While figuring out is uber or lyft cheaper is definitely keeping the mindset of looking for the best deal out there, unless your rideshares are adding up to hundreds of dollars a month, there might be more to your financial picture than just that, that should be worth examining. If you aren’t already, a good way to start would be to track your spending to see exactly where every dollar is going. Depending on which you use, pulling last month’s debit and credit card statements can actually see line by line, every purchase that is made. Whether those are monthly bills, food, gas, and spending money, first examining to try and cut back those unnecessary expenses, not to mention reducing the necessary monthly bills is a great way to free up extra money every month.
Change Eating Habits
No one ever said that eating healthy is cheaper, as you can easily stop for fast food and get a quick meal for $6, but not only will avoiding eating out save you money, but it will save on your waistline as well as the calories and carbs can be greatly reduced by going grocery shopping and preparing your meals at home instead. By avoiding going out to lunch at work, grabbing carryout for dinner on the way home, even stopping for coffee every morning, can add up pretty quickly. At home, although it may take a little prep and even limited cooking skills, the savings will add up to hundreds of dollars each month.
Don’t Waste Money on Service Fees
Being a huge fan of music, attending concerts is a regular activity that keeps me sane, so not to brag, I’ve gotten pretty good at buying concert tickets to maximize savings. First off, buy tickets when they go on sale, or while they’re still on sale. Sign up for alerts from your favorite venues, bands, and ticket companies so you are in the know of upcoming show instead of first hearing about it the day of and having to always go to the secondary market, that not always will save you money depending on the event. A huge part of any ticket cost is service charges but buying directly at the box office can save you the upwards of 40% service fees compared to the face value ticket price.
Book the Right Travel
Along the same lines of knowing how to buy tickets, the same can be said for booking travel. Too many times I’ve seen friends and family book on third-party travel sites, thinking that is the best and only way, but many times I’ve gotten better deals booking direct on the airline’s or hotel’s website. Do your research, shop around, and get the best deal that you can.
Stop Paying Credit Card Interest
Credit cards certainly can make great financial sense if you can use responsibly, specifically for the amount of rewards that can add up just by making the normal purchases that you would be making anyways, but if you are having trouble paying the full statement balance by the due date, interest will begin to kick in and cost a pretty penny. Depending on the card and balance, interest upwards of 15% APR can add a significant monthly payment and throw your budget out of whack.
If you find yourself paying too much credit card interest every month and not chipping away at the balance you are carrying, it may be time to consolidate. Credit cards often offer balance transfer promos of 0% APR for a period, say a year, that you can really put a dent into your balance, provided you can pay off by then. If you have a larger balance then it may make sense to take out a personal or home equity loan in order to have a set timeframe and monthly payment to finally rid yourself of the financial burden.
Reduce Utility Bills
As you really start to free up money it may become contagious to look at the rest of your finances, so taking your expenses a step further can really maximize your savings. With cable, you can threaten to cancel in order to lock into a new promo period, otherwise going unnoticed you will continue to pay top dollar for no reason. For gas and electric, making sure your home is free of drafts around outlets, doors, and windows can help from the furnace or air conditioner from kicking on as often, or you could just do like our fathers did and scream about turning the lights off.