Time and time again people run into the same scenario. They just paid off their latest credit card bill and got another that was about the same or even higher.
It’s only until you look at the specific charges that are made where you realize that the small payments you make day in and day out pile up after a while. For so many people, overspending is something that we don’t realize until we pick up the bill and look at it. It also doesn’t help much that we don’t even notice money going away until that point.
So to help with that, we want to cover some of the items that are dumb, but can rack up your bills without you realizing it. By using this list, you’ll be able to better recognize your spending habits and start saving money by cutting out those expenses.
International Phone Charges
We all love travelling abroad to some extent, but one aspect to it is the various fees that come along with that travelling. Whenever you make purchases with your credit card, companies like Visa and MasterCard could sneak in a 1 percent fee whenever you make a transaction abroad.
To make matters worse, some banks will tack on an extra 1 to 3 percent. And if you think you can mitigate that by withdrawing cash from an ATM, think again. They’ll charge a small withdrawal fee there too.
Phone charges are met with the exact same fate as well. These come in the form of roaming charges based on all kinds of things. You can get charged for every photo that you take while not logged into Wifi or for a call that you’re making while out of the country.
These can pile up the bills significantly depending on what you’re doing, however there are some ways to save money here. You can either limit your calls or stick to platforms like Skype, FaceTime or Facebook video calls and take less pictures. Or you can ask your cell phone provider for discounted cell phone packages with international charges included.
Not only that, but credit cards also are available without foreign transaction fees attached to them. Take a look around and you’ll find lots of options.
Shopping for car insurance is a nightmare for many. As such, whenever people find a good package, they tend to stick with this company until the end of time with little care. The thing is though that insurance prices fluctuate, so sticking to a single plan for a long time isn’t always the smart thing to do.
It’s recommended that you go back to shopping for insurance ever two to four years. Many people find that spending a solid 15 to 30 minutes getting free quotes and switching insurance providers can save upwards of $200 each year.
What’s worse than expensive car insurance? Getting insurance coverage for things you don’t need. Insurance companies play on our fears and this tactic leads to people panicking and paying for things they don’t need.
Not only that, but many people aren’t informed when it comes to insurance. According to InsuranceQuotes, about 84 percent of Americans don’t ask about basic discounts. These discounts can save you hundreds of dollars every year because they provide discounts for many things people are already doing.
Anything That Has Autopay
With more companies switching to a subscription-based pricing, one thing that has emerged is autopay services. These are convenient in that you pay once and then your card will get charged every month or year with little worry.
Of course it has its benefits. The fact you can set it without any worry makes it easy and you don’t have to worry about it. However it also creates complacency.
The thing is, when you’re not reminded every month or year that you’re paying this, extra fees and questionable payments ones get overlooked. Not only that, but there is a risk of being charged overdraft fees whenever your balance gets too low.
Going For The Cheapest Options
While this sounds counterintuitive, there are some times where going cheap can often cost you more. The thing is, it’s not being frugal when you go and buy $20 headphones or buy a $5 umbrella. Yeah it’s cheap, but when they’re that cheap, you’ll find they won’t last long.
Being frugal doesn’t mean getting the cheapest thing. It’s all about getting the most value. If you know you’ll be using this item often, then you’re going to want it to last. This means not going cheap, but not paying an arm and a leg for it. We’d suggest going for the middle priced item.
As mentioned above, you don’t always want to be going for the most expensive item around. It’s important that you pay attention to what’s behind a price tag. A solid example of this are mattresses. You’ll find that mattress prices will vary widely. Some are going to be very cheap, while others will be up into the thousands.
Why that’s the case comes down to the material used and how it’s meant to help you sleep better. But more importantly, the prices are inflated so much because of where the mattress is being sold.
Every product we buy goes through a chain. There are other companies, manufacturers and middlemen that jack up the price to cover costs. This results in the end buyer to pay for massive prices all because they went to one specific mattress store.
You’ve also got the ever loved discounts and sales as well. While in some cases people think companies lose a little bit of money, that’s not always the case with mattresses. Often, they’ll tag a price at $3,000 let’s say, and sell it to you for $1,200. The reality is that the store would’ve never paid around $3,000 for this mattress. They probably paid less than that and are selling it for what they bought it for originally.
When Netflix hit the scene, we thought we were getting a pretty good deal. We’re getting a massive pool of movies and TV series to watch. But then other companies started to jump in.
These days, you’ve got Amazon Prime, Hulu and now there is Disney+ too. Each one has their own appeal, and for many people they get them all because each platform has their own unique content.
The thing is though that with all of these streaming services, people don’t often realize how much money they’re spending every month. What’s even worse is that some of them are paying for this and aren’t even using it that much either.
So instead of doing that, take some time to cut off the subscriptions for stuff you’re not using. You can save a surprising amount of money from it.
The value of clothing can be absurd these days with designer pants costing $7000 or more. And that’s just a single pair of pants. Do yourself a favour and consider going to second hand stores. There you can get an entire wardrobe for under $100. Pair that up with discounts being tossed around all the time, it’s pretty easy to go to those stores and save more and get more.
We’re all familiar with internet companies and their bundling promotions. At the time, they can seem like a steal. But it only takes a few months or a year and you’ll start to see price hike without you noticing.
In many cases it’s due to the promotion wearing off or the billing structure being shifted to the point you’re paying double what you used to be paying for.
It’s during this time where you call up your provider and look for another payment plan that suits you. That or switch to another company. If you’re not the type of person who is good with haggling, our suggestion is to consider Billcutterz. It’s a company who will call to negotiate a new deal on your behalf.
Along the same lines as mattresses, hotel stays are necessary in some situations when you’re travelling. The thing is though they can be minefields as well and depending on where you’re going, you can find yourself being charged for all kinds of things.
Consider some of the higher end hotels. You can find yourself paying for all sorts of other fees, even if you didn’t use those particular services. But the slap in the face is that all you’re paying for is for a few nights of sleep and that’s it. It’s not worth it.
One of the most opaque and inconsistent prices are gym memberships. In many cases, you sign up during promotions that promise you’ll get charged $10 each month. However while you’re getting that discount, you’re getting charged a sign up fee and an annual membership fee that’ll come into effect in a few months from now.
The kicker to all of this is that while that price gets inflated after a while, many people aren’t even using them. According to statisticbrain.com, 67 percent of Americans who join a gym hardly ever use them.
In the end, most who use these memberships are spending about $60 every month and are tossing out a good chunk of it with nothing to show for it.
For those of us who have small storage space in our apartments, one solution is getting an external storage unit. The only catch is that years or decades later, that monthly cost of storage can start piling up.
Similar to many other of these monthly fees, we can forget about this cost. We switch to new apartments and continue to use the same storage provider, which can make it inconvenient for us, since it can cause us to travel greater distances to that location whenever you need to drop stuff off.
If you find yourself using these, it’s good to keep them short term, but do consider looking for a bigger apartment or finding an alternative storage facility.
Shipping is one of those costs that come out of nowhere. If you’re planning in advance, then it’s going to be reasonable, but in the event that you order something last minute, you may find yourself paying way more just for shipping. This is the case across the board. Even big companies like Amazon and eBay will charge inflated shipping fees if you need stuff in a hurry.
We should never be paying a single cent for bottled water and yet here we are. Because water is such a necessary thing in our lives, we can find it literally everywhere. There are public water fountains, sinks in every public place we go to and more.
There should be no reason at all for us to be paying for bottled water, since it’s no different from the water from other sources. Do yourself a favour and buy a metal bottle that has temperature-control and refill it whenever you can.
While there is nothing wrong with paying for stuff for a friend, family member or for our partner, we often get wrapped up in trying to impress that person that we can go overboard with it. What turns out to be is us getting a moderately priced gift, which ends up with us paying for something that costs a few hundred dollars.
The thing is, people don’t always need that. Sure, people may appreciate the fact you got something nice, but it always goes back to the thought. Not only that, but you also want to be integrating your own knowledge into the matter.
For example, for those not familiar with wine, they often find themselves using price as a determinant for quality. That’s not always the case, as you can tell from mattresses, but that also applies to wine too.
On the note of gifts, cards are also something people spend too much on. In this case, greeting cards. A lot of people buy these things, but often people will pay for $5 or $8 cards just so the cards have fancier text and more intricate designs.
The reality is that you’re paying for literally a piece of paper with a little bit of text. Yes, the design looks nice, but these are going to be brief experiences for people.
Pair that up with a lack of competition – since two companies are in control of 90 percent of the gift card market – and we see those hiked up prices that people will buy into.
We don’t know about you, but we don’t think it’s all that worth it paying higher and getting the exact same experience.
Of course we need food in our bodies, but people often push this to the limits by eating out all the time. Sure dining out is good once or twice a week, but the bills can start piling up if you make too much of a habit of it.
You’re better off making your own lunches.
But making your own lunches does have a few snags as well. Just because you’re brown-bagging, it doesn’t mean you’re not at risk of overspending. With more food being pushed as organic or speciality, we can find ourselves paying extra for those things that we don’t always need.
Sure, organic fruits and vegetables are nice, but you can find yourself paying way more for these and not feeling much of a difference. Instead, stick with what you are used to. Take advantage of the sales where you can, but still read into them. Many stores have deals like “buy 2 for $4” when you know they originally charge $2 per item anyway.
The key is to pay attention.