If you’ve been thinking about cutting back on your monthly spending, you might have imagined sacrificing a lot of things you like. However, you might be spending more than you realize on relatively invisible expenses. Here’s how to find out if you are and potentially save money without having to create a budget or change your life much at all.
Debt costs money. For example, if you are carrying a balance on several credit cards, your interest rates could be as high as 18% or more. You might be able to roll your balances onto a card that offers no interest for a certain period of time, such as six months or a year. Another option could be to simply call the credit card company and ask for a lower balance, which may be successful if you are a good customer. Many people also have student loans, and they may be paying more for them than they have to. You might be able to get lower interest rates if you refinance your loans into a single one with a private lender. This could lower your monthly payment and cost you less in the long run.
You might be paying too much for home and auto insurance. You could potentially save hundreds of dollars per year by shopping around for lower rates when it’s time for renewals. If you buy your home and car insurance from two different companies, see if you can get a better deal by getting them from the same company. You could also check online comparison engines to see what the cheapest offers might be.
Your Automatic Payments
Automatic payments are great for saving you time and avoiding late fees—until you forget to cancel them. Sit down with your most recent bank statement and take a look at what’s being deducted from your account. Did you join a gym in January in a fit of New Year’s determination and only go twice? Are there subscriptions to music or movie streaming services you forgot you signed up for? You might be able to save $20 or $30 a month or a whole lot more.
Do you tend to impulse buy? Food, in-game purchases, clothes and music are all the types of things people often spend more money on that they realize. You don’t need to cut out things you actually enjoy, but you may want to consider whether you’re making use of everything you buy and if there are cheaper alternatives to ordering out several nights a week or if you really need to make all those in-app purchase.
Help from Apps
Apps can be useful at drilling down into your spending and helping you set limits. You don’t need to make a detailed budget, but if you decide you only want to spend a certain amount of money monthly on having food delivered or anything else you can designate as a certain category, some apps will let you set that limit and alert you when you are nearing it. You may need to link your bank account to the app for this to work.