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Smart money moves you may want to think about this summer

If you find you're burning through your cash this summer, it's time to stop and find out where the money is going. Chances are, you're not the only one.

"I notice in the summer that I spend money on random things that I hadn't really anticipated," financial journalist Natali Morris admitted in an interview with CNBC's "On the Money."

She added that "we're halfway through the year so now is a good time to look at your budget."

She advised tracking everyday spending by "follow(ing) the apps that you use, maybe a Mint or a Level Money and see where you're actually spending money."

When you see the detailed charges, Morris says you may find "some products you didn't necessarily bargain for. I didn't intend to buy a 'Slip and Slide,' or five rash guards for my kids, " she said with a laugh, citing two recent examples.

Morris tell CNBC another way to get a handle on your spending is to find any automatic monthly charges.

"Sometimes you sign up for things you forget about and keep paying for them, and that can add up," she said.

One solution, a site called TrueBill, will scan "all your bank accounts and see where your recurring charges are coming from and then they send you notices," asking if you still want to subscribe, Morris said.

That goes for so-called 'free trials' that end after a limited run, then start charging the user's credit cards automatically. Morris told CNBC that after a free trial for Kindle Unlimited was over, "I realized I wasn't really using it."

That's where an app could come in handy. Morris added that TrueBill "will even unsubscribe you from the service if you want. So it takes the pain out of it."

Mortgage math, and raising the bar

With mortgage rates near their lowest levels in three years, it might be time to look for savings in your housing costs.

However, Morris said "you want to keep in mind when you refinance your loan, you're buying a new financial product costing thousands of dollars. See how much that's going to cost you in closing costs and divide that number with how much you'll save per month on your loan."

For instance, if you get a new refinance with a $3,000 monthly mortgage that saves you $300 a month, Morris said that a homeowner should "divide the closing costs by the monthly savings and see how long it will take you to recover those closing costs.

"If it is longer than you plan to stay in the house, don't do it. If you can recover them quickly, do it," she added.

If you find you need more money and are in the market for a raise, summertime could be the right time to ask for one.

"When you watch other people leave early and walk out the door," Morris says, "it might be a good time to step into your boss's office and say, "I'm still here, let's talk about what I'm doing.'"

During the "summer doldrum months when it's not quite as crazed in the office it might be a good time to reevaluate your career," Morris suggested. "Might as well just ask, have the talk."

That, of course, assumes your boss isn't among those leaving early to enjoy the summer weather.


On the Money airs on CNBC Saturday at 5:30 am ET, or check listings for air times in local markets.