In a world of subscription services and money-transferring apps, it is easier than ever to lose track of where your money is going. The list of streaming services is never ending, making it hard to remember what you pay for each month and if you even use the service enough for it to be worthwhile. Plus, apps like Venmo can make spending money dangerously easy. While all of these services come with perks, they can also make your monthly budget disappear before your eyes.
If your transaction list is cluttered with automated subscription renewals or surprise expenses each month, then keep on reading for tips on how to begin your financial clean-up!
- How many entertainment-related subscription services are you paying for? This category might seem like a big one to start with, but cleaning it out will also probably make a large impact. We all love our streaming services, especially when some of the basic plans cost less than $10 per month, BUT that basic price can add up fast, especially if you sign up for multiple services. Plus, if you sign up for a free trial and forget to cancel it, you might be paying for a service you don’t even know you have! Check your monthly transactions for payments to services like Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Disney+, YouTube Premium, Paramount+, Hulu, etc. Take an honest look at how much money is leaving your account for these entertainment-related services each month and decide if they are worth the cost. To you, these services might be worth the expense, and that’s perfectly fine! It’s just important to be aware of what you are choosing to spend your money on.
- Check your money apps. Does this sound familiar: “I paid for my meal using my Venmo balance, so it’s basically free!” This joke is often tossed around, but there is something deceptively comforting about paying for things using your Venmo balance. Because your Venmo balance feels separate from your checking account balance, many people are less cautious about spending it. It’s easy to tap a button and send money to a friend or pay for your meal on DoorDash, especially when that payment isn’t reflected in your checking account transactions. If you use Venmo or another money-transferring service, make sure to check how much money you are storing in your balance and how much of it you might be wasting with thoughtless transactions. Remember: your Venmo balance isn’t ‘Monopoly money,’ so treat it with care!
- Be wary of in-app purchases. If your debit or credit card is connected to the Apple Store or Google Play, it can be very easy to fall prey to in-app purchases. Many apps will claim to be free, but once you download the app, you are met with a barrage of prompts to unlock special features or buy in-game currency. We’ve all fallen to that temptation, but these in-app purchases are notorious for racking up costs fast. It is incredibly easy to simply tap the screen and overlook a 0.99 cent purchase, but once you’ve started buying, it’s difficult to stop. We recommend checking your in-app purchases to see how much money you could have unknowingly spent on special features or in-app perks. You might be surprised by what you find!
These are just a few of the hidden transactions that could be draining your budget. In the end, we recommend giving your monthly transaction list a thorough review, deciding which expenses are worthwhile to you, and ditching the rest! It’s your money, and you should have control over where it’s going and how it is working for you.