A careless and lackluster approach in life can make a hole in your wallet and drain your money away. Consider these five suggestions and make smart choices that stop the unnecessary squandering of your money:  

1. Avoid late fees

Generally, a small amount of money is charged for late fees and missed deadlines. That’s why we don’t bother to completely eliminate late fees from our recurring expenses. However, late fees, particularly credit card dues drain a substantial amount of money in the long run. Late payments on utility bills, movie rentals, traffic tickets, etc., indicate mismanagement of your expenses and careless lifestyle.

You can avoid late fees by linking all the recurring expenses to one credit card with the option of automatic clearance of these bills. Or if you prefer, set up your bank account to pay a minimum or setup an amount automatically each month. For other bills, set up a reminder system and/or just mark a calendar to pay your bills on time.

2. Overpaying on your loans

Always look for the possibility of getting a refinance of your student or home loans at lower rates. With growing competition in the banking sector, many credible lenders are now offering debt refinancing and consolidation services at lower rates with simpler procedural requirements. There is no logic in paying higher interest for your loans when you can substantially reduce your payment obligations by refinancing or consolidating your loans. Your lender may offer  a discount of 0.25 percent of the interest rates for simply selecting the option of automatic repayment. Even if you are required to fulfill any procedural requirement that seem difficult, consider how much you will gain after such refinance or debt consolidation.  Don’t forget to take into account the cost of refinancing before you make a decision.

3. Make good use of corporate benefits

Many companies not only make  matching contributions to employee 401(k) plans but they also provide other benefits like paying towards a health club membership or negotiating discounts for cell phone service. Some companies even provide discounted  tickets for the movies, museums and other form of fun and entertainment. 

If you know the perks and policies of your company, you can utilize these special employee offers and reduce your expenses on entertainment with friends and family. In any case, it’s a  good idea to keep yourself informed about the HR policies by regularly browsing your company’s intranet, especially the HR department.

4. Don’t waste your credit card rewards

In collaboration with the leading retailers, almost every credit card company offers cash back or reward points. You can earn more points or rewards by just choosing a retailer or locating a restaurant that provides more rewards. These reward points can be converted into cash and allow you to save money in the long run. Obviously, you have to pay attention to the offers, and select the ones that make sense for you.   You should also consider the credit card rewards while applying for a new card. For example, a credit card with the best rewards for flying may not be optimal for you if you don’t travel a lot.

5. Don’t waste your gift cards

Gift cards can be easily misplaced or lost.  So try to track them and make sure you use them fully before discarding them.  If the card is not one you would normally use, gift it forward.  Also, remember that many retailers charge a fee for maintaining the card. Check what their requirements are and try to use the card to your advantage.  

Go through your bank and credit card statements to determine your potential savings.  Make sure that you are living within your means and if you are not, make the necessary changes to not only sustain your lifestyle now but also save for the future.