We’re always searching for a little extra wiggle room in the budget, whether it be for a special splurge or for everyday expenses. But here’s good news: that elusive pot of gold may not be as far away as you think. It’s actually right in your pocket.
Evaluate your energy usage and utilities.
Do you typically leave your electronics plugged in all day, or the lights on when you leave for work? These little things add up over time, especially where electronics like TVs, computers, and non-essential appliances are concerned. If you can, try turning down the heat by a degree (or two) while you’re away from home to help cut back on energy use. Take a look at your cell phone, cable and internet bills. You might be spending more than you think for data you don’t use, channels you don’t watch or even movies on demand. Call your provider and cut back on the add-ons you aren’t using. The savings will keep rolling in each month after you make that call!
Get where you’re going for less.
Buying a newer, more fuel-efficient vehicle isn’t always practical – so that doesn’t mean you have to break up with your gas guzzler to cut down on costs. You can save a little bit here and there by shopping around for the best prices on gas online or by using a smartphone app. Avoid gas stations in high traffic areas like the highway that typically charge more. It doesn’t sound like much, but saving $.10 a gallon on a 12-gallon tank adds up to $1.20 a week – and a few dollars a month! Save on regular maintenance costs by signing up for rewards programs, looking at retailer websites for coupons, or using local deal marketplaces.
Refinance your ride or home to pay less and save more.
Refinancing existing debt is a fantastic way to find extra money in your budget each month. If you’re still in the early stages of repayment, you’ll get the most out of a refinance because the majority of your monthly payment is going towards unpaid interest, not the principal you borrowed. You can refinance auto loans, mortgages, and even private student loans to lower your monthly payments. Check with your financial institution to learn more about current rates and how you can save more each month.
Own your payments.
Some companies offer discounts on products or services when you pay-in-full, such as insurance companies. When it comes time to renew policies, shop around for better quotes and see what discounts are available for paying upfront. After all, you’re probably going to spend that money during the course of the policy regardless, so saving a few bucks on top of not having another bill to pay each month helps. Automate your bill paying so your reoccurring expenses are taken care of. If your cell phone bill is $150 each month and it’s always due on the same day, use online bill pay through your financial institution so you never miss a payment or have to pay late fees.
Make your savings work harder.
If you haven’t already set aside some money to save, make it a habit now. Set a small goal to create an emergency fund for auto repairs, medical bills and the like. You can make saving easy and automate the process by sending a small portion of your paycheck into a separate savings account. Shop around for a high-yield account or a certificate that will help your savings grow faster. Plus, if it’s not in your checking account, you won’t be tempted to spend it.
All it takes is a good treasure mapping your budget and a little time to follow that rainbow to your own pot of gold. Hold yourself accountable for spending by putting pen to paper and get creative on ways to save. It might just hold the key to your lucky charm!
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