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PLUGGING THE LEAKS: Top Ways to Save Money in 2019

by | Feb 16, 2019

Managing your time, educating yourself for the next phase of your career, and learning to invest are crucial pieces of the overall financial puzzle – and I teach all those aspects of personal financial management, no doubt about it. But there’s an often neglected component to wealth building that’s akin to a leak in a boat: it’s bound to sink you if you don’t fix it.

Anytime you fail to address those little (or not-so-little) money wasters in your life, you’re needlessly allowing capital to leak out of your life. And the more of these leaks you have in your boat, the harder it will be to meet your financial obligations, retire comfortably, and achieve your financial dreams.

So that’s the bad news: you’re probably wasting your money in multiple ways, and you might not even be aware of it. The good news is that in 2019, there are more ways than ever to plug those financial leaks. Therefore, I encourage you to examine your own personal spending habits and try one or more of the following money-saving tips as they suit your own financial situation.

Comparison shop for your cell phone plan. In the United States in 2019, monthly cell phone plans range from around $40 to over $100, and although cell phone service carriers find ways to dazzle us with flashy advertising, technological advancements have gotten us to the point where the quality of service doesn’t vary as much as it once did.

Courtesy: clark.com

That’s why I recommend comparison shopping for cell phone plans: with fierce competition for your patronage, cell phone carriers are usually more than willing to give you a deal nowadays. And if you’re not constantly glued to your phone, you might want to ask yourself if you really need “unlimited everything” in your phone plan.

If you have chatty kids/teenagers in your household, look into “family plan” options, but take the time to do the math: are you really getting a bargain, or would it be better to pay for individual plans? And avoid getting locked into contracts whenever possible; the last thing you need is a leak in your financial boat that you can’t fix for a year or more.

Reduce your electric bill. Talk about leaks in your boat – this is a big one, and complaining about your electricity bill doesn’t count as “taking action.” For one thing, I recommend having your HVAC system inspected and cleaned once a year in order to increasing its efficiency, and be sure to change your HVAC filters monthly.

Switch to LED light bulbs, which use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Install dimmer switches so you’ll only be using as much light as you need. While you’re at it, install ceiling fans so your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard.

Perhaps the biggest change you can make is to reduce “phantom loads”: televisions, stereos, computers, and other devices that consume energy when they’re turned off. 75% of the energy used by home electronics is consumed when they’re turned off; what you can do is plug these items into power strips, and switch off the strips when you’re not using the devices.

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Check your bank account and credit card fees. Banks will hate me for exposing them like this, but they’re grossly overcharging you and they get away with it because it’s all buried in the fine print. Many bank accounts, however, will waive some of these fees if your account balance stays above $1,500.

You have every right to ask your bank to tell you what fees they’re charging you: these will typically include checking account fees, minimum balance charges, ATM fees, overdraft fees, hard copy statement fees, and inactivity fees. You can avoid some of these fees by paying your balances on time and in full, and choosing electronic instead of paper statements.

Courtesy: credit.com

All of the foregoing tips also apply to credit cards, plus you’ll want to be keenly aware of the APR or annual percentage rate (how much annualized interest you’re paying on your unpaid credit card balance). The average APR in the U.S. is 17.51%, so if you’re paying more than that, consider switching your balance to a different card.

But please be careful when switching: low- or no-rate credit cards often will switch to a very high APR after a while, so read the fine print with a magnifying glass. Better yet, just pay off your balances as soon as possible and avoid the borrowing costs altogether – in other words, try to avoid that money leak altogether.

Pay less for insurance. I can almost guarantee that you’re overpaying with at least one of your insurance policies. For example, you’d be surprised at how many people are paying for more collision coverage than their car is actually worth – and if you’re one of those people, today’s a great day to fix that leak in your financial boat.

Read through your auto, home, professional, and other insurance policies carefully: chances are excellent that you’re paying for coverage that you don’t need. For instance, many people overpay to insure the personal property in their home, especially when they’re not storing anything of great monetary value.

I also advise looking into the possibility of bundling your home and auto insurance (i.e., purchasing them from the same insurer at a discount). In fact, a study has found that consumers in the U.S. can save an average of $322 (16.1%) annually by bundling their auto and homeowners insurance policies with the same insurer.

Courtesy: Quadrant Information Services, insurancequotes.com

Plug those leaks sooner, not later

Much like savings and investments can compound, debts can also compound – and money leaks, as you might already know from personal experience, can compound surprisingly quickly. I’ve found it helpful to plug the fastest leaks first: prioritize the expenses that are draining your account the fastest.

You’ll probably benefit from writing down all of your expenditures: list them all out, one by one, so that you can see how much you’re spending on a monthly basis. Include all of your “needs” (bills and necessary expenses) as well as your “wants” (fun, shopping, leisure, and luxury items).

Writing out all of your expenditures might be an uncomfortable exercise (especially if you’ve never done it before), but it can help you identify and tackle your biggest expenses first – while also helping you determine which of your expenses aren’t really necessary at all.

The final word is that it’s better to address your money leaks today – not tomorrow, or next week, or “someday.” It’s an investment of time and effort that will pay big dividends in the form of money saved, less to worry about, and a more comfortable financial future.

93% Of Investors Generate Annual Returns, Which Barely Beat Inflation

Build The Knowledge Base To Set Yourself Up For A Wealthy Retirement and Leverage The Relationships We Are Forming With Proven Small-Cap Management Teams To Hit Grand-Slams!

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