With so many finances to juggle in modern life it can be easy to lose track of spending. Subscription services, insurance, direct debits; all of these are piled onto our accounts and often forgot about. To make sure that you’re not spending money on nothing here are some things you can do to get rid of hidden monthly costs.
Check Your Statements
The first thing you should do is go through your bank statements so you actually know what’s being spent where. With online banking you can do this anytime you like, but it can also be useful to print out the occasional monthly statement so you get a clear breakdown of everything. If anything looks out of place then look into it further to figure out what exactly it is. This can be done with a bit of home research about company names on transactions – as some companies are listed differently on statements – or by calling your bank. Your statement will also tell you what days of the month you have scheduled outgoings, so you can prepare in advance.
Ditch Old and Unused Monthly Costs
It’s not uncommon to subscribe to something like the gym or a streaming service and eventually stop using it altogether. This can often result in forgetting about it or telling ourselves that we may start using it again. In reality, it ends up being money down the drain. This makes it important to be stricter with your monthly costs. Once you’ve gone through your bank statements and worked out what everything is, ditch those regular, scheduled outgoings that you are no longer getting anything from. Even those subscriptions that may only cost £5-£10 a month that you haven’t paid attention to for a long time can add up to a substantial saving when cut loose.
Don’t Get Stuck in ‘Free’ Trials
Free trials are a common way of attracting people to a subscription service. Quite often they last a month and are great to get a freebie. But they also have ways of locking you into a service you may not want for any longer than the trial period. Usually these trials roll over into a full paying service unless you cancel them manually. The best way to do this is to start a trial and then immediately cancel it or switch of auto-renew, the free trial will still be honoured and you won’t get stuck with a nasty surprise of charge a month later.
A Bit More on Auto-Renewal
Auto-renewal isn’t just something that happens after a free trial, it’s also a common tactic to lock people into another contract at the end of a previous one. Car insurance and mobile phone bills are big users of this tactic.
For car insurance, don’t be afraid to call up and negotiate a price for the next year as it can inexplicably go up with auto-renew. If you don’t get a good price go elsewhere. This where price comparisons sites are a big help.
For phone bills, after the conclusion of a typical two-year contract it will likely turn into a rolling contract, so make sure you aren’t being overcharged for what you’re getting. If you feel you are negotiate, or, switch to a SIM card only deal if you have no intention of replacing the phone itself, as these are often cheaper.
By using these simple tips you can end up saving yourself a healthy amount each month, all from simply ditching hidden monthly costs that didn’t get you anything in return.