6 ways you’re ripping yourself off financially

When it comes to keeping money in your hip pocket, sometimes you are your own worst enemy. From being a bit lazy, to getting too excited when making purchases, there are plenty of ways that you are casually - and unintentionally - striking dollars off your bank account balance each month.

Here are our top six ways you’re ripping yourself off financially (and what you can do about it).

1. Paying to store and access your money

Still paying $2 to withdraw cash from an ATM? Many debit card providers offer access to a wide range of ATMs for free, while ING DIRECT will even waive your ATM fee no matter where you withdraw with its Orange Everyday, as long as you deposit $1,000 a month. As for other bank account fees (monthly account fees and the like), be sure to shop around when choosing a bank account, because there are plenty no fee bank account options on offer.

2. Renewing before you reread

Don’t just renew your contracts for utilities or insurance plans without thinking twice about whether you’re getting the best price. Compare providers and investigate loyalty rates to make sure you’re not paying more than you need to.

3. Booking on travel comparison sites

Hey, we aren’t going to tell you that comparison sites are bad (duh), but we will tell you that, when it comes to travel comparison sites, you should always use them to research but never use them to book. Often the booking fees these sites charge are between $30-40 - which can be more than the bargain airfare you’re booking in the first place! Instead search for the airline/hotel’s actual website before you hand over your credit card details.

4. Carrying around credit card debt

Credit card debt is a totally normal thing that everyone has, so it isn’t a big deal, right? Well, no. The average credit card holder has a $4,400 debt on which they pay a whopping $799.65 of interest each year, according to Money Smart. By not prioritising paying off your credit card debt, you’re probably cheating yourself out of hundreds of dollars each year.

5. Leaving automatic payments unchecked

Have you ever looked at a bank statement and spotted a direct debit or card payment you don’t recognise? It’s called the automatic payment trap that can happen when you sign up for a wine, hotel or even a gym membership (that you never use) and forget about it. That’s why it’s so important to check your bank statement on a regular basis and cancel any automatic payments that you don’t use, which are probably eating away at a significant amount of your cash stash.

6. Buying too much at the supermarket

The average Australian throws away 200kg of food each year. In addition to being bad for the environment, this wasteful habit means we are throwing away money on food we never eat. Plan for your meals, and only buy as much food as you will consume in between trips to the shop. Remember: you can always buy more bread, but you can’t eat a mouldy loaf.