Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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6 Ways To Waste Money

Do you often find that you run out of money before your next payday comes? Feel like your money should stretch further than it actually does? Do you frequently overdraft your checking account? If you make enough money to cover your living expenses, but you’re continually broke, you may be wasting money, you know, spending it on frivolous things. Here are some signs that you’re wasting money.

Pay for subscriptions you don’t use.

The gym charges your credit card upwards of $30 every month, yet you haven’t been to the gym since the beginning of the year. You can waste hundreds of dollars every year on subscription goods and services you never use, like magazine subscriptions. Review your credit card and checking account statements for recurring subscriptions. Cancel them if you haven’t used the service in a few months. You can always sign up again if you decide to resume the service in the future. But for now, stop wasting that money.

Pay interest.

If you’re paying money toward a credit card every month, you’re probably paying interest, unless your credit card has a promotional rate. Otherwise, part of every monthly payment goes toward the interest and your true credit card balance only gets reduced by a fraction of what you send. You can avoid interest by paying your balance in full before the grace period ends. Or, if the grace period doesn’t apply because you already have a balance, pay off your credit card as quickly as possible to reduce the amount of interest you’ll have to pay.

Frequently pay late fees.

Every company you pay each month will assess a late fee if your payment is not received on the due date (or something very soon after). If you’re continuously paying late, you’re paying fees that can be avoided by simply making your payment a few days earlier. The late fee may only be a few dollars, but multiply that by several bills over several months and the money starts to add up. Use automatic billpay if you have trouble remembering to make payments or setup a reminder in your calendar so you can pay on time and avoid those fees.

Don't shop around.

Who says the first price you see is the best price? For most purchases, especially larger ones, it’s a good idea to look elsewhere before deciding to pay what could be top dollar. Even if you don’t shop around, ask the merchant or service provider whether there are any discounts available. You may be able to get a cheaper price just by asking.

Make frequent trips to another bank’s ATM.

Before the days of direct deposit, it was easier to keep cash in your wallet, you just deposited only part of your check into the bank. Now, you have to make a special trip to the ATM to pull out cash. If you visit another bank’s ATM, you’ll be charged a fee. Sometimes you have to pay two fees – one to the foreign bank and one to your own bank. Every once in awhile, the fee may be necessary, if you’re in a bind and you can’t make it to your own bank. But, doing this too often is wasteful. Try to visit your own bank to avoid fees or plan ahead and withdraw all the cash you’ll need for the upcoming days.

Eat out more often than you cook at home.

Restaurant food is convenient, but it’s generally more expensive than if you prepared your meals at home. If you don’t know how to cook, there are simple meals you can prepare at least once or twice a week. Or, make your breakfast at home – it’s one of the easiest meals to cook. Be smart about your grocery shopping and purchase what you’ll certainly use up. Buying perishable food and letting it spoil or rot is wasteful too.

Try thinking of your money in terms of the time it took to earn it. For example, you may have to work an hour and a half to earn enough money to pay an overdraft fee. Is it worth it? If you feel you’re wasting money, be more aware of where your dollars are going. You may be able to spot other areas that you’re not being careful with your funds.
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Thursday, 02 February 2023

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