Smart Shopping

“If you can, you will quickly find that the greatest rate of return you will earn is on your own personal spending. Being a smart shopper is the first step to getting rich.” – Mark Cuban

Have you ever used a coupon to make a purchase? Of course you have. We all have.

Do you purchase gas from the station with the lowest price? Of course you do. We all do.

Do you comparison shop online to find the store with the lowest price on something you want to purchase? Of course you do. We all do.

How about when your grocery shopping? Do you compare the price on different brands of the same item & purchase the lowest priced item? Of course you do. We all do.

We all look for ways to save money. Nobody wants to purposely spend more than is necessary to purchase whatever it is we need.

So why are you still receiving paper statements?

It is very expensive to produce & mail paper statements. Special paper must be printed with special ink on special printers by dedicated employees locked inside a secure facility. Once printed, paper statements must then be placed in special envelopes & transferred to a mail room for different employees to sort & mail. Finally, Uncle Sam won’t deliver anything for free, so postage must be paid on every envelope. You get the idea; it cost a lot more to produce paper statements than most people realize.

And paper statement production is only getting more expensive on a per statement basis. As fewer & fewer people receive paper statements, organizations are purchasing production supplies in smaller & smaller quantities. Purchasing in smaller quantities causes prices to rise, which causes the cost of producing statements to rise.

Because of all this, most organizations that are required to produce customer statements now charge a fee for producing & delivering paper statements. They usually do this in one of two ways.

They can charge an outright paper statement fee for every paper statement produced & delivered.

The other way they do this is to offer a discount to customers who utilize electronic statements. Basically, they aren’t charging people who don’t demand paper statements.

My research indicates that most organizations charge $1 – $5 per paper statement. Let’s assume the median of $3 per paper statement is the norm. This means that you are paying around $327/year for paper statements. Why?

Checking Account  $       36
Savings Account  $       36
CD  $         3
IRA  $       12
Homeowners Insurance  $       12
Vehicle Insurance  $       12
Credit Card  $       36
Cable Television  $       36
Internet  $       36
Cell Phone Service  $       36
Electricity Service  $       36
Water/Sewer Service  $       36
TOTAL  $    327

If you have other accounts, you are likely paying much more. Do you have more than 2 bank accounts? More than 1 credit card? How about life insurance policies? What about natural gas service & garbage service? I estimate that a normal married couple receiving paper statements spends $618 or more per year on paper statement fees. Why?

Banks, brokerages, insurance companies, utilities, and just about every other organization in the U.S., has the capability of producing & delivering electronic statements to you. All you have to do is give them your email address & ask them to do so. It’s that easy!

In addition to saving money, you also free-up space in your home, because now you can get rid of your file cabinet. And it’s more secure, because it’s password protected on a secure server.

There are a lot of reasons to switch to electronic statements, but for our purposes, savings hundreds of dollars a year is the key.

What could you do with an extra $300 – $600 a year? How many tanks of gas is that? How many groceries could you buy? Would it make a dent in your Christmas shopping budget? What about your vacation budget? What if you invested that money? Depending on your age & how you invest, it could easily be worth $193,000 or more by the time you retire!

Paper statements are a thing of the past that is becoming more & more expensive. Undoubtedly the cost of receiving paper statements will continue to increase.

So do your finances a favor in 2019 & switch to electronic statements.

Sapiat Asset Management is an independent registered investment advisor, specializing in financial planning based, asset management for Gen X Individuals & Families, their Businesses, & the Trusts that benefit them.

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