Inflation is hitting Americans hard and the effects are touching every aspect of our lives. Everything from food, gas, water, clothing and housing is up in price. But while many Americans have decided to create a strict budget plan and cut back on unnecessary spending, they’re still finding themselves spending more than saving. However, saving money doesn’t have to be a complex plan that restricts Americans’ lifestyles.
Ask credit card companies for a better interest rate
Although it might come as a shock, you can negotiate with your bank or credit card company to get a lower interest rate on your credit cards. Credit card debt is at a 20 year high for Americans and many find themselves continuing to rack up money on their cards to pay for necessities. If you find yourself in this situation and the debt continues to pile on because you’re unable to pay off balances monthly, call your credit card company and ask for them to lower your interest rate. The worst that could happen is that you get a simple “no” from the credit card company.
If you have a good past relationship and credit history, usually make your payments on time and are responsible, they may help you by lowering your interest rate. This simple question can help you pay less over time.
Ask utilities about a payment plan
Even if you’ve never been on one before, many utility companies offer payment plans. As utility prices continue to rise, you have options to keep your utilities on without draining your bank account.
Call your utility companies and ask about being put on a payment plan that works for you. These plans let you pay your bill in a way that’s comfortable for you and works for your budget/pay schedule. This way you can have an exact idea of how much you’ll pay for utilities each month, without worrying about whether you’re going to have enough money.
Negotiate a lower cable rate
Before you completely get rid of your cable TV, call your cable company and inquire about a lower rate. Explain that the cost of the service has gotten too high and you’re going to have to cancel if you can’t get a lower rate. This will usually spark a conversation that will go in your favor, especially if you’ve been a long-time customer. Whether they upgrade your package for free, or simply lower your bill to something that’s more manageable, asking for the Retention Department can never hurt. Cable companies want to keep your service, so calling to ask for a lower rate during these tough times can usually get you a discounted price.
Ask about changing student loan monthly payments
Tens of millions of Americans have student loans, and although the Biden Administration is calling for forgiveness of up to $10,000 for many borrowers, many borrowers will still be left with a balance to pay each month. But since taking on student loan debt, many Americans’ incomes have changed.
Look into Income-Driven Repayment Plans (IDR plans) for student loans. This can help set your monthly student loan payment at an amount that is affordable for you, based on your current income. If you’re earning less than you were before, this is a great way to continue to be able to make your payments on time but lower the amount you owe each month. You may even find that you can spare a few extra dollars here and there each month that can
Ask yourself the hard questions
Most of the unnecessary spending we do comes from trips to Starbucks, TJ Maxx or other non-essential stores and restaurants. Ask yourself the hard questions of whether or not you really need to make specific purchases. If you pay for every streaming service that’s available each month, you likely use one of them more than the others. Figure out what spending in your budget is going towards things you don’t need to buy each month and you can identify what is easier for you to eliminate or what you’re willing to give up for the time being.
You can also challenge yourself to go 24 hours without unnecessary spending, or maybe even expand the challenge up to a week. This can help you reevaluate where your money is going, and what purchases you can cut out while not limiting your lifestyle. Things like groceries, gas, utilities and other necessities don’t count towards this challenge. But purchases like eating out, a new pair of shoes, or even a new makeup palette can add up quickly on your monthly expenses.