Nobody enjoys making mistakes, especially when it comes to money, but often times our only focus is on the major financial mistakes rather than all the little things that add up. After all, a million little pebbles can equal the weight of a bolder. Letting go of all the little mistakes can make a huge difference in planning your financial future - either alone, with a spouse, or with a big family.
Here are 10 of the most costly money mistakes made by consumers, according to this article from Business Insider, and the actions you can take to correct them.
1. Phone and Internet Scams
It may seem like common sense to never give out your personal information to a stranger on the phone or online, but it happens far more often than you realize. Simple solution: don't clink on any mobile or internet ads, and unless you call the bank or credit card company directly, there's no reason why you should disclose any of your information.
2. Charging More Than You Can Pay Off
Don't spend more than you have. Seems simple. Credit and cash are not the same thing, yet many people treat credit lines like extra cash - it's not, it's a high-interest loan. If you charge something on your credit card, be sure to pay it off right away if you can. If not, make plans to pay it off as soon as possible so you don't end up with extra interest payments.
3. Hidden Bank Fees
If you aren't spending a lot on your debit card, this may warrant a monthly bank fee. If you don't maintain a minimum balance or overdraw your account accidentally, this may also result in a fee. Make it a point to read your bank statements and also ask for a list of fees and explanations of those fees. You'll be glad to be informed.
4. Assuming Your Credit Statements Are Accurate
Just because a credit agency says it's so does not mean it's correct. Things get misreported all the time on credit reports and it takes some major intervention on your part to get them corrected. Check your credit reports from time to time to make sure everything is correct - no missed payments, unauthorized credit checks, or new accounts opened in your name.
5. Late or Missing Payments
This is a huge no no. Keep track of your payments and when they are due so there won't be any negative marks on your credit report. Having a planner or calendar with reminders and due dates are great for making sure nothing is overlooked.
6. Extended Warranties for Products
Most electronics that cost more than $30 already come with some kind of limited warranty that just requires your activation. However, stores like Home Depot and Best Buy will over extended or extra warranties for a few dollars more, depending on the product. A large, flat-screen TV may have a $50 extra warranty, while a radio may have a $5 warranty. If the device already comes with a warranty, there's no reason to buy an extra one. It's money that goes straight to the store.
7. Rate Hikes in Internet, Cable, Telephone Bills
Cable companies are very sneaky at raising their prices without you knowing. However, it is usually stated in your contract that you can expect your rates to increase after about 2 years. Sometimes they'll provide free HBO subscriptions for 2 years and then will either take it away or worse charge you full price without telling you that your free trail is coming to an end. Be sure to read all of your bills and ask when there is a charge you do not understand.
8. Unnecessary Insurance
Insurance is important, but ONLY the insurance that you NEED. Why pay extra for coverage for things like alien invasions and volcanic eruptions when you don't live within a thousand miles of a volcano? All is money that could be put towards something else, so be sure to read your insurance policies to be sure you aren't paying extra for things you don't want or need.
9. Monthly Memberships That You Don't Use
We all know you joined the gym with good intentions, but if you aren't using it, just stop. There are also dozens of mail subscriptions that just aren't appealing anymore and they use many sales tactics to make sure that you stay. In your lifetime, you could save thousands of dollars by just stopping subscriptions and memberships that you don't use.
10. Not Double Checking Your Restaurant Bill
Most people expect the restaurant to majorly mess up their order, not their bill. All it takes is a couple seconds to see if your bill matches up with your order and with the prices listed on the menu. If it doesn't, speak up! Could save you quite a lot of money over the course of your life.
Greetings, GradMoney Readers!
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