There are many ways you can save money, here are our top 5.
1.Eat at home. In 2016 North Americans spent an average of $2,400 per person eating out. That is a whopping $9,600 for a 4 person family in one year. The first thing we did when we started getting our finances under control was pull all of our banking and credit transactions for a full year. Sad to say but we fell fight in that $9,600 mark. Coffee on the way to work, a couple lunches out per week, a busy evening with the kids warrants takeout, a nice dinner out on the weekend. It all adds up to serious cash. The worst part is that this money is spent rather than paying down revolving debt so that $9,600 continues to cost additional interest every month. We now budget a specific amount each month for entertainment. Not going to curl up a die now that we are budgeting, just being more mindful of what we spend and where. Save money, brew coffee at home in the morning, brownbag lunches, plan ahead meals at home and make something easy and quick for those busy days that are too easy to buy takeout for.
2. Renegotiate with your creditors. Call your bank and any other business you have credit with. Renegotiate the interest rates you are paying. As long as you have not let your credit score fall they will likely be able to help you save money. I can’t say I have ever been called by a bank with them volunteering to lower interest rates or payments. Take the initiative, the worst they can say is no. It doesn’t seem like much but my bank was able to lower the interest on my line of credit by 0.25%. That’s $14 in my pocket every month to pay down debt rather than to the banks bottom line. Every bit counts and it can add up fast depending on how many creditors you have.
3. Get rid of the points card. I have yet to see a points credit card that didn’t come with an annual fee and at least 19.99% interest rate. We had a points card for 3 years and spent around $50,000 on it in that time. All the points we amassed amounted to $425 equivalent, which is less than we paid in those 3 years for the annual fees. One of the first things we did to save money was change the credit card to a low interest, no points card. We now save the outrageous yearly fee and pay 6% less on our balance.
4. Make a grocery list and meal plan. Scan your weekly flyers to see what is on sale. Make your meal plan and a grocery list based on that. Grocery stores, like most retailers, have plenty of impulse items to throw you off your saving game. Stick to your list and meal plan. I am terrible at the grocery store. I love to cook and try new things. I am like a kid in a candy store. Sticking to the meal plan and the list has easily saved us hundreds of dollars this year already. Try it and see if this helps you save money.
5. Renegotiate or cancel with all of your service providers. Cell phone, cable, satellite, internet, insurance, any other monthly bills you receive, call them all. Have you been paying for upgraded services you don’t even use? Understand what you are paying for and pare everything back to the essentials. Have you been a customer of theirs for a while? There could be customer appreciation rates available to you that will never be brought to your attention unless you ask. Again, the worst they can say is no. If they do say no, do some shopping around, you could save a significant amount every month.
We did this and saved $155 per month across all the services we pay for. This savings will help us pay down our debt even quicker than we originally planned.
These are 5 ways to save money that have worked for Jen and I. Please share your best money saving tip.
Ike & Jen