Many people have a tendency to get sucked into paying late fees or other types of expenses that are unnecessary in daily life.
When I was younger and much more irresponsible (with a capital “I”), I bounced checks, had overdraft fees, paid late charges on credit cards and movie rentals.
I was a mess!
I'm sure if I went back and tallied all the stupid charges I paid, I would probably be sick.
These small expenses can easily add up over the year.
Just think, paying ten dollars a month for a credit card “fraud” safety program can easily add up to over $100 in a given year. (Yeah, got duped into that one too!)
If you are trying to stick to a budget, then here are some of the ways that you can avoid getting caught up in these expenses and put more money in your pocket.
1. Know What You're Paying For
When people take out credit cards, they often have no idea that certain costs may come attached to the credit card. You may be enrolled in a program that you had no idea you were participating in. Always read over your monthly credit card statements to make sure that you know exactly which programs you are paying for.
You may be enrolled in a fraud program that you do not even need. If you are already part of an identity theft safety program, then you have no need for the additional $10 a month fraud program from a credit card company.
I paid for one of these programs for several months before I finally caught on to what was up. I immediately called the card company and protested. I threatened to close my card and I was immediately refunded.
Had I not caught it, who knows how long I would have continued to pay it.
2. Avoid Banking Late Fees
The good news is that if you are caught with fees from you banking institution, you can probably negotiate your way out of the fees. If you had a few overdraft fees for the given month, you can protest the fees and see if they are waived. Otherwise, just try to avoid taking too much money out of your accounts.
Avoid the late fees that you can incur when you do not make timely payments on your credit cards. Even the most forgiving credit cards may actually charge you a certain percentage of the balance that you have as a “late fee,” so these late fees can quickly become expensive.
3. Read Through Contractual Terms
Always read through the contractual terms when you purchase a major appliance. For home living, you may be able to use a Raleigh storage unit instead of paying more rent for a larger condo space. Make sure that you are not paying for any extended warranties that you do not need.
The biggest hit I took was on a gym membership when I was living on the west coast. I had signed a 3 (maybe 5) year agreement without thinking twice about it. It was too tempting because the monthly rate was only $19/month.
When I ended up moving back to the Midwest, they tried to come after me to pay for the remainder of the contract. Luckily, the closest gym to me was more than 6 hours away and once again I was off the hook.
Lesson learned: Read the fine print.
When you are trying to cut costs in life, it is important to be aware of all of the ways that you can easily save money. Keep these tips in mind, and you will be able to successfully stick to a budget.