No big news flash there, huh? Making a financial mistake by nature means it will cost you, but have you ever considered all the potential mistakes you could make and just how much they could be costing you? We make literally billions of dollars in mistakes every year. I’m not talking about bad financial habits, but about genuine, one-time (hopefully) bad moves. For example:
Penalties and fees on credit card accounts topped $20 billion revcently. Simply missing a payment by one day can trigger additional charges just because of a foul up.
Unclaimed tax refund
Billions go unclaimed each year according to the IRS. Just for the 2011 filing year, the IRS is still holding over $1.3 billion. While not necessarily a “foul up” in the classical sense, failing to claim money that is owed to you is definitely a mistake.
According to an FDIC study, banks collected over $37 billion in various “foul up” fees from their customers in 2008. A similar study in 2007 found that virtually ALL people experiencing an overdraft on their checking account were not aware of it until after the fact.
More than $32 billion of unclaimed property is sitting in state treasurers’ offices, waiting for the owners of 117 million abandoned accounts to claim their money. The accounts could be anything from utility security deposits to life insurance payouts to the contents of safe-deposit boxes. I found a leftover paycheck ($77) from a previous employer after reading about unclaimed property on Cash Money Life!
With the downturn in the economy, municipalities are keenly interested in propping up their coffers and parking tickets are an easy way to increase revenues. Not paying attention to where you park or to your parking meter can cost you a few bucks and some time. Forget to pay your ticket and your cost rises exponentially.
Just like with parking tickets, municipalities can pad their pockets with unpaid library fines and fees. If you’re a frequent user of a library, check with the circulation desk each time you visit to insure you don’t have any outstanding fees, overdue books or overdue DVD’s.
Buying without thinking
Whether it’s a car, a laptop, a home, or some other major purchase, buying without thinking things through is a big source of financial foul ups. Learning self discipline can help you avoid this type of mistake. But it isn’t easy. I know.
What other one-time financial foul ups have I missed?