It is amazing the extent to which some people’s laziness will get the best of them and their pocketbooks. Between the regular demands and stresses of life and the lack of something inside one’s head to raise an alarm, too many people are overspending on additional costs that come from poor planning or downright laziness.
Obviously it is up to the individual to decide if they would prefer to continue overspending, but here are some common mistakes people make either from being too busy or simply not thinking.
Dialing 411 for some information is common. In fact, mostly everyone has dialed 411 at one time or another because it is used as a great resource. The problem is that while it may be a lifesaver when you receive the phone number of a store you are trying to find while driving on the road or a move theater you want to call on the way to the theater, it’s not so great once you see the bill.
On average, 411 calls will cost a cell phone user about $2, but from a landline it may cost even more. Some cell phone plans have built-in plan packages that include 411 features that make it free, but this is not the case for everyone. If you are someone who frequently uses 411 as a resource, it may be time to change your habits.
After all, $2 by itself every now and then is not that bad. However, if you are making 411 calls even five times each month, the dollars add up. Sure it seems incidental to spend possibly $20 extra each year, but if you keep up those habits for the rest of your life, that $20 will turn into hundreds of dollars.
Dialing 411 should actually be a last resort. After all, there is such a thing as the internet and good old-fashioned phone books in which you could pre-plan and look up a number you need before going out on the road. However, if you are one of the many (which is most people today) who is usually so busy that pre-planning is not a choice, you can dial 411 for free at 800-FREE-411. You have to listen to an advertisement (which you may find annoying), but then you are directed to the same service you would normally have if you just dialed 411 alone.
Another way people mindlessly overspend on additional costs from not thinking or pre-planning is with overdraft fees associated with their checking accounts. Today, it is more common to find a wallet stuffed with debit or credit cards than a wallet stuffed only with cash. More people rely on plastic to make even the simplest purchases. Many attribute this trend to cards being easier and more accessible than constantly going to a bank or ATM to retrieve cash.
The only problem with check cards or debit cards is that it is too easy to buy everything with a card – so easy many people lose track of how much money they actually have available to spend. As a result, someone may pay for two soft tacos at Del Taco with a debit card not realizing they don’t even have enough in their checking for two soft tacos. As a result, the person gets charged an overdraft fee and the two tacos worth about $2 turns into a $25 or more transaction.
People may shrug that off if it happens only once. However, chances are likely that if you allow yourself to slip once, you may just do it again and again, and the costs will definitely pile up. In addition, it ruins your standing with the bank if the bank constantly sees that you spend more than your balance all the time.
The same can be said of not paying your bills on time. It doesn’t matter if it is a credit card bill or rent bill. If you miss a payment, your credit history is at risk. Plus, if you miss a payment on your credit card bill, you will incur a late fee, which only adds to your balance. In addition, a special promotion on your card may be void if you miss a payment. This may include no interest for a certain number of months (a common incentive).
Many of these fees and extra payments come as a result of not thinking or not looking far enough ahead to plan things out. However, if you take the time to change your habits now, you could be saving yourself hundreds of dollars further on in the future.