Simple Lifehacks to Spending Less

Typically when it comes to financial advice you are told to create a budget, track spending, reduce unnecessary spending, and contributes more money to savings accounts.  Sure that is great, and each person should follow, but there are a few ways that you can cheat even further to save a little extra money in your wallet.

Keep Large Bills in your Wallet

You will be less inclined to part with large denominations of bills, making you think about making the purchase in order to break the bill.  When it comes to smaller bills, twenty dollars or less, you may think less about the aftermath of an empty wallet as you would spending the larger.

Reduce Cell Phone Data Plan

Not only will taking a GB or two off of your cell phone plan will save you money off your statement each month, but it will also keep you off surfing on your phone and leave you extra time to do other things around the house such as much needed cleaning, laundry, or taking the dog for a walk.  If anything, it will make you use the WI-FI more often, still saving off your cell phone plan.

Clear Browsing History When Booking Hotels and Airfare

Believe it or not the amount of searches for particular hotel or airfare on a specific day can generate an internet buzz if you will, causing fares to increase due to the demand that you are creating.  If you are going back to seek out new fares, make sure you clear your browser’s history so they do not see that it is you that keeps coming back to view.

Pay Attention to Your Thermostat

Programming your heating and cooling could save a substantial amount of money even shifting between a degree here and there.  If you are not home you can set the thermostat up during the summer to borderline warm, and in the winter almost too cold…adjust to comfortable temps while you are home and falling asleep.  Do not forget about trying to keep the windows open too!

Add Them Up!

If you do not believe that any significant money can be saved, try it and see the difference.  Compare your utility bills from a year ago to this upcoming year and see the savings, it may surprise you.  If you found great travel deals, brag to your friends!

Once you master the art of saving and not spending, then it’s time to actually do something useful with that money other than throwing it into a bank account that doesn’t earn any interest. If you can’t tell me, what does IRA stand for, then you should come back for my next post on putting your money to good use and preparing for retirement.

Working a Repayment of a Loan into a Tight Budget

Many people live paycheck to paycheck. If you fall into this category you know all too well the problems you can encounter when life throws an unexpected expense into an already tight budget. Often what goes hand-in-hand with this lifestyle is late or missed payments, which only helps to exasperate the situation. A sudden car failure or medical bill can really put you into a difficult and stressful place that’s hard to recover from.

When this happens you may turn to a family member or friend and try to borrow the amount with every intent of repayment in short order. However, despite your best efforts to keep your promise, many times this is just not possible. This can then create a strain on even a healthy relationship.

For the immediate future, you can look into applying for installment loans through an online lender like MaxLend. They provide personal cash loans and installment loans in amounts up to $1250 as an alternative option to payday lending. Key benefits include minimal eligibility requirements, fast-funding and flexible repayment. Qualified applicants must have a social security number, an active checking account, and a verifiable source of income.

Establishing a budget that works

Now that you have even more overhead it’s time to get your finances in order and get out of the paycheck to paycheck way of life. You may think that you cannot achieve financial stability, but even on a basic salary, there are many ways to reduce your expenses and save for a rainy day.

First, you must create a budget and stick to it. The second part is only hard in the beginning. You’ll find that once you get even just a few months into it, you will never want to turn back to your old ways of handling your bills.

If you own a home and you have equity you can try to refinance for a lower rate. This will do two things for you. One, it will give you a lump sum of money that you can use to pay down or pay off your debt and two, the lower interest rate will decrease the amount of your monthly obligation to the bank. Even if you’ve been late a couple of times you should still qualify.

If you do not own a home and you are renting, it may be time to look for another place to live. Reducing the rent by $200.00 or even just a $100.00 dollars a month can help you meet your financial obligations. Utilities, your cable bill and cell phone are also other areas that you can reduce. Turning off lights and changing bulbs over to energy-efficiency LED bulbs, raising the air conditioning and lowering the heat at night and switching to basic cable are just a few examples.

Reduce your debt

It happens – you take on a mortgage, need a new car and have children in school. Before you know it your debt is out of control. Make a list of your money expenses and then deduct it from your income. Hopefully, you have money left over. If this is the case greener pastures are just around the corner.

You can cut back on eating out, bring your lunch to work and use coupons to help give you get your debt down faster. If you have several credit cards with high balances refrain from using them. Start paying your credit cards off one by one, starting with the smallest credit line. This will help to reduce the interest and increase your credit score. If your income is less than your monthly expenses then you can try and take out a personal loan to consolidate your debt into one low monthly payment. If your credit score is poor then you can take on a second job to help reduce your bills.

Financial freedom

Living paycheck to paycheck is not a preferred way of life. Things happen and just one added expense can upset an already delicate system. By changing your view of money and reducing your debt, you’ll be able to open a savings account and then when the next crisis occurs you can resolve it without the need for assistance and without breaking the bank.

Enjoying Life While Still on a Budget

Just because you are starting to watch your pennies does not mean you have to give up what you enjoy; you just need to be smarter about spending money.  With so many deals on Groupon, social media, and just plain cutting corners, you can still have some fun in life without being trapped in the house.  Let’s face it, not always being on the go can open up other areas such as having extra time to hit the gym, but if that is not what you had in mind for fun, with a few tips you can still enjoy life while on a budget.

Traveling is an important part of self-happiness.  It does not always have to be extravagant vacation in order to get away, sometimes the small weekend getaways are just as needed as relaxing on the beach.  Half of the cost to go on a vacation is actually getting there, with the other half split between lodging and spending money, so first getting a deal on airfare such as last-minute flights or off-season dates could save a fortune.  For those that are able to drive, with gas prices still at recent record lows, take advantage of taking the car on a little road trip.  For lodging, there are so many price comparison sites such as Kayak that will pull all-in to find the best deals, which typically during the week.  For spending, try packing breakfast, lunch, and snacks, and only go out for dinner.  After you see the savings, you will not be sad you missed out on eating every meal out.

You need a little entertainment in your life to break up working all the time, so cut cost corners here so you can still enjoy.  If movies are your thing, why spend $11 per movie ticket, $6 each for popcorn and sodas, when you can take in a matinée show or even an evening weekday show for half the price.  Skip the concessions or purchase candy before going in, and sneak in drinks.  You will not be arrested, trust me.  For concerts and sporting events, Stubhub is a great way to find discounted tickets, especially closer to events, just watch the service charge prices, which are not included in the base price.  For dining out, take a look at current Groupon sales where you can buy, for example, $50 will get you $80 worth of spending.  Also, skipping the meal all together, eating prior to, and just grabbing appetizers will still get you a night on the town without breaking the bank.

The most important part of living life on a budget is that you stay out of debt. Debt is a soul crusher that affects your ability to take out affordable credit when you want to finance a house, car, or perhaps a wedding. What is a good credit score? Well, that all depends on where you are at in life. How long have you had a strong credit history, though the earlier the better. It also depends on how much cheap credit you are looking to access. If you are looking to finance a used car then you might have adequate credit to do so already.

Ways to Save on Summer Air Conditioning Costs

There may have been a couple months in between the dead of winter and summer where electric bills were steady and gas bills started to significantly decrease, finally giving your wallet a break from the high winter utility bills.  Unfortunately, this summer has been a vastly hot one, and we can look for the high electric bills to start coming in with the added cost of running the air conditioning.  There are, however, a few ways to save on summer air conditioning costs to ease the pain.

Check Air Filter Often

Your air conditioner will be working hard enough during these hot summer months so why make it work more than it has to.  Air filters should be changed every three months, all year-round, but it cannot hurt to check every month or so to make sure it is free of any build up.  Not only will keeping a clean filter ease the pressure off of forcing air through your air conditioner, but you should notice less amounts of dust, freeing any particles from the outside.

Take Advantage of the Programmable Thermostat

Why keep the house cool when you are not home to enjoy.  Sure your pet will be calm and relaxed, but having your A/C run during the day is just wasted energy.  Most enjoy the house cool at night when sleeping, so set the temperature at night for the lower desired temperature and set for higher when you leave for work in the morning.  If you want a cold house to come home to, use your programmable thermostat to set different temperatures throughout the day, so you do not have to manually set each time (and to avoid having it run all day if you forget to change before you rush off to work).

Ceiling Fans Can Make a Huge Difference

If you are like me and have trouble sleeping unless you are buried in the covers in a nice cold room, that may take lots of energy to have the A/C running all night, so to offset, use a ceiling fan, and if you do not have one, get one right away, there will be no regrets.  The home temperature can be set at a reasonable level and the ceiling fan will give the needed breeze to feel cooler.  Set it on the highest speed and you will be reaching for the covers.