5 Money Leaks, and How to Plug Them

Though you keep a close eye on your budget, you may miss some “money leaks,” those small expenditures that add up over time.

Among these expenses are those that you are unaware of, others are regular bills that you have been meaning to review for years, and yet another group is expenses that you could save if you took the time to compare cheaper alternatives.

Calculate which of these leaks apply to you, and you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year.

AC/Heating Unit

You leave your AC and heat on without reason. By installing a programmable thermostat in your house, you can set it to reduce the temperature in your house during the day and at night.

For example, you will save between 5% and 15% on your heating and cooling bills.

Internet and phone service

Consider comparing the prices of your Internet service and phone service if you have not done so in the past six months.

In some cases, you may be able to save money by switching from AT&T to Comcast Xfinity or vice versa. It’s not just about the cost, but it’s about what works best for the daily working needs of your family on a day-to-day basis.

Plus, many people don’t need home phones anymore. We all have cell phones!

Bank fees

Overdraft penalties, ATM fees, and monthly fees can eat up your cash.

You should not have to pay for a checking account: More than 40 percent of banks and 80 percent of credit unions offer free checking with no minimum balance requirement.

By using any cash-back option when making purchases with a debit card, you will be able to avoid ATM withdrawal fees, which can top $4 per withdrawal.

It is advisable to decline overdraft protection service to avoid paying overdraft fees, which can easily reach $30.

Instead, track spending to ensure that you do not go over your balance.

Amazon Prime

For those who signed up for Prime mainly for the free fast shipping (and not for the streaming music and video), it might be a good idea to drop out and save the $119 annual fee by not renewing.

Any Amazon customer who spends $25 or more on qualifying items per order will receive free shipping. You can also shop at walmart.com, which provides free next-day delivery on orders of $35 or more.

Those who love Prime, however, can save big by signing up for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card, which offers 5 percent back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.

Credit cards

Identify and plug your biggest money leak: high interest.

It doesn’t matter how much you save by making lifestyle choices if you’re still paying high interest.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to pay as much as possible towards your credit cards.

In the event that your debt is choking your cash flow and you have sufficient equity in your home to accomplish this, you may be able to transfer debt to your lower-rate mortgage and save thousands.