Ways That We Carelessly Waste Money
Do you ever feel like there’s a leak in your bank account? It’s like the sound of water dripping, a tiny crack through which a slow stream of money is draining away. You know it’s there (because the cash isn’t), but you can’t find the source.YOU SCROUNGE THROUGH your bank account, looking at all of your expenses, but they seem normal. So what’s causing the constant shortfall, the perpetual feeling of falling behind, the sleepless nights and nagging anxiety?

Consider these few ideas as a starting point – there are many more things you can come up with if you want to.
The embarrassing truth is that every day, in countless idiotic ways, you (and I, unfortunately) just waste money. It’s not anything we think about, and that’s the problem. This article is not a cure all for wasting money, I just thought it would give you a good place to start if I pointed out some of the more obvious “cash wasters”. Just waking up to these budget-breaking habits will help to staunch the foolish flow of cash, repair that crack and put the money back in your pocket where it belongs.

Stuff You Can’t Live Without
Life in the 21st century is so hectic we’ve convinced ourselves that we absolutely must have all kinds of gadgets and services to “make life easier” – for which we pay a mind-boggling number of access fees, download fees, activation fees, subscription fees and usage fees. Does call forwarding “make life easier?” Is your Internet-enabled, interplanetary, supersonic cell phone-pager-communicator really necessary or does it just cost more money?” Does being able to take pictures with your cell phone really add a lot to your life? Add up all those things you’ve signed up for – the ones that cost “just $9.95 a month each!” – and figure out which ones you really can live without.
The Silent ‘Upgrade’
I recently reserved a rental car over the phone and got the astonishing rate of $138 for a week. But when I got to the airport, the rental-car guy blithely handed me a bill for $184. I didn’t want to make a fuss simply because that it is not in my nature so I threw a small, discreet fit and got $30 taken off the bill. Lesson: Take the bait, but not the switch. And speaking of switching, one of the worlds champion “switch pitchers” are the credit card companies. Remember when you moved your $4,500 balance to that new low-interest credit card and then saw the rate zoom up to 24% (3 or 4 percentage points higher than the card that you switched from) when you didn’t or couldn’t pay off the balance a year or so later. Be sure to read the fine print and be sure that you track important dates.
Memberships You Never Use
Harvard University recently released a study that conclusively proved that signing up for a gym membership is an effective way to prevent exercise. Not only are you spared from ever again touching a treadmill, you’re paying just $29 a month for the privilege. The same thing happened to me when I signed up to pay $3.50 a month for access to the Consumer Reports Web site. Why? Do I need minute-by-minute updates on Whirlpool appliances? Any psychologist will tell you that it is much easier to sell a service if you make it easy to pay for it. It was easy for me to put $3.50 a month on a credit card and I soon forgot completely about it. If I had to write out a check each month for this service it wouldn’t have lasted long. Take a close look at what you are paying for and not really using – get rid of what you don’t really need.
The Quick Renewal
The magazine industry has raised this to an art form. Have you ever noticed that two minutes after you subscribe to any publication they start begging you to renew? Most of the time, the renewal notices start before you’ve gotten your first issue! Don’t renew until you start getting the “desperation” notices which may also have lower renewal prices.
The Package ‘Deal’
A friend of mine took the package deal that the phone company offered him because, for $49.95 a month, he got every possible telephone service known to mankind. What a deal. Until he realized that with taxes and FCC line charges he was paying almost $70 a month – just for basic service. Plus, as he admitted to me, he didn’t really need satellite three-way calling to Mongolia. He broke up the package and now pays only $33 a month for the services that he really uses!.
Supersize Spending
The Big Gulp mentality has taken over the buying habits of the American public. Why join one fitness center when you can pay an extra $50 a year and have unlimited access to ALL the fitness centers in the known universe? And what’s with the unlimited yoga class card? You buy it in a frenzy of determination to Do Yoga Every Day, but you don’t, and those clever yoga people know it and chuckle all the way to the bank.
Refusing Free Money
Whatever your employer gives you, either by way of matching retirement funds, a flexible spending account or free annual checkups – take it! If it’s free then its a waste of money not to.
Bulk Spending, Slim Savings
I’m not saying you’ll never eat that half a steer or the whole 10-gallon vat of soy sauce, but buying in bulk only saves you money if you consume in bulk. Sooner or later you’ll end up getting so sick of that five-gallon jar of artichoke hearts that you throw half of them away and then never buy them again. Which is sort of a way of saving.
Consider these few ideas as a starting point – there are many more things you can come up with if you want to.

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