In need of some extra cash? Examining your day-to-day spending may be all you need to free up some money to pay down debt or boost, improve your monthly budget or increase your emergency fund.
“Most of us don’t realize just how many small purchases we are making monthly, and how quickly those small purchases add up,” said Michael Sullivan, a personal financial consultant with Take Charge America, a national nonprofit credit counseling and debt management agency. “Tracking expenses in detail and combing through online bank records will help you identify areas that are easy to trim.”
Sullivan shares five of the most common ways to save $50 a month:
• Cut Out Subscriptions: From Netflix to wine clubs, subscriptions have become a way of life. But if you can’t remember the last time you went to the gym or flipped through the magazine that shows up weekly, it’s time to cancel and save yourself the unnecessary expense.
• Negotiate Lower Bills: When was the last time you assessed the cost of monthly bills? Companies that sell cable, internet and wireless phone service often offer great deals to existing customers if you simply ask. You can also revisit or comparison shop your home and auto insurance rates to see if new discounts apply.
• Beyond Generic Food: Buying generic food is an easy way to save, but why stop there? Purchasing generic versions of other products can save you even more. Consider prescription drugs, cleaning supplies and personal-care products that include the same active ingredients of name brands — at a lower price.
• Sell Something: There are likely a few things lying around the house that you don’t use or need anymore that you could turn into some quick cash. Platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are great places to unload unwanted furniture, tools or sporting goods. And don’t forget the classic yard sale. Whether you take used clothing to a local vintage store or sell an old cell phone on eBay, there’s likely a market for your stuff.
• Renew That Library Card: From books and music to DVDs and community events, your neighborhood library offers access to so much of the entertainment you are paying for elsewhere — all for free.
Seeking more ways to save money? Visit Take Charge America’s Financial Education Center for more cost-cutting tips.