With the economy still in recovery, many Americans find themselves in a troubling situation. Their income is not what it used to be, and expenses are higher than ever. With a record level of inflation, saving money is more important now than it has ever been.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to save money fast, here are some simple ways to do just that.
1. Refinance Your Credit Cards
If you are like many people, you have been leaning on your credit cards over the last few years. While originally a saving grace, they are likely now an anchor around your neck. Reduce those monthly payments by consolidating your credit cards and reducing your total monthly payments can bring you relief.
The only problem with refinancing your credit card debt is that people with charged up credit cards often have lower credit scores. Credit utilization is a big part of your credit score, making up nearly a third of it. When you carry high balances, your score will suffer.
High credit utilization might make it harder to find a refinance loan, but you do have options in the form of a third party websites that may be able to get you access to financing. In any case, refinancing your credit cards can potentially put one or two hundred dollars back in your pocket every month.
2. Start Meal Planning
How much food are you throwing in the trash each month? It is likely a lot more than you think. Meal planning can solve this problem and leave you with more money to pay for your other expenses.
Simply put, meal planning is writing down all the meals that you want to serve in a week. You do that and then take your menu and use it to make an exact grocery list. That allows you to buy just what you need without any wasteful spending. Less waste means more money in your pocket.
3. Cut Utility Costs
Gas, water and electricity are a huge expense for families, but just like your food budget, there are ways to reduce your spending. Small steps you can take that in total can produce some substantial energy savings.
Take shorter showers, use cold water on your wash cycles and turn your thermostat down a few degrees in the winter and up a few degrees in the summer. These are the top tips that come to mind, but there are literally dozens of ways to save money. If you find yourself short on ideas, call your local utility companies. Many will offer you free energy audits to help you conserve.
4. Buy Used First
When you buy new, you are paying a premium and will also suffer the greatest depreciation. Instead of buying new, shop the used market first and save.
Used cars, used electronics and even used clothing can save you hundreds of dollars over the cost of new. Don’t like the idea of buying used? Consider the fact that everything you buy will be considered used in just a few weeks anyway. Is it worth paying a premium to have something that is new for such a short time? Not if you need to save money fast.
5. Shop Your Auto Insurance
Insurance companies are tricky. They like to offer new clients discounts and then raise the rates upon renewal. Over time, you could easily be paying 20 percent or more over what new customers are paying. Is that fair?
Take the time to get quotes for auto insurance every time your policy comes up for renewal. Even if this means switching carriers ever six months, it may very well be worth your time. The insurance companies thrive on your complacency, so put in the effort.
6. Skip The Drive Thru
For the sake of convenience, drive thru lunches are the norm for many people. This is not only costly, but also time consuming and unhealthy. Skip the drive thru, brown bag it and profit in many ways, not just financially.
Obviously, you need to save money, and this will be the key benefit to skipping the fast-food lane. With average meals approaching 10 dollars these days, that could mean up to 200 dollars a month back in your pocket. Besides this savings, you also benefit from saved time since you will no longer have to drive to get your lunch. Additionally, you may just lose a few pounds and lower your cholesterol.
7. Do It Yourself
Last on the list is learning to do more things yourself. Many services that you are accustomed to paying for can easily be done by the average DIY enthusiast. This is especially true these days with the help of YouTube and the internet.
If you are currently paying for oil changes, basic pest control, house cleaning or lawn care, you should step up to the plate. Save money each month and become more self-sufficient by doing these things yourself. Not sure how? Just do an online search. It really is that simple.