15 Ways to Cut Expenses Right Now
Everyone wants to spend less, but sometimes it feels impossible to do it with the money that’s available. If you’re low on cash, here –s how to make your money go further.
Step 1: Cut up your credit cards. While it may sound drastic, it’s often the easiest way to cut down on your expenditure. You can’t spend what you don’t have and, if you don’t have a credit card, you can’t spend more than you have. Of course, it’s important to remember that credit cards are a lifeline that can be used in times of emergency or when you really need to make a big purchase. So, don’t close or cancel your cards completely.
Refinance Your Mortgage
If you own a home, you have likely been solicited to refinance your home. In fact, it’s probably something that you hear about at least once a month. But many homeowners get hung up when considering refinancing because of the perceived cost or time involved. However, refinancing your mortgage can potentially save you thousands of dollars on your monthly mortgage payment.
Refinancing a home requires a lot of research in order to make sure you are getting the best possible deal. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to hire a financial advisor to do the work for you. Instead, you can accomplish the same thing on your own.
Refinance Student Loans and Score a Lower APR
With college graduations, homecoming weekends, and internship and job opportunities in the air…it’s only natural to feel the pressure build, as the clock is ticking towards the end of a school year. Fear not! With a little bit of strategic planning, you can pass your final exams and take the cap and gown into a life of wealth and adventure. One of the best ways to flush away any worries of a yucky student loan debt (if you have them!) is to refinance with Credible.
Credible provides low-interest personal loans to both international and American students. Looking for a reduced rate loan for school? Ideal for professionals who want to renovate their home? No matter what your financial situation is, Credible can help you find a rate that’s right for you. (I’ve personally been a Credible borrower for a while now and I LOVE them, but don’t take my word for it!)
Credible is great for grads and professionals. Credible refinance student loans and help you pay off high credit card debt with a low interest personal loan. No more living paycheck to paycheck and overspending on interest and fees!
Consider a 0% APR Credit Card or Debt Consolidation Loan
Before you decide to cut your expenses by extreme approaches, first consider other options. If you are in debt, you can get a debt consolidation loan that allows you to consolidate existing credit card and loan debt into a single loan with a lower or fixed rate. You can get an interest rate as low as 0% APR.
You can get a 0% balance transfer credit card while paying down debt, so you won’t have to put your expenses on a credit card. That way you can save your money growing in a high interest savings account instead of handing it over to your creditors. Interest charged to your credit card is generally far higher than interest earned in a savings account.
Ask Your Credit Card Issuer for a Lower Interest Rate
Your credit card issuer would love to give you a lower interest rate if you’re willing to switch from a cash-back card to a balance-transfer card. Balance transfer cards tend to be a bit more expensive to process, so the credit card companies often reward the customer with a lower interest rate.
With a balance transfer card, you can transfer the balance from a high-interest credit card to a card that has a 0% intro period for up to 18 months. During the intro period, the interest will be accruing as normal, but it won’t be added to the loan at the end of the month until the intro period is over. If you can stick to the payments, your interest charges can be significantly lower than they would be with other options.
What’s important is to choose a balance transfer card with an 0% interest rate that’s long enough for you to pay off the debt. Generally, the longer the 0% intro period, the more you’ll pay in interest once the intro period is over.
If you plan to sign up for a balance transfer card, be sure to call your current card provider first to inquire about lowering your interest rate, but most importantly, don’t forget to make the minimum payments on your current card so you can get the most practical card possible.
Shop Around for Insurance or Alter Your Current Policies
The best way to save money, health, and time is to purchase insurance through a broker.
While you may think that you can get a cheaper policy through your employer or through your state government, you’ll find that the rates are higher and the coverage is less.
There is a broker in every major city that can find you the best insurance rates in the area. With just a phone call and some basic information, a broker can find you the right health insurance policy for just about any budget.
Get Rid of Subscriptions You Don’t Need
There are many services out there that allow you to subscribe and get notified whenever the provider updates content on the site.
It’s a great way to stay up to date for many people. Many online newspapers offer the opportunity to sign up for a subscription and get notified whenever there is an update.
If you are an avid follower of a particular topic, subscribing to online newspapers and magazines may be a good idea. But if you are just an occasional reader, there is no need to subscribe.
The following are some services that allow you to subscribe for updates.
Amazon Prime customers can sign up for Amazon’s Kindle and receive their electronic book purchases on their Kindle device and often on their PC as well. For this, all you need to do is sign up for the Kindle service. While this service is free, you have to buy a Kindle to be able to access the books you purchase.
Audible is a subscription service that provides customers access to thousands of audiobooks. Readers can sign up for a monthly subscription and get access to all the audiobooks that are available in Audible’s collection. All you need to do is download the Audible app and get access to the books.
Buffer Is A Social Media Sharing Software. You can sign up for free, but if you want to get access to advanced features you need to pay.
Cancel Memberships You’re Not Using
First, look over the recurring charges in your account. If you haven’t used it in the last year, you can probably cancel it.
Here’s our list:
- AECC off Chilton Road
- Aerobic Dance Workout Studio
- All of Us (Clover)
- Arthur Murray Ballroom Dance Studio
Switch to Streaming Television
If you are looking for a way to drastically decrease your entertainment expenses, you can opt to go the way of streaming television online.
Netflix gives you unlimited access to TV shows and movies for a monthly fee. Hulu has an on-demand service that also allows you to watch tons of TV shows and movies online. Similarly, Amazon Instant Video offers an on-demand service and countless TV series and movies to choose from. The most important thing to remember is that you can access these services from almost any device. This could be your laptop, smartphone, and tablet.
You can do more than just watch these TV shows and movies from the comfort of your own home. You can stream them to your TV and watch them on your big screen. The major streaming services provide this option as well. Hulu and Netflix offer this ability with certain devices and Apple TV. Amazon Instant Video has a service that allows them to stream select services to your TV.
Just in case you absolutely have to watch something on TV … if you are hooked on a specific show or watching a baseball game … you still have the option of watching cable. Many TV streaming services have started to carry these networks. You can still purchase an online subscription or a package from cable or satellite TV and watch the TV you know and love.
Cook at Home and Avoid Takeout
Even if you don’t have kids, your grocery bill can still get out of hand fast. One of the biggest ways to cut expenses is cook at home. This problem is especially common if you’ve recently had a baby or your family is growing.
Instead of ordering takeout all the time, cook larger portions of healthy and delicious meals at home and stick them in the fridge or freezer. Set aside some meals, if possible, that you can eat for the next few days and then plan ahead to make more delicious meals for another few meals. Making meals in advance is also great for when you’re feeling tired or when you’re more susceptible to eating something fatty or unhealthy.
Preparing your meals through the week before can also help to prevent impulse buying at the grocery store.
Create a Meal Plan and Stick to It
An effective way to prep food at home is to do it in bulk. Get large containers of rice and beans, and whichever sauces and veggies you like, and cook them up in big batches. If you’re hungry for dinner at 6 p.m., a batch of rice and beans will be ready to eat in less than an hour. The same is true for other staples, such as oatmeal, eggs, and chicken thighs.
This method is not time-consuming or difficult. Most people don’t like to cook in bulk, but if you’ve ever prepped a container of rice and mixed it with a can of black beans and some salsa, you know how delicious and filling it can be.
Another benefit of making food at home is that you can control the salt and other additives. My family loves brined green beans, but they have a ton of sodium. I get the same enjoyment out of home-cooked green beans with half the sodium by preparing a different, healthier ingredient in place of the beans.
Consider a Discount Cell Phone Service
There are quite a few ways you can save money on your cell phone bills. If you’re not happy with your current cell phone provider, you may want to consider switching to a new provider. In addition to lower prices, many providers will offer you the convenience of pre-paid. There’s a tradeoff, however, in that you won’t get a fancy smartphone or lots of bells and whistles.
If you’re not high usage person, consider a “pay as you go” plan. You buy airtime in units and when you use them up, you can buy more. But these plans don’t offer the same kind of convenience or calling plans that the major service providers offer.
Free Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere these days, and many public spaces such as cafes and restaurants offer free wireless. Many businesses also provide wireless Internet access for customers, so you could disable your cellular data and use your smartphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot to cut back on your data usage. But remember that you’ll have to pay for any end users that connect to your device, so experts recommend getting unlimited data.
Shop Around for Cheaper Internet
Cable TV & Phone Service.
Remember when you first moved into your home? You contacted your phone, cable and internet provider for one reason: to get a new account. You know what that wasted money was for? Getting a phone number and having the internet and cable wired in. That was it. Well not exactly. But there are multiple ways you could have gone about it.
Now that you’ve been in your home for a little bit, you should be able to put together a pretty complete list of all the companies that offer wireless phone service, cable TV, and internet service. You’ve got a list, right? If you don’t have a list, go to this spreadsheet and get to work.
Start with the services you use the most and then start checking out the prices for similar services with a different company. You’ll be surprised at the deals you may be able to get. Don’t forget to put a reminder with when your yearly contract runs out (a good time to renew) and to call a week or so in advance to make sure you get to keep your same number.
Stop Shopping Online
It’s likely most of you aren’t quite aware of how much you spend a year shopping online. Physical shopping takes time and energy, so you’re much more in tune with your spending and value the items you are buying.
With the click of a button and no more than two minutes of browsing, you can order pretty much anything. A study by the University of British Columbia showed shopping on sites like Amazon can be so stimulating that it triggers the same addicted behavior of compulsive buyers.
So next time you’re tempted to purchase something online, think about who or what you would not be able to purchase with that money.
Use Apps to Earn Cash Back
On Your Coffee, Groceries, Travel and More.
Ways to earn cash back have been around for years. The premise is simple: You pay normal prices, and then receive a percentage of what you spent in the form of cash back.
The problem with such programs is that you will almost always lose the transactions that happen at the beginning of the month if they fall on the weekend. These are everyday normal transactions. You’re not doing anything special, simply buying your regular stuff.
But today, new mobile apps now make it possible to earn cash back on purchases you make every day. These mobile apps have no minimum payout threshold and pay you every time you earn cash back. This means that you can earn daily rewards without having to go out of your way to get them.
So what are the most popular apps and how does the setup work? The following apps use pre-installed services that are built into your smartphone to control your spending. They’re painless to use, you may not even realize that you’re using them.
Give Up Habits Like Smoking and Drinking
Giving up common vices can lead to significant savings. Cigarette and alcohol spending are often the largest and most difficult habits to break, but by giving them up, you can save a large amount of money every month.
A good first step is to create a simple budget and compare how much you spend on cigarettes, alcohol and other substitutions. If you give up these things, look for places where you can cut spending on the rest of your budget.
The Bottom Line
First off, the main objective of this post is not to tell you to cut expenses or go cheap with certain things. Instead, it’s focusing on increasing the value of those items rather than just buying the cheapest thing in the store.
Second, I’m not saying that what you’re doing right now is wrong, but that it’s time to reevaluate your way of thinking.
Third, I’m not saying that I’m right and you’re wrong. However, there’s no harm in taking a second look at the things you do and see the impact it has on your life.
Fourth, I’m here to help. If you want to learn how to save money, just ask. I would be more than happy to help you live the good life on a limited budget.
Finally, the reality is that most of your expenses are controllable, not your income. You can see an immediate impact on your purchasing habits without ever getting a raise.
So let’s dive in.