No matter how fiscally disciplined you are you might still be losing small amounts of money in ways you don’t realize. While the amounts may be as small as a few dollars per month, it really adds up compounded over time. Forbes wrote a great piece arguing that if you plug up these potential leaks now, it can lead to a few hundred extra dollars in your pocket when the winter holidays arrive.
Overpaying for Your Smartphone – This is a tricky one because most of us aren’t that good at estimating how much minutes and data we actually use. The key here is to pay more conscious attention to your data usage and switch to the plan that best fits your behavior. Having a data limit that is too low can nail you with overage fees for exceeding the cap and having a cap that’s too high could mean that you’re paying for data that you’re not using. It’s estimated that Americans pay their wireless carriers $336 more than they really should be paying per year.
Hidden Fees on Monthly Bills – Many monthly bills that you have can increase without you necessarily knowing. Banks and cable companies especially are now charging for things that they previously offered for free like checking accounts and cable boxes. It is also common for companies to charge you for a service after you’ve already cancelled it. The best way to fight against this is to call the company directly and ask to be returned to the old rate if they can’t give you a clear explanation as to why the fees increased.
Storage Unit Fees – In many cases it’s not worth it to keep your excess possessions in a storage facility. Storage facility fees can run as much as $255 per month and many of the possessions in there are only depreciating in value while you pay for them to sit there. As an alternative, if you can sell those excess possessions on eBay you can come out making money in the process. In a situation like this though, it will ultimately be cheaper to donate your things or throw them out as opposed to storing them.
Buying Instead of Renting Equipment – In many cases it is far cheaper to rent specialized equipment rather than buying it. For most people it doesn’t make sense to buy things like powerwashers and chainsaws because they don’t get used enough to justify the sticker price. For items like this just rent them or borrow them from a friend for a day at a fraction of the cost.
Not Bundling Services or Policies – In many cases you can save a good bit of money by bundling your phone, cable, and internet service provided you actually use all three enough to justify the cost. The same goes for insurance. Many insurance companies will offer you multi-policy discounts which could save you money over mixing and matching. It’s important to run the numbers before doing this though if it makes financial sense to bundle than you absolutely do so.
Hoarding Your Credit Card Rewards – It’s nice to get rewards for using a credit card but nearly a third of credit card rewards go unused every year. Make sure you have a definite plan as to how you’re going to use the rewards you get and don’t hoard them because they can expire. Even cash back rewards should be claimed regularly because the money doesn’t earn interest when its just sitting there.
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