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Silly wastes of money

Silly wastes of money
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Bring your lunch to work. Skip the daily latte. You know how to cut costs on a daily basis, or during particularly money-crunched times. But there are so many other, sneakier ways that expenses can creep on you. Before you do anything, though, it’s time for an attitude adjustment around spending, says financial wellness advocate Amanda Clayman. “We tend to mistakenly think of money in terms of racing toward some future paradise, where all the sacrifice we’ve made will turn into this abundance that we’ll enjoy forever,” she says. “You want to have balance when it comes to saving, where you’re enjoying what feels good to you today but also being mindful of what’s meaningful to you in the future. That way, you’ll feel empowered and not in competition with your future self.”

We asked financial pros for silly, mindless ways we rack up money without realising it – and simple fixes that will make your wallet grow.

Not playing the interest rate game

Not playing the interest rate game
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If you haven’t shopped for a lower interest rate on your loan in the past 12 months, now’s the time, says Michael Foguth, founder of Foguth Financial Group. “Interest rates are at all-time lows, and odds are, you can get a lower, fixed-interest rate right now on your mortgage. I had clients, for example, who purchased a home last year and have already re-financed. They’re saving $100 a month now for the next 30 years. That’s $30,000 saved just with one phone call!” This goes for any loan you may have – car, mortgage, or even credit cards. Have debt? Now’s the time to consolidate it, suggests Foguth.

Forking over bank fees

Forking over bank fees
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Do you really need overdraft protection? Is your bank charging a monthly maintenance fee? “Remember: Your money should be working for you,” says debt-relief attorney Leslie Tayne, author of Life & Debt. “I’m amazed that people pay fees for bank accounts. Shop around and let them compete for your business, see if you can get a free checking account, for example. There are a ton of banks out there, don’t think you’re locked into one just because you’ve been a customer for a while, or, if you have been a customer for a while, ask for deals.”

Not being a “list” person

Not being a “list” person
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Ever been to the mall for “just a couple of things”? (Yeah, us neither.) A workaround for this common phenomenon, suggests Foguth, is to utilise an online shopping service. “If you have someone shopping for you, you’re not going to have those impulse buys because they’re just sticking to your list. Another option is to use a store’s order pickup service, where they’ll prepare your order and bring it out to your car when you get there so you don’t have to go in.

Frugal shoppers use these tips to save big on groceries.

Spacing out on subscriptions

Spacing out on subscriptions
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In the era of autopay, it’s easy to forget about those extra charges that can easily add up. “Automated charges can work against you if you’re not paying attention to them,” says Foguth. “That’s why I advise people to audit their subscriptions on a quarterly basis. Just by going through your credit card statement, you might catch something you wouldn’t normally.” This goes for seasonal charges, too, he says. “I cancel my Peloton subscription in the summertime because I’d rather bike outside, and that saves me $40 a month on something I’m not using,” he says.

Don’t miss these 46 almost effortless ways to save money.

Being enticed by zero-interest credit cards

Being enticed by zero-interest credit cards
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“Zero-interest credit cards are a great way to waste money because you end up paying more in the end as a general rule,” says Foguth. “You may think ‘oh, what a great deal’ but when you don’t pay it off, the interest accumulates. That’s why I suggest that you redline in the calendar somewhere when that introductory rate expires, so you don’t start getting charged without realising it.” Aim to pay it off in monthly increments before that date.

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Not asking for discounts

Not asking for discounts
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“I ask for discounts all the time,” laughs Tayne. “Clothing stores. Wine stores. Using Groupon. Finding Facebook groups for deals. More often than not, when I ask if there are any deals or coupons, the salesperson says, ‘oh yeah, I have one.’ So why not ask?”

Here are 11 times you should always haggle for a better price.

Not checking your phone bill

Not checking your phone bill
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“You should regularly audit your phone bill,” says Foguth. “Things like paying for extra storage that you may not even realise you signed up for, or apps you forgot you ordered in the first place, can all add up.”

Being over-insured

Being over-insured
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“You should review your insurance plans every few years,” says Tayne. “Shop around to see if you can get your rates reduced. As you age, as circumstances and rates change, you may find that you can get better rates. Life insurance, for example, is a biggie. I see clients with huge life insurance policies when they’re considerably older, and they’re having trouble paying for their plan. Don’t feel that you’re locked into a particular rate; it’s always a good idea to periodically review your policies.”

Overpriced food and drink

Overpriced food and drink
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According to a survey by finance-website The Ascent, three of the top ten money-wasters are food-and-drink related. Between the “grab and go” convenience factor of fast-food, paying for overpriced drinks on a summer night, or dining out more often during warmer months when you don’t feel like cooking, for example. Prudential’s financial wellness advocate Tiffany Aliche, aka The Budgetnista, recommends once-weekly no-money days, which will help you pinpoint daily consumption and see where you can cut back.

Discover 13 things rich people never waste their money on.

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