12 Foolish Things We Do With Finances

Image Credit

1. Hope for Big Tax Returns

In addition to rain showers and spring flowers, April represents tax season. Most of us hope for big tax return so we can pay down debt or finally buy that HDTV we’ve been coveting. Unfortunately, receiving a big tax return means you’re withholding too much from your paycheck and subsequently missing out on income throughout the year. Use the 2013 IRS Withholding calculator to more accurately determine what the government gets from your paycheck.

2. Ignore Gift Cards

Let’s be honest: How many of you still have gift cards in your wallet from Christmas? Your birthday? There’s likely a reason you haven’t spent it, but ultimately not using the gift card is a waste of money. This is especially true since you can sell it for cash using GiftCardGranny.com, where you can receive up to 92-percent of your card’s value.

3. Pay for Things You Don’t Use

You wouldn’t pay for things you don’t use, right? You might be surprised how often this happens. Do you watch the hundreds of channels that come with your pricey cable subscription? Use all the data and minutes associated with your cell phone plan? Probably not. In fact, ABC News recently reported 80 percent of cellphone users overpay on their plans by $200 a year. Take the time to calculate what you actually use and do what you can to pay for just that.

4. Leave Money on the Table

It’s understandable to want as much of your paycheck as you can get. Still, if your employer offers a 401k matching plan and you don’t open an account, you’re leaving free money on the table. Saving for retirement may not seem like a necessity now, but you’ll feel pretty foolish later on if you don’t accept what’s offered to you.

5. Overdraft Your Account

Spending upwards of $35 per overdraft is a colossal waste of cash, especially since banks offer services to protect you from these noxious fees. You can tie your checking account to your savings account to avoid overdrafting altogether, or ask that your debit card be declined in the event of insufficient funds. Ultimately, keeping track of what you have in your bank account is essential to avoiding this foolish mistake.

6. Hoard Your Money

Saving money is definitely a habit you want to get into, but stuffing it between the mattresses or letting your change collection take over your cabinet space is imprudent. You can be earning more with this money by investing it, or at the very least depositing it into an interest-earning savings account. If you have a high-deductible health plan, you can divert some of your paycheck tax-free into a Health Savings Account, or deposit a portion into a 529 Savings Plan for your kid’s college fund.

7. Ignore Autopay Accounts

Autopay is a great way to ensure you always pay your bills on time. However, “out of sight, out of mind” can be a foolhardy way to manage your finances. You should still review your payment details, schedules and statements to ensure you’re not being overcharged and that no extra fees or services are added to your bill without your knowledge.

8. Fail to Shop Around

Failing to compare the price of products and services is just lazy. Whether it’s a lawn aeration or water heater repair, you should get as many quotes as you can. Ask friends for recommendations and let bidders know you’re receiving other quotes. Also, be sure to shop around for products with particularly high markups, like ink cartridges. Sites such as InkjetWilly.com are designed to help you find the best price on these home and office necessities.

9. Use Credit Cards Without Rewards

Still using a credit card with no rewards? Not smart! If you manage your credit card spending well, you should make it work for you. Whether it’s cash back, gift cards or travel points, your credit card should offer perks that help offset the cost of everyday purchases or occasional luxuries.

10. Spend Beyond Your Means

Using a credit card without rewards isn’t a smart move, but using them to live beyond your means is the most foolish mistake of all. According to Bankrate, 24 percent of Americans have more in credit card debt than they do in their emergency savings. If this sounds familiar, consider making a lifestyle change to get your finances back on track.

11. Pay for Free Services

While there’s no such thing as a free lunch, there are several free services you may not know about. Your ignorance is costing you, however, as paying for something you can get for free is pretty foolish! Texting, ATM fees and kids’ meals are just a few examples of common freebies. For a list of services you shouldn’t be paying for, read this article from MoneyTalksNews.

12. Procrastinate

There is such a thing as last-minute deals, but ultimately they’re few and far between. Whether you’re booking travel or considering opening an emergency savings, putting off planning can cost you dearly.

andreaAndrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

This article may contain affiliate links to products. This means if you click and purchase, we may receive a small commission. Please see our full disclosure policy for more details.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.