9 Ways to Cut Your Expenses and Save Fast
Do you want to whittle down your bills by a couple of hundred dollars a month because you’re paying off credit cards or saving for something amazing? Do you have a new job that pays a little less or you’ve just started putting more money away in a 401K and you don’t want to feel the pinch? Many of us are trying to save money, but it’s much easier to do simply by not wasting money. Below, you’ll find 10 easy ways to lower your monthly expenses and meet your financial goals. Saving money just became a breeze!
Stop Using Those Cards: If you get enticed by 5% off using the Target card or any other card that offers you a similar deal you should first look at the APR on that card, which is likely an absurd amount like 20% or more. That 5% you just saved doesn’t matter much if you’re not paying the balance in full right away. You’ll be paying a high-interest rate (therefore more than the sticker price) on purchases you probably shouldn’t be making. In fact, try to stop using your credit cards for a while if you have any debt at all. It’s the best way to make sure you don’t idle in the negative.
Get Smart About Car Insurance: If you’re a couple, you may want to share a policy for a multi-car discount. Whenever you bundle you get a price break so bundle your auto insurance with renters insurance or home insurance too. It really is the easiest way to save. Some companies, like Progressive, offer other bundling discounts too, like motorcycle insurance with renters insurance or car insurance with RV insurance. First, make sure you’re not paying too much for your existing car insurance. Often, the carrier hikes up our rates without notice. It’s worth your while to shop rates for auto insurance by visiting SmartFinancial.com, where you’ll get multiple free car insurance quotes which you can choose from just by filling out a simple form. You’ll then get quotes from top insurance carriers only. Also, make sure you don’t carry too much insurance on your policy, e.g. paying for collision coverage that costs more per year than the amount your insurance company would pay out if you totaled your car. Check your car’s blue book value and see if it would be more cost effective to bite the bullet if you crash your car and it’s your fault.
0% APR Cards: These offers can be medicine or murder. If used the right way, you can lower your debt on a high-interest card by transferring the balance over to a 0% APR card. Cutting the interest accrued on the account comes first. You’ll then pay off the remainder faster and with less sweat. However, if you already have existing balances on a couple of credit cards, don’t get a 0% APR one to do more damage. You’ll just be digging yourself into a deeper hole. Be smart and use these offers wisely.
Check for Automatic Repayment Options: Often, you’re given a discount when you opt for automatic repayment, whether it’s at the gym or it’s your phone bill. Always ask the business if they have automatic billing options and if there’s a discount attached to them. Student loan companies, especially, offer lower interest rates if you opt for this method.
Unplug Everything: Some chargers left plugged in will also use power even when the device is not being charged. Electronic devices (yes, your laptop and tablet) constantly draw electricity while you’re at work all day and so does every electronic appliance you have in the house. Try unplugging everything for a while and check your electricity bills. We bet you’ll save a bunch.
Turn it Down: Taking shorter showers helps but turning down the temperature on the water heater (or asking your community manager to do it for your unit) will likely bring down your energy bill. Some people even go so far as to invest in water heater blankets and insulation for their hot water pipes. While this may sound crazy, the initial investment pays itself off in just about one year. Obviously, these are not advisable tips for renters.
Pay Less for It: Did you get your homeowners insurance when you bought your house? Did you find a policy by default (the first person who approached you)? Insurance agents love homeowners insurance policies because people just sign up and sit on them, unlike auto insurance, for which policy owners often compare rates. Well, chances are that you’re paying too much for your policy. Even if you’re bundled up with your auto, it’s wise to compare rates for homeowners insurance, with a smart tool like this one here, which checks according to zip code. Make sure to understand your policy and note that things like earthquake and flood are not included in a standard policy and must be bought separately.
Cancel it Already: Subscriptions to services or for products you don’t use, gym memberships you pay for but never use -- we all have these first-world problems, but it’s time to cancel your subscriptions and memberships if you don’t use them (duh). No, you’re not going to have a change of heart about hitting the elliptical machines after paying monthly fees for years and going twice. The only hope you have is to stop wasting your money. Yes, it feels terrible giving up on yourself, but your bank account will be happier for it.
Stop the Starbucks: First of all, just buy Kirklands Signature coffee brand because it’s Starbucks coffee with different labeling. Secondly, if you add up how much you spend on coffee a month, you’ll be distraught to see that it’s a small fortune. Couldn’t you spend that in a much wiser way? Seriously?
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At the top of the list, is reviewing insurance policies. Are you getting the coverage you need at the price you want? If not, it may be time to change policies. Need a different price? Shop around for better offers.
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