There are many expenses that that aren't actually essential to our daily lives. But even so, they remain a very present (if wasteful) part of our budget. Almost without question we pay for these costs without even thinking about it - even if getting rid of them is easier than we can imagine. While ever budget is different, here are six examples of expenses you would never miss if you cut them out of your life.
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Whether you are buying big ticket appliances or small ticket electronics, it seems that many retailers really want you to buy extended warrantees for the purchases. Since most of these products come with manufacturer warrantees for at least the first year, there is rarely a need to actually buy an extended warrantee.
In fact, these are often money wasters because the covered events are so limited that they often don't pay for the actual repairs you need. (Avoid shelling out for these policies and you could save hundreds of dollars. Check out Extended Warranties: Should You Take The Bait?)
2. Bank Fees
Banks need to earn money to satisfy shareholders, and they make money through charging customers interest on loans and fees on accounts. Some fees, like insufficient funds fees, below minimum balance fees and ATM fees are completely avoidable with proper planning. By balancing your checkbook consistently, controlling your spending and planning ahead for cash needs, you can stop paying these fees and end up with more money for debt reduction and savings.
3. Small Purchases
A latte here and a magazine there may seem like nothing, but purchases of $10 or less can really add up. Restricting the amount of money you allow yourself to spend each week on these small purchases can end up making a big difference in the way your monthly budget looks.
4. Cable Television
It has never been easier to cancel your cable subscription and still watch all your favorite shows. All you need to do is have access to the internet and a computer that you want to watch shows on - or a laptop you can connect to a TV as a monitor. If you do, then you can use sites like Hulu.com or the actual network websites to watch free episodes of your favorite shows. You will even get to watch them while sitting through fewer commercials than with cable. (In 2001, America Online acquired Time Warner in a megamerger for $165 billion - the largest business combination up until that time. See Biggest Merger and Acquisition Disasters.)
5. Installment Fees
If you pay your insurance premiums in monthly installments rather than in one annual payment, you might be charged additional fees for the convenience. By changing your premium payment option to annual, you will save yourself this small fee. With proactive planning and a little bit of saving, you can set aside the money you need to start paying annual premiums next year.
6. Late Fees
Mail bills on time in order to avoid late fees. You can also arrange for online or phone payments to reduce your likelihood of being charged a late fee. But late fees don't just come for bills; they also come as a result of returning library books and movies late. So make sure you set up a system of returning items on time or, if that's hard for you to commit to, stop borrowing. Services like Netflix can also reduce your late fees. (Avoid punishing late fees and keep your credit score intact with these 10 tips. Refer to Procrastinator's Guide To Bill Payment.)
The Bottom Line
When it comes to getting in control of your finances, the smallest changes can lead to the largest differences. Don't count out the affect that making these little tweaks can have and remember, you are in control of your spending. Make conscious decisions about all your spending habits and you will have a tighter, more focused budget to show for it.