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I have mentioned it here a couple times before, but I don’t like following a budget. Our family has been able to live within our means just fine and have done so for the past decade.
Unfortunately, the “just fine” attitude can jump up and slap you in the face if you don’t watch out.
And that is just what happened this week as I was going through our spending for the year.
In the span of a couple minutes, I was able to uncover over $1,000 in wasted expenses this year – and it is only October!
These wasted expenses include money spent on late fees, missed payments, and services we no longer use or worse – forgot we had.
So here is my quick list of where we wasted money this year.
7 Examples of How We Wasted Money This Year
After sorting through our spending in detail for the past 9 months – several things quickly stood out.
#1 – $24.00 in Late Mortgage Payments
We have between the 1st of the month and the 10th of the month to pay our mortgage without incurring any penalty or late fee. If you pay between the 11th and 15th of the month, you are hit with a $6.00 charge.
I got lazy earlier in the year and didn’t log in and pay our mortgage on time, 4 different months. No excuse really other than forgetting about. The end result was an extra $24 spent on late fees related to our mortgage.
#2 – $60.83 in Banking Fees
Those dang banking fees! Most of these banking fees were a result earlier in the year of setting up automated investments through LOYAL3.
Automated investments and payments are good and bad. The good is that you don’t have to worry about logging every month (i.e. our mortgage). The bad is you better have sufficient funds in your account!
We had the money available … it was just in transit and had not cleared our checking account at the time we were trying to invest.
#3 – $45.00 in Late HOA payments
We pay our HOA fees twice per year. And the payments are not even that much. But … we forgot to make our payments on time (twice).
I need a better method for remember when these payments are due. The problem is we get a payment booklet at the beginning of the calendar year. And payments are usually due in the early winter and late summer.
It is not directly on my mind and we just forget to make the payments on time. I think next year I better just go write the check for the entire year when we get our booklet!
#4 – $353.50 By Not Dropping Cable Sooner
My wife and I had talked many times last year about ditching our cable once and for all. It wasn’t until last February that enough was enough. Our cable bill jumped drastically the second month of the year.
We ended up dropping our cable, but it wasn’t until the beginning of May really. After it was all said and done – we would have saved over $350 this year if we would have just dropped it at the beginning of January.
#5 – $144.00 Membership Fees Never Used
Last year I had grand intentions of becoming a freelance writer to earn side income. I even signed up for a membership site that would help me find writing jobs available.
I then realized that I didn’t like writing on random topics. Only those that I was interested in like – personal finance and healthy living.
My freelance writing career never really got off the ground. To make matters worse, I kept forgetting to cancel my membership … which took a $77.00 payment every 3 months.
So we ended up paying $144 for a membership site I never used this year.
#6 – $74.71 Computer Virus Software (that we don’t use)
A couple years ago we used a free trial of a popular computer virus software. In order to get the free trial, we still had to put a credit card on file.
Yep … you guessed it. I forgot to cancel the payment that kicked in back in May once the free trial was over.
The bad part of this is that my job offers free virus software for employees and the product is much better. So there is another $70+ wasted!
#7 – $320.00 on Domains and Hosting
I spent a lot more than $320 last year on domains and hosting. However, this amount was from domain names that auto-renewed that I had forgotten about.
In addition to the domain names, we had hosting that also auto-renewed for websites that I hadn’t touched in a long time that I was going to decommission.
Another opportunity lost to keep several hundred dollars in our pockets!
Total Money Wasted – $1,022.04
It is truly amazing what happens when you spend just a little time looking at your finances. The 3 or 4 hours I spent this week uncovered a bunch of red flags when it comes to our budget.
After putting a category on all of our transactions for the year to date … I spent another 15 minutes looking for where we wasted money.
The $1,022.04 of wasted money I found in our budget was only a start. I am sure there is more money that wasn’t spent wisely. The 7 examples above are only from looking for obvious red flags.
To add additional insult, let’s assume we could have invested this wasted $1,022.04 in dividend stocks. Using our current yield on cost (YOC) for stocks we own – we are missing out on potentially $45 in annual dividend income.
If nothing more, looking at this has made me go back in and fix our auto renewed accounts. We want to learn from history here … not repeat it.
This was a difficult post to write. Wasting over $1,000 in the past 9 months is tough enough. But then to write about it hurts more.
And while it hurts … that is the point of why I am writing about it. In less than a day, I went into these various accounts that were obsolete and cancelled my service.
I have also created automated reminders about paying our mortgage and HOA fees on time.
Just a couple simple tasks and I probably saved this $1,000 from being wasted next year.
With our new focus on budgeting (so we can invest 20% of our income) … I should be able to identify these problems sooner. And if any are found, hopefully fix them in time to keep that money in our pockets.
Do you ever let your finances slip and have it cost you? How much have you wasted this year on late payments, fees, and obsolete accounts you no longer use?