Finding Recurring Charges

What is the Phantom Drain?

Let’s talk about The Phantom Drain, Well for starters let me explain what the Phantom Drain is. The Phantom Drain is the amount of money per month that disappears usually, this means through unused subscriptions or memberships. Examples could include an unused TV subscription, like HBO, or a wholesale store membership like Costco or Sams Club.

How to find your Phantom Drain

There are two ways to find your phantom drain. The first way is to use a service like Mint. But Mint does not currently have a recurring charges feature. So you have been forced to less trusted applications. If you ask me I wouldn’t trust a random app with my bank documents. That’s why the second way is my favorite, it might require a bit more work. But you guarantee that your bank documents are in safe hands. The reason your bank documents are in safe hands is, that they are in your hands. All you need are Google Spreadsheets or Microsoft Excel and some basic CSV (Common Separated Values) which I will provide at the end of the article. In the next paragraph, I will provide you a step-by-step tutorial on how to do it yourself.

Step by step Finding your Phantom Drain

  1. The first step is to log into your bank account
  2. go to your debit card statements
  3. Select export to Excel (CSV) if using Excel go to step five
  4. This step is only for you if you’re using google spreadsheets.
  5. Sort by columns C and E.
  6. Go Through and if the amount of money charged and company name match it’s a recurring charge. The dates should be consistent for example every month or every two weeks.
  7. Your sorted list should look like this.
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