You have probably heard some of the same old tips about stretching your budget, such as adjusting your thermostat and brewing your java at home instead of stopping at the coffee shop. If you have tried the usual methods of saving money, you may be interested in finding some new ideas. Here are six ways to save money that you might not have thought about yet.
1. Refinance Your Home
A home refinance may seem like a lot of trouble. It can even cost you money, depending on your circumstances. Your new interest rate must be lower than your closing costs for you to save money. However, it is worth researching the idea. You may qualify for a shorter-term loan, allowing you to pay off your home in less time. You may also benefit from a USDA streamline refinance or another program.
Once your refinance is complete, paying even a little more each month toward your principal can reduce your loan repayment time frame.
2. Open a Flexible Spending Account
An FSA is an account that lets you pay for child care or healthcare expenses with pre-tax dollars, saving you money. Your company may either reimburse you from the account after you pay the costs or give you a debit card to use for payment. You have an annual deadline to use the funds or lose them, so be sure you don’t put in more than you need.
You can reduce taxable income in other ways, too. You can fund your individual retirement account or contribute to a 401(k) and save for your retirement in the process.
3. Stash Your Bonus
Even if you receive a regular bonus from your employer, don’t include the amount in your budget. It can change (or go away) at any time, which is why it is called a bonus and not a paycheck.
Since it’s money above and beyond your usual amount, put it in a retirement or savings account before you spend it. Keep in mind your savings goals as you do so, making the process less painful.
4. Slow Down Your Internet
This step may seem like a bit of a stretch. After all, most people are interested in lightning-fast internet speed, and the companies selling it are undoubtedly interested in selling it to you. However, think about whether you really have the need for speed. Can you save a few dollars a month and get by with slower speeds? If you are unsure, try it for a month or two and see how it goes. The internet company will be happy to upgrade you if you can’t live without the fastest plan.
5. Carpool With Coworkers
Do you live reasonably close to some of your coworkers? Help everyone save money and carpool to and from work. Think of the wear and tear you can save on your car by driving maybe half as often — not to mention the gas money. If you don’t want to be tied down to a full-time carpooling schedule, sharing a ride even a couple of days a week saves some of the expense.
6. Organize Your Home
This tip may seem strange. How can an organized house save you money? It prevents you from searching for things and buying what you can’t find. It also helps you discover purchases you forgot. Maybe you didn’t realize you had four new shampoo bottles in the bathroom cupboard or that you bought a bottle of antifreeze last fall and put it in the garage. You may be surprised at what you have at home already. Even if you don’t find extra household supplies, an organized house helps you find what you need when you need it. It’s not always easy to save money, especially if inflation is high or you have unplanned expenses. Do what you can to save here and there, and you may be shocked at how quickly small efforts add up to significant savings.