4 surprising areas where you might be wasting your money
I know what you’re thinking: Great, another article that will shame me for my weekly coffee habit! But where you might actually be wasting money is far less apparent than your Starbucks addiction. You might be losing out on anywhere from a few dollars a month to hundreds per year simply from recurring costs and fees that you wouldn’t normally think about. These are the biggest areas where you might be wasting money.
Fees on your checking/savings account
More banks these days are finding sneaky ways to profit off of the people who use their services. A common trick to take extra money out of your pocket is to charge a fee for checking or savings accounts on a monthly basis if you do not have a high enough balance. There is NO good reason to pay for a checking account, so if you spot fees, it’s time for a change of pace. Try downgrading your account to something that does not include fees or switch to a different bank or credit union where you won’t be charged.
Annual fees for credit cards you don’t use
There’s a good chance that you might have gone through a few different credit cards before finding one that you decide you want to stick to. But if any of those unused credit cards are still racking up an annual fee, that’s hundreds of dollars being thrown out the window every year. Review your credit card statements for the year to see which of your unused cards are incurring fees. If you’re not making up at least that amount in perks and rewards, time to get rid of it. Call the credit card company and ask them to downgrade your card to a free version instead—that way you keep an open line of credit (which looks great on credit scores) but you no longer have to pay an annual fee.
Memberships for things you don’t use
Monthly memberships and subscription services can offer us access to fun and exciting new services and goods. But once the thrill of a new package at your door wears off or you realize you haven’t stepped foot in your gym in about six months, it becomes much harder to justify the money you are spending. Make a list of the services you are a member of, and how much they cost every month. Then take a good hard look at what you’re actually using. Do you only use Hulu for three months out of the year, to watch one specific show? Are you throwing out almost everything in your Sephora Play boxes because the stuff you get is not your style? Be brutally honest about what you don’t need then cancel anything that you’re not consistently using.
It can be tough getting all of your bills paid on time when they’re constantly occurring at random times throughout the month. And even then, you might have already blown your budget and you need to wait until your next paycheck to cover a bill. But as much as possible, it is crucial to pay your bills on time, not only to avoid a negative impact on your credit, but also to avoid any kind of late fees. While a few bucks here and a few bucks there might not seem huge, constant fees for multiple bills throughout the year can add up very quickly. If you know you have a habit of spending more than what you have available—then struggle to pay the bills later—try separating your money. Give yourself a strict spending budget with cash, and reserve everything left in your account for upcoming bills for that period.