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January 21, 2011

Be Sure Of What You Are Spending

Saving money can be very difficult if you are not on top of what you are spending. In our electronic culture, it is easy to set up payments to be automatically withdrawn from accounts and kind of forget about them. This is a good thing if you are always going to need the services, such as utilities or car payments, but there are some automatic debits for frivolous items that can continue to tax your bank account even though you don’t need them.

One reason why people are being charged for things that they do not need or use is because most people never see their statements. Think about it, do you use online bill pay or other systems that automatically take payments when they are due? If you do, there is a chance that you are being charged for some items that you do not use or could cut cost on.

Make sure that no matter how you pay your bills that you are reviewing the statements. Cell phone and land line phone bills are good places to start because phone providers are really great at charging you for items that you did not order and do not use. They also do not offer up advice for customers that could save more by combining services, unless there is something in it for them. An example of this is text messaging. Some providers do let you know when there is a bundle package that includes text messaging if that bundle package will cost more than the one that you currently have. However, two years ago I was paying per text message, which became a little expensive. I went online and did some research and found out that there was an unlimited text messaging package that offered the same amount of any time minutes as the one I currently had as well as unlimited text. It cost the exact same as the package I had. By switching to that package I ended up saving on my phone bill.

Another place to look for unnecessary charges is in payments made to video rental places. Since you can now get DVD’s in the mail, the land based video stores are starting to offer services where you pay a monthly fee to get a certain number of DVD’s free. Unless you are a DVD rental freak, do not take part in these package deals. What happens is that the monthly fee is small enough for you to not really notice when it comes out of your bank account so even if you are not using the service regularly, you probably won’t cancel it.

Take the time each month to sit down and review statements for credit cards, cable, Internet and phone service. You should be able to identify every charge and all of those charges should be for things that you actually use. If you do not know what the charge is for, find out immediately and cancel the service if it is not something that you need.

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