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Stop throwing your money away

Is your cash disappearing without you getting anything for it? Check your finances for these common money-wasters...

Forgotten subscriptions
If you're subscribed to a magazine you don't read, signed up for a website you don't use or paying for a gym membership but never going, the small effort to cancel is well worth it.

Check your bank statements to make sure there aren't any recurring payments that you've forgotten about. If you're a student, there might be cheaper alternatives to some memberships, too: for example, university gym fees are usually less expensive than commercial gyms.
Unnecessary bills
Bills are a fact of life - but you might not be getting what you pay for. Check these bills to make sure you're not paying when you don't need to.
  • If you're a student, make sure you aren't paying council tax.
  • If you're in a shared house, you'll normally only need one TV licence for the house, so contact TV Licensing if you're paying for more than one.
  • Getting a water meter installed can reduce your bills, but discuss this with your landlord first.
  • If your gas or electricity bills are based on an estimate of what you have used, you might be able to provide meter readings online and pay less.
  • If you're paying for a phone contract, check how much of your allowance you actually use - if you have lots left over at the end of the month, try to downgrade when you can.
Ask for a better price
Sometimes, paying less can be as simple as asking. Try calling your mobile phone company and telling them you're not happy with the deal you're getting - you might be able to pay less for exactly the same package. This works particularly well if you're at the end of a contract, as the company will be keen to keep you as a customer.

You can try this with any bill, and while it won't always work, the worst that can happen is that you'll keep paying the same as you do already. Remember that if the company offers to close your account, or offers you a deal with a catch like a new long-term contract, you don't have to accept.
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