Not paying attention to the fine print can cost you some serious cash. Here's how to save your money.

Airline fees

You’re paying extra for almost everything when you fly these days, from your bags to your seat. So be sure to compare not only the prices of flights but what they’re charging in extra fees. You may also want to weigh your bag before you go to avoid any additional charges.

Bank fees

Not keeping enough money in your bank account could cost you some serious cash. How much? ATM and other maintenance fees can also add up to $1,000 over ten years. To avoid them, look for banks with free ATMs that don’t charge monthly maintenance fees.

Buying things new


Sure, a shiny new car is tempting. But as soon as you drive it off the lot, the car loses 11 percent of its value. A better option? Opt for a reliable used car and a short-term loan you can pay off quickly. The same goes for electronics and other items.

Convenience foods

Pre-cut fruit and vegetables can save time, but they can also dent your wallet. Instead, buy food as close to its natural form as possible, and divide it up into portion sizes yourself.

The same concept applies for all those fancy lattes. Even if you buy just three $5 drinks each week, that’s $780 per year. Over a decade, it’s $7,800.

Credit card interest



It’s not uncommon to be charged 20 percent annually, although some people face even steeper rates. If you carry $25,000 in debt, paying 20 percent on it will cost you a whopping $5,000 annually – just in interest. To avoid paying extra money for old debts, try the snowball method. Pay off the card with the lowest balance first, then move on to the next one.

Dry cleaning

A typical trip to the cleaners for your pants and shirts can cost you more than $10. With a weekly visit, that could add up to more than $500 per year. To save that money, clean your shirts in the delicate cycle in your washer or hand wash them.

Eating out

Going out to dinner with the family can be a nice treat, but doing it regularly really adds up. Instead of buying your lunch every day, save money by packing it. And before you go out, look for specials like coupons or happy hours or get entrees instead of full meals.

Extended warranties

Getting an extended warranty on that refrigerator or car you bought sounds like a good idea. But most extended warranties aren’t worth the money. Why? The fine print may not include likely problems, or you may be buying duplicate coverage. A better plan? Open a savings account and sock away money for any repairs that might come up.

Impulse buys

Spur-of-the-moment buys can cost you more in the long term, because you may not really need them, or you haven’t shopped around for better deals. Really want something? Take a 24-hour breather and see if you still do.

Name brands

Brand names can be tempting when it comes to consumer products like cereals and soaps. But the generic versions work just as well. And when it comes to medications, generic versions can cost between 30 and 80 percent less than brand-name drugs. Ask your doctor to specify on the prescription that generic medications should be substituted for name brands.

Phantom electricity

Everyone wants to make sure their electronic devices are charged. But keeping your laptop and phone plugged in once they’re at full power is costing you – especially with high energy prices. To save money, make sure to power down your devices when you’re not using them and use a power strip to easily turn off several electronics at once.


You might think it’s a good idea to wait for last-minute deals, but procrastinating can cost you in the long run. Plane tickets and hotel rooms can get more expensive the closer to the date. And procrastinating on saving money will mean less down the road.


Rushing to get somewhere may be tempting, but it can also add up. On the highway, speeding can decrease your fuel mileage by up to 30 percent. That’s not counting what it will cost you if you get stopped for your leadfoot or hit another vehicle. So slow down and save.

Subscription boxes

The average subscription box costs between $10 and $40 per month, which means you could be spending well over $100 a year – on just one service. Think about whether you’re really using (and enjoying) the majority of the items in the box on a regular basis. If not, it might be time to cancel your subscription.

Unused memberships

You signed up for that gym membership with the best of intentions, but if you’re part of the 67 percent of people with a membership who never set foot in the gym, you could be wasting more than $700 a year. And if you’re a member of one of the fancier gyms, you’re wasting even more.

Tax deductions you’re missing

Earned income tax credits were designed to help keep money in people’s pockets. But 20 percent of people who qualify for the deductions don’t take advantage of them. To make sure you get the deductions you’re entitled to, use an online tax program or hire a professional.

Wasted food

A trip to the grocery store may cost you money in more ways than one. Because of lack of planning, impulse buying, and cooking too much food, an average of one in five bags of groceries goes to waste. To save, make a plan before you go shopping, don’t go to the store hungry, and eat/freeze your leftovers.