Sometimes it feels like my budget is a partially deflated balloon. If I squeeze a little bit in one area so that I can save, the expenses just pop back out on the other side.
Save on gas and the cost of groceries goes up. Cut back on the cable tv bill and the phone bill goes up. Living on one income means we are constantly working to figure out how to make the very most of our money.
It is hard, but we have found a few things that have helped us to free up some cash when things are tight.
5 Things You Can Do to Free Up Some Cash
Raise the deductibles on your car insurance. This move can save $10 to $20 a month depending on your coverage. And since we had already paid our six-month premiums prior to changing the deductible, we got a refund check back. Yes, it’s a gamble… but let me tell you, when you have high deductibles on your car insurance, you are extra careful when you’re driving! Be sure to set aside money for that higher deductible in your emergency fund, so that you are prepared if something bad should happen and you need to make a claim.
Change your tax withholding. If you are getting a big income tax refund from Uncle Sam every spring, stop letting him have your money interest free! Instead, adjust your withholding. Use the IRS website’s tax withholding calculator to help you figure out how many allowances you should take or consult with your tax professional. Don’t adjust it without checking your figures; You want to make sure that you are paying enough taxes so that you don’t have to pay taxes and penalties. Depending on your personal situation, this move could add $50 to $100 a month to your budget.
Use your car one less day a week. Walk, ride bike, or car pool with someone else. You’ll find that you not only save the gas money, but you will also avoid those incidental expenditures that come with being out and about. Not going to town one day a week saves me about $8…. or $40 in a month!
Determine needs vs. wants. You don’t need a morning latte, dinners out at restaurants, or candy at the movie theater (gasp!). You don’t need gum, soda, breath mints, Ziploc baggies, nail polish, Swiffers, or car washes. You will find that when you cut out the little stuff you want but don’t need, you will have extra money in your pocket. If you’ve tracked your expenses, you’ll know how much trimming that extraneous spending can help your bottom line.
Find money at your house. Turn in your spare change for extra cash. Sell some stuff you don’t need or use anymore. Have a garage sale. Haven’t you been meaning to clean out the basement anyway? Most of us can easily find $50 to $100 worth of stuff to sell just tonight.
Keep an open mind when it comes to finding extra cash. The prices of things are high and sometimes it’s hard to make ends meet, but you will feel great when you’ve figured out how to be thrifty, to be creative and to do more with what you have.
Great list, Christina! I know I’ll be looking into that deductible tip myself. I also like to suggest that people make their current financial tools work better for them. By doing research, you can find bank accounts with better interest rates and credit cards with solid cash back rewards. You can get rewarded easily for your daily behavior this way
Heather Hernandez says
Your tip about raising your deductible on auto insurance is a great one! We also raised the deductible on our Homeowner’s Insurance to save over $1,000 a year!!! Truly amazing ~ and we can do it thanks to the emergency fund we’ve built up (and protected like it’s for the end-of-the-world emergencies only) so that it can cover any home repairs that are needed. We’ll save our insurance for anything major that happens.
Christina Brown says
That is a fantastic savings!