Budgeting

4 Little Things I Wasn’t Doing (Until Now) That Could Have Been Saving Me Money

By | Monday, October 17, 2016

 

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1. Getting price adjustments.

To take it one step further than my deep and unrelenting love of returning and exchanging items I’ve purchased and ended up not liking, I have recently found price adjustments to be one of the most brilliant yet somehow least used ways of saving money. When I worked in retail, I was only 17 and didn’t have a great understanding of money, so when people came in asking for price adjustments (which my store allowed, as per the policy printed on every receipt), I mostly just found it annoying.

True, it makes the store employee go through a little extra work, but most company policies do allow price adjustments if an item goes on sale within a week or so after the purchase date. It might be a little inconvenient for the pissy 17-year-old working at the register (#me), but those policies are in place for a reason. Don’t feel shy about popping back in if the $60 item you bought went on a 50% off sale two days after you bought it – just make sure you read and understand the store policy before you do!

 

2. Examining my bills and making necessary calls.

I am the queen of laziness when it comes to paying my credit card bills. I’m a busy gal, which sometimes translates to a lot of forgetfulness, so I’ve found it easier to automate all of my bills to just take the money from my account on certain days every month. Of course, this means I need to be actively aware of how much money I’m keeping in my account at all times, but I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on it, and know that even with all of my payments being made, the number hovers around the same place most of the time.

The real issue with the automated bill payments is that it gives me a really good excuse to basically never look at my credit card statement. This means I’m pretty much giving up the opportunity to carefully examine each charge on my card and make sure it was one I actually made. I’ve mistakenly paid for charges that I didn’t notice until way later, and missed my shot to dispute them properly.

3. Depositing checks on time.

This is a highly embarrassing story, but I figure the TFD community knows enough about me at this point to hear it: I decided joining Ebates would be a great way to save a little cash on my (way too frequent) online shopping purchases. If you don’t know how Ebates works, you basically click through links on their website and do your online shopping, and then they give you cash back depending on the store you shopped at and what deal is going on at that time. Once you’ve gotten a certain amount of cash back, you can redeem it and get a check sent to your house with the money you saved. Well, I received an Ebates check one month, and tossed it on my desk because I didn’t feel like depositing it yet. Fast forward to two months later, when I found the check under a pile of desk-crap and decided to finally deposit it via my mobile banking app. Fast forward to two weeks later, when I received a letter from my bank informing me that I had deposited a check too far after the void date, and therefore, I would not only not be getting that money deposited into my account, but they also were charging me a $15 fee for the inconvenience.

Moral of the story: read the “void after” date on checks, and don’t freaking deposit them late.

 

 

4. Asking for help

I’m 22, so I often feel like I’m stuck awkwardly between “Certified Adulthood” and “Googling How To Defrost Chicken.” A huge portion of my mistakes (financial and otherwise) are due entirely to the fact that I’m questioning something, but too nervous to ask for help, lest I be seen as a child who can’t figure things out alone. But there are some things that my mom, or my dad, or a friend, or a kind soul in the bursar’s office at school, could have really helped me with if I had given them a chance.

When I think about the dolla bills I could have saved by calling and asking questions about scholarships and financial aid at school, or asking my dad how to fix my slowly deteriorating car, or asking my mom how long it is safe to leave raw meat on the counter so I wouldn’t have to throw away $11 worth of chicken (yes, that happened recently, let’s not talk about it), I get a little disappointed in myself. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness — it is a sign that you want to be stronger, and you want to learn from the people who know better than you. I wish I had realized that sooner.

Mary writes every day for TFD, and tweets every day for her own personal fulfillment. Talk to her about money and life at mary@thefinancialdiet.com!

Image via Unsplash

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