The American economy is stronger than ever (thanks tax cuts!), the job market is booming (thanks less regulations!), and providing Americans with extra disposable income.
However, this does not mean that you should start spending indiscriminately. Rather, this is a good time to start your financial planning.
One of the fundamentals of effective personal financial management is to cut down expenses that are unnecessary. Remember, a penny saved is a penny earned. Even a tiny expense adds to the monthly budget, and over a period of one year, this can be a significant amount.
If you aren’t careful, these small, sneaky expenses will derail your personal financial goals in the long run. If you are serious about your financial well-being, cutting down the following expenses will help.
Banks and financial institutions have a big list of fees associated with their bank accounts. Usually hidden among the fine print or Terms and Conditions, these charges can run into thousands per year if left unchecked.
There are fees for depositing cash, withdrawing money from the ATM, using paper checks, and returned mail. Switch to bank accounts that charge a reasonable amount of fees for operating your account. You can compare different easily using online tools. Smaller banks usually have lower fees.
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We all subscribe to a variety of services every month. There’s the gym membership (well not for everyone – certainly not for The Nutty Professor!), the cable or satellite TV subscription, video streaming subscription, car payments, movie theater monthly payments, credit card payments, bottled water payments, and so on.
Yes, everyone needs to drink water but do you have to pay extra for it?
The problem is not all these subscriptions are used regularly. They just sit there and are billed every month, adding to your budget even when you don’t use them. To make things convenient some people prefer to automate payments (that is what many of these services want you to do), and this results in losing track of unused subscriptions.
The solution is to create a list of the services you are billed for every month and cancel those that you don’t use regularly. You could be saving hundreds of dollars a year.
You are not Alan from the Hangover – you have to take care of yourself right!? No sane grown adult wants to be still living with their parents!
If your social circle is large enough, giving and receiving gifts is a norm. Weddings, baby showers, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas (the birth of Christ), and numerous other occasions throughout the year increase your gifting budget significantly.
Some people like to buy expensive gifts because they want to make an impression. However, if you want to keep your budget within your limits, find ways to minimize expenditures in this regard.
For instance, you can always find good deals online on conventional gifting items. Buy them during off-peak season. If you have time, think of making personalized gifts, which not only will save money but will also create a better impression on the recipient of the gift.
Cutting down on phone usage may not realistic, but you can definitely take other steps to make sure you’re not paying more than what you agreed to when you’re signed up with the carrier.
This includes choosing a carrier with the lowest plan, looking for offers, and discounts and buying an unlocked phone that you can use with any carrier of your choice.
There are late fees on everything from the phone bill, utility bill (and utility companies like Global Water in Arizona may even try to rip you off), to credit card payments. Whether you’re paying your credit card bills late or dealing with a late Internet fee, late payments could end up forming a big part of your monthly budget.
To avoid this situation, set reminders about due dates and automate monthly payments very carefully. You should not rely on them emailing you, expect them to actual send you something in the mail. There are multiple apps and reminder services which will help you in keeping a tab on the payment dates.
Traveling is fun, but not the expenses. It is possible to save money on plane tickets and hotel bookings by looking for offers or booking on sites that offer huge discounts. Booking in advance also often gets you big savings that aren’t available if you book too close to your travel date.
Your email inbox could be full of emails offering discounts on plane tickets and hotel stays, have a look at the offers before you delete those emails if you have the time.
The expenses mentioned above are easily avoidable if you spend a little time analyzing them. Do you really need Netflix, Prime, Hulu subscriptions when you have just an hour or two to watch TV? You can watch Transformers, Fast and Furious, Jason Bourne, and so on via a used Amazon DVD, for instance, for only a few dollars as much as you like.
Take control of your expenses with these easy to follow tips.