Top 5 ways

You can save yourself hundreds, even thousands, of dollars each year by eliminating these five bad habits, according to the Ohio Credit Union League.

“The best advice any financial advisor can give is toS look for ways to cut back and save,�said Patrick Harris, Director of Media and Public Relations for the Ohio Credit Union League. “The best way to do this is to look over your last three account statements and point out areas where you spent on something you wanted, rather than needed.�br />

Wondering why your money disappeared? Below are five ways consumers waste money.

  • Buying coffee and lunch every day.
    According to the
    Accounting Principals Workonomix Survey (January 2012), half of American workers buy coffee on workdays and two-thirds regularly buys their lunch. Coffee purchasers typically spend more than $5 a day, averaging $1,092 a year. For lunch buyers, the numbers almost double, averaging $1,924 per year.

  • Paying late fees or penalties on bills.
    Americans rack up more than $22 billion in credit card late fees and penalties each year. Late fees on bills are easily avoided by setting up reminders on your calendars and participating in online automatic payments. Not only are these fees a waste of money, they can wreak havoc on your credit score.

  • Overspending on cell phone and cable/satellite.
    Ever flip through channels and think to yourself, “I never watch any of these.�Chances are, you are right. Consumers are also unlikely to utilize all of their allotted cell phone minutes per month. A simple audit of what you use, and don’t use, may allow you to slim down your monthly bills.

  • Not taking advantage of gift cards and coupons.
    As consumers, we should avoid paying full cost, at all costs. Unfortunately, each year we leave more than $6 billion in unused gift cards buried in our junk drawers or deep inside our wallets. Not to mention, the Sunday paper is full of coupons that, when used properly, can save hundreds a year. However, supermarket owners are well aware that 98% of all coupons get thrown away.

  • Sticking with high-fee bank services.
    In 2010, consumers shelled out more than $7 billion in bank fees. According to a February 2012 Consumer Reports article, those numbers are expected to escalate as mega financial institutions look to recapture lost revenue. The article suggests shopping around to save money, and points to credit unions as an option to avoid the highest fees. To find a credit union, go to www.aSmarterChoice.org.

The Financial Five is a monthly consumer column from Ohio’s credit unions that provides important financial tips to consumers.

The Ohio Credit Union League, with offices in Columbus, is a state trade association representing 370 credit unions. Credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions owned and democratically-controlled by their members. Ohio credit unions provide savings, loans, and other consumer financial services to their 2.69 million members. To learn more, visit www.aSmarterChoice.org.

 

 

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