By William Jolly from Savings.com.au.
The smartphone and the internet are wonderful things, and new technologies can make it easier than ever to save.
On the flip side, they can also make it much easier to spend, posing a threat to your savings.
Here are four ways financial convenience could be hurting your finances.
You can overpay for simple things
An obvious example of this is Uber and UberEats. Although they’re great products and can be very useful when needed, overusing them can seriously drain your bank account.
For example, you could pay upwards of $15-$20 to Uber from A to B instead of the $3-$6 it might cost you to catch public transport. Likewise, with UberEats – you might spend upwards of $20 or even $30 for a pizza, instead of driving or walking to the nearest pizza place and picking up your order for less than $15.
Another example could be using Airtasker for tasks you could easily do yourself. According to Airtasker, people are often willing to pay between $70 and $140 for simple gardening or cleaning services, while some users have even listed tasks offering over $100 for people to buy cigarettes for them.
Don’t become dependent on share economy apps to get by – doing some things yourself might be harder but your wallet will thank you for it.
You can pay for too many things
Credit and debit cards combined with online payments make it all-too easy to double up on the same kind of service. Take, for example, online streaming. You could buy subscriptions to:
- Foxtel Now
- Amazon Prime
- Youtube Red
- Sports streaming like Kayo Sports and Optus Sport
In addition to all of these and many more, you’ll also have the option of subscribing to Disney’s Disney+ streaming service to be released later this year. And who are you to say no to the mouse?
If you paid the minimum subscription fee for each of these, you’d be shelling out roughly $100 a month, more if you upgrade to a bigger plan or must pay things like set-up fees for Foxtel.
So, ask yourself: do you watch $100 worth of content every single month? I’m sure some of you will answer yes, and that’s fine, but this principle can also apply to things like meal deliveries, health and fitness services and more.
Make sure you review your direct debits every few months and eliminate payments you aren’t using.
You can pay for things you don’t need
The ‘Afterpay effect’ is very much a thing in Australia, with about 1.6 million people using buy now, pay later platforms. The ability to buy anything you want at the press of a button and worry about paying it back later is dangerous if not managed correctly.
The same applies to online shopping in general – it’s so much easier to waste money on unnecessary clothing and toys just because you can and it’s right there on a screen in front of you.
According to a recent study from ME Bank, unwanted online purchases cost the average Australian nearly $400 a year. So, think twice before clicking add to cart.
What can you do?
Don’t feel bad for one – it’s easy to spend money nowadays and plenty of people do it. But it’s also easy to use this technology to your advantage. Try any of the following methods to keep on top of your spending:
- Go into your online banking portal, download your bank statements and track your overall wealth
- Look for unnecessary direct debits and cancel them
- Use budgeting and savings apps to track your spending
If you’re still spending too much money, try withdrawing a daily or weekly cash limit from one of those ancient ATM things.
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