The fall months are typically when people get in trouble financially, mostly due to holiday spending. Maxing out credit cards and spending the rest of the year playing catch-up is not a fun cycle to repeat annually. You can make some changes to your daily habits and money monitoring practices to boost your finances a bit this fall.
Start a $5 Jar
After shopping with your favorite retailer, perhaps Marshall’s or Ross, put that $5 bill in a jar. In fact, you can make your $5 jar a general change jar. The idea is to save money and physically see how much you’re saving by putting your change, including coins, into a jar. Don’t separate it, keep it all together, but every $5 bill you get in change should go in that jar.
Switch to a Fee-Free Bank Account
Most banking institutions charge some kind of fee for maintaining your account. Some banks, when you request it, will remove fees for account management and debit card purchases. When you notice these fees, call your bank and request to speak with the branch manager. If the bank won’t reverse the fees, it might be a good idea to look for a new bank.
Make your Own Morning Coffee
Rather than stopping at Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts or your favorite coffee shop, make your own morning coffee. Coffee drinks from cafes and coffee shops cost more than 3 times what you can make it for at home. Imagine how much money you could make available each month by making your own morning coffee. On average, you could boost your available monthly funds by $120 or more per month.
Set a Monthly Financial Goal
When you do your monthly budget, set a financial goal, such as paying every bill 7 days before it is due. This helps reduce interest on interest-bearing accounts and helps your credit report. Your monthly financial goal can also be to pay down debt by paying a few small outstanding bills, reducing services to reduce bills, or cutting out an unnecessary expense altogether.
Consider Refinancing Mortgages and Car Loans
Refinancing mortgages and car loans, when possible, can help you reduce monthly payments. It can also help you get a lower interest rate if you are in good standing with your lender. Explore the options first, and then decide whether refinancing is the right option for you. In some cases, you can reduce your mortgage and/or car loan by 10-percent or more, putting more available funds into your bank account each month.
Refinancing does not mean you are experiencing financial difficulties, it means that you are working on improving your family’s financial health.
Boosting your finances doesn’t mean you need to take on a new job, it just means that you should make changes to your spending habits. You can have more money available by making adjustments and changing how you pay your bills. Rather than paying the amount due, consider paying a bit extra to give you a credit toward next month’s bill. This comes in handy, especially when those holiday spending bills start rolling in.