As the New Year rolls around, it would be wise to take a few minutes and do a financial review of where your money is really going. Here are some simple things you can do to have more money each month without working any harder.
If you are currently paying for a storage unit, make time to sort through the contents and see if they are worth the monthly cost. If there are heirlooms or sentimental items, find a way to keep them in your home. They may last better if they are in your home rather than in storage. The time required could save a sizable chunk of money. Get rid of that storage unit! I know people who have stored empty boxes. Some store old furniture they either don't want or are saving for kids when they move out. By selling the furniture and eliminating the cost of the storage unit, you could afford to buy them new furniture. A couple examples will help make the point. An acquaintance of mine was paying for a storage unit for "stuff" he rarely used. When he and his family bought a home, he filled much of the basement and garage of their three-bedroom home with his "stuff" from storage. He chose to store his "fixer-upper" car in a storage unit because there wasn't enough room in the garage. He is paying $80 per month this year to store this car (it's not running yet). This last example is a real clincher if you don't believe that there is a real cost to renting a storage shed. I once helped a woman who paid $80 per month for 15 years for a storage unit. Her husband became seriously ill and they were forced to move. Because of the circumstances, they did not have time to go through the storage unit, so they donated everything. Just imagine, she paid over $14,000 for "stuff" that ended up being donated! Donating to charities is great, but why didn't she do it 15 years ago and save herself all that money? Make a resolution to get rid of that storage unit now, while you have the strength, energy and time to enjoy the benefits of the money you will save.
Do you have a fitness membership? How many times do you really go? If you go frequently, then good for you! The health benefits are probably worth it. But if you are like most people and do not work out consistently, you are throwing money away. If you go only about once a month, consider buying a one day pass on the days you go.
Extra Money from Your Credit Cards - Review your credit card statements for the past year. Are you paying an annual fee for your credit card? If you are, now is the time to check into cards with no annual fees. Some even give cash back or gift certificates for frequent use. What is your interest rate? Can you find a better one? We choose to pay off our card each month to avoid any interest charges, but if you are paying interest, then why not shop around and save yourself some money each month. You will also get your credit card paid off faster with a lower interest rate. Check to see if you have paid any late fees in the past year. By paying your bills on time, you can save yourself $25 to $35 in late fees alone per month. If you are usually prompt, but missed one payment one time in the past six months, call your credit card company and see if they will waive the fee.
Extra Money from Your Bank - Look at your bank statement. Are you paying a fee every month for your checking account? Why pay ten dollars or more each month when you can do it for free? Do you pay for checks or can you get them free at the bank? You may be able to save a few dollars a month by spending the time to review your accounts.
Extra Money from Your Insurance - How about car insurance? Do you have too much coverage for an old car that isn't worth what it used to be? Find out how much your car is really worth and determine how much you can save by increasing the deductibles. The savings may be worth it if your car's value has decreased because it is now one year older.
Extra Money from Your TV - Look at your cable television or satellite bill. Are you watching enough television to justify the cost? Are you paying for channels you never watch? Maybe you can downgrade your plan or get rid of it completely.
Extra Money from Your Phone - How about your cell phone? Do you have the plan that is best for you? If you get free minutes for out of state calls, then get rid of any charges related to out-of-state calls from your local phone company. Look at your local telephone bill and see what you are being charged for. Do you really want and use the extra features like call waiting and call forwarding? Do you want to pay a monthly fee to have messages recorded by the phone company or can you just buy a phone message machine and save yourself money each month. Figure out what is best for you.
Extra Money from Your Subscriptions - How about magazine subscriptions or book club memberships? Do you pay each month yet never seem to have the time to read them? Going to the library to read them could save you money and decrease clutter in your home.
These are only suggestions. The New Year is a great time to review your finances and see what you can do to find extra money throughout the coming year.
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