When you’re trying to get a handle on your finances, sometimes you can feel like you’re at a standstill. You’ve cut out as much as you can. You’ve dabbled in different ways to bring in more money. Now, it’s a battle for consistency. While you can’t go wrong with cutting back your spending and increasing your income, there may be ways to find more money in your budget that can go towards savings or debt.
It’s not always easy to think outside of the box. That’s where a finance coach, like me, can be useful! We can see things slightly different. We can think about things that a non-finance professional may not think of. To show you what I mean, I’m sharing 10 ways to find more money in your budget. If you want a few additional ways to cut back, start with this list!
Are you following your budget?
Before you read this article and start thinking about ways to save more, I want to make sure you are actually following a budget. Have you created your budget for the month? If so, are you actually following it? When I say “following” it, I mean are you tracking your spending to ensure you are staying on track?
If you aren’t tracking your spending, and using that information to make sure you are following your budget, then start there. There’s no point in looking for extra ways to save in your budget if you aren’t even following it to begin with!
10 Ways to find more money in your budget:
#1 Use credit card rewards for necessary expenses
Instead of using your credit card rewards and points to buy something you want, use it for something you need. Not having to pay your own money for gas can free up quite a bit of money in your budget. Those funds can be saved without worry.
#2 Cancel subscriptions you no longer use and need
Just because you budget for certain subscriptions doesn’t mean you are actually using them. Nor, does it mean you need them. Do an audit of all of your current subscriptions and see which ones you can cancel. Even small amounts add up over time.
#3 Shop for new insurance
Just because you found the cheapest insurance you could find 3 years ago doesn’t mean that times haven’t changed. Do some shopping around for new, lower insurance rates. You may not find anything, but at least you know you tried.
#4 Swap nights out for nights in
Even if you factor in going out into your budget (which you should, by the way), it doesn’t mean you need to go out. In fact, a study done by Eventbrite found that the average event-goer spends $81 per night on going out. There are 30 days in a month, you do the math. Instead, invite friends over. Everyone brings a treat!
#5 Ask for lower interest rates
If you have been diligent with paying down your credit cards. You have no late payments, and you pay more than the minimum, consider asking for a lower interest rate. Credit card companies are more willing to work with you than you may think, especially if you are a good customer. If you are lucky enough to get a lower interest rate, you can add that money back into your budget or keep your debt payments the same and pay it off faster!
#6 Turn down the thermostat
Don’t just take it from me! The Department of Energy estimates that you can save about 1% of your energy bill by simply turning the thermostat down by one degree for at least 8 hours. If you aren’t home, definitely turn that thermostat down. If you are home, break out the blankets and sweatshirts! 1% may not sound like much, but as I mentioned earlier, it all adds up!
#7 Take advantage of public transportation
Is public transportation abundant in your area? Most larger cities have trains, subways, and buses that run on a consistent basis. Take advantage! You don’t have to drive to work and sit in traffic every day. Save yourself the gas and miles by taking the bus. According to the American Public Transportation Association, individuals who use public transportation save an average of $9,400 a year. Even if you can save a small portion of that, that could be great to put back into your budget.
#8 Research credit card perks
There are so many advantages to having credit cards these days. The credit card companies are doing more and more to attract more customers. If you have a credit card, research some of the perks available to you for FREE, just for being a customer. There are plenty of credit card perks to take advantage of. Check out the article 10 Credit Card Perks to Take Advantage of for a few common perks available to most.
#9 Adjust your student loan repayment plan
You probably know this, but you don’t have to settle for the repayment plan your student loan company offers you. If you are struggling, or could use the extra money in your budget, try extending the term (not ideal, but certainly helpful), or opting for an income-driven repayment. Both options will free up income each month.
#10 Lower your service
Whether it’s slowing down the internet at your house, downgrading your cable package, or lowering your cell phone plan, lowering the speed and amount of service can save you money. Start by doing your research. If it’s not worth cutting the service, then keep it as is. Once again, as long as you do your due diligence, you can rest easy!
Related: 100 Ways to Cut Back
Had you thought about the different ways above to find more money in your budget? What have you done to free up cash in your budget month over month? Share your money-saving tips and experiences with myself and other CGS readers by posting a comment below!