Budgeting

3 Ways You’re Unknowingly Wasting Money Every Month

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Joanne Poh

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At the end of every month, you check your bank account balance, and your heart is gripped with despair as you realise all your money has mysteriously vanished. The worst thing is, you’re not even sure what you spent that money on.

Guess what, it’s possible that you actually are spending money without realising it. Here are three ways your account might be leaking money even without your knowledge.

 

Online and offline subscriptions

Thanks to the Internet, it’s all too easy to unknowingly sign up for subscriptions without knowing it. Many companies will ask for your credit card details in exchange for a “free trial”. What you don’t realise is that, once the free trial is over, you will be charged automatically for this subscription.

Take Singapore’s new car-sharing scheme, BlueSG, for instance. They’re currently offering a free annual subscription for those who sign up before 31 March 2018. But even though the subscription is free for now, you’re required to furnish your credit card details. And one year from now, these people who’ve signed up for the free promo are going to get charged for the next year’s subscription.

Here are a few examples of online subscriptions you may have and how much each will cost you:

Subscription Service Cost
Netflix (4 screens + Ultra HD) $16.98 a month
Spotify Premium $9.90 a month
Office 365 Personal $10.80 a month
Amazon Prime $2.99 a month (normally $8.99)
WWE Network US$9.99 a month (approx. S$14)

Don’t forget that GST will soon be implemented on these and other digital services by 2020! You’ll end up wasting even more money by then.

So it pays to monitor your account statements and, whenever you realise you’ve been charged for a subscription that you had forgotten about, call up the provider and cancel it immediately, not forgetting to ask for a refund if not much time has elapsed.

 

Coffee money

To some of us, coffee is the lifeblood that keeps us alive through long, grinding work days and stops us from collapsing and dying when we need to look chipper.

But coffee is also one of the things we tend to consume rather mindlessly, without really being aware of the cost. In the morning, you make a quick detour at Starbucks for a takeaway cup to get you through the morning. After lunch, you grab another coffee on the way back to the office. And the cycle continues.

Because many of these coffees are purchased when you’re very sleepy or on the brink of exhaustion, we tend not to pay attention to how much we’re spending.

 

Money owed to you when you pay for the group

This has happened to me so many times that I’m convinced it’s a common phenomenon in Singapore. Here’s the scenario: you’re dining at a restaurant in a big group. When the waiter arrives, you pay with your credit card, and everyone promises to pay you back.

However, when the time comes to pay up, half the people claim they have no cash. It’s fine, you say, you can transfer me the money electronically instead.

Subsequently, some of these people disappear off the face of the earth, conveniently pretending to forget to pay you back, or no doubt hoping you’ll be too embarrassed to ask for the money back. The only way to get your money back is to bug them, which is annoying since it is after all your money.

The worst thing is that you can easily lose a few hundred bucks each time this happens, especially when alcohol is involved.

If this is a frequent occurrence, you might want to consider asking to pay only for your own share when you flash your credit card at a restaurant the next time you dine in a group. And if you’re often losing money because you’re too embarrassed to hound people for money, ask yourself who should really be the one getting embarrassed here.

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Have you ever wasted money in the above ways? Share your experiences in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.