If you're constantly struggling to make ends meet on your current income, it might be time to tighten the budget. Unfortunately, many people cringe at the idea of budgeting, believing it means living like a miser or going without the things you enjoy.
In reality, there are some simple and super-effective ways to tighten the budget without feeling the pinch. Here are five tips for tightening your budget and freeing up more of your income each month.
Renegotiate Interest Rates
If you have credit cards, auto loans , student loans, or any other outstanding debts, chances are you accepted the interest rate you were quoted at the time you submitted your credit application. What you may not realize is that you could potentially reduce your interest rates significantly on most of your outstanding debts.
A lower interest rate means paying less money each month on repayments, so it can be worthwhile thinking about your alternatives.
Call your lender and ask if they're willing to renegotiate your interest rates on your outstanding debts. If they're not willing to negotiate, shop around with lenders who are happy to charge lower interest rates.
Barter for a Better Deal
No matter how awesome your internet or cell phone package was at the time you signed with your provider, chances are you might be able to shop around for a better deal now. Take the time to compare the packages available from other providers and see if you're able to access the same usage level and perks at a lower price.
Compare Your Options
If you're paying hefty insurance premiums for your car, home, contents or health insurance policies, spend a bit of time comparing your options. Packaging up your insurances might qualify you for added discounts off your premiums. Likewise, increasing your deductible or co-pay amounts a little could also shave a few more dollars off your premiums, so you'll have more money left in your pocket at the end of each month.
More Car for Less Money
Upgrading to a new car might seem like a great idea, but does your income really need the added drain? Some used car dealerships in Utah offer the option of buying an ex-demonstration model at a significantly discounted price. Instead of paying the high ticket price for a brand new car, why not shop around for one that has been used for test driving purposes instead? You're still getting that new car, but you're saving money on the full ticket price.
Bank ATM Fees
Withdrawing cash from the nearest available ATM might be convenient, but it could be costing you far more money than you realize. Whenever you use another bank's ATM to withdraw money, you'll pay a fee. In most cases that fee might only be a couple of dollars. However, if you're withdrawing cash several times a week those few dollars can really put a strain on your budget over the course of a year.
Try to use your own bank's ATMs to reduce the fees you pay. If that's not possible, try to withdraw cash every second week or pay using a debit card instead. You have the potential to save quite a bit of money each month.
Budgeting doesn't have to mean living like a pauper. It's simply an opportunity to regain control of your hard-earned cash. Look for any opportunity you can find to get the best deal possible for the money you spend.
Rachael Murphey is an entrepreneur and blogger on topics of personal success, fashion, business, marketing, personal finance, and health. She graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with her Associates in English, and from the University of Colorado Denver with her Bachelors in Business Management. She currently lives in Denver with her dog Charlie.