Not ready to give up your daily mocha?
If your daily coffee run brings you joy, eliminate other spending first.
While these steps don’t replace living within your means and avoiding credit card debt, followed diligently, they can free up a decent amount of cash:
Avoid late payment fees
If you’re late on your utility, credit card, or other payments, you’re unnecessarily losing cash. Set a weekly money date to review and pay recent bills to ensure timely payment. Or, set up automatic payments from your bank account or credit card. Just be sure your account has sufficient cash for the payments, and pay off your credit card each month.
Don’t pay bank fees for services
Review your bank statements to ensure you aren’t paying fees for overdrafts, money transfers, paper statements, or other services. If you are, talk to your bank to make the changes needed to avoid these fees. You might need to keep a higher cushion in your checking account to avoid overdrafts. Or use online banking to send checks rather than ACH or wires transfers, which might have associated fees.
Discontinue unused subscriptions
Do you take advantage of free introductory periods of subscriptions just to forget to discontinue them? Look through your bank and credit card statements to identify these payments, and discontinue unused subscriptions immediately. When you sign up for a free service, set a calendar reminder to cancel before the renewal date. This goes for gyms as well—unless you use them, you’re paying repeatedly for good intentions.
Return items on time
How many times have you purchased something just to miss the return deadline? Place these items in your car so you can pop into the store or post office when you’re nearby. You’re more likely to complete this task if it’s convenient.
Every couple of years or at key life events, reprice your insurance policies to confirm you have sufficient coverage at the best price. Finding less expensive insurance while maintaining the same coverage results in savings. If you’re paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI), and have been making regular payments for some time, ask your lender if you can discontinue it, especially if you’ve reached 20% equity in your home.
Negotiate Big Ticket Items
When shopping for homes, cars, furniture, and other big-ticket items, go in well-informed and negotiate the price. Research recent sales of similar items in your area and negotiate accordingly. If you’ve purchased with a no-interest loan, set the money aside either at once or monthly, to ensure you have sufficient funds to pay before the grace period ends; and set a calendar reminder to pay on time.
Especially negotiate when accepting a new job. Being properly compensated makes a big year-over-year difference that lends to your long-term financial success.
These are a few changes you can make to free up extra cash on a regular basis, without giving up your daily mocha. Once you’ve found that cash, put it to productive work by increasing contributions to your retirement account, paying down debt, or adding to your emergency fund. Want to know how to put this cash to best use? Read our post on prioritizing how to use your cash flow.