Don’t Let Lazy Take Over Your Financial Life

cable modem rental feeMost of us are creatures of habit. Changing something once it becomes a normal habit can be a bit of a pain. Normally this isn’t an advantage and in the case I am about to describe below it definitely worked against me.

The Cable Modem Rental Fee

We had an old cable modem when we signed up for our cable, internet and phone package. We found out my old modem would not work with the new company’s system when they came to hook up our services in our new townhouse. I wasn’t too surprised as the modem I had was quite old but it was a bummer still.

The company let me rent a cable modem from them for $4 a month. At the time I vowed to buy myself a modem so I didn’t have to pay this rental fee but I got lazy and forgot about it. I saw the modem rental fee on every bill. It isn’t like I forgot about it because I actually read all of my bills. Over a year later I am still using the rental modem. The price has even gone up 20%, which admittedly is only $1 more a month.

This month I finally researched cable modems on Amazon. I called the cable company to ensure the modem I was considering buying would work with their system and that it wasn’t a technology that was going to become obsolete soon. The modem was $80 but it sure beats paying $5 a month. The modem will pay for itself in 16 months. If I hadn’t been lazy when we had the service hooked up the modem would have already paid for itself.

It Could Have Been Worse

The cable modem fee, while annoying, wasn’t a huge monthly expenditure. It did provide a needed service because we didn’t have a modem we could have used. What really gets me are the bigger fees or avoidable expenses that people don’t discontinue because they are lazy.

Remember that service you signed up for a year ago that you never use anymore? Why don’t you cancel it? You know it is because you’re lazy or you think you’re going to use it but never do. Just cancel it and save the money! When you’re ready to start back up again you can sign up again if you wish.

The other one that really gets me are the fees or avoidable expenses that provide absolutely no value. Have you ever had a bank account that originally had no fees and then decided to add some crazy fee that adds no value for no reason? Yes, it would be a hassle to switch banks but I would never support a company that does this to their customers. Get out before it gets worse.

Banks Are Some of the Worst Offenders

My girlfriend had an account with Wachovia many years ago. Wachovia was decent to her and she wasn’t ever charged any fees. Then Wells Fargo came along and bought Wachovia. It was a painful transition and just a few weeks ago they started charging her fees.

She had already moved most of her money and banking to ING Direct but still kept the Wells Fargo account open for a local branch. Now that they added these minimum balance fees she’ll be closing her account and opening one with a bank or credit union that doesn’t charge any crazy fees just for having an account.

Has there been anything in your financial life you’ve gotten lazy about? Come on… be honest… what is it? Whatever it is, let me know in the comments below!

photo by: paulohrodrigues

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

Comments

  1. That sucks that you have to pay for the Modem. That is one thing that the UK is good at – giving free mobile phones for contracts / modems / satellite TV boxes etc. We normally don’t have to pay.

    Totally agree with you on the banking front.. too many people pay fees for accounts or products that they never use! Just laziness!

  2. Yes, it’s true. Laziness can slowly cost you money. Don’t get that roof repaired when it’s just a little leak? Pretty soon it’ll be a big, costly leak. And we do stick wtih companies that charge us fees and drive us crazy, when switching woudl probably just take a few minutes. When you want to switch to a certain company, they usually make it easy because they want your business, so it’s even extra weird that we get so lazy about it when some companies make it so easy!

  3. I don’t have any direct financial things I’m lazy about. I’m definitely procrastinating about cleaning my garage. No thanks! Every day I think….”how about tomorrow!” I know TONS of people who’re like this with their financial issues. Calling those companies is a hassle.

  4. My bank was charging me to have a credit card (common in France), plus a monthly package to get “free” international transactions. I found a free card with free international purchases and ATM withdrawals, but after two years or so…

  5. I don’t tend to be lazy with financial things as I tend to be pretty on top of costs and any fees I would be charged. My big area with laziness though is just being more organized. Whether it’s our cluttered garage or the room eveything seems to get dumped in, I tend to put off taking care of it.

  6. Jason Clayton | frugal habits says:

    That’s the same modem I purchased 2 months ago to replace my “new” modem rental fee. I bought it from amazon for $20 and it is working great, as well as saved me $90 a year.

    I agree on the banks. The problem with banking is that it isn’t easy to switch from one bank to another (takes some time and work). The banks know this, and can add fees without customers leaving. (As if they don’t make enough money already)

  7. Funancials says:

    Gyms are the worst. Gyms make most of their money off of automatic payments from people that don’t even go. People are so reluctant to cancel because they know they should go but don’t …laziness is costly

  8. I just had this happen to me yesterday. I really small and inexpensive part I bought for my lawnmower didn’t fit, and I was actually contemplating if I should invest the time to return it. LAZY!

  9. You can always find something because it does not cause much of a problem. When it finally does, we address it.

  10. I don’t think I have any fees I need to cancel right now, but I do have some stuff I need to list on Ebay and I’m just too lazy to get it done.

  11. Same thing happend to me with WAMU when Chase took over. Free checking was no longer free.

  12. So funny you brought up the cable modem rental – we just looked at that over the weekend! When we moved in August we calculated that renting and buying would break even within our expected time living in this city so we figured we would rent so we didn’t have to risk the technology becoming obsolete like you said. But we were just notified that the rent increased by enough that it makes sense for us to buy. Thanks for the reminder to get on making that change!

  13. I got lazy at one time over banking fees. Just didn’t think much about it, but when you add up costs, they can really add up. Laziness can set in when you don’t think about long-term accumlated costs, and only focus on the smaller period costs.

  14. Just one quick question, will you please tell me what type of cable modem to buy????? I’m with comcast (xfinity) and renting as well :) I totally get it!!!

    • I ended up buying a Motorola Docsis 3.0 modem. I’d call your cable company and ask if what you’re looking at will work with their network.

  15. Wealth Effect Blogger says:

    I agree with you. Inertia is a powerful force that I see in a wide range of areas from health to finances to relationships. keep up the good work and happy blogging.

  16. My partner is lazy about banking fees, but has gotten better lately (he uses cash for his allowance, so he actually visits ATMs. I don’t).

    We also actually pay a modem rental, but we aren’t locked into a contract with our ISP. There are lots of good deals going at the moment but we’re looking at going abroad soon so don’t want to sign up to a 12-month contract.

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