Here are five more things to consider when paring back expenses this year.
1. Be cooperative. Coops of all sorts are a great way to cut spending Kids clothes and toys are a very popular trade and use category. And babysitting is a natural since it’s almost always easier to take care of your own kids when they have someone to play with. Take the lead and organize these activities at your church or school where you have a lot of like-minded parents. But don’t neglect also the help of seniors who may babysit in exchange for other help (computer aid, CPA advice, etc.)
2. Kill extra credit card charges. Everyone always makes this suggestion because it’s true. Paying credit card interest fees is stupid, since you can get cheaper money almost anywhere.
- If 20% annually seems reasonable, at least pay it to a relative who wouldn’t be able to earn 20% anywhere else in this market.
- At the very least, look for cards that charge lower interest and monitor the rates. CardTrak.com publishes a monthly list of credit card rates and Bankrate.com keeps a updated list of the best credit card deals, divided into categories: no-fee cards, low-interest cards, and mileage cards.
- If your card wants an annual fee, call them and negotiate it lower or eliminate completely. It’s always good to ask. Set your automated bank payments to send a small amount every month to your credit card issuer. Even if you pay extra interest, now you’ll never have to pay a late charge on top of it.
3. Cut back on the restaurant habit or find ways to cut back on costs. Entertainment books are a great way to save money if you eat at those restaurants anyway. Restaurants.com also has money-saving coupons for good restaurants that make sense if you do a little planning. Set your restaurant budget and then cut it by 20% so that you actually use the coupons.
4. Increase insurance deductibles for auto and home coverage. You’re the best judge as to how much risk you can handle, but it’s better to have $1000 deductible on your insurance rather than $500 if you’re a pretty safe driver and if the one-time hit in case of an accident wouldn’t wipe you out.
5. Cancel the gym and get a Wii Fit. You have to find the best routine that works for you and motivates you to put in at least 30 minutes per day of physical activity. A gym membership is a beautiful thing if you use it, but if you’re paying for it month after month without spending any time there, you’re not really burning any calories are you. We got a Wii Fit and I find it easier to fit in a workout at home. Plus I don’t waste time and gas getting to the gym.