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Financial Tips on Convenience Costs

SDCCU | 6/19/2014 09:27 a.m.
In your everyday life, there are spending scenarios where the most convenient way also happens to be the most expensive way. It’s that extra $5 you pay for gas because that particular station is on your route to work. Or the $10 you paid for lunch because you didn’t pack one before leaving the house. Or the extra money you paid for groceries when you happened to run out of them, instead of cutting coupons and planning your list. These costs can add up quicker than you think, so here are a few ways to save.

When coming up with a budget, many look at their monthly expenses and are left scratching their heads; “where does all my money go?” they ask. It’s relatively easy to cut obvious overspending when it’s in the form of expensive coffee drinks or regular happy hour outings, but the hidden leak in your wallet may come from what are known as “convenience costs.” In your everyday life, there are spending scenarios where the most convenient way also happens to be the most expensive way. It’s that extra $5 you pay for gas because that particular station is on your route to work. Or the $10 you paid for lunch because you didn’t pack one before leaving the house. Or the extra money you paid for groceries when you happened to run out of them, instead of cutting coupons and planning your list. These costs can add up quicker than you think, so here are a few ways to save:

Cut out convenience foods
The most convenient food options when you’re out and about are usually the most expensive and unhealthy. Instead of going out to eat or microwaving TV dinners when you get home, try preparing large batches of simple and healthy meals that last a few days. A Sunday evening of preparation can give you a supply of affordable and convenient meals that can save you a lot of time and money during the busy work week. If you have a crockpot, here are some recipes for healthy and affordable meals.

Establish a gas routine
In some cities, the most conveniently located gas stations may charge a dollar or more extra per gallon. Fill up at one of these expensive stations and you can easily pay $10 more per tank. Fortunately, there are many online resources and mobile apps that help you find the cheapest gas station in your area. Plan ahead to fuel up at the most inexpensive station once a week instead of waiting until you’re on empty and going to the station that happens to be nearby. This can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Cut back your cable
With the variety of Internet streaming services available today, you can cut back on your cable bill. Online streaming offers documentaries, movies and current TV shows for a fraction of the cost of cable. Some downsides are that new episodes of TV shows are delayed by at least one day and live sports are pretty much never available online. But if you tell your coworkers not to spoil that season finale for you or go to a friend’s house to watch the big game, you can save up to a thousand dollars every year.

Switch banks
Most consumers are not aware how much they pay in fees to their bank. The average monthly cost of a checking account with a big bank is about $12.50 and that number is rising. Overdraft and ATM fees are big business for big banks as well, but you can cut those costs by switching to SDCCU. With over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide and FREE Checking with eStatements, convenience doesn’t have to cost a thing. You shouldn’t have to pay unreasonable overdraft fees anymore either. SDCCU has multiple overdraft protection options. Other free services like Bill Payer Plus™¹, Popmoney®², mobile banking and branch appointments give you all the big bank services without the big bank fees. This is a great way to keep the convenience but cut the cost.

¹Bill Payer Plus is FREE with FREE Checking with eStatements accounts and is FREE for other checking accounts when used to make three or more payments per calendar month. Otherwise, a $4.95 monthly fee applies. 2You must enroll in Bill Payer Plus to use this service. See disclosure 1 above.

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