It’s great to think about stashing some extra cash to put towards a savings goal. Don’t have a specific savings goal? How about vacation, school, retirement, or emergency fund savings? It’s not as hard as it may seem and doesn’t require a major life change. In fact, according to Money Magazine (Dec., 2017), many Americans are using the following strategies to successfully cut expenses and meet savings goals:
1. Ditch the cable. Millions of Americans are switching to online streaming services, and for good reason. The average cable bill last year was $103 per month (Leichtman Research Group). A similar steaming package is around $40 per month. Major savings!
2. Switch plans. The average cost for a family of four was almost $3,000 last year (Money Magazine). A family plan could be less than half that (around $1,200).
3. Switch cards. Carrying a balance on a credit card? Can you switch to a card with a 0% balance transfer offer to save on interest while you pay it off?
4. Work on your credit. Increasing your credit score could directly affect the rates you're offered for new credit which saves you lots of $$ down the road.
5. Refinance student loans. You'll want to do some checking to see if this option can save you money. On a $90,000 parent PLUS loan with a 6.6% interest rate, you're paying $1,025 a month on a standard repayment plan. Refinance to a private loan at 4.5% and you could free up $93 a month (Money Magazine).
6. Skip the gym. The average monthly gym membership fee costs $50. Add on specific classes and you're paying even more. There are many fitness gurus with free videos on their YouTube channels. Stream their videos right to your smart T.V., invest in some hand weights, grab a friend, and follow along any time day or night from the comfort of your home.
Final Step: Automate a savings payment. Once you’ve taken steps to cut these expenses, add up the money you would have spent and set up an automatic transfer to your savings account for that amount each month (for applicable expenses). The process of setting a savings goal, making a plan, and sticking to it doesn’t require major changes. Be sure to reward yourself when you reach your goal!
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