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Does it ever feel like payday comes and goes, and your bank account has nothing to show for it? You may not realize it, but you could be wasting all your hard-earned money on little fees, expenses, and habits.
1. Bank Fees
When it comes to your budget, you probably don’t think about how the cost of banking can affect your cash flow. But depending on where you hold an account, these fees can take up a surprising amount of money each month. Some of the biggest banks may charge as much as $30 in maintenance fees for a basic checking account, plus more for out-of-network ATM withdrawals, cash advances, and overdrafts.
Switch to a No-Fee Bank
Luckily, not all banks charge the same fees. Some well-known financial institutions offer no-fee banking and won’t charge maintenance fees. Out-of-network ATMs and overdrafts may still come with penalties, so be sure to read the fine print to know your account policies.
2. Minimum Payment Fees
Minimum payments don’t come with a tangible fee; however, they can still wind up costing you if you only ever make the minimum on your lines of credit and credit cards. The minimum is a small fraction of your outstanding balance, which means you carry over the majority of your balance into another billing period. There, it earns interest and finance charges, adding to the amount you owe. If you only ever rely on the minimum, you can wind up owing a lot in these fees.
Use Your Budget to Pay More
The lenders at Fora recommend borrowers put as much as they can towards their line of credit, leaving the minimum as a safety net in emergencies. They recommend sitting down with your budget to see what expenses you can put on hold. Every sacrifice frees up cash you can put towards your line of credit from Fora — or any other lender you might have a revolving line of credit with.
3. Subscription Services
A single subscription service doesn’t take up more than $20, on average. But together, your long list of subscriptions packs a budgetary punch. Once you add up that meal prep box, software apps like Google Storage and Dropbox, and your long list of TV and music streaming services, you probably spend more than $133 a month. That’s according to a survey that reveals one-third of consumers underestimate just how much money they spend on these services.
Unfortunately, the solution to this financial problem is learning to live with less. Make a list of your subscriptions and highlight only a few memberships you want to keep, cancelling the rest.
4. Shipping Fees
Shipping fees are a double-edged problem. On the one hand, you might pay an exorbitant amount just to get your one item shipped to your door. On the other hand, you might accidentally buy five times as much as you need just to qualify for free shipping.
Did you keep Prime Video to remain as one of your streaming platforms? This subscription service comes with free shipping on all Amazon items, so it’s an easy way to get any item without paying for shipping.
If you don’t have a Prime membership, don’t despair. You can usually find coupons and promo codes for free shipping with a quick online search.
Sometimes, the smallest things can cause your budget to leak money like a sieve. You can plug these financial holes by following the tips shared here today.