Are you struggling to find more money every month? You may not have an income problem so much as an expense problem. While saving $1 here and there may not seem like much, it certainly adds up over time. Did you realize if you can cut $17/day over the course of a month, that can you save you over $500 a month? Most people don’t think of the little things that can be done daily that can really add up over time. After all, this year has been trying to say the least. Lots of people are without jobs and some have been desperately trying to find employment since being laid off. Take this time to think of the frivolous things that you’ve spent money on without even really paying that much attention. It’s time to try to analyze your spend and really focus on end goals.
There are a multitude of ways that you can save money that you don’t always think about. If you are looking at things to cut to save money, you first need to know where your money is going. Doing a review of the last few month’s expenses is a great way to figure out where the holes are in your budget. I used to be guilty of overlooking my finances without giving it much thought. It’s easy to automatically have things deducted from your account without giving it much thought. Most of us are guilty for signing up for a product or service that is being billed monthly that you don’t even really use.
Most people’s biggest hole was eating out. Not necessarily going out to eat, but grabbing convenience items. I was spending a few hundred dollars a moth grabbing a soda or bottled water here and there. Bottom line is that you need to know where your money is going so that you can focus on those areas in addition to trying to find extra ways to cut back.
Cutting monthly expenses- Where can I Save Money:
1. Takeaway Coffee– I am so guilty of doing this as are so many others. On my way to work grabbing starbucks/ dunkin donuts/ peete’s coffee- whatever your coffee of choice. Well what I hadn’t realized is how much that added up over time. A quick review of my bank statement and I quickly realized I had to slow down completely on my daily trips to Starbucks. It’s okay to treat yourself every now and again, but the rate I was going was just not feasible. I started to bring my own coffee a few days a week which really helped my bottom line.
2. Eating Out– All are guilty. You don’t have to eat out a fancy five course dinner always, but the frequent trips to the convenience store or picking up snacks or breakfast here and there really adds up over time. Packing your lunch daily for work goes a long way. That saves you from buying lunch out which will almost always be way more expensive than anything you bring. It usually is less nutritious also, so if you overall goal is to save money and slim down, your best bet is cooking your own meals and relying less on take out.
3. Netflix– Some people thoroughly use their subscription. To those people, kudos to you. Others have a netflix subscription but are almost never home or never have time to watch TV. I think now is the most I’ve ever used netflix and that’s because of Covid19. Usually I’ve been so busy with work, I barely have time to do anything else. I thought about all the years of me paying for the service that I really didn’t use and it’s crazy. Lots of credit cards give you cash back for various purchases, but a handful offer streaming-specifc benefits as well. For example, the American Express Blue Cash card delivers 6% cash back on nearly every major streaming service, Netflix included. If you’re paying, say, $40 monthly for various services, you’d save nearly $37 annually. That’s not enough to recoup the $95 annual fee for the card, but other the card’s other cash-back perks might help with that.Meanwhile, certain Chase cards are currently offering $35 back when you sign up for AT&T TV (and subscribe for at least two months). You could also get $3 back with any CBS All Access subscription. It’s not much, but every little bit helps. See if your current card has any streaming offers. If not, it might be worth switching to a card that does.
4. Hulu– Another example of a montly service that you may not be getting your money’s worth. Most of these subscriptions have an introductory fee or is free for a certain time which makes it appealing in the first place. Well what most don’t realize is that introductory fees are usually then followed by a monthly service fee that we all forget to cancel during the introductory trial period. I hadn’t noticed that I was paying for HULU for months until I took a deeper dive into my bank statement . No one’s fault but my own. There is definitely money to be saved, you just have to pay attention to your finances.
5. Cable-According to recent market research from Leichtman Research Group, the average monthly cable or satellite bill is now up to $107, yet 78 percent of U.S. households still pay for TV service. While many of your monthly bills are unavoidable, cable is ultimately a luxury. Still, many of us depend on cable service to get all of our news, sports and entertainment, andcutting the cord doesn’t seem like a real option. For those who want to keep cable, read on for a few ways to lower your cable bill. One of the easiest ways to lower your cable bill is to bundle your cable, internet and phone service together. Cable providers often run promotions on these bundles, and if you take your time on the phone and find the right salesperson, you might be able to talk your way into a new customer promotion by switching over to one of these bundles. All it takes is patience and a few calls to your provider or new providers to easily lower your bill through bundling.
6. Music Subscriptions like apple music, spotify, pandora- Major streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music have unlocked access to every song imaginable for a monthly fee that is undoubtedly lower than the cost of buying individual records. However, this is all just smoke and mirrors. The average American nowspends more on listenting to music than ever before, thanks to a combination of rising fees, aggressive marketing, spiralling ticket costs, and high inflation.
There is a discount to be had everywhere and it’s usually possible to get a reduced rate at every single one of the major streaming platforms. If you’re a student studying in high school or college, then discount rates can be as high as 50%, with Spotify even throwing in a number of student offers and discounts to sweeten the deal.Similarly, you can get yourself on a family plan for platforms such as Google Play, which allows you to split the costs of your subscription with up to three other people. This can see your music streaming costs reduced to a fraction of what they originally were.If you aren’t too specific about the kind of music you enjoy, then you can look beyond streaming platforms to access music without paying extra for it. A good place to start if YouTube, which can play full albums with any ads as long as you have a reliable AdBlocker extension to hand.
You’ve probably already considered this one, but it’s always worth revisiting. One sure-fire way to never, ever pay for music is to increase your tolerance for periodical ads that play in between tracks, which all non-paying subscribers have to put up with.
Not all platforms even offer ad-supported free streaming, but Spotify and Deezer most definitely do. The advertisements are fairly infrequent and certainly less so than on the radio, where it is not uncommon for more than half of all airtime to be dedicated to commercials.If you are patient and have a high tolerance for ads, then this could be the one for you.
7. Skip the lawn service- DIY. No one wants to cut the grass or trim the hedges, but this is definitely that you can do yourself to save yourself some money. Between water, fertilizer, lawn care services, seed, gardening equipment and other costs, Americans spend an estimated $40 billion caring for their lawns every year, according to “American Green: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Lawn.” Not only that, but they also spend an average of 73 hours a year cutting grass, pruning and doing all the other tasks that help keep yards beautiful, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.Minimizing the area of your yard by planting trees and plants native to your region, part of a technique called xeriscaping, can help you save money by keeping your lawn green without constant watering. . One estimate by the University of Illinois Extension puts the amount of water a lawn needs to stay green in summer at 1 inch of water per week, which translates to an average of about 2,500 gallons of water per week to keep a 4,000 square-foot lawn green, assuming no rainfall. If you pay $3 per 1,000 gallons, that’s almost $400 per year to water your lawn. Xeriscaping cuts that in half, according to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, making the savings almost $200 per year.
8. Cancel club memberships. Look at expenses such as your gym membership, your membership with the local country club, and so on. How often do you really use these services? If you’re using a gym membership less than once a week or a country club membership less than once a month, you’re likely throwing away money. Try canceling any memberships you’re on the fence about, and see if you really miss them.
9. Consider a programmable thermostat. Turn A/C up during the day when out of the house. For every 1 degree Fahrenheit you turn your thermostat down, you will use 1% less energy. That means if you reduce your heating by 10 degrees at night, you will use 10% less energy. A programmable thermostat allows you to automatically change the heating and cooling of your home when you’re not at home, when you’re asleep, and so on, saving significantly on your heating and cooling bills. You can also set it to heat or cool your home right before you arrive home from work.
10. If you need a getaway, consider a staycation. Most people look forward to family vacations. Family vacations are usually planned in advance and costs can be astronomical depending on when you go and how long you stay. Many look forward to their caribbean fun in the sun during the summer, Florida beaches or European getaways. Considering a staycation could be just as fun. There are often really great places to visit right in your home town that you’ve never been able to enjoy. Taking the time to plan a staycation can be just as fun and rewarding. It will usually be a lot cheaper as well. You will save on hotel/ airbnb costs, airline tickets, transportation, eating out, excursions. Overall the entire point of a family vacation is being able to unwind with your family, have fun and enjoy each other. That can be done almost anyway. Being able to achieve that and tremendously cut costs in doing so is an added bonus.
11. Consolidate your debts using a balance transfer- Be on the lookout for balance transfer options. Have you ever wondered what a balance transfer will cost you? Before you open up a new credit card and move your balance, it’s important to weigh the cost against the benefits. Most balance transfer credit cards charge a fee to transfer your balance, and some cards have an annual fee. These two costs and the amount of time it takes you to pay off your balance may negate any interest savings you get from transferring your balance because they increase the cost of moving your balance to a new credit card.
In general, the lower your balance transfer rate (0% is ideal) and the longer the promotional period lasts, the better chance you have of paying off your balance at no interest. If you cannot pay off the balance before the promotional period ends, and the post-promotional interest rate is higher than your current interest rate, the balance transfer may not be worth it.
Once you transfer the balance, it’s important not to make any purchases on the credit card until you’ve paid off the balance transfer. Even if purchases also have a promotional rate, increasing your overall balance makes it harder to pay off the transfer.