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Long-term financial planning is the key to wealth, but if you aren’t ready for a new lifestyle, these quick tips may be just what you need to tweak your budget so you can get some immediate results.
1. Call up your bank and tell them you aren’t going to pay checking account fees anymore. If there was just one bank in the world, you could see why they might be able to get away with charging a checking account fee. But there are lots of banks. So if the one you’re using tries to charge you for your checking account, take your money and put it in a bank that doesn’t.
2. Stop using ATMs that aren’t associated with your bank. Try to pick a bank that has a lot of ATMs around where you live, work, and shop. That way if you ever need to use an ATM, it’ll be easier to avoid those ATM fees that go along with using a machine not tied to your bank. These out-of-network fees can really add up, with you sometimes incurring charges from both the machine and your bank.
3. Avoid shipping fees whenever possible. I always get a little bent out of shape when a retailer tries to charge me for shipping. Fortunately, there’s usually an online coupon or offer that gets rid of shipping costs. So before you pay to have something shipped to you, make sure there’s not a way to get rid of those shipping fees.
4. Make sure your Internet company hasn’t raised your rates. Almost every Internet company uses the same lousy approach where they lure you in with a discounted rate, and then raise your rates after about six months. The thing is, though, that they’ll almost always lower your rates back to what they used to be if you call them up and ask. You may have to play hardball and threaten to cancel your service (be nice though!), but most of the time they’ll cave and give you the lower rate. Just be sure to check your next bill, as sometimes they’ll accidentally charge you a reconnection fee for putting you back on your old plan. If that happens, call them up again and ask them to please remove that charge.
5. See if the government owes you unclaimed money. There are online databases that’ll show you if a business owes you money. These databases are usually hosted on a state’s official website. To use it, just enter your name and see if listings pop up.
6. Cancel services you don’t use anymore. Take a good look at your last credit card statement. Chances are it has at least a couple automatic payments on it. These can be for everything from cell phone payments to your online media streaming subscription. You may even see a service that you had forgotten you signed up for. Cancel it. If you aren’t using the service, then you’re just wasting money by paying for it.
7. Resist the temptation to be the first to try something. Whether it’s a new restaurant that just opened up downtown or a hot new flick that just opened at the theater, it can be very tempting to try to experience something before everyone else. But this requires you pay money for products that you might not like. That’s why you should wait a little while. Let other people try it first and then find out if it’s actually worth it. If you still want it after the novelty has worn off a little, then you can indulge yourself. In the meantime, you’ll have saved a little bit of money.
8. Get the most out of what you have. Have you watched all the bonus features on the last Blu-ray you bought? Have you beaten all the side-quests in your favorite video game? People rarely squeeze all the fun out of a toy before moving on to the next one. But the more you use something before buying something else, the more value you’re able to get out of it, and the more money you’ll end up saving.
9. Find the most economical grocery store in your area. Your neighborhood might have a few different grocery store options. Chances are one of them is ritzy, one is moderate, and one is geared toward those who like to find a good bargain. At the end of the day, though, most of the stuff they sell is pretty much the same. That’s why you should get the regular stuff at the bargain store, and if you need a little decadence every now and then you can stop by a fancy grocery store. Remember, if you avoid doing ALL of your shopping at the expensive grocery store, you’ll save money.
10. Take advantage of free media. When you replace movie night at the theater with a rental instead, you save a lot of money. The same goes for reading a book from the library. Or you could go to gutenberg.org to read a book. This site offers over 50,000 free ebooks. Most of the copyrights for the books on this site have expired, which is why they can be downloaded for free. You’ll find most of the classics on this site.
We hope these tips help give your bank account a slight boost. If you want to really start saving money, then you may need to make some big adjustments to your lifestyle. If you have any tips on how to save money, we invite you to shoot us a message with the information. We just might add it on to this blog and give you credit for your idea.