FEB 19, 2014
When it comes to managing your finances, paying closer attention to monthly expenses can really pay off. You’re likely paying for services you don’t really need, or overdoing your discretionary spending. These types of money drains can zap your accounts, leaving you feeling… well, drained. You work hard for your money, so you should work equally hard to protect what you’ve got.
1. Paying too Much for Groceries
Your grocery bill is one of the highest monthly expenses that you can reduce with relative ease. If you’re not already couponing, now’s the time to start. Cut coupons from your Sunday paper and download a price finder app on your smartphone to help you find the best savings. Make sure you’re signed up for your grocer’s loyalty program to maximize savings at the register, and then start looking at your actual grocery purchases. Start cutting out sugary snacks, sodas, and juices. They’re expensive and unhealthy – a double-whammy of financial negativity. Finally, learn how to plan your meals and shop with a list. This prevents you from overspending on unnecessary items.
2. Overdoing Your Data Plan
When was the last time you cross-checked your smartphone usage with your data plan? If you’re well below your monthly limit, switch to a less expensive plan. If you are always going over your monthly data limit, you might want to download a free app that helps monitor data usage plan. This can help you avoid both expensive and unnecessary charges.
3. Stopping at Convenience Stores
Other than gasoline, there’s very little you actually need to purchase from convenience stores. You can get your news fix online, your coffee at home, and your groceries at the grocery store. If you frequently stop to grab a lottery ticket, beer, or cigarettes, it may be time to kick those money drains to the curb.
4. Not Itemizing Your Taxes
Depending on your situation, you could save hundreds of dollars each year by itemizing your taxes. Plus, you don’t need to be all that tax-savvy to take advantage of available deductions. Use inexpensive tax prep software or go to the IRS website to access a list of companies that prepare tax returns for free.
5. Paying for Hidden Fees
Hidden fees are everywhere. They’re in your monthly service bills, credit card bills, and bank statements. Don’t just mindlessly pay your balances each month. Look at each bill and check for added fees. If you see something unusual, contact the provider and ask for it to be removed.
6. Not Managing Your Thermostat
Aim to set your thermostat to 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter. Put a sweater on in the colder months and pare down to a tank top when it’s hot out. Purchase a programmable thermostat and adjust its settings so that your home’s temperature is lower or higher while you’re at work, depending on the season. There’s no sense cooling or heating an empty house.
Everyone’s money drains are a little bit different, so take a hard look at your expenses to see where your money’s going. Frequent shopping sprees, regular nights out, or subscription services you never use are a few other possibilities. You don’t need to give up your favorite hobbies or your time with your friends, but consider cutting back to free up some cash.
What money drains can you think of?
About the Author
Bob Reber writes about money saving strategies and methods to save more for the future and for retirement.
This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc., an Experian company. © 2014 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. All rights reserved.