If money is tight or you’re just looking for ways to save more cash to meet your long-term goals, you might not need to get a second job just yet. Many times, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars a month by making smart, simple changes and evaluating your spending habits. These tips can help you make the most of your paycheck so you can set yourself up for better financial success down the road.
1. Refinance Your Loans
Many people fail to pay attention to changing interest rates if they aren’t in the market for a new home or a new car. However, some of your biggest loans can be refinanced and save you some serious cash, not just immediately but also long term. Whether you have an older auto loan, home loan, or student loan, there’s a good chance you could get a better interest rate if they’ve recently dropped or if your credit has improved since your original application. Shop around for rates and compare them to your current ones to find out just how much you can save by refinancing.
Keep in mind that most refinancing options require some out-of-pocket payments upfront. However, these may be minimal and could still help you save more overall. Still, make sure you crunch the numbers and get a detailed list of all costs first.
2. Take a Look at Your Takeout Habits
Eating out is a way of life these days, but most people don’t realize just how much of a waste of money it can be. Even though groceries can be pricey, they’ll never come close to the actual cost of even a cheap fast-food meal. Studies have shown that it costs an average of $11.04 per day to buy enough groceries to feed a person in the United States. These numbers can fluctuate for a variety of reasons, but when compared to eating out, it’s still a major difference in price.
Look at your bank statement for the past four weeks and total up how much money you’ve spent on eating out. Include takeout, coffee, fast food, and restaurant dining. Those expenses can likely be reduced by well more than half just by preparing more of your own food and beverages at home.
3. Consider Switching Services
Think about all of your monthly subscriptions, especially for luxuries, such as streaming services or gym memberships. Those monthly fees can add up in a flash, and some tend to gradually increase without you ever noticing because they’re set up to automatically withdraw from your bank account. (Companies are required to notify you, but it’s easy to overlook.) Compare your options for the services you use and see if there are alternatives that could save you some money.
Just a few bucks a month can turn into hundreds of dollars in a year, making the switch well worth the effort.
4. Start Using Cash Again
There are some disadvantages to carrying around cash and digital payment methods are much easier to manage when you’re out and about. However, it’s also easier to overspend when you don’t have a firm grasp on exactly how much money you have left in your budget this month. Withdrawing cash for extra things, like entertainment and dining out, can help you develop the mindset of “when it’s gone, it’s gone” and can protect you from overspending on things you don’t really need. Set a budget, stash the bills in your wallet, and never use other payment forms for unnecessary purchases.
When the cash runs out, wait until the next month to refill your wallet; it can help you make the best use of your money while saving more overall.
Saving more money takes discipline and commitment, but it’s very doable, even for those on a tight budget. With a little research and a willingness to hold off on extras, you can work your way towards a healthy bank account and more savings.