Sometimes, there just isn’t enough money to go around. You go to work, get your paycheck – yet, you can’t pay all your bills. This situation is frustrating, nonetheless. Unfortunately, extra money isn’t going to fall from the sky. If you’re tired of spinning your wheels and getting nowhere, it’s time to revamp your budget and decrease your expenses.
1. Share the journey to work
Owning a car can be expensive between car payments and fuel costs. You may not be able to ditch your car altogether, but you might be able to carpool with a coworker a few days a week. This can reduce how much you spend on gas, plus less driving reduces wear and tear translating into lower maintenance cost.
2. Get a roommate
You may love your independence, but if it’s difficult to make ends meet, moving into a cheaper place or getting a roommate reduces your housing costs. Depending on your financial situation, it may be wise to move back home with your parents temporarily, to pay off debt and reduce living expenses.
Do you own your home? If so, talk with your mortgage company about refinancing. You might qualify for a lower interest rate which can reduce your monthly payments.
3. Refinance your auto loan
Refinancing an auto loan and extending payments an additional three or four years also lowers your monthly expenses. Speak with your bank or credit union for loan requirements. Unfortunately, some financial institutions will only approve a refinance if a vehicle is less than three years old, and under a certain mileage.
4. Eliminate unnecessary utilities
You need power, gas and water, but you can do without many other utilities. For example, get rid of cable and use an online streaming service such as Netflix or Hulu Plus. If you have a cell phone, ditch your landline telephone. Downgrade your Internet to a slower speed, as long as it’s sufficient for your needs. And if you have a smart phone, you may not even need Internet at home. You can use your smart phone to browse the Internet, pay your bills and conduct other business. Just make sure your data plan is sufficient for your Internet needs.
5. Reevaluate your insurances
Reevaluate your insurances and you may discover that you can get by with less coverage, which saves money each month. For example, if you have a $100,000 renter’s insurance policy, a re-examination may show that you only need a $50,000 policy. And if you have a $500 auto insurance deductible, there’s the option of raising your deductible to lower your premium.
6. Buy generic brands
Most generic brands are just as good as brand name items at the grocery store. On your next trip, only buy generic products, if possible. This includes generic brands for canned goods, frozen items, dairy, cereal and any other goods you need. This habit can shave hundreds off your grocery bill each year.
7. Conserve energy
Are you afraid to open your utility bills? If so, there are several ways to conserve energy and save. For example:
- switch to LED lightbulbs which use less energy and helps lower power bills
- close curtains or drapes in the summer so your AC unit doesn’t have to work as hard
- seal cracks in your house
- use a space heater or fans when appropriate instead of turning on your HVAC unit
- look for energy-efficient appliances
- cook meals in a toaster oven, microwave or crockpot to avoid using your oven, which uses a lot of energy
8. Sign up for online deals
With a quick online search, you can find just about anything for less. Groupon is an excellent site for buy-one-get-one free deals with restaurants and entertainment, plus you can find amazing travel deals. If you have a favorite retailer, join the company’s email marketing list to receive promotions and discounts via email.
9. Negotiate credit card interest rates
Most things are negotiable, including the interest rate on your credit card. If you feel that you’re paying too much, such as a rate over 10%, call up your credit card company to reduce your rate. The odds of getting a rate reduction are favorable if you have good credit and a good payment history. Even if the credit card company doesn’t permanently reduce your rate, they might offer a lower rate for the next six months.
10. Break a bad financial habit
Break a bad (and costly) financial habit to decrease expenses. Do you smoke several packs of cigarettes a day, buy coffee on the way to work each day, or eat out every day because you hate to cook? Unfortunately, if money is hard to come by, breaking one of these habits saves money and makes it easier to meet your monthly expenses.
Lowering your expenses is easier than you think. This doesn’t mean you won’t have challenges – especially since you’ll have to change your mindset and modify how you spend. But once you get into a new spending routine, you’ll have more money in the bank and more opportunities to save.
Photo Credit: Flickr