As 2020 is underway, many of you are thinking about your budget. Ok, if you are not thinking about your budget please start.
For years I have reviewed my own budget and clients’ budgets and have kept a list of ways to save money. I call these tips Money Multipliers. Start with the “non-negotiables”. These are the must-do’s!
1. Payoff your credit card in full every month.
a. Know the interest rate on the balance of your credit card.
b. Do you have balances? Consider using a low interest home equity line of credit to consolidate debt. Then make a plan to pay it off.
2. Establish automatic payment for your bills to avoid late fees.
3. Banking accounts:
a. Know the minimum balance needed to avoid monthly maintenance fees.
b. Set up overdraft protection – avoid overdrafts and the related fees.
c. Check on interest rates for accounts. Too much money in a checking account paying 0%? Move some to an interest-bearing savings account.
d. Use your bank’s ATM network. Those $3 fees add up.
a. Compare insurance prices: Auto, Home, Life, Disability, and Long-Term Care.
b. Know your health insurance plans and options.
5. Home expenses:
a. Review and appeal your real estate taxes.
b. Inquire on refinancing your mortgage.
c. Maintain your home to avoid big ticket items in the future.
6. Understand your employee benefits:
a. Contribute to 401(k) plans especially up to match.
b. Know all your benefits – review on an annual basis.
c. Take advantage of company discounts.
7. Check your credit report annually.
A few extra tips that add up...
1. Reduce your dining out expense: eat at home, bring your lunch.
2. Keep a list when shopping to avoid impulse buys.
3. Reduce your home expenses:
a. Weatherproof your home.
b. Use LED bulbs.
c. Use an automatic thermostat.
a. Keep maintenance on your car up to date.
b. Drive your car an extra year or two.
c. Evaluate if you need an extra car.
d. Use public transportation when possible.
e. Use apps for parking like Spot Hero.
f. Know where you can get low gas prices and keep your tank half full.
a. Compare several websites for hotels, airfare, trips, entertainment.
b. Buy your tickets early and travel non peak times when practical.
6. Cancel subscriptions you are not using: health clubs, magazines, newspapers, diet, food services to name a few.
7. Gift cards: know where they are and use them. They lose value over time.
8. Carry a Water Bottle: Save the environment and reduce your bottled water expense.
9. Expensive drinks: Fancy coffee and fancy cocktails add up over time.
10. Buy in bulk.
11. Invest in reusable bags, lunch boxes, and other containers.
12. Prescriptions: price compare generic, bulk, 90 day supplies.
13. Borrow or rent large ticket items including clothes.
14. Evaluate your technology needs: cable, phones, and computers.
15. Use a library card instead of buying books.
16. Use one in/one out concept: If you buy something, get rid of something.
Try to follow as many as you can! Good luck and keep me posted on your progress. Better yet send me (firstname.lastname@example.org) other tips I can add to the list.