Billions lost annually due to waste, fees

Though the economic slowdown has made maintaining a budget difficult, consumers' financial troubles are often self-induced, according to a new report from account management service Manilla.

Every year, consumers waste billions of dollars on unnecessary costs such as late credit card fees, unused cell phone minutes and ATM withdrawal charges.

Farnoosh Torabi, personal finance expert for Manilla, said these expenses can add up.

"Most Americans are struggling to stretch the few dollars they have in hand, while at the same time they are letting billions of dollars just fly out of their wallets and pocketbooks," said Torabi. "While this situation is troubling, this trend can be easily capped through a combination of common sense and building a workable household budget."

Some specific courses of action Torabi recommended includes adjusting a cell phone plan so that it includes fewer minutes and asking for cash back when making purchases via debit card, thereby preventing ATM surcharges. He added that paying bills online can help consumers avoid missing a payment.

Should a consumer not pay their credit card or loan bills by the due date, it can adversely affect their FICO score. However, creditors may occasionally make notations on a credit report indicating the consumer hasn't paid when they actually have. This may be corrected by meeting with a credit lawyer, who can file a credit dispute after spotting the error.