When it comes to being financially smart, you need to learn budgeting and saving strategies. You can do your monthly budgeting, get side hustles to increase your income, live frugally to save tons, and venture into investments. But one simple yet effective tactic you should include in your game plan is to stop paying for unnecessary financial services that you can either pass by or find free alternatives.
While you’re busy working on your budget and savings, you might be overlooking some small details that are causing you money. They may not cost much but think about the long term. At the end of the day, every penny still counts. In this guide, we’ll readily give you the most common financial services that you’re likely paying for today and why you should stop doing so.
Reviewing your credit report every year should be a habit of yours. Who knows, you might find an error or two that cost you money. But the golden rule is to not pay for it. You can use reputable credit reporting agencies that offer free credit report copies. Some offer a report every four months. You may also ask your credit card issuer if they are offering free monthly reports of FICO scores. Most issuers offer this without any fees and will be printed on your statement.
You do know banks exist to do business, right? That means they are there to make money. And as of today, banks are requiring their clients to pay for various fees – a lot of them. This also leads to many banks killing off free checking account, which has been a headache for many people. Still, some offer free checking accounts, only if you take the time to look for one. In case you are not qualified for free checking in your current bank or they do not offer one, now’s the time to switch to a different one.
Are you paying for ATM and maintenance fees? Take action to get rid of them. Avoid paying for ATM fees by withdrawing or depositing at your own bank’s ATM. It might not be that convenient, but it can save you tons, especially with ATM fees increasing. As for maintenance fees, you can get rid of them by sticking to your accounts’ minimum balance. You can find banks that waive fees for students.
Student loan repayment
Paying for student loans is already costing you money, so avoid spending more just for repayment assistance. The process might be complex, but it’s never a smart financial idea to pay a third-party company to guide you in applying for alternative plans, like direct loan consolidation or income-drive repayment. Don’t be a target of these for-profit companies. Communication with your servicer and ask for other options you have. You can do that without shelling out a dime.
You might be one of those people who feel like they need the best or most modern tools to help them budget everything. Budgeting tools can help you track and record expenses, from the money you pay for your landscaper to your monthly dues on your mortgage. It is convenient, but it still costs you money. In fact, most of the budgeting apps and online tools are quite expensive, with monthly fees of up to $10 to $25. Always opt for free ones.
However, keep in mind that most of these tools also come with risks. A safer and free option is to create your own custom budgeting system. Manually doing your budget can even help you become more aware of your spending and more organize when it comes to your finances.
One of the most common things people love to pay for is extended warranties. Yes, they sound like a great idea. But think about this, when you buy a new phone, that already comes with a year or two of warranty. What if your brand-new phone starts dying out on the 367th day? That’s frustrating.
The truth is, it’s less likely that the issue is still covered by the warranty anyway. Most credit card companies give an extra year of warranty when you use your card for purchases, so make sure to consider that. After all, credit card providers typically offer better customer service than the gadget store you purchased from.
With so many things getting more expensive nowadays, you need to ensure that your every penny will go to your necessary expenses or savings. Even small unnecessary things can hurt your finances in the long run. Avoid paying for the above-mentioned things and save more money in your pocket.