Saving money can be quick and easy. It’s not always about hard choices or depriving yourself of things.
With these 12 tips, you’ll see how taking one small action can save you money.
And once you do one tip, you’ll likely be hooked. When you see one small change pay off, you’ll be hungry to make more. When you do, you’ll notice all those small changes will make a big difference in your finances.
# 1 – Increase Your 401(k) Contribution
When your money is out of sight, sometimes it’s also out of mind. You can hide it from yourself by increasing your 401(k) contribution, even if it’s just 1% more than what you’re doing today.
For extra credit, set a calendar alert to increase it again in three months after you adjust to your new contribution level – or better yet, sign yourself for an automatic quarterly 1 percent increase.
# 2 – Use Ebates Anytime You Buy Something Online
Ebates is a cash-back site that can earn you 1 to 20 percent on purchases you would be making anyway at your favorite stores like Amazon, Target, and Walmart.
Signing up for Ebates is a fun way to see some bonus money every few months – and all you have to do is shop like you normally would. Don’t buy anything online without using it.
# 3 – Compare Mortgage Rates
If you can save money by refinancing your mortgage, you should go for it! Our mortgages are typically the single biggest expense we’ll face in our lifetimes so the savings from a refinance can be significant – you’ll possibly be able to save thousands.
A study by the Journal of Financial Economics found 20% of homeowners who could have benefited from refinancing didn’t. As such, Americans paid an extra $5.4 billion in interest payments!
Who is more likely to save by refinancing? Here’s some likely candidates:
If your credit score has increased since you took out the loan
If you’re looking to lock in a fixed rate, after purchasing a variable rate loan (and you believe interest rates will continue to rise)
Switching from a 30-year to say a 15-year
If you think you may be able to save, visit LendingTree – you’ll be able to compare rates in five minutes or less.
# 4 – Plan A Frugal Weekend
Sometimes you can do a great job of watching your money throughout the week, only to blow it when you’re on the go during the weekend. So be proactive and plan a cheap weekend ahead of time.
Invite some friends over for a potluck dinner or pack a cooler in the trunk of your car and spend the afternoon at a local park.
# 5 – Negotiate or Cancel Your Cable and Internet
Cable and internet services are a great place to cut your expenses. You could cut cable entirely and opt for a cheaper viewing service like Netflix. If you’re not wanting to get rid of cable all together, you can simply renegotiate your rate.
If you’re not good about bargaining, have a robot do it for you.
Trim is an app that works inside of Facebook that will negotiate your cable and internet bills for you on your behalf – you won’t have to do anything, except enjoy the savings.