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3 Ways You’re Throwing Away Your Money

wasting-money

Every day, millions of people throw away their hard earned money. They simply hand it over without thinking about it. Often times, people don’t even realize they’re giving it away. Here are three common ways you’re throwing away your money.

Bank Fees

I worked in a bank for over 10 years and came to realize that people either love or hate their bank. One of the main reasons people would complain when they came into my office was about the fees that had hit their account.

No matter what anyone tells you, every financial institution has fees. But, that doesn’t mean that you have to pay them. Instead, you need to learn how to avoid them.

Since the Great Recession, banks have added a lot of fees as a way to recoup their losses. To avoid padding your bank’s pockets, you need to find out what types of fees your bank has.

An easy way for banks to make money off of you is through overdraft fees. This plan allows the bank to cover charges for you when you don’t have enough money in your account. While this sounds like a nice service, it’s really just an easy money-maker for the bank as they’ll charge you up to $38 per transaction. It doesn’t take long for this service to really add up.

Avoid overdraft fees by simply declining the service when you open your account. If it’s already on your account, just ask a representative at your bank to have it removed.

Another easy way for the bank to make money off of you is through ATM fees. Over the last few years, people haven’t used ATMs nearly as much as they used. Because of this, ATM fees have skyrocketed. Surcharges are up to nearly $3 a pop on average.

Even though ATM fees are up, that doesn’t mean you have to pay them. The easiest way to avoid ATM surcharges is to simply use your bank’s ATM. You only pay to use an ATM when you use another bank’s machine.

Credit Cards

Just like banks, people tend to either love or hate credit cards. While credit cards offer a lot of benefits, they can also get you into a lot of trouble and cost you a lot of money if you aren’t careful.

Credit cards companies offer consumers a lot of benefits like reward programs, fraud protection and even cash that goes straight back to you. So, how are you throwing your money away on credit cards?

A lot of people view debt as an evil necessity in life. After all, who can buy a car or a house in cash, right? While some debt might be unavoidable, paying interest on your credit cards shouldn’t be one of them.

The secret to credit cards is to pay them off each month. By doing so, you don’t pay one cent in interest, no matter how high your card’s interest rate is.

However, if you’re carrying a balance each month on your card, you’re really throwing your money away. If this is the case, you need to evaluate the reason for these balances and come up with a plan to pay them off as soon as possible.

Not Taking Advantage of Retirement Plans

People in America work hard. On average, we put in more hours of work each year than almost any other country. Because of this, you deserve for your money to go as far as it can towards your retirement. Yet, a lot of hardworking people throw away a lot of free money.

Just because you might be in your 20s or 30s doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thinking about retirement. Sure, it’s a long way down the road, but if you aren’t taking advantage of your employer’s retirement plan, you’re leaving free money on the table.

Most jobs come with a benefits package that includes insurance coverage and a retirement plan. A common retirement package often includes an employer matching program.

This means that your employer will match the funds that you contribute to your 401k or 403b each pay period up to a certain percent. If you aren’t contributing as much as you can, you’re simply not taking free money.

While today’s economy has bounced back quite a bit, that doesn’t mean that you can afford to throw money down the drain each month. Just by being aware of these three common mistakes, you can get yourself on the path to saving hundreds of dollars each year.

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About Jonathan Hubbs I'm Jonathan Hubbs and I have over a decade's worth of experience in banking and the financial field. When I'm not writing about money, I'm spending time with my wife and two daughters, who definitely know how to spend my money!

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