Financial Tips, Personal Budgeting,

3 Ways You’re Burning Money Without Realizing It

Budgeting is hard. Making one isn't necessarily the hardest part, but sticking to it and disciplining your purchases can prove to be a tall order. Here are some ways that you (and I) are inadvertently burning money and how we can (maybe) change our ways. Let's get started shall we?

#1: Combining Car Trips

This one's interesting. How many times do you find yourself taking multiple car trips in one day? Going to the grocery store, then coming back home only to go to the bank a couple hours later for example. Occasionally this happens to all of us, some more than others. Since gas is so ridiculously expensive this day, with prices in the United States averaging about .65 for a gallon of regular it is extremely cost-efficient to try and drive as little as possible. In terms of errands, writing up a list for the day and tackling them all at once can save you a lot of money. Additionally, carpooling with friends (or even biking) to work or school is something worth considering. Granted, this requires more vigor and organization on our part, but at the end of the day, it is not only beneficial for our wallet but also for our planet as a whole. As such, the benefits are too great not to explore these options.

No one likes the sight of these.

#2 Avoiding Bank Fees (And Negotiating Them Away)

This seems like an obvious one but there are some ways to maneuver around the bank system that are not necessarily public knowledge. There are many very sneaky ways banks charge you for keeping your money. One of the most common one is overdraft fees. There are a couple ways to avoid this. For one, asking your bank to turn off this "feature" will prevent you from receiving this fee (most of the time). Granted, if you keep your balance too low, your card might get declined (which some consider embarrassing) but at least you will never look silly when you pay a $25 fee for a $2 purchase. However, if  you still get an overdraft fee for some reason (believe it or not, I've gotten overdraft fees multiple times after speaking to multiple bankers about turning off the overdraft function), there are still many options available to you to get your money back. The most effective one is to call your local banker and politely explain to him the situation. Usually, simply asking to reverse the fee suffices but be stern in your negotiations and remember you have the power at the end of the day because you are the client. However, calling your bank's general customer service line may prove inefficient as their abilities to change fees are much more limited than your banker's.  Usually they are only able to partially reverse fees.

#3 Not Buying Groceries In Bulk

A great deal of people buy groceries in bulk because per weight, the price is cheaper. This gives the illusion of "saving money". However, a lot of people end up spending more because they are unable to finish the bulk quantity they purchased before it goes bad. Being realistic about portions can help you save a lot of money when it comes to buying food.

At the end of the day, all these steps are small in stature and require minimal amounts of discipline. But the savings over the course of a year can be significant and definitely add up. Maybe if you follow these rules, you'll find yourself with enough extra money to buy a flight to the Bahamas next year. Who knows, but it doesn't hurt to find out now does it?

Did you enjoy this week's Financial Tip Friday? Check out last time's. Also be sure to give us your thoughts in the comments below!

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A cautious but optimistic observer of the market, Laurent enjoys finding investment opportunities that might disrupt their respective industries. He also has a passion for helping others learn about the inner workings of the markets in order to achieve their financial independence. As the Marketing Manager at SprinkleBit, Laurent gets to live out that passion everyday.

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