Money is hard to keep track of; everybody knows that. It’s why you’re ready a personal finance blog right now, and why you (probably) haven’t been 100% faithful to your budget this month. This is an inherent characteristic of money. In the rush and tussle of life, you’ve got a million distractions. Money is only one of them, so it’s no surprise that you should pay attention to other things from time to time. But there are a bunch of people out there who make their living by ensuring that your money is as difficult to manage as possible. These individuals and entities may be draining you of your hard earned wages without you even knowing about it. Since this is so often the case, it’s worth taking a look at your finances right away, to make sure you don’t have any of these clingers-on sucking you dry. Here are three of the most common scenarios.
- A Forgotten Credit Account. For people with 5 or more credit cards, this can be a very unfortunate situation. Credit card companies have a variety of ways they contact you: phone, mail, email. But if one of the those methods changes, it’s entirely possible that you might not be getting notifications about outstanding balances and the like. This is made all the more likely when you move or change your phone number/email address. Thousands of people have set certain bills to auto-draft, or do not have all credit accounts visible on their online banking service. Left untended, credit card statements will swell, and credit scores will plummet. If you have a history of setting up a lot of credit cards, make sure that you’re not carrying balances on a credit card that you no longer use or may have forgotten about.
- PPI. Relevant mostly for our British readers, this situation is one which all consumers should be aware of. Payment Protection Insurance was tacked on to many a financial contract in recent years over in England. Thousands of consumers found themselves paying monthly dues for a service they did not want. Because the language was found to be deceptive and hidden within dense forms, there have been a variety of class action lawsuits written up to help these people get their money back.
- Subscriptions. With so many goods and services available by subscription online these days, it’s easy to forget how many you have open. Because these services tend to auto-draft in perpetuity, you may very well be paying for services you no longer want or use. So take a scan of your billing statements, as well as the spam folder on your email, and you’ll probably find one or two you could do without, even if they weren’t entirely forgotten.
There are plenty of ways to save money. But start investing in awareness of these methods that companies use to get your money when your attention is on other things. It’ll save you loads over the years.