In our fast-paced society we all seem to have more on our plate than we can handle. Add in money woes and it’s a sure-fire recipe for stress and poor decision-making.
If you’re finding that your monthly income is barely satisfying your expenses, here are four types of savings lurking right in front of you.
Say No to Tax Refunds
According to the IRS, approximately 80 percent of taxpayers receive a refund each year. In 2017, the average taxpayer was refunded nearly $2,800. While that may seem like a nice chunk of change to patiently wait for, it makes more fiscal sense to pay your bill at the end of the year.
Sure, you don’t want to give the IRS an interest-free loan. But more importantly, you want access to your hard-earned money as you make it. Adjust your withholding so you get more of each paycheck. You’ll have to save some of it for the year-end tax bill, but you’ll have increased your monthly income, and won’t have a lump-sum refund to decide how to use.
Cancel Unused Subscriptions
Conveniences run rampant in our digital economy, but so do unnecessary expenses. We have so many apps, tools and services available to us that it’s easy to lose sight of what we’re even paying for. It’s a good idea to keep a record of your existing subscriptions. Doing so gives you an overview of what you’re spending each month and for what purpose.
If your financial life is a bit scattered, then personal finance apps allow seamless expense tracking across spending accounts. Apps like Clarity Money go a step further by providing money management tips based on your spending activity. Spending $200 per month in entertainment subscriptions? Clarity Money will send an alert notifying the user of monthly subscription costs and ways to trim the fat.
Reduce Utility Bill via Smarter Usage
We all need a comfortable space to call home at the end of the day. However, there’s quite a difference between necessary shelter and throwing money away due to careless utility spending. In shared apartments or houses, frivolous energy usage can quickly get out of control, affecting everybody’s wallet.
Utility companies do offer budget plans, but that doesn’t solve the root issue of over-using heating, cooling, water, power, etc.
NerdWallet recommends 15 different ways to trim utilities, such as checking all seals on windows, doors and appliances to ensure extra energy isn’t leaking out. The same should also be done for ductwork.
Whether you’re renting or own your place, a programmable thermostat will allow you to set your temperature 10–15 degrees lower when you’re at work. This will trim heating/cooling expenses by 10 percent. Setting your refrigerator and freezer to 38 and five degrees, respectively, will keep your food safe without making your appliances use more energy than necessary. These are merely a few tips among many, though—check out NerdWallet’s guide for more helpful energy improvements.
Re-evaluate Spatial Needs
Not everyone is in the same position to pick up and move at the drop of a hat. Owning a house and having a family is a lot different than being single and renting. However, in both cases, if funds are running thin each month, it’s worth re-evaluating the space you’re paying for, and how much you really need to be comfortable. Maybe you bought a house with a couple extra bedrooms to plan for the future, or are renting a studio in a happening area of the city. Whatever the case may be, downsizing your space, and looking at more affordable neighborhoods or areas to live can provide much-needed breathing room.
Countless ways to save money exist, but they only matter to the extent they are leveraged. If you’re looking to generate more savings in your life, consider implementing these four tips and going from there.