Americans all over the country are focused on stretching their budgets and saving money wherever possible. It’s certainly a good thing to get into the habit of saving wherever you can but, unfortunately, many American consumers waste all sorts of money on costs that could easily have been avoided. We’ve put together a list of the five worst avoidable expenses so that, obviously, you can avoid them yourself. Enjoy.
Avoidable Expense #1: Bank Fees
Whether it’s using an ATM, over-drafting your savings, or simply hidden fees that you didn’t bother to check into, bank fees are costs that many American consumers pay, to the tune of millions of dollars every year. In most cases it simply requires paying a little bit more attention to what you’re doing and, where possible, avoiding ATMs that don’t work with your bank. Keeping an extra cushion of money in your checking and savings accounts is a good idea as well so that you don’t overdraft them.
Avoidable Expense #2: Traffic Violations
There’s nothing worse than a speeding ticket, unless it’s an even costlier ticket for doing something silly like parking in front of a fire hydrant or in a “no parking” zone. In many cases you’ll have to pay the ticket itself and, if you got “points” for it, pay the increase in your car insurance as well. The best way to avoid traffic tickets is to leave early, keep your eyes open for any signage change in speed limits, and drive more like your grandfather than a teenage kid hopped up on testosterone.
Avoidable Expense #3: Memberships and Subscriptions that renew Automatically
This is the fault of not only consumers but also the companies that know consumers are forgetful. Things like gym memberships, online services and more that ask you to subscribe and then automatically renew either every month or every year are easy to forget and can cost all sorts of money in the long run. It’s best to periodically check on any memberships or subscriptions you might have and, if you’re not using them, cancel them immediately.
Avoidable Expense #4: Late Payments on Bills
We are all extremely busy people here in the United States and, when it comes time to pay bills, it’s easy to let some of them fall through the cracks and forget to pay them. The only problem is that a late payment fee will always be assessed and, even worse, if it’s on a credit card your interest rate will probably go up also. The same thing might happen with your phone bill or a variety of other bills, adding an awful lot of avoidable expenses to your budget. Today, with smart phones abundant, it’s easy enough to get a reminder app that will remind you to pay your bills on time.
Avoidable Expense #5: Not Negotiating on Price
In many countries negotiating the price for practically everything is normal. Here in the United States it’s different of course, except for when it comes to some things like purchasing an automobile. The price on many services can also be negotiated these days and, if you don’t negotiate for whatever reason, you’re missing out on some serious savings. Being a member of AAA, for example, will get you a discount on most hotels if you ask. The trick, obviously, is to ask.