When it comes to maintaining financial health, there’s simply nothing more important than learning how to stick to a solid budget. Budgeting can be difficult and requires planning, but the benefits that come along with exercising restraint are impossible to ignore.
It can be easy to overlook the little things that come in the form of everyday spending, much of which can be avoided with some knowledge and effort.
The following are nine items you should stop paying for, regardless of how ingrained they are in your daily life. Stop paying for these items and throw the money you saved into an interest-bearing online savings account.
1. Cell phone insurance
Cell phone insurance is the kind of thing that you think you need when you buy a new phone, and for good reason. No one wants their brand new device to fail on them soon after making the purchase, but how many times have you actually used cell phone insurance after opting for it? More often than not, it amounts to nothing other than wasted money.
2. Landline phone service
Years ago, many people would never have even thought to go without having a landline phone. Landlines are disappearing at an impressive rate, however, as more and more people use their cell phones as their main form of communication. Nowadays, landlines are included in a package — along with cable TV and Internet service. Cut out the phone line and skip this unnecessary cost.
3. Cable TV
There is certainly a time and a place for television, but cable TV is one of the largest unnecessary expenses affecting modern Americans today. Cable costs can add up exponentially, and a great deal of the content being broadcasted on TV can be accessed for free online or for less than $10 a month for subscriptions from Hulu Plus or Netflix.
4. Bank fees
Banks charge outrageous fees for just about anything — including overdraft, which can cost as much as $36. Many fees (overdraft fees, for example) can be avoided by checking your online balance or by having your bank text you when your bank account balance is under a certain amount.
You can also avoid bank fees by working with a credit union or other “fee-free” institution; online banks are especially popular at the moment. Banks are also becoming more accommodating to customers and offering ways for them to avoid paying these types of fees — Citibank recently created a brand new checking account that doesn’t allow for overdrafts, period. Walmart also recently introduced GoBank, which also doesn’t charge overdraft fees.
5. Bottled water
If you have access to free water via a tap, every penny you spend on bottled water is a penny wasted. In many situations, the water you get from a tap is just as good as that which comes in a bottle. Bottled water is also a waste of plastic and has very few beneficial factors associated with it outside of convenience. Skip the bottled water and instead opt for a reusable water bottle that you can fill from the tap.
6. Shipping costs
Avoiding shipping costs can be tricky in certain cases, but it’s essential that you put the effort into doing so. It’s usually possible to get free shipping when shopping for items online, and there are a number of coupons scattered throughout the web that can help to reduce costs. If you’re paying for shipping on a regular basis, consider signing up for Amazon Prime, which gives you free shipping for a flat fee of $99 a year.
7. Extended warranties
Extended warranties are much like cell phone insurance plans in that they seem beneficial at face value, yet they almost never get used in the long run. Your credit card issuer most likely will offer some kind of protection plan for certain items, like electronics. If you buy a TV and it breaks within the year, your credit card will cover it — of course you have to use the card to make the actual purchase. Call your credit card company to find out if they offer this service.
8. Luggage fees
Paying to bring luggage onto a plane is common practice at this point, but that doesn’t mean you have to actually do it. Luggage fees are a waste of money, and as long as you can fit all of your necessary travel items in a carry-on, you won’t have to worry about them. It can mean extra stuff to carry around at the airport, but the savings are more than worth it.
If you travel frequently, you should consider signing up for a travel credit card, as many come with perks such as checking in bags for free.
Many people throw away hundreds of dollars a year on gym memberships, often without even going on a regular basis. If you live in an area where you can get outside to run or jog, there’s simply no need to pay for an expensive gym membership. Plus, you’ll get the added benefits of getting some fresh air and avoiding the crowds.
There’s also cheaper alternatives on discount retail sites like Groupon, or you may consider a pay-as-you-go type of class, so at least you know you’re getting your money’s worth.
So don’t go through your days wasting money hand over fist any longer. Cut the above useless expenses, and you’ll no doubt be able to see a measurable difference in the amount of money you’re able to save each month.