Ever notice how your monthly expenses always seem to equal whatever salary you’re making, even after you get raises? The phenomenon is called “lifestyle creep” and it can keep you from reaching all kinds of financial goals, from paying down debt, to saving for retirement.
You can fend off the creep by cutting back on your monthly expenses. Here are five ways to do that right now.
Make a Budget
Know exactly where your money is going by making a budget. Start with major categories, like rent or mortgage, utilities, transportation, meals, clothing, and entertainment. Then break it down even further to ferret out items that are ripe for reducing.
Lower Your Mortgage Payment
If you haven’t examined your mortgage since you bought your home years ago, it’s quite possible that you could save a lot of money – both now and over the life the loan – if you refinance at a lower interest rate.
Get an Insurance Checkup
It pays to shop around periodically to make sure you’re getting the best deal. If you have a decent emergency fund on hand in case of an accident, one way to lower your premiums is to increase your deductible. Also be sure to examine your policy for “extras” you may not need.
Examine Your Auto-Payments
If auto-pay causes you to keep paying for items or services you don’t really need or use, it’s no bargain. A few common culprits include unused gym memberships, subscriptions to magazines that aren’t read, and cable or satellite TV plans that include loads of premium channels that are rarely watched.
Cut the Cord
If you’ve already ditched your land line, good for you! If not, doing so is one of the quickest and most pain-free ways to trim your expenses.
With CU Thrive, you can automate your savings! Learn more at www.hfcu.org/cuthrive.html.