The Top 9 Ways to Avoid Hidden Costs
According to the best-selling book, 7 Money Rules for Life: How to Take Control of your Financial Future by Mary Hunt, studies show that if you are not carefully managing your money, at least 10% of it is leaking away undetected. In order to “plug” the leaks, here are 9 suggestions on how to avoid hidden costs:
- Phone Fees – Take a look at your monthly cell phone bill and see if you are paying for any services you aren’t using. Review 3 months of charges/usage and adjust your plan if needed. Also, if you currently have a land line, consider switching to a voice over internet phone like Google Voice or Magic Jack for as little as $50 a year.
- Membership/Service Fees – Keep a close eye on your bank and credit card statements. Did you sign up for a free 30-day trial and forget to cancel it? Are you paying dues at a club that you never use (a gym membership or a country club)? How about paying shipping charges when free shipping is available, using an out of network ATM or paying over-draft protection fees?
- Storage Unit Fees – One in 11 American households, according to a recent survey, owns self-storage space. This industry’s revenue now exceeds the revenues of Hollywood. It is estimated that the United States now has 2.3 billion square feet of self-storage space. Storage units are a waste of money. Get rid of your extra stuff, agree to be content with less and save money. Period.
- Tools and Equipment Purchases – If you are starting a home improvement project and find that you need a specialized tool, consider renting the equipment. According to Good Housekeeping, the average power tool is used for only about half an hour in its lifetime. If you rented those tools for a few hours, you would have saved a lot of money and space. Or if you must purchase the tool, buy used when you can.
- Rewards and Gift Cards – Statistics show that 1/3 of gift cards and rewards are never redeemed. Keep this “free” money in a convenient place and start using it! But be careful….most gift card users spend 38% more than the face value of the gift card. You can also sell or exchange unwanted gift cards online at sites like www. walmart.cardcash.com.
- Programmable Thermostat – By setting a programmable thermostat to heat or cool your home at certain times, you can ensure that your utilities aren’t being wasted while you’re at work or asleep – and save money in the process.
- Cable TV – Money Magazine estimates that the average cable bill is $123 a month, which adds up to about $1,470 a year. Cutting out the cable bill puts that money back in your pocket. Consider buying an HD antenna for local television. A quality antenna allows any television in your home to pick up free, high definition programming from popular networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and the CW, to name a few. Supplement with a subscription to a monthly service such as Hulu or Netflix for around $8-$10 a month.
- Pay Bills Online – Online bill pay can save money on stamps and paper checks by allowing you to fill in an online form, click submit and have your bill paid with a check sent directly to the vendor from your bank. It can also help avoid late charges if you set up recurring payments for bills that are the same each month. You can also use it for things that aren’t bills. Consider sending your tithe to your local church this way!
- Interest on Savings Account – According to bankrate.com, the national average APY (annual percentage yield) on a savings account is 0.11%. Consider placing your savings in an account that offers a higher APY. As a member of an SCBI church, you can invest in the Indiana Baptist Foundation’s savings accounts and earn a substantially higher return.
We would be happy to work with you on your own financial or estate plan. Please call (317) 481-2400 extension 300 for more information or visit our website at www.inbaptistfoundation.org.
President, THE INDIANA BAPTIST FOUNDATION
THESE ACCOUNTS ARE NON-FDIC INSURED AND ARE OFFERED BY “OFFERING CIRCULAR” ONLY. THE FUNDS INVESTED IN THESE ACCOUNTS ARE INVESTED IN INDIANA CHURCH BUILDING LOANS. THESE INVESTMENTS ARE FOR REGULAR OR IRA ACCOUNTS. VISIT HTTP://WWW.INBAPTISTFOUNDATION.ORG FOR CURRENT RATES AND TERMS.