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Everyday Opportunities

The quickest way to give yourself a raise is to review what you are spending money on.  Review your checking or credit card statement to see what is automatically coming out each year.

  • Look at your statement - Are you still using all of those services that pull money from your account automatically?  For example, streaming services, gym memberships, photo storage, car washes, tanning bars, XM radio, subscriptions, etc.

  • Take a look at your recurring fees on your smart phone - Same concept mentioned above applies here.  What are the subscription services that you are paying for?  Do you still use them all?  If not take steps to cancel.  

  • Review your cell phone plan. Sitting in a cell phone store or being placed on hold for a few hours on a weekend may not be high on this list of your favorite things to do, but talking to your provider and asking for a better deal may allow monthly savings opportunities.

  • Review your streaming or cable services. Do you watch all the shows?  Do you need all the channels and all the services. Narrow down which streaming services or channels are most important to you and then consider cutting back on the rest. It doesn't have to be for the long term, but this too could allow you to save money on a recurring monthly basis.

  • Sell unused items.  The average American household has $300k items in it. Say what?!  You may have items that you could unload to reduce clutter and grow money.  Talk about win-win!  

  • Compare before you buy - Second quotes can be a big deal.  Need new tires,  a car rental, new furniture ... be sure to shop around, and if get quotes before making your final decision.

  • Eat in more often - It's almost always cheaper and you don't have to tip yourself (but if you do, put it in savings).

  • DIY when you can - There's no question that convenience is sometimes worth the additional cost but when possible, try to limit those extra expenses by option for DIY options when you have the bandwidth.  For example, you could commit to making coffee at home a few days a week and treat yourself to a cup at your favorite coffee shop. 

  • Use coupons and loyalty cards - These are typically free and easy to do, especially when grocery shopping.

  • Wait to buy seasonal items after the season.  Retailers start discounting before the season is up.  Prices can be over 50% off if you wait long enough.

  • Trade services with friends and family.  Pet sitting and childcare are two great options for this.  Look for skills opportunities too ... painting, tax help, design work, etc.

  • Purchase perishable groceries on demand.  This saves you from having to throw away unused items.  When shopping with a list, more frequent shopping should not be a problem.

  • Carefully scrutinize your spending - Which is more important:  spending money on lunch every day or putting that money towards saving for your dream home?  Making sure that spending aligns with your goals will help you focus on what's important to you every day.  Journaling every expense is another way to force you to really think about every purchase.

  • Delay purchases - It's not uncommon to have your eye on a certain product or item on your to-buy list every day.  See whether you still want that item in a week or a month. This can help you avoid making bad spending decisions.

  • Don't play the comparison game - Stop "keeping up with the Joneses" or with anyone else.  Let your budget alone guide your spending and saving habits.

  • Try to curb emotional spending - Although retail therapy is a favorite therapy of many, it's not a great habit to get into.  Avoid the temptation to buy yourself a "treat" when you are upset.  When these feelings arise, redirect them toward other positive behaviors that don't require spending money, such as calling a friend or going for a walk.

  • Do your own personal grooming - You'll save a little every month if you skip the trip to the salon to have your hair cut by a stylist or your nails done by a manicurist and do them yourself (or with the help of a friend or family member).  If you cut your hair every other month, you can easily save $250 per year or  more in professional hairstylist fees alone.

  • Clean your car at home - washing your car on your driveway instead of visiting a drive-through car wash can save you $180 to $350 a year.

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