For many people, there is often more month left at the end of the money. Sound familiar? It seems that we just about get caught up on bills when another one arrives – leaving us without that financial cushion until the next pay check arrives.
There’s a fix for that! No matter how in the red you may be, there are numerous ways to find extra money when you need it – and it may not be as difficult as you might think. In fact, one thing that most personal finance consultants pride themselves on is being able to find extra money in your budget no matter what your situation is.
Here are 20 creative ideas for taking a look at your finances and finding ways that you can be saving rather than spending each month:
Eliminate Premium Cable Channels
One of the best things to do when trying to find extra money is to eliminate unnecessary expenses. This can start with forgoing unneeded items like premium cable channels that in some cases could be costing an additional $50 per month or more.
Eat at Home / Bring Lunch to Work Rather than Going Out
Although it’s fun to go out for lunch or dinner, it can also be expensive. Eating at home can not only allow you the ability to be creative with your cooking, but it can also save you a great deal of money over going out. This also goes for taking in leftovers for lunch as versus eating in restaurants or the work cafeteria every day.
Because gas has become so expensive, it may make sense to carpool to work with others who live near you. This way, each person will only need to drive a fraction of the time – saving a great deal of money in regular fuel costs.
If you live near your place of employment, you may consider walking to work on nice days. This will not only save you money, but its a great way to get some morning and evening exercise as well.
Watch Movies / Sporting Events at Home Rather than Going Out
Movie tickets exceed $10 in many areas of the country – and the price of concessions can be even more! Therefore, consider watching movies and sporting events at home. This will save in numerous ways – including the price of tickets, concessions, parking, and gas.
Be More Mindful of Electricity Use
Although it may seem trite, if lights, televisions, or other electronic devices are on in a room without a person, then it’s wise to turn them off. While it may only save a few cents per day, the cost savings can really add up over time.
Update Your Cell Phone Plan
Many of us are unaware that we are paying for services that we may never use. Therefore, read through your cell phone plan. If there are features that you are not using, cancel them. This, too, could save a great deal of money every month.
Change Your Insurance Deductible
Insurance policies are priced based on many factors. One of the biggest criteria is the deductible. Lower deductibles equal higher insurance premiums for the customer. Therefore, go through your policies and if you feel comfortable raising your deductible, you could save a lot of money on your new premium.
Shop With a List
Before heading to the store, be sure that you make a list of specific items that you need – and then stick to it. This should help you to avoid unnecessary or impulse purchases, no matter how much you think you may need such items!
Use Coupons / Watch for Sales
Prior to shopping for certain items, be sure to watch for coupons and for sales. The discounts and savings can really start to add up – especially if you do this on a regular basis. Even just saving $20 per week on groceries by using coupons can equate to $1,000 in annual savings.
Oftentimes it is hard to tell the difference between name brand and generic items – except for the price tag. Using generic items – especially for everyday basic purchases – allows you to still have certain things, yet without the higher price tag.
Keep Systems and Appliances in Top Condition
It is a well known fact that preventive maintenance can save you lots of cash down the road if an items breaks. With this in mind, be sure that you properly care for your appliances and other large systems in your home in order to help ensure their good working condition for a longer period of time.
Over the past few years, gas prices have gone through the roof. But there is a way to save – and that is to slow down. Driving fast burns more gas – and essentially, every 5 miles over 60 mph could be costing you an additional 20 cents per gallon. So be sure to keep the speedometer at 60 or below. Not only will it save money, but it could save lives too.
Sell Your Gift Cards
If you are really in need of some extra cash fast, you may consider selling any gift cards that you have. Even by selling them at a slight discount, you will attain the cash that you need while also giving the purchaser a good deal.
Don’t Buy Items On “Time”
We’ve all seen and heard the advertisements that state “no payments for one full year.” While this may sound good right now, keep in mind that the interest on these purchases continues to accrue. So, in the long run, you will likely be paying much more for the item.
Pay Off Credit Cards Every Month
Nothing can add up faster than credit card interest. If you can, try not to use credit cards at all. However, if you need to use credit for certain purchases, be sure to pay off the balance every month. Otherwise, the interest really tends to snowball.
Sell Items on eBay
If you have items around the house that are no longer needed, sell them on eBay. Even common items tend to sell well on this website – because “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!”
Hold a Yard Sale
You could also hold a yard sale to unload unneeded items and to bring in some extra cash. This can be especially beneficial if several of your neighbors also do so at the same time, bringing in more buyers.
Refinance Your Mortgage
Today’s interest rates are at historical lows. So, now may be the perfect time to refinance your mortgage. Why keep paying rates at 6 or 7 percent when you could drop it down closer to 3 or 4 percent, saving you thousands of dollars over time.
Pay Yourself First
Regardless of which money saving strategies you use, paying yourself first is the ultimate way to grow your savings. In doing so, you will ensure that you have funded your future because after all, YOU are your most important creditor! Check out quick cash loans with no upfront fees.
Jennifer Ricci is the editor of Cedar Education Lending. Her works allows her to coach students and parents in finding a suitable finance option for their college expenses. She also contributes to a handful of popular blogs.