When it comes to finances, it’s the little things that matter. Of course, cutting out a huge bill or significantly increasing your income is a huge boon to your budget, but you can’t rely on these uncommon occurrences to change your financial mindset. Instead, look at the habits you have and the decisions you make to find out where you could be saving more money.
It’s hard to avoid magazines. Their headlines, glossy pictures, and constant availability make them a fun, mindless form of entertainment. However, paying for magazines is a big financial mistake. If you purchase magazines individually, you are spending between $4 and $7 per issue, which adds up quickly. This is particularly true if you enjoy weekly magazines, like celebrity gossip publications.
If you really enjoy reading magazines, there are ways to do it that don’t involve throwing money away. Check out the local library. They typically have dozens of magazines, including current issues and years of back issues, to keep you entertained. More and more libraries now offer free digital magazine subscriptions through services like Zinio and Overdrive.
You can also head to Hip2Save and see if any free subscriptions are available at the moment.
Getting Hooked on Freemium Apps
Free apps for your phone or tablet are the best. That is, unless they aren’t actually free. If you’re playing a game and you run out of lives, there’s usually an option to pay for more lives upfront or wait a certain amount of time for more chances to play. It’s easy to say no the first couple times, but the more you get hooked on a game, the more likely you are to tack a few dollars onto your cell phone bill. Once you start spending on freemium apps, it’s hard to get used to going without the extra benefits.
Paying Late Fees
For some people, late fees seem unavoidable. Depending on where your paychecks fall in the month, you may find that you are occasionally a few days late on a bill. Even paying bills late occasionally is a habit that can kill your budget. Credit card companies often charge fees as high as $39 for a late payment, and utility companies may charge interest on unpaid portions of a bill. Avoid this trap by creating a budget, setting up auto pay, and sticking to your financial plan.
Accumulating Credit Card Interest
If you don’t pay your credit card bill off every month, you are giving the company extra money via interest payments. Even at low interest rates, it’s not worth it. Stick to the idea that you can’t afford an item if you don’t have the money available in cash or in a checking account. Don’t be temped by cash back rewards if you can’t pay the bill over EVERY MONTH.
Buying Full-Price Items
Speed is the enemy of any budget. When you need something quickly, you’re likely to pay full price for it. Every time you make a purchase, double check for coupons and discounts. Signing up for a retailer’s email list may get you extra coupons, and online stores usually have active coupon codes.
Of course, I recommend waiting until most items come on sale (to see what items are cheapest what months click here). But at minimum, when shopping on line ALWAYS google to check for a coupon code and shop through places like Top Cash Back, which offer cash back on your online purchases. It’s often a great way to “take care of the tax”.
It’s also a good idea to snag discount giftcards from Cardpool. This way you save money every time even without a sale (online and in-store).
Do you have any bad financial habits you’d like to break? Which one of these would save you the most money?
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