When you’ve stretched the monthly budget as far as it can go, chances are there are still more ways to save money and ease debit card strain. Check out the following tips and give them a try to put more money into the bank at the end of each month.
Many things are negotiable, especially when you pay cash or promptly. From legal services to a new television or auto repairs, ask if a lower amount is acceptable or if any discounts apply.
Try to exchange skilled services with others that have what you need. For example, a neighbor mechanic could replace your squeaky brakes at a fraction of the cost in exchange for your sitting with the couple’s two children for an evening or two. If you’re good at record-keeping, you could prepare a friend’s taxes for filing in return for a couple of home-cooked meals, fresh or frozen.
Take a Class
Sign up for a local community college class or take one online to learn simple auto maintenance to take care of your car and avoid costly service fees. Learn cake decorating and start a side business.
Dine at Home
Cut back on eating out by planning a nice but simple dinner at home. Put on a pretty tablecloth and set the table as if for guests. Cook a tasty meal that you haven’t had for a while, and enjoy!
Drop Unneeded Services
Check your monthly utility bills to see if you are paying for unneeded services. Maybe you paid off that new cell phone but are still carrying the $7.99 insurance fee. Get rid of unused cable services. Reduce monthly trash pickup when the kids go away to college and trash dwindles by half.
Shop for Low-Cost Credit Cards.
Low-interest credit card offers are plentiful if your credit is in good standing. It’s not uncommon to find 0% interest for 12 to 18 months. Some come with a balance transfer fee, while others don’t even require that. Check with your bank and other preferred lenders to find a card that you can use without interest for an extended period of time.
Rearrange Monthly Payments
If you pay bills once a month, try to schedule your bills to come in about the same time to minimize the risk of overlooking those that arrive between pay periods. Vendors will often work with customers to change the due-by date to align with pay dates.
Downsize Your Home
If you no longer need the larger home where you currently live, sell it and move to a smaller place. The lawn will require less maintenance and machinery maintenance costs, and utilities will cost less. Use the equity recovered from the sale of your home to pay off other debts and make your monthly budget more comfortable.
Pay Bills Online
Many banks offer the convenience of paying bills online from your bank account. In addition to saving time, you’ll spend less on postage and envelopes, and can easily track payments.
Write a Debt Payoff Plan
Putting a plan in writing helps to make it more solid and realistic. Write a debt reduction plan and post it on the fridge or on your desk as a reminder. Color code your progress as an incentive to keep working at debt elimination, which will save you each month in the future!
With a few minor adjustments, you can save money each month or put a chunk in the bank towards savings. Start now and watch how quickly the savings add up!