One of the biggest stresses in life revolves around money! It is also the cause of many marital battles. Somehow I think the more money you make, the more money you spend. It is very easy for spending to get out of control. It is important for you and your significant other to sit down together and review your monthly spending, determine where you can save money, and set monthly budget goals. My husband and I recently did this and we were quite surprised by how much we were spending on a monthly basis and quickly made some adjustments. Here are some tips that helped us.
· Review your phone bill-call the company and negotiate a discount or perhaps even change to another company for a better monthly rate. We saved by avoiding an upgrade (there is nothing wrong with my phone and I don’t need the newest model) and we reduced our data plan to save $50/month!
· Review your cable and internet bill-again call the company, negotiate monthly rates, and see if you can get a better deal by changing companies. Also consider getting rid of cable. With so many low cost programs like Hulu and Netflix, many don’t even miss cable. There are also Apple TV and Sling TV options that drastically reduce monthly costs. Talk to your friends to see what they are using and how much they pay monthly. We chose Sling TV and dropped our cable to save $86/month.
· Review your auto insurance-there are often unclaimed discounts available and again you can change to a different company for a better rate.
· Evaluate your grocery bill-one of our biggest monthly expenses was food. There are only two members of our household and I had a habit of weekly grocery shopping. We were constantly throwing food away. I now plan our meals better to use up our groceries and I only go grocery shopping every other week.
· Eat at home more often, pack your lunch, snacks and morning coffee---going out and picking up convenient food rather than preparing your own meals costs much more money. Those few dollars a day add up quickly over a month.
· Set a monthly allowance for personal spending. This is a number your significant other and yourself negotiate for personal spending. We set a monthly budget and determined that you can carry over any left for the month to allow you to save up for larger expenses.
· Save on fuel-Consider carpooling with friends and neighbors to reduce monthly fuel expenses. Also group your errands to avoid excessive driving and use of fuel.
· Try to use a credit card for all expenses to keep a good record in one place. Get a credit card that has cash rewards to use as bonus money.
· Consider switching your bank-there are great deals for opening a new checking or savings account with different banks.
· Consider refinancing your mortgage-We just went from a 30 year loan to a 15 year loan with a lower interest rate and will save ourselves $80,000 over the life of our mortgage.
· Evaluate the services you use-can you manage it yourself and save the money or at least stretch out the time frame to save?
· See if your employer has a loan-repayment program or if you qualify for any of the more recent loan-repayment programs for student loans.
· Get a financial advisor-most are free or little cost. They have great experience and advice and often aid in making good financial decisions when you and your partner cannot agree on the best way to save money.
Happy saving with financial security!
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