Forgotten Expenses that Could Be Hurting Your Budget
When it’s time to hunker down and create a budget to reduce spending, many of us can immediately think of areas where cuts can be made. Maybe that means you eat out at restaurants less often, you decide to give up your premier cable movie or sports package, or you downsize the number of vehicles your household owns. But what about those expenses you’ve simply forgotten about or didn’t think of? It turns out they could be stealing even more of your money than you realize.
A recent post by WiseBread highlighted 11 “silent budget killers” that could be affecting your finances. Their first example is a classic: underused gym memberships. One of the reasons many people hold on to these expensive memberships is that they keep telling themselves they’ll start going. This isn’t to say that gym memberships are bad or that your health isn’t worth the cost, but paying dues for a service you aren’t utilizing is just plain foolish. Besides there are other ways of exercising that don’t charge monthly fees.
While gym memberships usually stay somewhere in the sub-consensus of many of us thanks mostly to guilt, other subscriptions can be forgotten about entirely. In addition to entertainment services like Netflix or Spotify that you may have signed up for, there are likely a number of sites you may have opened a trial account on at one time that are now charging you on a monthly basis that you completely forgot about. When setting your budget be sure to carefully inspect every item on your credit card or bank statement and follow up by cancelling any subscriptions that may have slipped your mind.
Hidden Price Increases
Another reason to check your statements carefully is to see if rates for things like cable TV or internet have risen. It’s a typical practice for such companies to charge you an introductory rate that goes up over time. Some may have even offered you incentives to sign up for autopay and are now deducting straight from your account without you noticing the increased price. Although paying these bills automatically can be convenient, it may be worth switching to manual payments so you know exactly how much you’re spending.
Some of the other expenses you should look at aren’t as easy to take care of as cancelling a subscription. For example many people have a habit of leaving on the A/C or heat on even when no one is home. Bad habits like these can dramatically increase your energy bills over time and should be curbed wherever possible. On that same note it may be in your best interest to look into other ways to save electricity including investing in more energy efficient appliances and lights.
If you’re looking to save money start by auditing all of the places your money is being spent. By doing so you may just find that a lot of your dollars are being eaten by forgotten subscriptions, undetected price increases, or inefficient habits. Once these items are taken care of you can begin to really draw up your budget and start saving for real.