Money saving tips that don’t force you to live like a pauper.Here at Dough Roller, we talk a lot about getting into the habit of spending less than you make.
You may be looking at your budgeting and thinking, “That’s impossible!” But the fact is that even the savviest spenders can often find unexpected ways to save.
And here’s the deal: this doesn’t have to hurt. You don’t have to go without TV or eat beans and rice for every meal to save money. Instead, start with just a few of these easy tips and tricks. Incorporate more of them into your spending plan every month. You could soon find yourself saving hundreds–or even thousands!–of dollars per month.
Rebates, Coupons, and More
- Earn cash back on every online purchase: Ebates is free to join and easy to use. You can earn up to 10% cash back or more on every online purchase. Cash back is available from retailers as diverse as Amazon, JC Penney, Rite Aid, and even Walmart and Kohl’s.
- Get cash back every time you shop online: Swagbucks is a free site that enables you to earn gift cards whenever you shop online. It’s similar to Ebates, but you can also earn cash by watching videos, surfing the net, or taking surveys.
- Track your money effortlessly: Most of us hate to budget. I know I do. Now there are free online budget tools that can track everything from your monthly spending to your retirement accounts. You might be surprised how much you can save when you just keep a closer eye on your spending. Personal Capital has a free version and upgrade options and is our preferred platform for tracking your finances and investments.
- Send away for and follow up on rebates. After you buy a product with a rebate, send in the form that day. If you can, file the rebate online for easier processing. Then set a reminder on your calendar to follow up with the company if you haven’t received the rebate in a reasonable amount of time.
- Try haggling. It’s amazing what you can get discounted if you’ll just press the point. Sometimes, if you can’t get a lower price on a service or item, you can ask for additional perks for the same price. You’re still saving money!
- Save your change. It adds up surprisingly quickly. And if you rarely spend cash, you can save your virtual change using an app like Qoins.
- Price check. If you’re shopping for larger-ticket items, price checking comes naturally. But there are some great apps that let you do this in just a few seconds for everyday items, too. That way you can be sure to always get the best price.
Save Through Good Management
- Improve your credit score. A good credit score can save you thousands of dollars in interest on everything from a home loan to a car loan to credit cards. If you’ve never focused on your credit score before, the place to start is to get your free FICO score. Once you improve your credit score, you can refinance your debts to save big money.
- Request a reduction in the interest rate for your home equity line of credit. I did, and my mortgage company agreed to reduce the rate by more than 0.50%. That doesn’t sound like much, but on a large loan, that can make a big difference in your monthly payment. And if you are looking for a home equity loan, Quicken Loans is a great place to check out available options.
- Transfer your credit card balances to 0% APR cards. Even if your credit score isn’t incredibly high, you may qualify for one of these 0% interest credit cards. Transferring your balances can save you a ton of money as you pay off debt. Another option is to ask your current credit card company for an interest rate reduction. As with a HELOC, it doesn’t hurt to ask!
- Refinance your mortgage. If you can reduce your interest rate by 1% or more, it is often beneficial to refinance. This is particularly true if you have a high rate because your credit score wasn’t great when you took out the mortgage. If your score has improved, you may qualify for a better rate. Start by asking your current mortgage lender about lower rates. Here’s a table of refinance rates that is updated daily.
- Don’t pay interest on credit cards. This is obvious, but as soon as you fail to pay off the credit card in full, the high interest payments start to eat away at your monthly budget. If the temptation to spend more than you can pay on a credit card is too great, get rid of the credit card (and ignore the previous tip!).
- Get organized to avoid missed payments. I’ve missed a payment or two because the bill got buried beneath a stack of papers. Get organized, and avoid those late payment penalties. Check out our picks for the 10 best money management apps. Some even have a feature to pay your bills straight from the app! If you do miss a payment, call your creditor, and ask to have the penalty removed. They’ll usually accommodate the request, at least the first time.
- Budget for regular maintenance of your vehicle, home, and appliances. When you’re on a tight budget, it’s easy to ignore long-term expenses like car repairs and appliance maintenance. But it’s much cheaper to pay for an annual tune-up of your HVAC system than to deal with major problems down the road. Likewise, keeping your car in good shape is much cheaper, in the long run, than dealing with big repairs that could have been prevented.
- Learn some DIY skills. Doing some things yourself–whether it’s growing veggies in your backyard, making cookies from scratch, or doing basic home repairs–can save you tons of money over time. Plus, some DIY skills can become a fun hobby or even a money-making side gig.