount of my time is spent talking to people to find out how they’re browsing the web.

In my experience, the average American is making pretty serious errors on a daily basis.

Here are the 8 worst mistakes I typically see (and how you can save money by avoiding them):

1. Not using an ad blocker.

If you aren’t using an ad blocker yet, I am begging you to try one. I am not exaggerating when I say it will change your life.

A good ad blocker will eliminate virtually all of the ads you’d see on the internet.

No more YouTube ads, no more banner ads, no more pop-up ads, etc. It’s incredible.

Most people I know use Total Adblock (link here) – it’s $2.52/month, but there are plenty of solid options.

Ads also typically take a while to load, so using an ad blocker reduces loading times (typically by 50% or more). They also block ad tracking pixels to protect your privacy, which is nice.

Sometimes it saves even more than 50% on load times – here’s a quick test I ran:

Using an ad blocker saved a whopping 6.5+ seconds of load time.

Here’s a link to Total Adblock, if you’re interested.

2. Not paying off credit card debt.

Debt can make you feel hopeless—even if you’re responsible about making payments on time, the interest sometimes prevents you from paying off the debt.

But, believe it or not, plenty of companies (National Debt Relief, for example) are willing to help you pay off your debt.

Here’s how it typically works:

  • You typically need $20k+ in overall debt.
  • A company like National Debt Relief (there are plenty of others, too) negotiates with your credit card companies, banks etc. to try and reduce your debt.
  • If possible, they’ll consolidate all of your different sources of debt so you only have to make one monthly payment to one place.

A lot of times you’ll end up paying significantly less than you owe. Here’s an example from NDR’s site:

E.g. he was $36k in debt, but only ended up paying $23kish.

If things go well, you could be debt-free in 24-48 months or so. Here’s a calculator you can use to get a savings estimate, if you’re interested.

3. Not getting a financial advisor.

99% of people don’t have one, and it’s typically a huge mistake.

Sure, you can manage things on your own if you want to, but most people don’t have the time to actually do things right. There are huge benefits to having somebody pay attention to your money all the time.

  • People with financial advisors tend to beat the market by ~3%/year (according to a 2019 Vanguard Study). That can make a huge difference over time.
  • But more important: a good advisor will handle ALL of the annoying retirement stuff & bizarro tax implications you would have never thought of

If you don’t know a financial advisor personally, use a comparison site (like WiserAdvisor) and find somebody near you that has good reviews.

Or if you want something easier, here’s a 30-second quiz you can fill out that will find an advisor/planner based on your reqs.

4. Overpaying on auto insurance (by $400/year).

Believe it or not, the average American family still overspends by $417/year1 on car insurance.

Here’s how to quickly see how much you’re being overcharged (takes maybe 30 seconds):

  1. Pull up Coverage.com – it’s a free site that will compare prices for you
  2. Answer the questions on the page
  3. It’ll spit out a bunch of insurance quotes for you.

That’s literally it. You’ll likely save yourself a bunch of money.

Here’s a link to Coverage.com.

5. Not using high-yield savings accounts.

If you’re like the average American, your savings account pays you virtually zero interest (typically under 0.3% a year, in my experience).

But believe it or not, plenty of banks are willing to offer you 10x that rate.

Barclays, for example, has an account that pays a whopping ~4%/year right now (as of the time that I’m writing this).

(E.g. if you store $100k in a 4% interest savings account today, in a year you’ll have netted $4,000 from interest alone)

If you’re interested, here are a few bank accounts with solid interest rates:

6. Stop overpaying for stuff online.

You might be surprised how often you’re overpaying on Amazon and elsewhere.

Big stores like Amazon know that no one has time to price shop through dozens of sites, so there’s often no incentive for them to offer bargain prices.

I typically hate browser extensions with a fiery passion, but if you don’t have Capital One Shopping installed yet, do yourself a favor and grab it.

When you shop online (on Amazon or elsewhere) it will:

  • Auto-apply coupon savings codes.
  • Compare prices from other sellers to make sure you’re not missing out on a better deal.

It’s saved me a ton of money more than once. Here’s a quick example:

I tried to buy this blender on Amazon a few weeks back. Amazon’s price was $95.

(Savings will vary of course, this is just an example)

That exact same blender was $26 cheaper at another store (with 2 day shipping).

Here’s a link to install Capital One Shopping, if you’re interested.

7. Not getting paid for your screentime.

Very few people know about it, but Nielsen (the company that measures TV ratings) will actually pay you for the time you spend on your phone or PC.

You basically are part of a mini-research study: you just install an app on your device that will give Nielsen anonymous data on how much you use your phone, etc.

Not everybody qualifies for it (apply here), but if you do, it’s a sweet gig.

8. Not investing in real estate (start with as little as $20).

It’s no secret that millionaires and billionaires love investing in real estate, but for the rest of us, buying property has been prohibitively expensive (if not impossible, for some).

Times have changed. There are a few amazing real estate startups that allow you to buy shares of rental homes for as little as $20/share (Ark7 is one of my favorites).

They take care of the property management and collect rent checks for you. Then, on the 3rd of the following month, your share of the property’s profit is distributed to your account.

It’s an interesting way to build yourself a little rental home empire (without spending like a magnate).

If you’re interested, take a look at Ark7’s properties here.

9. Not investing.

If you’re like the average American, most (or all) of your income goes directly into your checking account. And for the most part, it stays there.

The problem: when your money sits in your savings/checking account, it’s slowly depreciating, thanks to inflation. And, over the past 40 years, inflation has averaged a whopping 3.8% a year.

The solution? Invest your money. Get an app like Acorns. They round up your spare change to the nearest dollar and then auto invest it. E.g. you buy a coffee for $4.25, they’ll round the purchase up to $5 and invest the $0.75 for you.

That’s all (for now).

Those are my top 8 savings tips for the time being (as of 09/01/23) but I’ll keep adding to this article as I find new tips for you.

Thanks for reading!

Companies mentioned in this article have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by included advertisers. Opinions are ours alone.


Content on this page should not be considered financial or investment advice: do your own research. Testimonials/success stories should not be viewed as expected results. Email us at info@betterbuck.net.