Tuesday, November 1, 2016

15 Ways You’re Wasting Money and Not Realizing It

 By Joel Lee
What is a beach if not a massive collection of tiny grains of sand? Each individual grain is insignificant, but when you put them all together in one place, it’s a lot easier to see the big picture.
The same holds true for money.
We all deal with a lot of fees and costs over the course of our lives. These may seem fine in the moment because they’re relatively small. But if you add them all together, you’d be surprised by how much money you’re actually throwing away.
In this post, we’ll explore 15 lesser-known money leaks that you should plug. Some tips involve cutting expenses out of your life, and other tips involve grabbing money on the table that you didn’t realize was there. I guarantee you’ll find at least one useful tip below!

1. Interest Rates

The average interest rate for a credit card is 18–24%. Let’s say you have $10,000 in credit card debt and you only make minimum payments. At 18%, you’ll pay $2,840 ($1,704 of that in interest) in the first year, but at 24% you’ll pay $3,408 ($2,272 of that in interest).
A huge difference — and that’s just in the first year!
My point is, every percentage point matters when it comes to interest. And you can probably get your interest rate reduced just by asking your credit card provider. It won’t always work, but it works more often than not. One phone call could save you thousands.

2. Late Payment Fees

When you’re drowning in debt, you may eventually run into a month when you can’t make all of your minimum payments on time. And neglecting a credit card payment can result in a significant late fee.How to Get Rich: The Fastest Way to Get Out of Debt How to Get Rich: The Fastest Way to Get Out of DebtImagine being debt free. No overdrawn balances or unpaid bills. There is a foolproof way of getting yourself out of debt. It starts with a plan and some discipline. Let's visit the other ingredients.READ MORE
If you have a history of good standing with your provider, you may be able to ask them to waive such fees. This won’t work if you’ve constantly missed payments, and it has the greatest chance of working the first time you miss one.

3. Annual Credit Card Fees

Avoid using credit cards with monthly or annual membership fees. The only exception to this is if the card comes with a rewards program that’s so good that you can easily make up the difference, whether in cash back, airline miles, or other rewards.How to Use Your Credit Cards to Save More Money How to Use Your Credit Cards to Save More MoneyCredit cards are usually seen as dangerous and a potential waste of money, but they can also help you save a lot of money if you use them correctly. Here's how.READ MORE
A $99 annual fee is money that’s thrown away for no good reason. Even a $5 monthly fee adds up to $60 lost every year, again for no good reason. You can always shop around for an equal or better card without such a fee (even if your credit score is abysmal).

4. Savings Accounts

Interest rates for savings accounts have been terrible over the past decade. My local bank offers no better than 0.01%. That means stashing away $10,000 will earn me $1 after one whole year. At that point, having an interest rate is almost insulting.
Which is why I store my savings elsewhere using one of these online banks. Because they don’t have as much overhead as brick-and-mortar banks, they can pass the savings on to you with higher interest rates. That same $10,000 can now earn me at least $100 every year.Save More Money by Using These 4 Online Banks Save More Money by Using These 4 Online BanksOnline banks frequently offer much better rates and perks than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Here are four of the best options for American residents.READ MORE

5. Investment Expense Ratios

Saving for retirement is absolutely essential, but how you save for retirement is just as, if not more, important. Investing in the wrong vehicles can end up eating into your overall gains, and when you compound that over 30–40 years, you could lose out on thousands and thousands of dollars.Can You Retire Early? These Calculators Will Tell You Can You Retire Early? These Calculators Will Tell YouFinancial independence and retiring early (FIRE) are great goals, but how can you figure out if they're possible? These calculators will help.READ MORE
When you invest in a mutual fund, such as a target date retirement fund, you have something called an expense ratio. This is a fee you pay to the fund manager to cover operating costs. And as you might expect, different funds have different expense ratios.
The average expense ratio is around 1%, but you can find much better deals if you know where to look. Vanguard’s Target Date Fund, for example, only has an expense ratio of 0.18%, making it one of the best values around.

6. No-Contract Mobile Plans

Mobile plans exist as one of the biggest modern money leaks. Dropping $150 or more every month just for smartphone access is excessive when you’re struggling to make ends meet. That’s why we recommend switching to a no-contract mobile plan.No Longer Tied to a Cellular Contract? 10 Reasons You Should Switch To An MVNO No Longer Tied to a Cellular Contract? 10 Reasons You Should Switch To An MVNOAre you out of contract with your cellular provider? Rather than upgrading your phone, and signing a new contract, consider switching to a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO. You can save hundreds, even thousands,...READ MORE
I’m on such a plan and only paying $25 per month for two phones. You’ll have to adjust your habits, such as using Wi-Fi instead of data whenever you can, but it’s not as painful a transition as you’d think. Saving over $100 per month certainly makes up for it.

7. Impulse Shopping

Impulse shopping itself isn’t really a “hidden” waste of money, but you’d be surprised how many tricks and tactics marketers will use to spur you into action. You don’t wake up intending to buy something on most days — you get tricked into it. Be aware of the tricks and impulse shopping will go down.7 Tricks That'll Help You Waste Less Money Online 7 Tricks That'll Help You Waste Less Money OnlineREAD MORE
This is also a great way to stop buying gadgets that you’ll regret later. Buyer’s remorse is real, and impulse shopping plays a big role in it. Don’t want to give up shopping altogether? Check out these tips for enjoying tech without spending so much money.

8. Shipping Fees

These days, I do almost all of my shopping online (groceries and Costco are the only exceptions.) Shipping fees were a big pain when I first made the switch, especially when it came to clothing and returns. An extra $5–10 on every order adds up.DOWNLOAD The MakeUseOf Shopping Guide DOWNLOAD The MakeUseOf Shopping GuideREAD MORE
This is why Amazon Prime is such an amazing deal. Not only do you get free two-day shipping, which alone can make up for the subscription cost, but you also get all kinds of other benefits like Prime Pantry, Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Reading, and more.
If you don’t want to use Amazon or Prime, here are several other nifty ways to score free shipping online.

9. Amazon Coupons

Did you know that Amazon has an entire section dedicated to coupons? As I write, I see coupons that let me save 40% off candy, 50% off baby wipes, $5 off whitening strips, $3 off dog treats, and that’s just on the front page.
Some of these coupons are available to everyone while some are only available to Prime members. This is one of the features that can make Prime Pantry worth using — clipping even just a few coupons can save a lot on an order. If you’ve never used Amazon coupons before, you’re leaving money on the table!Is Amazon Prime Pantry Worth Your Money? 5 Things You Need to Know Is Amazon Prime Pantry Worth Your Money? 5 Things You Need to KnowPrime Pantry lets you shop for groceries right from the Amazon homepage—but is it a good deal? Will it save you money? We look at all the facts.READ MORE

10. Insurance and Warranties

Before shelling out cash for insurance on an electronic device or buying an extended warranty policy, you should know that a lot of credit cards offer something similar at no extra charge. This is one of the main reasons why you should always purchase electronics on a credit card.
So before spending $100–350 on a service like AppleCare, think about whether it’s worth it. Your credit card might provide a year (or more) of extended coverage on top of the manufacturer warranty.AppleCare: What Are Your Options & Is It Really Worth It? AppleCare: What Are Your Options & Is It Really Worth It?High customer satisfaction ratings and a large network of stores capable of performing certain repairs on-site give AppleCare the edge over the average warranty - but are the benefits really worth the price?READ MORE

11. Digital Luxuries

Splurging is fine from time to time, but you have to make sure the thing you’re splurging on is worth it. The problem is that they usually aren’t. If something is valuable to you then by all means buy it, but if you know you can go without it, then consider that.
For example, in-flight Wi-Fi is rarely worth it: you end up paying a massive premium for a pittance. It might seem worth it if you’re addicted to your smartphone, for example, but why not buy an e-reader like a Kindle and read during your flight instead? It will come in handy for many flights and save you a bunch on Wi-Fi costs.In-Flight Wi-Fi: What to Know Before Wasting Money on It In-Flight Wi-Fi: What to Know Before Wasting Money on ItMore and more airlines are starting to offer in-flight Wi-Fi, but is it worth the exorbitant prices? Here's everything you need to know.READ MORE

12. Digital Subscriptions

How many digital subscriptions do you have that you’ve forgotten about? I’m talking about newspapers, magazines, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube Red, Blue Apron, all kinds of subscription crates, and even things like Patreon. Go back and get rid of the ones you never use — this is one of the easiest ways to slash your monthly expenses.
Be especially wary of free trial offers! If you forget to cancel in time and you don’t keep a close eye on your credit card statement, you could be losing money for no reason at all.
Don’t forget about subscriptions to Creative Cloud. If you haven’t used Photoshop or Lightroom in a while, maybe it’s time to drop your plan until you get back into it. Or maybe just use one of these free alternatives.Your Guide to Choosing The Right Adobe Product Your Guide to Choosing The Right Adobe ProductWhen most people think of Adobe, they either think of Photoshop or Acrobat Reader. But the company has a plethora of other useful software packages that most people know nothing about.READ MORE

13. Family Plans

Spotify, Google Play Music, Apple Music, Amazon Prime, Office 365, CrashPlan — what do all of these have in common? They’re all subscription-based, but they also provide family plan options.
If you use any of them, you can cut down your monthly costs anywhere from 20–80 percent by taking advantage of this. You get to keep your own account separate. No downsides at all. There isn’t much more to say than that.

14. Gas Money

Tired of spending hundreds on gas every month? You’ve heard all of the obvious solutions: carpool, stop going out so often, switch to a car with better gas efficiency, find another job with a shorter commute, even consider walking or biking to work.
But if you’re really trapped and/or don’t want to implement any radical changes, you could still save money by using one of these gas-saving apps. They’ll teach you how to drive gas-efficiently, show you which nearby gas station is cheapest, and help you save in other ways, too.8 Unique Apps to Help You Save Gas Money 8 Unique Apps to Help You Save Gas MoneySaving money on gas is not only good for yourself, but also for the planet. These apps help you efficiently manage your vehicle’s mileage and fuel costs while building good driving habits.READ MORE

15. Flight Tickets

Want to get airline tickets as cheaply as you can? There are several tricks and techniques you can use to save hundreds of dollars every time. And one of the easiest tricks? Shop in private browsing mode (AKA “incognito mode”).

All of These Leaks Can Really Add Up

If you implement even half of the tips in this post, you’ll end up saving a lot of money every month. $10 here and $10 there may not seem like much, but $10 from eight different sources monthly turns out to be almost $1,000 every year.
What would you do with $1,000?
If you want to save even more money, or better yet, if you want to become master over your money instead of being a slave to your habits, we encourage you to look up the simple side of personal finance. You’ll be amazed! I guarantee it.Simply Frugal: How To Learn Personal Finance The Easy Way Simply Frugal: How To Learn Personal Finance The Easy WayDo you fret over bills and debt on a regular basis? Do you feel lost when others speak using financial lingo? Here's the good news: it's never too late to learn about money.READ MORE
What kinds of tips and tricks have you used to cut down on your expenditures? What other “hidden money leaks” are out there for people like you and me? Share with us below!
Image Credit: Jag_cz/Shutterstock
Source: www.makeuseof.com


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