First and foremost you should collect your recent bills and pay stubs. After you’ve done that, it’s time to do the following:
- Find yourself a calculator
- Take out a notepad, or open up an Excel spreadsheet and enter all of your income and expenses
- Add up your current debt obligations
- Jot down the interest rate for each and every debt you owe
- Strive to pay off the highest rate credit cards or other high-interest loans first
Your next option is to consider refinancing your bills into a mortgage if you can. The downside is that you’re essentially tapping your home’s “equity” to pay off bills over time.The upside is you typically can free up cash flow now and reduce the cost of your debt by taking advantage of lower interest rate.
Although it is generally not recommended, when it comes to securing money in an emergency, you could also consider getting a car title loan. However, it’s important to keep in mind that car title loans should only be used as a last resort; getting a loan from a reputable financial institution, friend or family member is always your best choice.
As far as saving money on other things here’s a list. Let’s start with some basic ideas:
- Consider cutting the cord and not having cable television
- Take your lunch to work instead of constantly buying lunch at restaurants
- Look for different cell phone plans; many of these can be very affordable if you don’t have a lot of bells and whistles
- Monitor your heating and cooling costs; “smart thermostats” can help you save money by programming in a schedule so you run your air conditioning or heating less
- Look into sealing any cracks that can let cold winter air into the house
- Consider using fans instead of air conditioners, and use specific heat reflecting curtains in some rooms
- Carpool — or ride your bike to work!
- Make sure your car’s tires are fully inflated, as under-pressurized tires can hurt your gas mileage
- Look for discount cards, and apps to help you save money
- Prepare your meals for the week ahead of time
- Getting your books from the public library; many libraries even allow you to borrow digital books for use on your e-reader!
Ultimately, there are dozens of ways to save money; you just need to be creative! The key is making use of a little good common sense.
Photo Credit: TaxCredits