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10 clever ways you can start being smarter with your money today

Published Aug 19th, 2015 3:05PM EDT
How To Save Money

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Oftentimes, even the very notion of trying to improve your financial situation can seem overwhelming. Especially if you’re starting from scratch, trying to come up with a plan to cut back on monthly spending and start saving for the future can be daunting.

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While millions upon millions of words have already been written on ways to achieve financial independence, Gobankingrates recently put together a helpful and informative list of 10 ways you can start being smarter with your money today. A few in particular are worth highlighting.

Recurring Expenses

An easy way to cut back on monthly spending habits is to take stock of any recurring expenses you might have. Various services (from Pandora to LinkedIn) love to get users hooked on a monthly or even yearly billing cycles. These types of recurring payments are extremely easy to overlook.

Just recently a friend of mine discovered that she was still paying $60/month for McAfee virus protection for a PC that she had gotten rid of years ago. Point being, keep an eye out our any recurring subscription charges you might have signed up for and be aggressive about ending ones you simply don’t need.

Be aggressive about contesting fees

Inexplicable fees that show up out of nowhere are everywhere these days, from your cable bill to your phone bill and everything in between. Even banks like to tack on charges for murky services that you might not have even signed up for.

The solution? Contest them.

If the fee was legitimately levied, you can still request that the service provider waive the fee or lower it. If the fee is from your bank, for instance, maybe a bill payment went out a day before your paycheck was deposited resulting in an overdraft. Make sure to mention how excellent of a customer you usually are and how important this request is to you. Chances are good that retaining your business is worth waiving a $30 fee to your service provider.

Here’s the thing: If you’re adamant about not paying a fee you believe was made in error, customer service personnel will sometimes waive it just to get you off the phone. Remember, companies will often try and dress up useless monthly fees in such a way that they seem more necessary than they truly are. That being the case, don’t hesitate to demand straight-up answers about any strange and mysterious charges that aren’t self-explanatory.

Shop around for a better interest rate

Sadly, interest rates touch all areas of our lives. Whether you’re paying off student loans, a new car, old credit cards, or even a new house, high interest rates can take a frustratingly disproportionate amount of money out of your paycheck.

Thankfully, it’s possible to find much better interest rates if you put in the time to shop around. Indeed, some financial institutions are all too willing to offer you a substantively lower interest rate in exchange for years of your business.

GoBankingRates adds the following advice:

If it’s an interest rate on a loan or credit card, you can try simply asking for a lower rate. Credit card issuers will often lower your interest rate when asked.

For loans, many banks and credit unions will offer interest rate discounts if you set up direct payments or meet other requirements. Some lenders provide similar discounts to student loan borrowers.

It’s sound advice. Being willing to set up a direct deposit to pay off a loan is an especially smart way to try and lower your overall interest rate.

Make sure to hit the source link for the full rundown of smart money managing tips. Even saving a few dollars every month can really add up to some serious savings in the long run.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.