4 Ways You Could Be Leaving Money on the Table

Budgeting, Money Saving Tips, Personal Finance
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You’re probably employing some obvious saving strategies, such as setting aside part of every paycheck or waiting for sales instead of paying full price for clothes.

However, you still might be falling short of your savings potential. Here are four ways you could be leaving money on the table.

1. You don’t take advantage of your company’s 401(k) match

Retirement might be the last thing on your mind right now, but you should always make sure to qualify for your employer’s full 401(k) match. Most companies that offer a 401(k) plan also match some portion of employees’ contributions.

Americans pass up a total of $24 billion in 401(k) company matches each year, according to a 2015 report by financial advisory firm Financial Engines.

Even if the match is modest, contribute at least enough to earn the maximum. It’s free money.

2. You don’t try to lower your bills.

Many people don’t realize that they can actually negotiate their recurring bills, such as cable and internet. Millennial women who are taking steps to manage their money are more likely than young men to try to get a better deal on expenses like these, according to a recent NerdWallet survey.

Taking steps to lower your bills can pay off: The survey says that negotiating bills can add up to annual savings of $600.

3. You don’t use up your credit card travel rewards (or have any to use)

Have you been hoarding credit card points for a vacation in the distant future? You should probably take that trip to Spain soon — those rewards might be worth less in 2025.

Only 15% of Americans have paid for part or all of a flight with rewards points, according to a 2016 poll by the American Institute of CPAs.

Some are missing out on accruing rewards altogether. One in eight Americans with credit cards say they don’t plan to use plastic when holiday shopping. Collectively, consumers could miss out on up to $152 million in rewards, according to a NerdWallet poll.

Don’t be afraid to swipe — or dip — at the register. And remember that credit card rewards can lose value over time. Issuers can even rescind them if they go untouched for years. So go ahead and book that flight to eat all the tapas.

4. You don’t negotiate your salary or benefits

Only 38% of new grads negotiated with their employer when they received a job offer, according to a 2015 NerdWallet survey. And 80% of those who did request a salary increase were at least partially successful.

Whether you’re a new grad or switching jobs later in life, don’t miss an opportunity to negotiate your salary or benefits. If you’re not sure how to have that conversation, try these 15 strategies.

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