Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Balance Your Checking; Control Your Money

By Susan Wilson, MBA

Controlling your finances means understanding all of the money-related statements that your receive online and in the mail.  I don’t look forward to reviewing them; it’s a tedious task, but an important step to see everything is o.k. with your checking and savings accounts.  Here’s a list of things I have found myself and heard through my clients:

Life Insurance on Boat Loan (my hubby before we married)
Forgotten Gym Memberships

Unwarranted Overdraft or “Convenience Fee”

ATM and Credit Card Fees

Purchase Amount Errors

Unwanted Payment Protection Plans or Subscription Services

Yikes!  These are usually not small fees, and removing that $15 monthly life insurance on the boat loan (yes, the heirs would get a paid-for used boat) is instant money saved.  I just look through the line items and make sure they are legitimate. I look for any surprise fee hikes or excessive ATM fees I didn’t anticipate.  This is how you take control – know what is happening to ALL of your money.

One more thing - make sure you receive all of your statements if you have more than one account.  Awareness of address changes can prevent identity theft.  (Think exes and businesses you frequent.) It’s not the latest Moscow gang taking our ID’s, it’s most likely someone we know. 

This is one more action to take towards controlling your finances that doesn’t take money out of your pocket.  Hopefully, you’ll find some places you can recover money.  Now, don’t take all the findings and celebrate – pay off that nagging credit card bill that won’t go away.  Now, that’s control.

Please share what you found on your statements.  Learn more about taking control of your money at