Almost all of us have leaks in our budgets, but what’s worse is that you may hardly notice some of them. Unfortunately, those small leaks can add up to big bucks over a short period of time.  The trick is to find the holes and fix them so you can keep more money in your wallet. That extra cash could be just what you need to save, invest or break the frustrating cycle of living  paycheck to paycheck.

  1. Paying Checking Account Fees
    No one likes paying bank fees. They serve no purpose other than to make banks more money! That’s why you should switch to a credit union today. Credit unions are known for having low to no fees on their accounts and best of all, free checking! Why should you have to pay money in order to keep your money safe?
  2. Paying ATM Fees
    Expect to throw away money every time you use an ATM that isn’t in your financial institution’s network. That’s because you’ll pay an ATM surcharge, and your own credit union or bank might hit you with a non-network fee. Make sure to check with your financial institution to see what kind of fees you will be paying if you use an ATM not in their network.
  3. Tossing Food Based on the Expiration Date
    This is something I am 100% guilty of. There’s a good chance you’re throwing away hundreds or even thousands of dollars’ worth of food each year before it has gone bad if you’re using the sell-by and expiration dates as a resource for whether food is still edible. These dates are just the manufacturers’ best guess of when food is at peak quality and are not related to safety. You can usually expect food to be safe for another 5-7 days past the sell-by date printed on the package. The best test to tell if something is still good is to smell it or take a small bite.
  4. Buying Brand-Name Instead of Generic
    From groceries to clothing, you can save money by choosing generic over brand-named items! And in many cases, you won’t sacrifice much in quality. Clever advertising and fancy packaging don’t make brand-name products better than lesser-known brands. So next time you are at the store, don’t feel pressured to purchase the name brand items! Save money, and go with store brand!
  5. Paying Late Fees and Missing Bills
    If you pay a stack of bills every month, it’s easy to overlook one or two every now and then. But if you miss a credit card payment by even one day, you will pay a late fee. Not only that but your credit score could also take a hit if you pay your bill late. Remember that your Payment History makes up 35% of your FICO credit score. Always pay your bills on time and try to pay more than the minimum payment to pay less in interest over the course of your loan.  To help you stay on track, sign up for automatic payments or billpayer! It will save you time, stress and money!
  6. Keeping Unhealthy Habits
    A cigarette here, a few drinks there or maybe just tanning to look good for that big event. Indulging in these unhealthy habits  is often portrayed as the fun part of life, but letting bad habits go unchecked can have a harmful effect on your wallet — not to mention your health. Just ask yourself… are the short terms effects worth it in the long run?
  7. Paying Too Much for Shipping
    If you do your shopping online, you probably know that shipping fees are outrageous unless you decide to spend $100 on your total purchase. Don’t give into that! There are many retailers that offer free shipping, ALL of the time. And for those that don’t, you can find free shipping codes at FreeShipping.org, or you can take advantage of days like Cyber Monday when there are great deals and no shipping costs!
  8. Fast Food
    Food takes up a big portion of our budget. If you are spending a lot of money on eating out every week, you may be surprised at just how much money you can save by kicking the fast food habit. In addition to saving money, you may experience health benefits since you can choose healthier options to eat at home.
  9. Overspending on Gas and Oil
    There’s no need to splurge on premium fuel if the auto manufacturer says regular is just fine. Also, are you still paying for an oil change every 3,000 miles? Many models nowadays can last 5,000 to 7,000 miles between changes, and some even have built-in sensors to tell you when it’s time to change the oil. Check your owner’s manual to find the best time for your car’s routine maintenance.

 

What are some of your bad money habits? Or what are some ways you kicked those habits to the curb? Share with us in a comment below!

 

Until Next Time,

Jessica M.

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