Financial leaks that suck your wallet dry

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PHOENIX – Even if you're a hardcore saver and really watch your budget, you still might be losing money and not even know it. 

With that in mind there are many common financial leaks that might be sucking the life from your wallet.

For example, avoiding your local dollar store may be a huge mistake. Case in point, greeting cards are only $1 compared to $3 or $4 somewhere else. Gift bags are another huge score at the dollar store. Why pay $4 on a gift bag when they're only $1 at dollar stores.

Having a balance on your credit card is wasteful. Eighteen percent interest on a $1,000 balance and you're blowing nearly $200 a year. For some, paying down your credit card balance is challenging. 

However, once you do, the savings in interest is amazing. Having unnecessary services is a big money-waster. Gym memberships you don't use frequently or magazine subscriptions to stuff you don't read any more is literally throwing cash out the window.

Directory assistance is another one. Why would you ever pay for directory assistance when you can call 800-FREE411 for free? You'll have to listen to a brief commercial first but, hey, it works.

Paying upfront for investments is another tip. For mutual funds, for example, look for what's called "no load" funds.

Eating out frequently can kill your budget. Lunch out 5 days a week and you'll burn up a minimum $100 a month. 

Paying to use an ATM is also a big no no.  Having to pay a $2 fee at an ATM isn't smart at all.

Of course, the other big financial leak is buying on impulse. Do what you can to resist that last-minute purchase and look around for a deal. 

Remember, learn to distinguish between "wants" and "needs." You'll be amazed to realize that many of your purchases are things you really don't need at all.