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                3 min read

                6 Ways You Spend Money Without Even Realizing It

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                Everyone’s trying to cut back on their spending right now, but your budget may be leaking money in some places without you even noticing it. Whether it’s paying for stuff you don’t need or use or spending money mindlessly, your budget will be a lot happier if you seal off those leaks! Let’s take a look at six common ways people spend money without even realizing it.

                1. Unused subscriptions and memberships

                How often do you sign up for a subscription or membership only to find you’re not using it any longer just a few months later? Think streaming platforms you don’t really need, gym memberships you don’t use and magazines that serve no purpose other than cluttering up your living space. Smaller ongoing expenses, like app subscription fees, can add up, too. Take a good look at your checking account and credit card statements this month to review all of these costs and identify which of these subscriptions and/or memberships should be terminated today. 

                1. Account fees

                Keeping your checking account underfunded can cost you big in fees. Other bank-related costs, like costs for using non-affiliated ATMs, account maintenance charges and overdraft fees can also eat into your savings. Here’s how to avoid losing money each month to bank fees:

                • Choose a bank or credit union account that has minimal fees.
                • Use in-network ATMs to avoid withdrawal charges. 
                • Always keep the minimum required balance in your checking account to avoid fees. Review your account balance on a regular basis to ensure it’s always well-funded. 

                3. Amazon Prime

                Sure, it’s convenient, but do you really need to shell out $14.99 a month for free shipping on a handful of goods you can order online? If you sometimes have months when your subscription goes unused, it’s time to rethink it. First, Amazon does not always offer the cheapest price on many items and Prime members tend to buy more on the website simply to better justify their subscription. Second, if another member of your household is a Prime member, there’s no reason for both of you to pay the cost. Finally, if you tend to utilize your membership during specific times of year, such as before the holidays, consider pausing your subscription. You won’t be charged the monthly amount, and you can reactivate your subscription whenever you need it.

                1. Late charges on bills

                Paying your credit card and utility bills late is never a good idea, but did you know you can be charged late fees, which can take a big bite out of your budget? Make it a habit to pay your bills on time by setting up automatic monthly payments. If you’d rather pay your bills manually, set a reminder a day or two before each bill is due so you’re always on time. 

                1. Dining out 

                Do you have any idea how much you spend on eating out and trips to the coffee shop each month? If you can’t answer this question, you’re likely spending more than you really should on these budget categories. When looking for ways to trim expenses, eating out and coffee shops tend to get overlooked because they are so built into our daily routine. But cutting back in these areas and resolving to only spend mindfully can really save big bucks. 

                1. Brand names

                Many consumers naturally reach for brand-name products when shopping for anything from handbags to breakfast cereals to shampoo. But oftentimes, the generic version can do the job just as well. Take a good look around your home to see where you can swap brand names with copycat products that don’t compromise on the quality. Particularly, generic versions of brand-name medications can cost up to 80% less. 

                Don’t let these sneaky expenses destroy your budget! Take control of your spending and start saving more today.  

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