Trying to keep pace with the rising cost of food, insurance, entertainment and other general costs of living requires taking some targeted measures. This week I want to share 5 tips to help you keep a few more of those hard-earned dollars in your pocket.
1. Request a lower interest rate
If you are paying excessive interest on your credit cards (above 15%), call the issuing companies and request a lower interest rate. Understand that without a good payment history, your chances are slim to none. If you run into an initial road block, be sure you ask for a supervisor or other decision maker. Even if you’re not successful right now, try again in a few months.
2. Go over all of your bills with a fine tooth comb
Are you being charged for services you’re not using? For instance, look at your telephone bill in detail, or call a representative, and go over each line item to determine the usefulness of each component. Ask your insurance company about their defensive driving discount. Take advantage of other discounts by consolidating your telephone and internet services onto one bill. If you have DirecTV, you might qualify for a telephone discount (Uh-huh!). Examine all of your bills and make sure you’re not overpaying for services you’re not using.
3. Cut non-essentials
Do you really need two cell phones, HBO, the insurance on that small credit card limit, etc? If you have a financial goal such as beefing up your savings, getting out of debt or simply having more money at the end of the month, examine areas where you can forego non-essential expenses. It might require more discipline to eat out only once or twice a week, but the benefits are worth it.
4. Control impulsive spending
Think before you spend! Make sure your shopping is targeted and focused. How many times have you gone to the grocery store for a loaf of bread and came home with magazines, snacks and “I-think-I’ll-try-this” stuff? Make out a list of items you plan to purchase before doing shopping of any sort. When you know what you want beforehand, you’re not easily sidetracked and wandering around until something catches your eye!
5. Ask for a reduced bill
If your budget is squeezed, don’t be ashamed of asking for a reduced bill. Ask your garbage collector, lawn care provider, etc. for a hardship discount. Make a reasonable offer, but accept a counteroffer if necessary. More than likely they would prefer to get something from you rather than nothing at all.
You’d be surprised at the amount of money you can keep by taking these practical measures. I hope it will spur you to think of even more ways to hold on to your hard-earned dollars. I’d love to hear about the ways you were able to eliminate some of the waste.
Take Action Challenge Tally up the savings you are able to find. Decide how you’re going to put those extra dollars to good use, and do it!