Thursday, November 17, 2016

5 Ways You Lose Money By Not Paying Attention

Last month, I became upset when I found out that my oldest son allowed his bank account balance to fall below the minimum amount for several weeks. The consequence? A hefty penalty! For his savings account that only earns around five pesos or less in interest every quarter, a P250 fine is a lot!

stop losing money!
photo credit: trafficinviter.com
It is very frustrating when people inadvertently lose money due to neglect. But it happens. And whatever the amounts are, remember that cents and pesos can turn to thousands when pooled together. The fact remains, it is hard to earn a living and it would serve us well if we are careful not to lose what we have worked hard for.

Here are several ways I discovered where my family, friends, and I have lost money over the years. Don’t make the same mistakes.

1. Not keeping official receipts and product warranties. Ever had a home appliance or a gadget break down before it turns a year old? We had and, in the past, there were instances when we could not have the unit repaired for free because we couldn’t produce the receipt anymore.

Tip: Immediately photocopy receipts printed on thermal paper as prints fade easily from those. Have a designated envelope where you can keep all your important receipts. You can also scan receipts and file them in a properly labeled folder in your computer to be printed out as needed.

create a system for organizing receipts and product warranties
photo credit: creditcard.com

2. Not keeping original sim card packaging. Years ago, when mobile phones and sim cards were still very expensive, some my friends got locked out of their sims because they can’t find the PUK code, which is printed on the main card that the sim came from. Their solution was to buy a new sim card and use up load to inform everyone on their phone book about the new number. That eats up time and extra money.

These days, phone companies allow users to retain their prepaid numbers if they happen to lose their phones. But, you have to surrender the card where your sim came from to prove that you, indeed, own the number. Again, having that card ready will easily save you from the hassle of changing numbers and spending extra just to inform all your contacts about it.

photo credit: spark.co.nz
Tip: Find a small card case or unused wallet that can hold cards and put it in the drawer where you also keep your other valuable documents like receipts, passports, etc.

3. Not keeping tabs on gift certificates’ expiration dates. A media colleague recently posted a photo of dozens of expired GCs on her Facebook wall and admitted she regrets not being able to use them all. Despite the Department of Trade and Industry’s ruling last year that GCs should no longer be issued with validity dates, many companies are still not complying. In the meantime, customers bear the aggravation of arguing with cashiers to honor GCs that one cannot supposedly use anymore.

photo credit: news.abs-cbn.com
Tip: Have what my husband and I call “The GC Wallet” where you should put all the GCs, discount vouchers, and what-have-yous that can help you avoid shelling out cash when buying stuff. If you’re really forgetful, write the expiration dates of GCs by month on your white board as reminders. I used to do that.

4. Not paying bills on time. Credit card bills can be a headache if you fail to pay them on or before the due date. With some, one day’s worth of delay already warrants a penalty. If your credit card statement is always delivered late, like one of mine is, go online and check how much you’re expected to pay and when. Jot it down on your calendar and pay three days before the due date if you’re doing over-the-counter payments in SM or Bayad Center, or online through a different bank account. You can also schedule payments immediately via online banking. In this instance, it’s always beneficial to pay early than late.

Then, there are also the electric, phone, and water companies that would really cut off your line if you forgot to pay on time. Save yourself from the stress of paying for reconnection fees and waiting for ages for services to go back to normal.

avoid the stress of reconnection of basic services!
photo credit: loandepot.com
Tip: With credit cards, always pay in full. If you have money in your savings account, use that! Don’t fall into the trap of believing it’s good to have savings while the meter on your credit card’s interest is ticking.

5. Not using rewards points with limited lifespan. It sucks that there are still companies that put deadlines as to when you can use points you earned for shopping in their store or availing of their services. My mobile phone provider and the supermarket we frequently shop in reset rewards points every year. A couple of times before, I knew I already have a substantial number of points I could redeem but didn’t find time to do so. When I was ready to use them, they were already long gone.

Tip: Use the notes section on your mobile gadget to create a document where you can enter the dates you availed of your points and how much they were. After a couple of entries, you’ll realize why it pays to give attention to seemingly little stuff like those.

(Note: this article was originally published in Zipmatch on December 2013) 
© Ruth Manimtim-Floresca


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