How smart are you at spending? Do you carefully plan your budget or do you just spend away without giving it a second thought? And so by the end of the month, you’re completely out of money. Is that so? Yes, we know that saving can be quite a task for some of you. But don’t worry… not anymore. Saving isn’t hard; some little steps can increase your bank balances rapidly. Others do take time, but then again, you can at least start.
Here are some of the best ways to fix your finances, and ensure they are under control today, tomorrow… and always.
1. Let’s check out your credit card statement
Credit cards are one of the biggest reasons that you spend lavishly. Agreed, swiping the plastic is completely hassle-free… But then, you’re also paying interest on the entire amount you spend. The bigger the expenditure or the longer you take to repay, the greater the interest amount.
So grab each and every credit card bill, and thoroughly review all the transactions. Which of these purchases were linked to being HALT or being hungry angry, lonely or tired? Note down all of these expenses that weren’t really needed, and try not to do that again. Do this exercise every single month and learn not to spend emotionally. Keep your spending to a minimum, and use your credit card only when you absolutely need to.
And by the way, don’t forget to pay count the total amount of every transaction – all the money that you could have put to use elsewhere.
2. Pay the maximum amount and within the month
Do you always pay the minimum amount? Paying off the full amount every time does not incur any interest, so you can save money this way. If you delay repayment to the next month, you’ll have to pay an interest amount as well, and like we said, the more you delay the more interest piles up.
3. Transfer your credit debt
How much money do you owe for all your credit cards? A quick way to pay off this debt is to transfer all the balance on a single card. Some of the card providers do allow you to do this, and offer various features like zero percent interest rate or no fees for 12 months, 18 months or another specific time period.
4. Get rid of all extra cards
How many credit cards do you have in your wallet right now? If you’ve already transferred your credit card debt, get rid of all the cards except for the one that suits your needs the most. The more cards that are there, the more likely you’re to spend.
And though most of you would already be knowing this but, just for information, none of this applies to your debit cards. When you use them, you’re paying from the money in your account, so that is absolutely fine. But when you use a credit card, you borrow money and then you repay that along with the interest amount.
5. Pick up the tax forms
How much money do you pay in taxes? Talk to a professional accountant, and see how you can bring them down. Particularly discuss deductions – there are so many of them out there, and you should utilize them to the utmost to slash your tax bills.
6. Try to increase the refund amount
How much money do you generally get back as a refund? How about getting your withholdings adjusted? Talk to a professional accountant and heed onto the advice they give you. Yes, there is a fee involved, but c’mon, it’s worth it because they help you optimize taxes.
7. Bundle insurance
How many insurance policies have you signed up for? And more importantly, are you seeking coverage from the same or multiple insurance providers? If it’s the latter case, then bundle all your insurance plans together, and sign up for services with only a single insurance provider so that you pay lower premiums.
Generally, homeowner’s and auto policies are bundled together, but some insurance providers also offer an umbrella policy that provides general coverage for most scenarios.
8. Raise the deductible amount
Your premiums can be lowered in so many ways, but our favorite one is to increase the deductible amount. Your overall expenses should decrease significantly now because a bigger deductible amount means that you pay a smaller premium.
9. Give your cable provider a call
Phone your cable company at least once a year. Try to renegotiate your package to reduce your monthly bills. What if the negotiations don’t work? No issues. Either bundle your TV, phone and internet plans as you did with your insurance policies… or you could simply switch to another provider, offering better packages and rates.
10. Cut off he cable
So you negotiated the cable or maybe switched to another provider, but there is hardly any impact on your total monthly expenses. Cutting off the cable entirely should help you then. No, you won’t get bored at all because you can easily subscribe to services like Hulu or Netflix, which barely cost $10 or so every month.
11. Go digital
Ever tracked your spending? Do so now – you’ll be surprised when you look back at the records six months down the road. Download an app like Mint.com on your phone, and they’ll stop you from withdrawing money from your account unnecessarily or purchasing impulsively.
Surprised to see this on the list? It actually works; email campaigns are well crafted and powerful enough, enticing you to spend thousands of dollars on something you may not even need. So how can you not get whisked away? Unsubscribe from all those newsletters that contain deals, coupons and attractive offers.
13. Find unclaimed cash
Another surprising or let’s say shocking tip on the list, but nonetheless, it does work.
Head over to the treasury website of your state or try out unclaimed.org. See if you can locate any property that is under your name through the state-run programs, and if so, you can easily earn an impressive amount. The core objective of these programs is to protect consumers and ensure that owned money is returned back to them, rather than being retained with government, business associations, financial institutions or any other entities.
14. Inflate the tires
Do you drive to work yourself and often around town? Inflating the tires improves the gas mileage of your vehicle, helping you save. The US Department of Energy claims that inflated tires improve mileage by 0.6% to 3%.
15. Set a savings goal… for the short term
You’re saving for retirement, aren’t you? Well, that maybe some years away. So how about setting saving goals for short terms? Try saving a certain amount every month, or even every week. Make the task challenging by awarding yourself small bonuses and incentives. And while at it, you continue to build up your savings.
16. Stop eating out
Eat out is an expensive habit. Cook more meals at home, and restrict dining out to only once or twice a month at the most.
17. Sign up for a high yield savings account
How much return does your current saving account offer? Moving to high yielding account with a better interest might be a good idea then. On paper, interest rate differences may only be by a percent or two, but overall, they do add up significantly. So if you’re getting a 0.5 increase elsewhere, do consider moving your savings account.
18. Automate savings
Set up automatic monthly transactions from your bank account to your retirement and other savings account. Even if you forget to contribute, you’ll still be saving money every single month.
19. Check your 401 (k) account
401 (k) plans are essential, but make sure that you don’t miss any opportunity to reduce fees or find a fund that is more aligned to your goals. Use various online services like Blooom to check the performance of your 401 (k) investments; these services analyze your portfolio, and find better alternatives for you. Blooom has a 30-days free trial period, and upon expiry, it’s a $10 fee every month.
20. Open an IRA
This fix applies only if you don’t already have a retirement account. Whether you’re just starting your 20s or well into your 30s, you should have a retirement account in any case, regardless of how much your income is. Seek professional help for all your concerns and queries; like we said, all these fees are worth it because minor tweaks here and there can actually help you amplify your savings.
21. Find an extra income stream
Get involved in a part time job, side job or freelancing work for an extra income stream. So many current and successful entrepreneurs only started out their ventures as a side business, and ultimately grow into well established companies. Who knows you may have that entrepreneurial streak?
So, either start a business of your own, or at least get employed elsewhere for some extra cash every month. Many of these part time jobs don’t require a hefty skill set. For instance, if you know how to drive a car, you can deliver meals with UberEats or sign up with Lyft. Not sturdy behind the wheel? Teach international students then through various educational services that demand only 5 to 6 every t hours every week, paying you $20/h or so.
If you are good at graphic designing or have another technical skill, you can easily take on some freelancing work as well, and design logos, brochures and infographics for various clients.
22. Monetize your down time
How often do you watch TV? How long does it for take for you to travel to work and then back home? What if you could use all this time to generate extra money? Online surveys… start filling them on various websites like Survey Junkie, Inbox Dollars and Global Test Market, and you’ll be paid for your time.
23. See if your current job can pay you more than right now
Like we said, side hustles are a smart money-making methodology. But that so doesn’t mean that you ignore opportunities right in your face. Consider your current job for instance. Is there any way that you can make more money? Maybe you could do overtime or take up some extra responsibilities. So along with more money on your plate, you also groom yourself professionally.
24. Try mortgage refinancing
How much of your income goes towards mortgage payments? Consider refinancing, and see if you can get a lower interest rate. And no, that doesn’t mean you have to stick with your current mortgage lender. You can strike a deal with any lender that’s offering good rates.
And this is where you credit score comes in handy. The higher it is, the better the interest rates you get to avail.
25. Get a credit report
Ever checked your credit report? You can easily get one for free from any of the three main providers to check out your credit score and history. Any outstanding debt is also mentioned on the report, which you should try to get rid off as soon as you can. Read our blog post for some great advice on paying off all your debt quickly.
26. Shop around
This piece of advice applies to simply any situation where you are making a purchase, regardless of whether you are spending only $50 to $60 or an amount in thousands. When buying an electronic item, insurance policy, cable service or simply any other product or service, always, always and always shop around. We just can’t emphasize the importance enough.
Shopping around allows you to compare the rates, features and services, offered by different companies, providers and manufacturers, and so you can ensure, that you’re indeed, getting the best deal and the most value for your money.
Want more tips on fixing your finances? Keep following our blog!