10 Ways You’re Wasting Money Right Now
We tend to think of wasting money as big impulse purchases, like buying a new pair of shoes you don’t need, or splashing cash on the new iPhones just because your current phone seems so old now. What we tend to overlook are the niggling little things that don’t seem like much right now, but slowly turn into an avalanche of fees if kept unchecked.
You might be wasting your money and not even know it. It’s difficult enough to make money in this economy — watch out for these habits and overlooked fees that waste your hard-earned money. If you plug the leaks we’ve listed below, you could save yourself hundreds, if not thousands, of pesos a year. You can easily keep more of the money you worked so hard for by addressing these 10 money-wasting issues:
1. Paying too much credit card interest.
If your credit card’s interest rates are too high, consider transferring your balance to a lower-interest credit card at another bank. Many banks offer low rates for balance transfers — lower than regular interest rates, going as low as 0.60% in some cases. Shop around for the best balance transfer rates and study the fees entailed in a balance transfer transaction. You can also use our credit card comparison tool to find the low-interest card for you.
2. Leaving your unused electronics plugged in.
Do you know what ‘vampire power’ is? It’s the power that gets used when you leave your electronics plugged in even after you turn them off. A study by the US Environmental Protection Agency showed that vampire power can be as much as 10% of your monthly bill. Any appliance with a standby power indicator (like TVs, cellphone chargers, DVD players, or coffeemakers) is contributing to vampire power. Unplug your TV or charger when you’re not using it and you’ll save yourself a lot of money in the long run.
3. Ignoring your home’s wear and tear.
If you don’t fix that leaky roof in the summer, you’ll end up with expensive damages in the monsoon season. Check your home regularly for damage so you can fix it while it’s still cheap to do so. Remember: it’s cheaper to fix a small leak than to repair your ceiling.
4. Letting food go bad.
Wasting food wastes money. If your produce is about to go bad, cook it and refrigerate it so it lasts longer. Or throw it in the blender with some ice and make yourself a healthy smoothie.
5. Paying too much for your phone plan.
If you’re on a postpaid plan, have you checked whether you actually use up all your allotted calls and texts every month? Maybe you’re on a P900 a month plan, but don’t make many phone calls. In that case, a P500 plan might suit you better. Consult your phone company for your downgrade options as your contract ends and eliminate extra fees for services you’re not using anyway. (Be warned: if you downgrade before your contract is up, you might be on the hook for extra fees.)
6. Only charging your phone when the battery dies.
Maybe you’ve heard that you have to drain your battery completely before charging. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Draining it too often will make the battery unstable and shorten its lifespan, and before you know it, you’re spending P3,575 for a new battery for your iPhone 5s or P1,700 for a new Galaxy S5 battery kit. Smartphone batteries tend to last longer when you keep them charged between 40 percent to around 80 percent, so prolong your battery life and save yourself the cost of buying another one by not draining or overcharging it all the time. (Draining it once a month is fine.)
7. Buying lunch at work.
We understand that you’re busy and don’t have time to make lunch at home. But you might reconsider when you realize how much money you’re throwing away. For example, if you buy the P88 1-pc Chickenjoy Meal every day, you end up spending P440 a week, or P22,880 a year! But if you just bought P300 worth of groceries a week and made your own lunch every day, you only spend P15,600 — a savings of P7,280.
8. Using other bank’s ATMs.
Each bank charges a fee if you use another bank’s ATM. For example, inquiring your BPI balance at another bank’s ATM costs you P1.50, and withdrawing will cost you P15. If you inquired and withdrew from your BPI card on a BDO machine once a week for a year, you’d be paying P858 annually in completely avoidable fees. Each bank has its own schedule of fees for inter-bank transactions. Stop wasting this money and make sure to use your bank’s ATMs.
9. Not asking for your credit card’s annual fees to be waived.
If you have a credit card but you’re paying annual fees, you’re basically throwing money down the toilet. Having your annual fee waived is as easy as making a phone call to your bank. Once you see the annual fee in your statement, call and ask for a waiver. If you’re a customer in good standing, you’ll most likely get your way. This simple phone call can lighten the load on your wallet, just like that.
10. Having the wrong air pressure in your tires.
When was the last time you checked your tire pressure? Under-inflated tires lower your gas mileage by 0.4% for every one pound of drop in pressure of all 4 tires. That might seem small, but it can add up — if you have a 10-pound drop in pressure, you lose 4% of your car’s fuel economy. Check your car’s recommended tire pressure, and make sure you keep your tires at that level.
Are there any other extra expenses you could eliminate to save yourself money? Let us know by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.