How I’ve Saved Thousands of Dollars in One Year (and You Can too)
When people think of saving money, it’s often translated into feelings of deprivation and if you’re like most people, you probably don’t get excited about depriving yourself. Instead of trying to save money by limiting the things you enjoy in life like dining out or travel, there are ways to save creatively by reducing taxes (meaning more money in your pocket) or limiting lifestyle overhead expenses (such as utilities and living costs).
Here are eight creative ways to save cash (that we practice in our house too):
• If you have $1,000 set aside in an emergency fund, take a few minutes to bump up your deductibles to $1,000 on your auto or home insurance policies to reduce your premiums. Since you have the funds on hand in case of an emergency, you’ll be able to cover the deductible without using your credit card and also save money by reducing your premiums.
• Pay your insurance premiums annually. Whether it’s life, auto or home insurance, you’ll almost always get a cheaper rate when you opt to pay your premiums annually instead of monthly. The way to prepare for this expense is to open a separate savings account and divide the annual payment by 12. Stash away that amount each month for 12 months so that by the time your premium is due, you’ll have the cash on hand to pay in full and will have paid a lesser amount.
• If you’re a homeowner and haven’t already jumped on the refinance bandwagon, it might be time to quickly consider getting on. Rates have been low for months and are set to increase in the months ahead. Depending on what your current mortgage interest rate is, this could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars each year. Just be sure to consider the fees involved with the refinance and how long you’ll be staying in the home before jumping in.
• Before hitting “buy” for the items in your online shopping cart, do a quick Google search for “name of the store + coupon codes” to see if there’s any coupons or discounts you can benefit from on the purchase. Why pay full price if the option to save 10-20% is sitting just two clicks away? Also, is anyone else in love with Target’s Cartwheel app?!
• Get a better credit card. If you’re someone who uses your credit card for purchases and then (hopefully) pays off the balance in full each month, you want to make sure your rewards program is working for you in terms of cash back, gift cards or travel. If your credit card isn’t providing the best rewards, check out Nerd Wallet’s list of best rewards credit cards to find one that’s a fit for you. Stocking up on rewards points is a great way to then fund travel and vacations or cash them in for holiday and birthday gifts.
• Look at your company benefits. Does your employer offer flexible spending accounts? If you have children and are paying for daycare while your company offers this benefit, you’re able to stash away up to $5,000 into this account pre-tax (which means you’re saving money on income tax) and then use it to pay for childcare. Assuming a 25% tax rate, that’s $1,250 back into your pocket for the year.
• Brush up on your negotiation skills. Looking for a higher salary, better price on your new car or for more work-life balance? Practice your negotiation skills with a friend or partner before heading in for conversations and deal making. Document your points and practice getting push back. Worst case you get a “no”. Best case, you get what you want, which hopefully means more money in your pocket.
• Get a price adjustment. When you buy something and the price drops within a week or two, you can often get a refund for the difference depending on the retailer’s policy. Using an app like Paribus to review your transactions will help you to find money automatically when they track your purchases.