4 Bills You Should Never Autopay

Friday, 15 Nov 2013 07:41 AM

By Kristin Caliendo

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As tempting as it might be to put all your bills on autopay, experts suggest leaving the autopay for expenses that don't fluctuate, explaining that you could be paying for convenience and shelling out money where you could be saving, Yahoo reports.

Here are four bills you should never have set up on autopay:

Certain Cell Phone Plans — Depending on what cell phone plan you have, rethink putting your bill on autopay unless you have an unlimited plan that is a set amount each month. Often consumers exceed their allotted usage, which will create overage charges. In fact, according to Yahoo, teens alone send a staggering 3,300 texts a month on the average, a Nielsen survey finds.

Editor’s Note:
75% of Seniors Make This $152,000 Social Security Mistake (See Easy Fix)

With the influx of new apps available at your fingertips combined with the ease of downloading, you could end up with an unexpected bill and a hefty hit to your checking account. The result? Overdrawing your checking account and unwanted overdraft fees.

Utilities — Keep an eye on your utility bills, such as gas, water and electric, and keep them off your autopay list. It's important to monitor these utilities so you can catch a silent leak and make better use of limited resources such as water. A jump in electricity will prompt you tighten the reins on when and how you run the household. For instance, you might see a jump in usage is you run the dishwasher or washing machine in the middle of the day in the peak of summer.

Gym Membership — Are you really putting that gym membership to use? Often Americans are gung ho to get in shape for a reunion or after the holidays, but then end up not going as often as they would like. When you elect for autopay, you aren't aware of the money you are spending for a luxury you aren't really using.

Members who opt for an unlimited monthly contract pay, on average, $70 and attend fewer than five times each month, according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. Yahoo recommends purchasing a package of fitness classes that you can use at your leisure and won't expire.

Subscriptions — Quite possibly the sneakiest of all hidden bills are the magazine subscriptions and fruit of the month variety clubs. These businesses promise convenience and discounts with auto renewal programs, but beware: with that convenience comes hidden charges, rate increases and tricky fine print.

Yahoo suggests tracking your payments for free using services such as Billguard.com, which found that "cost creep" is a top billing concern with subscriptions that often goes unnoticed. It's wise to wait for the company to send you a renewal notice and decide at that moment if you want to renew your membership.

While autopay is convenient, paperless billing is also convenient. According to a National Automated Clearing House Association survey of 5,000 Americans, 62 percent they decided to go paperless to pay their bills because it was easier to access their bills online, SmartPay.com reports.

In addition, the survey revealed that people who have gone paperless by paying their bills online, receiving bills and statements online, and banking online, are actually happier than those who don’t.

Editor’s Note: 75% of Seniors Make This $152,000 Social Security Mistake (See Easy Fix)

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