2020 is here, so it’s the perfect time to get your financial life in order. If you’re looking to boost your savings or pay down debt, it’s important to take action and come up with a plan so you can meet your goals.
If you’re looking for help getting started, check out these 10 tips for saving money this year.
1. Switch to a no-fee bank
Many banks charge customers costly fees, including monthly maintenance fees and overdraft fees. For example, Bank of America’s regular checking account has a $14 monthly maintenance fee, a $35 overdraft fee, and a $30 stop payment fee. Over time, these fees can cost you hundreds of dollars.
To save money, consider switching to a new bank that doesn’t charge these expensive fees. Some options include:
2. Transfer your credit card balance
If you have high-interest credit card debt, you can save a significant amount of money and pay off your debt faster by completing a balance transfer. With this approach, you transfer your current balance to a new credit card that offers a lower interest rate. Many cards offer an introductory 0% APR for a set period, allowing you to pay off your debt without worrying about interest charges.
For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has no annual fee. Plus, you’ll get 0% APR for 15 months from account opening. After that, your APR will be 14.99% to 23.74% Variable, depending on your creditworthiness.
3. Negotiate your utility bills
Your cable bills, cell phone bills, and utility bills can cost you thousands each year. You can certainly work with your creditors yourself to negotiate a better price, but the process can be time-consuming and tedious. Luckily, there is a way to get a lower rate without having to do a lot of work.
Apps like TrueBill and BillShark will review your credit card statements and work with you to cancel unused subscriptions. If you need help lowering your internet or mobile bill, they’ll handle that for you, too. There’s no upfront cost; instead, these services take a cut of your total savings.
4. Save your windfalls
Throughout the year, you might receive unexpected windfalls. For example, you might get a bonus at work, a gift for your birthday, or a tax refund from the IRS. Those windfalls can be significant. According to the IRS, the average tax refund was $2,781. Rather than spending that unexpected cash, stash it in savings or use it to pay down debt to get the most value from your money.
5. Use cashback apps
If you frequently shop online, sign up for a cash back app like Rakuten. You’ll earn cash back on purchases from sites like Amazon, Macy’s, Chewy, and more. Over the course of a year, using Rakuten can help you earn hundreds in extra cash back.
6. Sign up for a rewards credit card
If you have good to excellent credit, consider applying for a new rewards credit card
. The best cards will allow you to earn valuable miles, points, or cash back for your routine purchases.
For example, you’ll earn unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase you make with the Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card with Cash Back Rewards. If you used the card to pay for regular transactions like gas, groceries, and clothing, you could rack up hundreds of dollars in rewards each year on purchases you would’ve made anyway.
7. Shop secondhand
If you need new clothes, accessories, or sports equipment, think twice before heading to the store. You may be able to buy what you need secondhand for a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay for new products.
Here are a few resources for gently used items:
8. Cook at home
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends $3,459 per year on food consumed away from home. Eating at restaurants, fast food places, or picking up snacks at a convenience store can cause you to waste hundreds of dollars.
Instead, focus on cooking at home and brown-bagging your lunch to work or school. Not only will you save money, but the food you prepare at home will likely be healthier than what you would buy.
9. Only use in-network ATMs
If you need to take out cash, double-check that the ATM is within your bank’s network. If not, you could be hit with costly fees; ATM fees are often as high as $2.50 per transaction. Use your bank or credit union’s ATM locator tool to find a fee-free ATM near you.
10. Use prescription savings apps
If you take any prescriptions to manage a health condition, you know how expensive necessary medications can be. However, you can save money by using the following apps:
- GoodRx: Use GoodRX to compare prices at nearby pharmacies. Prices can vary widely from pharmacy to pharmacy, so this app can help you find the best rate and eligible coupons.
- FamilyWize: If you don’t have insurance or if your insurance won’t cover your prescription, make sure you sign up for the FamilyWize program. It’s free, and you can get a discount card to use at the pharmacy. On average, you’ll save 40 percent with the FamilyWize card.
Editorial Disclaimer: Information in these articles is brought to you by CreditSoup. Banks, issuers, and credit card companies mentioned in the articles do not endorse or guarantee, and are not responsible for, the contents of the articles. The information is accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted; however, all credit card information is presented without warranty. Please check the issuer’s website for the most current information.