It comes as no surprise that spring is a great time to get in shape. But do you realize there’s an easy way to get in great shape without having to put on workout clothes or sneakers — or even breaking a sweat? It’s called getting into financial shape. And you can accomplish that fairly easily by doing one simple activity — trimming your monthly expenses.
Here are some suggestions for losing that extra financial baggage this spring:
• Refinance your mortgage. With mortgage rates still low, you may be able to refinance your higher-interest mortgage and reduce your monthly payments substantially. That simple step could possibly save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Talk to your banker to see if refinancing makes sense for you.
• Get rid of higher-interest debt. If you have credit card debt, you may be wasting a significant part of your monthly budget on interest fees. Try to pay off any debt you can or at the very least, to consolidate higher-interest debt to lower-interest credit cards. To avoid credit card debt in the future, pay for purchases in cash.
• Lower your cellphone bill. Most of us can’t live without our cellphones. We can, however, do without those expensive monthly bills, which can be budget busters. Take some time to review your bill to determine your usage and to see if you can move to a less expensive plan. Or if that’s not possible, shop around with other carriers.
• Share the ride. Gasoline and car maintenance can take a big portion out of your budget. One way to reduce your automobile expense is to carpool with others. Or, if you live close to work, consider walking or riding your bike.
• Dine in. There is a lot to love about dining out. You don’t have to worry about what to cook or spend your valuable time cleaning up. But, dining out frequently can be very expensive. By preparing and eating your meals at home, you may be able to save hundreds of dollars each month. Also, if you work outside your home, pack a lunch and be sure to brew your own coffee.
• Save energy at home. Put some energy into reducing your utility costs by using energy-efficient light bulbs, turning off lights, and conserving water.
• Reduce your cable bill. Spending too much on cable? Examine your bill and see if you can get rid of premium channels. Or consider, eliminating cable altogether and using subscription services.
• Get rid of your gym/club memberships. If you belong to a gym and don’t get there often, cancel your membership. It’s only worth it if you use it.
• Review your insurance coverage. If you have home and auto insurance, you may be able to reduce your premiums by raising your deductibles. Also, see about having your auto and home insurance bundled to take advantage of discounts.
The best method for determining ways to save is to record and review your monthly expenses. Then, once you cut your expenses, take that extra money and put it in a savings account. In no time at all, you’ll see that you look a whole lot better with trimmer expenses.