How To Keep those Unexpected Monthly Charges in Check

We all do it: we’re hit by some miniscule monthly recurring fee and then, BAM, we messed up our budget and sometimes even get smacked with an overdraft fee (if you let your account slip up a little too much).

Recurring fees, whether it’s that subscription to Netflix or your favorite print magazine, can become the doomsday scenario when you’re running tight on funds. Suddenly, that rent check bounced because you had a $15 maintenance “fee” on your account which threw off the balance.

It’s certainly unfortunate and happens to far too many individuals.

If only there was a way to make sense of it all …

Getting to Grips with Recurring Fees

There are a few things that should immediately come to mind:

  • Do you really need that subscription?
  • Are there free alternatives?
  • Does the service have hidden fees?

First of all, recurring fees begin to add up especially if you forget about them; you keep subscripting to services and soon that $10 of “fun” money turns into a real deal breaker when you’re doing $100+ each month. From there you can check for free or cheaper alternatives which may not give you the best quality but it’ll certainly cut down on these charges. Of course, there are always those hidden fees that you should be aware of especially when big companies slyly update their policies under the radar.

But the buck doesn’t stop there. You should account for other unexpected charges such as if your car were to suddenly break down (knock on wood), you get sick and miss a few days of work, or that night of partying ends up a little too much due to excess.

The reality: you don’t have to give up these luxuries no do you truly need to worry about them IF you’re setting the right budget.

Keeping in Check with Budgets

It’s not the most exciting set of activities but you should seriously consider spending a bit of time, each day, to run over your finances and balance the books. There are plenty of free tools, services, and a ton of apps on your phone that can handle all sorts of calculations and tracking.

One such, free, service that has begun to pick up popularity is the reporting done by MyMoneyCheckup.

Here’s a really simple overview of how it works:

  1. Visit the website and setup an account
  2. Work your way through a series of pages that ask you details about your spending, savings, and other aspects of income (going out and coming in)
  3. Finish out the final questions (a take on gauging your “financial intelligence”) and then allow it to run a report on your financial status (this can be done in Spanish too, if you need)

The final report is somewhat basic but it’s packed with the more important details than giving you a laundry list of “cheap tips for XYZ”. The info and resources has been put together by the non-profit organization NFCC; they’ve been doing cred counseling since 1951 so they’ve been in it for a while and know what they’re talking about (sometimes the info is a little dry but certainly helpful and informative).

And so how does all of this help with those recurring fees?

Well, you’ll clearly see where all that money is leaking out. You can get a glimpse at how much you’re truly saving (compared to what you think you know). Plus, you can use the calculator to run some numbers and figure what you should be doing with your hard earned money.

The tool is quite helpful and cuts straight to the chase; there are no fancy bells and whistles – just straightforward, actionable steps for taking a control over your finances (and hopefully those pesky, forgotten recurring fees).

Take a few minutes and get setup with MyMoneyCheckup – it’ll be the most productive thing you can do about your finances this afternoon.  Post by Jim

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