Personal finance tips and advice on money and investing to increase your financial intelligence and welfare

Cut your spending without even noticing

With so many hidden fees tagging along on most of our expenses, it’s easy to forget that we pay so much for perks and services we may never use. To begin trimming your spending, take notice of superfluous fees and learn how to avoid them.

Extended warranties may sound like a good idea, but they’re often split second decisions made at the register at the checkout. Many of these warranties are unnecessary because the products themselves offer manufacturer warranties.

ATM fees can add up quickly if your bank charges a couple of dollars for each use. Avoid fees by knowing which ATMs you can use for free or get out of the car and pay the teller a visit.

If you have a bank that charges a monthly maintenance fee for your savings account, get out. Checking accounts along with ATM fees, teller services and checks should always be free, so move to a bank or credit union that offers these complimentary services.

Cell phone early terminations can cost a pretty penny. Avoid spending hundreds of dollars in early termination fees by checking to see if the cell phone provider has made any recent changes in your terms of contract. If so, you are entitled to a free cancellation.

Avoid applying for a credit card with an annual fee, even if you have had financial trouble in the past, there are a range of bad credit credit cards from providers that will not charge you for carrying their card. 

Bad credit credit cards also allow you to compare APR rates, so don’t spend extra money on purchases just because you have a higher interest rate.

Never pay to obtain a copy of your credit report. Everyone is entitled to a free annual credit report that you can view and print online once a year.

You should also never pay for financial counseling or debt reduction help. Ask around for free local services that will assist you. You may have to pay a one-time, minimal fee if you have to go ahead with bankruptcy counseling but the steps up until that point should be free of charge.

Skip the cost of a newspaper and read the news online. Depending on the cost of your paper, this could save you up to $5 a week, which is $300 a year.

Don’t pay for a gym membership when your apartment complex offers one to the community. If you have a nice park nearby or even enough space in your living room, work out outside or at home for free.

Tax time always seems like a hectic time for everyone, but doing your own taxes for free isn’t that difficult with today’s e-filing software and services. Do it yourself and save a wad of cash and the headache of waiting for a tax professional.

Forego the bottled water and drink from the tap. Trendy, reusable bottles are available everywhere, so make this one-time purchase for the benefit of the planet and fill it up at the tap.

On that note, do the same with coffee. A cup of daily Joe starts to add up, so buy a reusable thermal cup or other container and make your coffee at home or get it in the office.

Collecting books can become a habit for so many people, but it’s free to borrow books from the library. If you simply must own a book, start a book swap, ask a friend, or buy from a used bookstore.

There are so many ways you can cut your spending without even noticing. All it takes is a little extra effort.

 

 

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