As stated on Wikipedia, the Gulf oil leak started on April 20, 2010 and was considered the largest in the history of the petroleum industry. Oil gushed for 87 days until it was sealed September 19, 2010. The government estimated that 4.9 million barrels gushed into the Gulf of Mexico because of this disaster.
I found it frustrating to watch the news on the Gulf oil leak. It seemed that no matter what they did, they just couldn’t seem to get the leak stopped. It’s not like we could have gone out there and help them. It just seemed like a hopeless and helpless situation that carried on and on.
Fortunately, it was fixed, although, according to the Wikipedia article there are some reports the site is still leaking.
Similar to the disaster in the Gulf, we at times have money leaking from our personal budget. Luckily, our money leaks aren’t one mile down on the sea floor, and we can take an active role in getting things fixed before they cause too much damage. All it takes is a bit of time and attention.
1. Paying For Things You No Longer Use
One of the leaks in our budget are payments for the things we aren’t even using. This sounds absurd, but it’s real. Examples include an annual credit card fee for a card we no longer use, monthly payments for home services that we don’t utilize (e.g. telephone landline), and subscription services that are no longer needed (e.g. magazines or newspapers).
Stop the leaks: To stop this leak, do a review of your last few month’s of spending. Pull out your bank statements and look at each of the line items closely. Ask yourself if you used the service that you’ve been paying for. If not, add it to a list of items you need to get rid of. Take your new list and start closing down accounts and shutting off services. Repeat this whole process a couple of time a year for good measure. In fact, consider putting it on the calendar each time we adjust our clocks.
2. Paying Too Much for Things You Do Use
A more common leak is paying too much for the things that we do use. There are a lot of examples here:
Things We Commonly Pay Too Much For
- Utility and Other Home Services – Deregulation in these industries has brought on a slew of low cost competitors that provide equal or better services for less. For that reason, it pays to shop around and consider bundling services for a better price.
- Banking Services – Consumers pay big amounts annually for checking services, ATM fees, and other silly bank branch fees. You can bank for less. Consider our top picks for free online checking accounts.
- Investing Services – It’s no longer necessary to pay a broker a huge sum to conduct trades for you. You can enlist one of the many online stock brokers to help you trade stocks cheaply.
- Insurance Premiums – As a whole, most financial experts would agree that people aren’t insured enough. However, the people that do get proper insurance often never stop to review their policies to ensure they aren’t paying too much. Could equal coverage be had elsewhere?
Stop the Leaks: To stop this leak, make a list of your recurring monthly expenses (the one’s you’ve decided you do use and want to keep). Starting with the most expensive item, ask yourself is “there a way to pay less for this?” This may mean you need to call the provider and see if they can lower your rate by cutting out unnecessary items. Go online to compare services and get quotes for a better price.
Looking at each of these leaks individually might not impress. But together, they could significantly impact your budget and create some extra room in your monthly budget for more savings.
Have you stopped any leaks in your budget? If so, let us know about your experience in the comments.
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