SOURCE: BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank

January 31, 2013 14:07 ET

BMO Harris Bank Financial Tip of the Week: Five Overlooked Budget Busters

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Jan 31, 2013) - As part of BMO Harris Bank's ongoing commitment to financial literacy and Making Money Make Sense, BMO Harris is providing weekly financial tips. This week's tip provides five overlooked budget busters.

When you think about spending that sabotages your budget, you probably think about things like coffee, ordering takeout, going out with friends or spending a tad too much at your favorite store's weekend sale. While these things can certainly wreak havoc on a carefully planned budget, you may be overlooking other less obvious items that can affect your bottom line.

Here are a few commonly overlooked budget busters and steps you can take to either save money or spend smarter:

A landline phone. These days, most people rely on their mobile phones, so you may find you no longer need your landline. Cutting the cord can save you about $50 per month or $600 every year.

Items that you only use once or twice. A pair of ice skates that's only seen the local rink twice; a kitchen gadget that you used once; a dress you bought for a party and never wore again. Spending money here and there quickly adds up, so if you know you will only use something once or twice consider renting it or borrowing from a friend instead.

Stamps for your bills. The average household pays 7 - 10 bills each month. If you mail these bills, that's a lot of stamps over the course of the year. Instead, save yourself a few bucks and pay your bills online. Along with saving money, you'll also save yourself the headache of remembering when each bill is due and you'll avoid paying late fees. 

Smartphone data plan. Chances are you selected the recommended data plan when you purchased your phone. But depending on how you use your phone and how often, you may be able to get by on a smaller plan. Review your past bills and if you're consistently using less than your plan provides, it may pay to see if there's another plan that's a better fit for your needs.

A storage unit. Be honest -- do you have a storage unit because you don't have enough space or because your closets and basement are filled with too much stuff? If it's the latter, it's worth cleaning your house. By throwing away or donating things you don't use, you can make room for the items sitting in your storage unit and eliminate one of your monthly bills. Over the course of the year, this can save several hundred dollars.

Put yourself in a comfortable place and get started with helpful steps.

The Learning Center is brought to you by BMO Harris Bank, WGN, CLTV, WGN AM 1070, Chicago Tribune, RedEye and Hoy.

About BMO Harris Bank

Based in Chicago, BMO Harris Bank N.A. provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank(SM) is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with 1,600 branches, and a retail deposit base of approximately $180 billion.

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