Not ready to give up your daily mocha?
If your coffee run brings you joy, eliminate other sources of cash loss 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. Alternatively, set up automatic payments from your bank account or credit card. Just be sure your account has sufficient cash for the debits, 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, change your behaviors to eliminate these fees. Keep a higher cushion in your checking account to avoid overdrafts. Use ACH transfers (which are free) rather than wires for money transfers that you don’t need same-day.
Discontinue unused subscriptions
Do you take advantage of free introductory periods of subscriptions just to forget to discontinue them? Discontinue any 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. If you’re paying mortgage insurance premiums, and have been making regular payments for some time, ask your lender if you can discontinue it. Finding less expensive insurance while maintaining the same coverage results in decent savings.
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 purchase with no-interest loan, set the money aside, 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 find extra cash on a regular basis, and you don’t have to give up your 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. Start with small changes, aim for larger ones as you make progress, and be sure to track your cash flow regularly to stay on track.