Make a budget, cut out your daily fancy coffee and reduce your online shopping habit. Sometimes it feels like you’ve heard all the tips about how to save money, but here are a few that might be a little different than usual.
Look into Refinancing
Your home, your car and your student loans can all be refinanced to save you money. Refinancing can lower your interest rate, meaning that you will pay less each month and in the long run. You can go online and see what options are available for refinancing your student loans with a private lender. Once you get your rate, you’ll have an idea of how much you can save.
Take Big Steps
A lot of money-saving advice is about making small changes that add up. While that’s important, you also shouldn’t overlook the big lifestyle changes that can get you closer to your goal a lot quicker. Maybe you love living alone and hate the idea of taking on a roommate, but what if you only had to do it for about a year? How much would you save if you sold your car and rode your bike or took public transportation everywhere? Brainstorm and try to find some creative ways to save big even if it seems inconvenient at first. If it cuts a year or more off your savings schedule, it might be worthwhile.
It might sound a little crazy, but you may be surprised at what you can get if you talk to people about trading favors or skills. Maybe you know a single parent who cuts hair. What if you babysat their kids one night in exchange for a haircut? One advantage of bartering is that you can often get more in goods that you would be paid for the same task. Maybe you could write copy or take photos for a local consignment shop’s webpage and pick up some clothes in return. This can also be about building relationships. If you get to know your neighbors and offer to walk their dog and water their plants when they are on vacation, you might not have to pay a pet sitter to do the same for you when you are out of town.
Don’t Overdo It
This may sound counterintuitive—shouldn’t you try to save every dime?—but just as overtraining leads to athletic injuries and restricting your food too much leads to bingeing, trying to put yourself on an overly strict budget will result in an inability to stick to it. In particular, if you are trying to pay off debt, you might have convinced yourself that you don’t deserve to indulge yourself at all. You shouldn’t be taking expensive vacations and buying costly clothes, but you also don’t have to live on a steady diet of beans and rice for the next two years in order to pay off your credit card—unless you really like beans and rice, of course. Building in a little treat here and there, keeping the one streaming service that you genuinely love or budgeting for a new pair of running shoes every six months or so can help keep you committed to your new budget.