Are costs adding up and threatening to bust your budget? Believe it or not, you can spend less on shopping, utilities, food, and other bills simply by knowing the smart way to pay. Here are four tricks that savvy customers can use to make their money go a little further. Save on your next purchase with one of these easy tips!
Save 10 percent on Amazon.
When browsing on Amazon, place items you’re planning to purchase in your virtual shopping cart rather than pressing the “1-Click” button, which uses a stored credit card and shipping address to buy a product instantly. While 1-Click is fast and convenient, Iowa State University research shows that folks who don’t use it spend about 10 percent less than those who do. That’s because transferring a product to your cart gives you time to reconsider whether you really need the item. And studies show that shoppers change their mind on 70 percent of the products they intended to buy.
Chop $10 off takeout.
In the mood for tacos, burgers, or other take-out food? Pick up the phone and call in your order if you want to save money. A survey of 2,000 restaurant customers found you’ll spend $3 to $10 less than when ordering from the restaurant’s website or app. It makes sense since, when placing a digital order, you have more time to add impulse items. Plus, you’re tempted to add extras, thanks to mouthwatering promotions restaurants put on their websites and apps. By contrast, when talking with a live person, you need to be quick, so you end up sticking to your original order.
Cut monthly bills by six percent.
Researchers found that people who pay by check or via the service company’s website save four to six percent on their bills compared to those who use autopay (where the fee is automatically deducted from your bank account or charged to your credit card) — saving up to $72 per year on a $100 monthly service. The reason? When paying manually, you see exactly how much you’re being charged and you can tell when a bill is getting higher due to more usage (like electric), so you can make adjustments to bring it down (like turning off extra lights). Plus, you’re able to spot mistakes, like being double-billed.
Skip payment fees.
If you ever forgot about a bill for a monthly service, credit card, or loan until it was nearly due, you may be tempted to call the company to make a rush payment over the phone. Unfortunately, some companies impose a fee for phone payments that use a live customer service person rather than the automated phone system; for example, Verizon Wireless charges $7 and Spectrum Cable charges $5. The good news: These convenience fees can usually be avoided by paying online or via the app, or by dropping off a check in person to a local branch.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.