Does your monthly budget feel a little tight? Or are you saving up for a big purchase? Whether you’re looking to build your long-term savings or just want to afford a great end-of-year vacation, these savings tips can help.
Drastic savings tips for the month
Change up your commute
If you drive to work every day, your gas bill is a major drain on your savings. Change things up by taking public transit, or agreeing to carpool with a coworker or neighbor! Plus, if you’re no longer using your car everyday, you can make some extra cash by renting it out with a car-sharing rental app like Turo.
And if you find that living without your car is easier than you thought, you can always sell it! Losing your monthly car insurance payments will make a major dent in your spending.
Of course, there are parts of the country where it’s hard to live without a car. If you can’t afford to sell your vehicle, that’s okay! You can still save on your car insurance. For example, some insurance companies lower premiums for drivers who take a defensive driving course. If you raise your deductible, your monthly costs will drop. And at the end of the day, you can always shop around for lower premiums.
Save on debt
Losing a ton of cash to loan payments? You have options! Try these savings tips to lower the cost of your bills every month.
Refinance a personal loan
If you’re suffering from exorbitant rates on a personal loan, you may be able to improve your life by refinancing. What is refinancing? It’s the process taking out a new loan (with lower rates and more desirable terms) and using it to pay off the old loan in a lump sum.
Not sure if you can get a better rate? Shopping around is the only way to find out! The online lending marketplace is huge and diverse, and getting pre-approved can get you personalized quotes without hurting your credit score. But remember: always check your current loan’s prepayment fee before paying it off early. If the fee costs more than the new loan will save you, it’s not worth it.
Student loan refinancing
If you’re carrying student debt, refinancing could save you thousands every year — especially if your income and credit score have gone up since you took out the loan. Click here to get personalized quotes from a ton of reputable student lenders. It’s free, it only takes five minutes, and pre-approval won’t hurt your credit score!
Cut back on credit card bills
Are you struggling to pay off your credit card bill due to high interest rates? Luckily, there’s an easy solution! Many credit card companies offer balance transfer credit cards — credit cards that charge 0% APR for limited periods of time (typically 6 or so months).
How does it work? Simply apply for a balance transfer card and use it to pay off your higher-interest credit card bill. Then, you can work on paying off your bill with zero interest until the promotional period ends. Just make sure to pay it off before the window closes!
Cut back on your grocery bill
Groceries are one of the best places to cut costs, because food costs vary so widely. If you want to cut your grocery bill in half, simply cut out most of the more processed foods (rotisserie chickens, microwave meals, etc.). Instead, buy dry goods like rice, beans, and lentils, and buy them in bulk. Add in some on-sale produce, and you can eat for a month for less than $100! And of course, don’t forget to clip coupons.
Another great option is to clean out your pantry. Most of us have a ton of non-perishable foods — cans of soup, bags of rice, and so forth — collecting dust in a cupboard. If you cook the resources you already own, you won’t need to go grocery shopping half as often!
Put subscriptions on hold
The monthly costs of most entertainment subscriptions are small, but when you combine them, they add up. If you put your Hulu, Netflix, HBO NOW, and World of Warcraft subscriptions on hold for just one month, you could save a little over $50.
Plus, when you take a break from your monthly subscriptions, you can find out which ones you really miss. Do you really need to be paying for Hulu and Crunchyroll? Do you need to go to your gym, or do you enjoy jogging around your neighborhood just as much? Are you playing enough of that MMORPG to validate the cost? When the next month rolls around and you’re ready to re-subscribe, you can make some tough choices about which subscriptions you really need.
Skip the appointments
If you need a little extra cash for a month, try skipping a routine appointment, like a haircut or a manicure. These appointments get pricy fast, so the more time you can put between them, the better. Usually get your hair done once a month? Try going every six weeks! Your wallet will thank you.
Cut your “fun” budget
Cutting your fun budget doesn’t have to mean cutting your fun — it just means finding more frugal ways to have a good time. Do you like to go out for drinks with coworkers after work? Buy a six-pack and hang out with them at your apartment instead! Love going to the museum? Find out if your local museums host any free days and go then! Want to buy some new books? Skip the bookstore and check out your local library! Your kids want to see a movie? Host a fun movie night at home!
You can still have fun on a budget — you’ll just have to get a little more creative.
Now that you know all our savings tips, where do you start? Setting a budget is a great first step. These money management tools can help you to get a firm grasp on your spending. Once you know how much you’d like to put away every month, you can decide exactly where you want to cut your spending.
Ashley Eneriz is a financial writer who has been published on a myriad of sites, including Dave Ramsey’s site, Credible, GOBankingRates, MoneyCrashers, Huffington Post, Business Insider Australia, Life Hacker, Fidelity, CBS News, and MSN Money. As a stay-at-home mom, she balances work, home, and the unpredictable life of a preschooler and baby. She loves shopping at thrift stores and garage sales and telling people how to save money. She has created on-brand, engaging content for top financial companies like Discover, CIBC, The Hartford, Brightpeak Financial, and Credit Sesame.