Your money has a mind of its own. Just like your teenager, your new schnauzer puppy, or that guy in accounting who keeps goofing off, you’ve got to track your money to make sure it doesn’t end up places it shouldn’t be. “But wait,” you might say, “my money is inanimate and, increasingly, just a bit of digital data. It sits where I put it, awaiting my beck and call!” That may be a comforting idea, hot shot, but there are actually a lot of ways you may be losing money without even realizing it. The first step is to learn about ways that this happens to people just like you. The second step is to take the necessary action to remedy the situation.
Let’s be clear. Your money doesn’t actually make decisions on its own. It will only respond to a command from someone who has authority over it. In a perfect world, you would be the only one who has the ability to call your cash to action. But that’s not the way things work for most people. In fact, there may be a bunch of people who have the ability to pull your money out of your checking account: your mortgage company, your utility companies (through auto-pay options), your kid’s tuition company, etc. . Those are all positive examples of convenient ways you can pay your way in life, without having to consciously move money around every time something needs to be paid off.
Keep Control Of Your Money
However, sometimes we can sign away a little too much control. The early 21st century has been awash with new subscription options for things that we do or use every single day. Let’s say you wash your clothes at home. You use roughly one container of the little laundry detergent pouches every two months. So you go online and subscribe to your favorite product at some retailing giant’s website. They send you the thing you need according to your usage schedule, and you never have to worry about running out again.
Some people get a little trigger happy with subscriptions, signing up for well more than they need, and often losing interest in the thing they’ve subscribed to, only to forget they ever signed up in the first place. Forgotten subscriptions can cost you tons of money over the course of months and years. Gym membership, magazine subscriptions, cable channels you don’t watch, the list can be endless. Search your accounts for signs of payments you are making for goods or services that you no longer need.
Track Your Money In Every Way
There are also many examples of payments you may routinely make for things you don’t know you signed up for at all! In England, for instance, thousands of people signed up for Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) when signing long loan forms, without realizing they had signed up for the service. Millions of pounds paid later, people are suing the insurance companies for fraud. If you have PPI, use this PPI calculator to find out how much you’ve lost and how much you could gain back. Take a careful look at your payments of all types over the past few months and make sure you haven’t signed up for something you didn’t want.
The bottom line is that your money is yours, and nobody will ever care about it as much as you do. Make sure to give it the care and attention it deserves, or else somebody else surely will…after they deposit it in their account, of course!