10 Ways That Too Many People Throw Money Away by Ed Clark

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Take a look at the list and see where you can FIND some money!!! I must admit that I am guilty of doing some of the things on the list.

There are all sorts of ways to cut spending and boost your savings, and there are just as many ways to sabotage your own finances. In addition to missing out on money-saving discounts, making unwise shopping decisions, and purchasing unnecessary items, you might also be throwing your money down the drain for no real reason at all. Often, all it takes is a little effort and organization to fix the problem. But first, you need to be aware of all the ways your money is being wasted. The list could go on and on, of course, but here are 10 ways consumers repeatedly throw their money away.

1. Never redeeming gift cards

Even if you don’t want your gift card, at least give it to someone who will use it. American households also average $300 in unused gift cards, and nearly half of recipients do not use the full value of the card. Don’t be the person letting these dollars go down the drain.

2. Letting Groupons expire

According to Yipit, roughly 15% of Groupons go unredeemed by the time the expiration date rolls around. Make a note of your daily deal coupon’s expiration date to ensure this doesn’t happen to you. And if your Groupon does expire, you can still get some value from it. The digital coupon should retain its face value at the organization for at least five years.

3. Buying tickets and not showing up

4. Paying late fees

Even small late fees add up quickly. This can include everything from overdue library books to Redbox DVD rentals to late payments on utilities or credit cards. To avoid incurring late fees on your credit card,CreditCards.com suggests paying far ahead of your due date, changing your payment due date if possible to coincide with your payday schedule, scheduling automatic payment, or setting a reminder for yourself. If you are hit with a late fee after all, call customer service and ask to have the charge waived. On your first offense many companies are willing to let the late fee go.

5. Paying banking fees

It seems like every year banks come up with new ways to nickel and dime their members. Between minimum balances, fees for checking accounts, and ATM fees, these charges can add up. No one should have to pay for basic banking services. Many are having better luck avoiding these unnecessary fees after joining a local credit union. Credit unions typically offer free checking accounts and savings accounts with better interest rates. If you find yourself frequently out of cash and paying charge after charge from ATMs, instead get into the habit of getting cash back from debit purchases when you are out grocery shopping.

6. Not returning unwanted goods

It’s easy to let unwanted items or gifts just sit there in the closet, but with a little effort, you could be getting money back in your pocket. Even if you are past the return date, give it a try anyway. You may be able to at least get store credit. For online purchases, many retailers even cover the cost of shipping for returns. CBS News compiled a list of stores with generous return policies, such as Walmart, Target, Costco, and Kohl’s. Some retailers will even take returns without a receipt.

7. Failing to ask for a refund

Consumers who are dissatisfied with their service often don’t take the time to voice their concerns. Those people that do, however, could end up with a full refund or at least a discount. If you have a bad experience with a hotel, auto mechanic, cell phone carriers, or hairdresser, to name a few, don’t be shy about speaking up.

8. Never disputing mistakes on a bill

If you think your bill may be incorrect, it’s worth disputing the charges with the company. At most respectable businesses, the error will quickly be corrected.

9. Forgetting to follow up on a rebate

The sneaky thing about mail-in rebates is they are designed to be so complicated that consumers either forget to mail them in or do so incorrectly.

10. Not claiming money that’s yours

Every year, unclaimed money is reported by the government, and rightful owners are encouraged to step forward and claim their funds. Find more information about unclaimed money from the government atUSA.gov.

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