Time to Start taking action
I know the title of this article seems a little harsh but it if you are completely honest with yourself how many times have to put off something until later because there is a great program on Netflix or you somehow find yourself rearranging your sock draw when you could be spending that time more constructively regardless of how satisfying a carefully arranged sock draw might seem.
I am myself guilty of choosing another rerun of Top Gear than say write another article for this website, or I find myself mooching around the garden looking at plants rather than learning a new skill.
But it does not end there. How many times have we taken out subscriptions to online services which we hardly use and then forget to cancel them or at least we put off cancelling them until it is too late and we have just paid another month of subscription for something we don’t need or use.
Our laziness costs us more money than you think. Let’s look at some of the ways that we allow money to leak out of our bank accounts.
Subscriptions: We all have subscriptions for one thing or another. They can start to build up over time and it is important to keep on top of them. Once a month go over your subscription services and see which ones you can go without.
If you have a Netflix subscription for example, how often do you watch T.V? If it is more than 2 hours per day then you need to reduce that to no more than 30mins. Use the other 90 minutes to learn a new skill or start working on something that will improve your income.
I find when asking people why they don’t cancel subs to the likes of Netflix or Amazon Prime they usually reply that it’s only a small amount of cash. At time of writing Netflix has put their fees up to £8.95 per month. Over the course of the year is £107. That’s a nice little number. These little sums all start to add up.
Forgetting to Pay Bills: How many of you walk through the door, pick up the post and then deposit it on the window ledge by the entrance and forget about it?
I am guilty of it myself. I recognise the logo on the envelope and think that either it can wait or it’s just a notification of some sort. But It could well be a charge, fine or bill.
Get into the habit of opening all your mail. I used to never open my mail on a Friday afternoon, Saturday or Sunday. The reason is that I can’t do much about it if is bad news, so I don’t let them ruin my weekend. They could wait until Monday.
But all that has now changed. With the advent of on-line payments, you can settle the bills over the internet which is a good thing.
Missing payments or being late with payments could attract late payment fees from interest on credit cards, payday loans late payment fees, overdraft fees. To avoid these fees, try and setup a routine where you discipline yourself to pay bills when they are due and do not take on too many financial commitments.
There are apps which you can install on your phone what you can set reminders for you to pay on given days.
Paying for Convenience: This is one that I am most definitely not guilty of. I hate having to pay £1.50 for a small bottle of water when I have practically free water coming out of my tap at home. When I go out, I just fill up a bottle and I am done. Same with coffee. Why would I pay £3 for a cup of coffee which I can make at home for pennies?
If you were to calculate the amount of money we waste on bottled water, takeout coffee and expensive sandwiches you would be shocked. I worked out that at one point I was spending over £100 a month on lunch, £1,200 per year. So, I stopped and made my own lunch and took that to work. It’s easy to do. I just make more dinner and use the extra for my lunch for the next day, no additional effort required. That extra £1,200 went to better use.
Expensive Contracts: How long have you had your mobile phone contract? Could you find a better deal? I bet you could. My mobile phone contract is £10. I never use the data allowance. I only use WIFI and I don’t call anyone. I am of course an exception, but I am old school who grew up before smart phones were a thing. It is possible to get by with less if you just give it a go. I have seen my friends sporting the latest phones costing over £50 per month for the privilege of having the latest phone. £600 a year for the same service I pay £120.
Smart phones can be bought for £50 from eBay, no need for the latest phone in my humble opinion. Go on, call up your mobile phone provider and ask them for a better deal.
Memberships: I used to have a gym membership. I paid around £40 a month. I used to go maybe once a week in the early days. Then this went down to less than once a month to the point that I did not step foot in the place. If you don’t use it cancel it. Also, it is generally cheaper to buy a set of weights to keep at home and go for brisk walks which I have found out are free of charge.
Negotiation is key: I negotiate for everything. I don’t get the price I want I just walk away. A lot of people are embarrassed or too lazy to continue to haggle for a better price. They have set their hearts on the object of their desires and lose focus on the fact they are going to have to part with hard earned cash. Be prepared to walk away and go elsewhere if the deal is not for you.
A lot of people don’t want to shop around as it does take effort, which is true, but it does depend on the value of the item. I myself determine the amount of effort I will put into shopping around based on the value of the item. If the item is £5 then I won’t shop around much if the savings are pennies. If the item is in the hundreds if not thousands, then I will take the time to compare prices. I can do this on-line without too much effort.
When you find the item, you want at the price you want ask the company if they have any vouchers you can use, is there any cash back on the purchase.
In the case of buying a car you can haggle for tank of petrol, or first service free. Use your imagination and never pay full price and always be prepared to walk away.
Financial Products: There lots of credit card companies out there with some great deals. See if you can take out a credit card with interest free balance transfers. Move your current credit card balance over to the new zero percent interest card. You can do the same with payday loans. You can pay them off on the credit card (If there are no additional charges in doing so) and enjoy interest free repayments. But make sure you repay the entire balance on the credit card before the interest sets in.