9 EXPENSE TRAPS THAT ARE RUINING YOUR BUDGET
Photo by Drobot Deania
Do you keep getting caught out by unexpected expenses? If you check your bank statements and are unsure how you’ve spent so much money, it’s time to take a look at where it’s going!
These traps can happen to all of us. But, to prevent it from happening again, it’s essential to find ways to cut expenses and stop spending money on things you don’t need.
To help you get started, here are 9 expense traps that could be ruining your budget:
1. Credit card interest
Lenders make a ton of interest off credit card interest – that’s for sure! And, even if you’re making your payments each month, high interest rates could still be costing you a fortune.
The thing is, when you pay your credit card bill, you will very often carry a balance to the next month. Then, every time you use your card, you’re just adding more to the balance. Every month, you will end up paying interest on this, and it’s an expense that can be avoided!
The best option is to make a plan to reduce your credit card debt or pay it off altogether. But, in the meantime, there are options. For example, you can consider moving to a 0% balance transfer card, usually at very little cost. This gives you some time to pay off your debt.
2. Monthly subscription services
We live in a world with lots of subscriptions. Many people have them. But, it can be easy to build up a large collection of monthly payments without even realizing – and these quickly add up!
More and more companies are switching to these types of services. Why? Because they know people forget to cancel and continue to pay, even when they’re not using them.
If you want to keep your budget on track, make sure you don’t fall for it. If you have a gym membership or Netflix account you don’t use, make sure you cancel as soon as possible.
Make sure you review all your outgoing payments to apps and subscriptions to see if there are any you don’t need. This will help you avoid additional charges each month.
3. Monthly payment plans
Another expense trap to think about is monthly payment plans. Often, companies will give you the option to pay monthly or annually for services, and your choice could cost you big time!
Most people will choose to pay monthly, regardless of the difference in price. After all, it seems like much less to pay out as it’s spread across the year.
However, sometimes you can end up saving a lot of monthly by paying upfront. Check the difference in price. If you can afford to and it will save money, go for the annual payment.
4. Expensive utility bills
Some monthly expenses are fixed, like car payments, student loans, and rent. But, there are lots that aren’t and you could be missing out on big savings if you don’t do your research.
Things like utility bills, insurance, phone bills, and cable TV can normally be reduced by looking into the best deals and switching to a different provider.
Additionally, by phoning the companies you already use, you might be able to get loyalty discounts on your bills. A lot of people don’t do this, and it can mean being stuck on an expensive rolling monthly contract for no reason!
5. Online impulse purchases
The rise of online shopping has brought a lot of benefits for shoppers. It’s so convenient and you can normally find great deals online that you wouldn’t find in store.
Shopping online can be great for your budget, if you do it right. The trick is to avoid impulse purchases and only shop in a savvy way.
Make sure you’re only buying the things you need. Avoid buying items that come up on your social media feeds, especially without thinking about it first. You should also be wary of “free trials”, as these are used to trap you into a monthly or weekly subscription.
6. Bank account fees
Bank fees and interest are rarely accounted for in budget plans, but this is a big error! Expensive bank account fees can quickly add up, and this can blow your budget.
Banks make a lot of money from overdraft fees and interest, as well as late payment charges. But, another area they make money in (which a lot of people forget about) is a monthly account fee. A lot of people have paid accounts that they are unaware of.
Unless you’re using the benefits that come with the paid account and they are worth the money, you should consider switching to a free account. Otherwise, you’re spending unnecessarily!
7. Using store cards
Store cards and loyalty cards are designed to convince you to spend more. By giving special offers, they make you much less likely to shop around for the best deal.
In addition to this, the interest rates on store cards can be incredibly high. This is not a smart way to shop. We recommend only buying what you need and can afford.
8. Store promotions and offers
The next money trap on our list is something a lot of people fall down on: promotions and offers. The thing to remember is, though, if you don’t need it, it’s definitely not a good deal.
A lot of the time, stores will mark up items just to reduce them again. Or, they will offer “multi-buy” offers that are only marginally cheaper. This makes customers feel like they’re saving money, and it convinces them to buy extra products they don’t need.
Marketers have lots of tricks to make you spend, like flash sales or end of season discounts. It’s important to remain rational and use the money for something more worthwhile!
9. Not making shopping lists
The last thing to avoid is shopping without a list. If you’re shopping for food, clothes, or anything else, make sure you know what you’re going to buy in advance – and stick to it!
This means planning out meals in advance or checking what you can’t go without. Then, when you go into the store, you’ll be less tempted to make impulse purchases!
Having lots of unnecessary expenses can cost you a lot of money. Even small purchases can really add up. By following these tips, you can avoid the most common expense traps and keep your budget on track!