by Value Penguin
Unless you are a millionaire, you probably like the idea of saving money in any occasion. However, it is also probably true that you don’t actively look to save money on everything you do. In fact, all of us are guilty of falling into uneconomical decisions because we aren’t actively making a choice. Here, we discuss a number of common “lazy” money mistakes that most people make that are omnipresent but are also actually quite easy to fix.
You accept easy options
While everyone exerts a lot of effort on their work, study and passion, almost no one puts his 100% in everything he faces in life. The problem, however, is that many businesses have figured out ways of profiting off this tendency to take short-cuts and accept what seems available. For example, supermarkets all over the world have made a fortune by placing expensive products at eye level and budget ones at hard-to-reach places to induce consumers to choose the “default” branded products that are readily visible.
Another classic example is insurance. When purchasing a car, for instance, most people merely take the insurance policy that the dealer bundles with the car itself. However, the problem is that these policies are typically quite expensive and uncompetitive in terms of the benefit they provide. When it comes to renew, the economical thing to do would be to shop around for the cheapest car insurance available in the market instead of merely renewing the existing plan.
Therefore, we recommend always making one extra effort to research your options, especially when the seller is actively promoting certain products. Most “easy” options are often expensive, and the best options actually aren’t that difficult to find with a bit of research. At supermarkets, it would be as easy as looking at the bottom shelf.
You don’t try to lower your monthly recurring bills
Here’s a secret about “subscription” businesses like telecommunications and gyms. Most of them operate on a high fixed-cost basis, and need a predictable source of income from people who loyally pay for their service on a monthly basis for a long time. For example, a telco like Singtel, Starhub or M1 needs to spend a significant sum of money upfront to ensure it can provide a working cellular service to its customers. Similarly, a gym also needs to sign a lease and purchase all the equipments before it can sign up any workout junkies. Once these preparations are done, it doesn’t cost these businesses anything to sign up a new customer, and each subscriber basically represents pure profit.
On the other hand, consumers can actually benefit by flipping around this logic. Because of the dynamic we mentioned, it’s very costly for these businesses to lose a customer than it is for a restaurant because losing a subscriber means losing pure profit. Therefore, these businesses have both the ability and the incentive to retain an unhappy customer by lowering their price than to lose him to a different service. In contrast, a restaurant or a clothing brand can’t have much flexibility in its prices because it actually has to make a certain amount of margin on every meal or shirt it sells.
Therefore, we recommend always negotiating hard when you are either subscribing or unsubscribing to new monthly service. When you threaten to cancel, you will find that many monthly subscriptions actually have more wiggle room in their prices than you may have imagined.
You don’t use up your credit card travel rewards
Because people like saving money, they also tend to transfer this habit to their credit card reward miles. While hoarding hundreds of thousands of miles may make sense for people who want to go on an extravagant vacation for free, it actually can be financially disadvantageous to not put your miles to use. The reason is actually quite simple: inflation erodes the value of a mile over time. Hoarding your credit card rewards is a silly “inaction” that will slowly steal away the value of your money.
This was first published at Value Penguin’s website, “3 Money Mistakes That You Commit Without Even Trying“