We asked personal finance expert and Dog People Panel member Andrea Woroch to provide some of her best money-saving tips to consider.
- Reevaluate your monthly expenses: Spend some time going through your credit card and bank statements to pinpoint your recurring expenses. Are there any subscriptions or memberships you’re paying for and not even using or don’t really need? You can even explore free resources that might replace one of those paid subscriptions. Libraries are great resources for free content—digital platforms like Hoopla Digital and Kanopy allow you to borrow video games, movies, and TV shows, and apps like Libby can help you access e books and audio books, all for free.
- Negotiate your bills: For the services you don’t want to cancel, get on the phone to negotiate your bill. Many service providers may be able to lower your bill by offering a new promotion, such as your cable or Internet provider. Consider reducing your mobile data plan and use free WiFi instead. Many banks will remove overdraft fees or insufficient fund fees if you’re experiencing any financial repercussions from the coronavirus outbreak so just ask.
- Lower your insurance cost: When was the last time you compared insurance rates for your auto and homeowner’s insurance plan? Check free sites like Policygenius or Insurance.com to gather quotes. Otherwise, raise your deductible to reduce monthly payments. Switching from a $250 to $500 deductible on your auto insurance for instance can knock a few hundred dollars offer your annual premium and reduce your monthly payments.
- Meal plan to reduce food waste and reduce your grocery spend: Look ahead at your calendar to make a meal plan for the week and figure out which ingredients you need based on what you already have at home so you can grocery shop more efficiently without overbuying on impulse—which often leads to food waste. Look for recipes that use overlapping ingredients too so you use up everything you buy! I like to cook in bulk. Meaning, when I prep one meal, I make enough for two more meals after that which I can store or even freeze for later consumption.
- Tame impulse shopping temptations: If you’re home and spending more time online, it’s easy to fall for sale temptations and end up buying. Stop impulse shopping by deleting retail apps or turning off push notifications on your phone that may alert you to new sales. It’s also a good idea to delete any stored payment info and shipping details in retail accounts to create friction in the shopping process. Calculate the cost per use or how much it would require you to work to earn the value of that item. When you put the dollar figure into this perspective, you may be less willing to splurge.
- Transfer your Credit Card balance: Find a new credit card offering a 0% interest on balance transfers. You can find cards offering this deal for 12 months, or up to 21 months. Although it’s typically best to pay as much as you can towards your credit card debt, now is a time when you may need to keep extra cash in your account for the unexpected and transferring your balance buys you more time to pay down the debt without accruing interest.
- Stash away your tax refund: If you’re expecting money back this tax season, this is the perfect opportunity to start your emergency fund, if you haven’t already. Setting aside money in a separate account for unexpected life moments like job loss or medical emergencies can give you more peace of mind that you and your family can be taken care of and also helps you avoid going into debt.