When you’re trying to cut back on spending, the first things people cut back on are the things that are easily identifiable as unnecessary. If you eat out multiple times a week, get a fancy coffee drink every morning before work, or indulge in weekly manicures, you probably realize that you have to cut back in order to save money.
1. Lower credit card payments
If your credit card debt is manageable and your interest rate isn’t too high, start by making more than the minimum payment every month. The faster you can eliminate credit card debt, the better.
On the other hand, if you’ve racked up a hefty amount of debt and are dealing with interest rates of more than 20%, it might be time to consider refinancing or debt consolidation. Not only can this drastically lower your monthly payments, but most people with decent credit also end up with a much lower interest rate.
There are a lot of peer-to-peer companies out there and it’s pretty easy to get a loan funded if you have a decent credit score and a history of on-time payments. These online platforms usually offer quick approval and you’ll have the money in your bank account in a few days. Paying off high-interest debt with an affordable installment loan is a great way to save money month to month and you can always make extra payments to pay it off quicker.
2. Compare rates for goods and services
To make sure you’re getting the best rate possible, compare your current mortgage lender, car loan, cell phone, and cable agreements and see what other companies offer. This can be a bit tedious but you have to put in some work if you want to get the best deal. There are a lot of online resources to help you with this as well. Don’t assume that you’re stuck with your current rate.
3. Avoid unnecessary fees
If you have an tendency to overdraft your accounts, it might be a good idea to find a bank that won’t charge overdraft fees or gives offers a grace period to give you a chance to cover the overdraft amount.
Also, make sure you always pay any credit card bill on time. If you don’t, not only will you be hit with a late fee but your interest rates to go even higher.
4. Try to negotiate your credit card interest
If you’ve been a loyal customer, some credit card companies will lower your interest rate, although it may take some negotiating. If you don’t feel like this is something you can do on your own, there are a lot of apps available that will do the negotiating for you. Typically, you give them permission to attempt to negotiate your credit card interest, cell phone plan, or cable rates and they take a percentage of the savings for payment.
5. Take a look at what you’re paying for car insurance
Most people get a car insurance policy and continue to pay the bill month after month, year after year, without having it reassessed. Older drivers often pay less and things like accidents and speeding tickets matter less as time passes. It’s a good idea to talk to your insurance company every few years to see if you qualify for a lower rate.
While there’s no getting around paying for car insurance, it’s a good idea to shop around and see what other companies have to offer. If you like your current insurance company, it doesn’t hurt to find a better offer and see if they’ll counter it.
6. Don’t forget about your home insurance
Homeowners insurance is absolutely essential. After all, you worked hard to buy your home, you should make sure it's protected. Take a good look at your policy and, just like with your car insurance, shop around for a better deal. Let your current insurance company know if you find something better to see if they’ll counter it. If not, it might be time to make a change.
There are also a lot of online insurance companies that are developing new pricing models to make the process easier, more affordable, and very transparent. As they become more competitive, other insurance companies may be more willing to negotiate.
7. Try out apps and consumer panels that reward you for the things you’re doing anyway
There are apps out there that give you coupons, rebates, and reward points for the shopping you already do. They’re usually pretty easy to use and some even do all the work for you if you connect them to your store’s loyalty cards.
8. Actively check prices for everything you buy
Here’s another way technology can save you money. There are a lot of websites, browser extensions, and apps available that will check the prices of things you’re searching for to make sure you find the best deal.
You can also do it the old fashioned way by scouring ads and seeing if your favorite stores have price matching policies. A lot of places will refund you the difference if you find a better deal somewhere else.
9. Look into alternative cell phone carriers
Everyone knows that there are only a few major cell phone providers out there but you’ll be surprised what you can find if you dig a little deeper. There are several discount carriers that cost a lot less and will even offer significant discounts for the first few months of service.
This information has been obtained from sources deemed to be reliable but its accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. Any opinions are those of Thomas Fleishel and are not necessarily those of Raymond James. Neither Raymond James Financial Services nor any Raymond James Financial Advisor renders advice on tax, legal or mortgage issues, these matters should be discussed with the appropriate professional.