Note: We receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this site. Our sponsors, however, do not influence our editorial content in any way.
Even if you are diligent with monitoring your cash, you can still find your bank account drains quickly and your credit cards somehow rack up unexpected charges. As it turns out, simple attention to hidden fees, price differences and thinking twice about purchases can help you keep your money where it belongs: in your pocket.
If you use a different bank’s ATM, you can pay $2, $3 or even $4 per transaction — just because you want some cash right now. Consider whether you really need the cash so badly you are willing to pay the significant markup for convenience. You may be able to pay with direct debit, or even a credit card instead — as long as you pay it off right away.
Watching your bank account closely can prevent errors or unexpected overdraft charges. It avoids the unpleasant experience of having a charge approved, only to see your bank has hit you with a $5 fee or hefty penalty for being overdrawn. Making sure you pay your credit card bill on time prevents interest charges, which add up over time.
No matter your lifestyle, you are going to buy certain items on a regular basis. It’s no secret that some things are cheaper in certain locations. Keep a tally of the prices in different stores — you may get the best deal on peanut butter at one store, but save money on toothpaste through a different chain. Try not to sacrifice your budget for the sake of convenience, when it may be a short bus ride or walk to another retailer.
It is easy to spend money on items that seem practical — but if you didn’t plan to buy it and are captivated by a marketing display, take a moment to ask yourself if you will actually use the item. Sometimes the answer is yes, but other times you aren’t so sure. Impulse purchases can drain your bank account even if you are only spending a few dollars at a time. If in doubt, go away and come back if you think you really want it.
Overall, being mindful of the costs of purchases, taking into account fees and penalties, can help you conserve funds. Being careless about paying your bills or shelling out a few extra dollars for the sake of convenience may seem reasonable in the moment — but it costs you in the long run. Think twice and pay attention, for the sake of your budget and financial health.