Looking to cut back on expenses? It’s actually easier than you think. Chances are, you’re spending too much on food, bank fees, cell phones and everything else in between.
Think about what you pay for each month. Some things, like car payments and mortgages, are the same every month. Non-essentials like cell phones and cable TV, on the other hand, can be sucking your bank account dry thanks to overage fees, random charges and general overpayment.
How much money is leaking out of your account each month? What services are you overpaying for? Read on to learn about the many ways in which you are losing money and not even aware of it.
That “free” checking account may cost $3 for paper statements, $4 to take money out of ATMs from other banks, and $30 for each overdraft. You may also have to pay fees of $10 or more if your balance goes below a minimum amount. Take a look at your next statement and see how much money your bank is making off of your habits.
If you’re one of the 10% of American households who are paying monthly fees for storage, you may want to reconsider this decision. A storage unit can cost $200 or more per month, so you’re paying to store stuff that’s going to depreciate in value anyway. If you’re simply using storage for a short-term solution – a couple months or so – that’s one thing, but if you’ve been using a storage unit for years, then you may want to consider selling what’s in it. You’re likely not using it anyway if it’s in storage. Like the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind.
Face it: If you have cable or satellite TV, you’re spending way too much money. There are so many other options nowadays when it comes to watching TV. Spending $100 a month for a package of 200 channels – with only 10 channels that you actually watch – is just plain silly. On top of that, the prices keep rising every year. A streaming service like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu Plus is basically all you need, and you should check out this article to see if Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, or Netflix is best for you.
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Cell phone plans.
Most people overestimate how much data and minutes they need for their cell phone. This means that they end up with tons of data and minutes that they never use. Some plans allow you to roll over unused data, but their balance often expires after a year. Whether you're using Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, or AT&T, check your monthly bill and take a look at how much you’re spending versus what you’re using. If you’re not using as much as you though, downgrade your plan and you could save $100 or more per year.
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Paying with credit and debit cards.
When we use credit cards to pay for purchases, we tend to overspend. Keep within your budget by using cash. Visit the ATM once a week and grab some cash for your purchases. When you have to physically hand over cash, you’ll be more likely to spend within your means rather than be tempted by candy bars.
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In our efforts to look younger, we turn to miracle creams that can allegedly shave 10-20 years off our age. Don’t buy into this. These beauty products are marketing schemes created solely to rob you of your money. They don’t work, so all you get is less money.
A Red Bull may help once in a while if you’re trying to cram for a test or are driving home late at night and don’t want to fall asleep. However, if you’re drinking one – or several – on a daily basis, then you may have a health issue. Not only is it not healthy to consume so much caffeine every day, but energy drinks are expensive as well - $4-$5 a drink. If you drink just one a day, that’s more than $1,000 a year. Plus, if you’re always feeling exhausted, you may have sleep apnea or some other condition that’s causing fatigue. If your Red Bull consumption lasts longer than a week, see a doctor for a physical evaluation.
Buying instead of renting.
Need a tool for a project? You can rent one for much cheaper. Many people think that if they need to use something one or twice, then they have to buy it. Not true. Home improvement stores and even some local libraries offer rental services for tools, electronics, musical instruments and more. If you’re in need of a high-ticket item, looking into renting first. You pay end up paying less than 1/10 of the cost, saving you hundreds of dollars.
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Poor health and hygiene habits.
Don’t want to see the dentist? Refuse to pay for health insurance? These decisions can cost you big time. Don’t put off seeing the doctor or dentist if you’re in pain. If you delay treatment, you’ll be left with a huge medical bill. Exercise, avoid smoking, don’t drink too much alcohol and purchase insurance so you can get regular checkups and medical care in the event of an emergency.
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Always losing stuff? You may laugh off each incident as a “senior moment,” but the truth is that being messy is no laughing matter. It can actually be very costly, especially if you lose your prescription glasses or have to replace your $700 iPhone, only to find out they were buried under a stack of papers. Keep tabs on items you need, such as glasses, car keys, purses, wallets and phones. Create an area for them, like a shelf or rack, so you always know where to find them. Don’t hoard items. Throw out trash promptly and open mail as soon as you receive it so you don’t end up with piles of papers and messes throughout the house. This makes it easier to lose things.
Nobody wants to overpay for items and services they commonly buy. By following the tips above, you can keep your wallet and bank account from leaking money.