[Guest article co-written by Lucy Wyndham] Many of us are trying to make the most of our money. However, the vast majority of people do not carefully track how that money is spent. The same sources of waste come up again and again. Do any of these money draining categories apply to you? Through aggregate survey sites, find out what are the top 10 things that make you part with your money unnecessarily.
#1 Credit Card Interest
Always review your credit card interest payments. Most likely, your interest rate is higher than you thought. What’s worse is that if you miss a payment, that interest rate can go up in the future. This is why many people pay nearly 3x more than the original cost of an item when it is purchased with a credit card. To reduce the amount of credit card interest you pay, always aim to pay off the entire balance every month. Or, at the very least, you should plan on paying much more than the minimum required payment.
#2 Dining Out
After a long day at work, it’s often easier to go out for dinner, but it is also much more expensive. Eating at home means no GST and service charge, which is already a savings of 17%!
#3 Television Plans
A television subscription is another place to cut corners. In Singapore, TV plans range from $25 to over $100 per month, once you factor in all the channel add-ons. Instead of subscribing to a plan, research streaming services, or take advantage of promotions and bundled services.
#4 Making a Car Payment
Many people make payments on a car that equals a mortgage payment. And with the additional cost of parking, petrol, ERP, insurance, and maintenance, is the cost of car ownership really worth it? Consider buying a used/auctioned car with cash (no loan), using taxis or on-demand private hire cars (Uber, Grab), or being completely car-free and relying on public transport.
#5 Memberships to the Gym
It’s well-known that many people get a gym membership, then never use it. This is a waste of at least $720 annually. Make sure you’re going to use that membership before getting it, or use a free trial to determine your true workout ambitions. And if you’re only planning on going to the gym weekly (or less often), consider using an ActiveSG Gym where the entry fee is just $2.50 per use.
#6 Minor Luxury Purchases
These purchases include drinks, coffee, convenience store snacks, and anything you might overpay for because it happens to be readily available. Take a careful look at these purchases, as they tend to add up in a sneaky way.
#7 Mobile Phone Service
Many of the telcos today offer SIM-only plans. These are around 50% less expensive than traditional post-paid plans. Call or visit your mobile service provider to find out ways in which you can reduce your bill. They also may provide promotional offers that weren’t previously available, and help you to eliminate any services you’re not currently using.
#8 Buying Things Online
Although online deals can usually beat brick-and-mortar prices, there is a tendency to buy more online, as it is super convenient. Consider if your online purchase can wait until you can get to a store. You might end up spending less overall by purchasing on-site rather than online.
#9 Luxury Upgrades
When you buy a branded-item, you are paying “extra” for the cost of marketing and the perceived social “benefits” associated with the brand. Consider your personal needs when choosing brand-name over generic store items, and if that brand-name is really worth the extra cost.
#10 Keeping the Home Comfortable
Many people rely on aircon to keep the home comfortable. But there are hacks you can use to reduce your monthly aircon energy usage. Maintaining your aircon, regularly cleaning the vents, setting the thermostat to 25°C or higher, using the timer function, and occasionally switching to a fan can dramatically cut down your energy bill. Then when it’s time to replace your aircon, consider buying an energy-efficient unit.
[This article first appeared on Surveys Say. To see the original article, please click here.]