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Are you looking for some creative ways to save money?
Maybe you’re fed up with traditional budgeting methods and set-asides that don’t seem to make much of a difference.
Or maybe you just want to try something new.
Whatever the reason, if it’s creative saving tips that are on your radar, then look no further!
In this article, we’ll be discussing some unusual but effective strategies people are using to save money and stretch their finances even further.
So grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea (which can also help you save), buckle in and let’s get started!
#1. Know Your Perks At Work
Do you know all of the benefits you get at work?
Sure, you probably know about health insurance and paid time off, but chances are your company offers other discounts too.
I was clueless about these additional discounts until I read an email from our human resources department. The various benefits blew me away.
I could get discounts at theme parks, movie tickets, car washes, dry cleaning, buying flowers, and even cell phone plans.
The next thing you should do is email your human resources department and ask if there are any discounts you can get through work as an employee.
#2. Challenge Property Tax Assessment
Did you know you can challenge how much you pay in property taxes?
I didn’t realize this until we bought our current house. Our realtor pointed out that our taxes were much higher than other houses in our neighborhood.
After researching, I discovered how easy this is and that many attorneys offer this service.
The way they work is incredible. You provide the attorney with the necessary paperwork, and they take care of the rest.
If they do not get you a reduction, you pay nothing. If they get you a reduction, their fee is a percentage of the savings capped at a certain amount. Our attorney fee was 25% of the first year’s savings, capped at $500.
In their initial letter, they said what they thought they could get the assessment and our property tax down to. In the end, they reduced our property taxes by $1,200. We paid them the $300 and are saving the rest.
The bonus here is each year going forward, we also save money since the tax increase is based on our lower assessment. For example, if our taxes were $2,000 before we lowered them and our taxes increased 3% annually for five years, our new tax bill would be $2,318.
With the lower rate of $800, after five years, our tax bill is $927.
#3. Understand Your Values
You need to take some time and figure out what your values are.
What things in life add value to your life and make you happy? You will find that many things you spend money on add zero value to your life.
In other words, they may give you a temporary high in feeling good, but they do not add any value in the long term.
Once you figure out what you value, you can spend on things that matter to you and stop spending it on things that don’t matter.
For example, I bought an Apple Watch because all my friends had one, and I thought it was cool. But I didn’t like getting texts and calls interrupting me constantly. And when I did yard work, I was paranoid I would break it.
It turns out the watch made zero sense for me. It was a waste of money. Had I instead asked myself why I wanted it, I could have saved myself a few hundred dollars.
#4. Shop Insurance Coverage
You might have heard you should shop for insurance coverage, but you probably don’t know why.
Chances are, your insurance carrier is raising your premiums annually on you, and you can get a better deal by switching.
The reason for this is that most insurers offer deals to new customers. Once they have you as a customer, they know most people won’t bother switching because it is time-consuming.
But thanks to AI, there are ways you can get free quotes from multiple insurers in minutes. And these companies will switch your coverage for you for free. You don’t pay for it. They get paid by insurance companies.
A few years ago, I saved nearly $400 a year simply by getting free quotes and switching my coverage. If you decide to do this on your own and not use the AI services, compare the same plans and features to get an accurate quote.
#5. Review Your Habits
What are your habits? You probably never thought about this, but take some time and be mindful of your habits and how they cost you.
For example, maybe you stay up late to watch a television show. This causes you to get less sleep, and the next day you are tired and cranky.
Most likely, this means you make poor food decisions and give in to bad financial decisions.
The solution could be to record the show and watch it another time.
Another example is maybe you go to happy hour for drinks after work. Perhaps you can cut this out a few times and stash the money instead.
Reviewing your habits can find areas where you spend and opportunities to save that you otherwise never realized.
#6. Negotiate Credit Card Interest
If you have credit card debt, an easy savings tip is to call your credit card issuer and ask for a lower interest rate.
Doing this will lower your interest costs as you work to pay off your debt.
There is only one catch here. When you ask, ensure the lower interest rate applies to your current balance and not only to new ones.
In most cases, they will reduce your rate for a set amount, say six months or one year. When this happens, make it a priority to pay down this debt, as more of your money is going to your balance as you accrue less interest.
#7. Focus On Overall Cost
When buying things, don’t allow monthly payments to mislead you into overpaying for something. This happens all the time when buying a car.
Many people head to the dealership, and when the salesperson asks, “how much can you afford” they provide an answer.
Now the salesperson can put you into almost any vehicle, regardless of the cost, as long as they can get the math to work out.
This is why many new car loans are for eight years. People buy expensive cars they do not need because they focus only on the monthly payment.
A better option is to determine how much you want to spend overall. If you want to pay $30,000 for a car, you can now start looking at vehicles in this price range.
To afford the monthly cost, you need to work the numbers. This could mean saving more for a down payment or negotiating the car price.
Looking at the overall cost, you can save tens of thousands of dollars. For example, for a $500 monthly payment, a salesperson can put you into a $45,000 car at 1.9% for 84 months with $5,000 down. Over the life of the loan, you pay $47,750.
If you buy the $30,000 at 1.9% for 60 months with $5,000 down, you pay $31,226 and save over $15,000.
#8. Use The ‘Right Now’ Test
This is a unique way to keep more money in your pocket.
Here you ask yourself if you could, would you use the item right now?
This test works best for clothing. When buying something, ask yourself if you would wear it as you leave the store.
If you answer no, then you should put the item back. While this test doesn’t work 100% of the time, it has saved me from buying clothes many times.
Looking at myself in the dressing room mirror, I knew I wouldn’t wear the item out of the store, so I put it back.
#9. Get Government Help
There are many programs out there, both on the state and federal level, that help people in need.
Whether you need help with food, housing, a cell phone, or more, there is a good chance, there is a program out there to help you.
You could even qualify for lower utility costs.
In the event your income is too high, all hope is not lost.
You can still reach out to local community organizations and see how they might be able to help as well.
#10. Look Long Term
Too many people don’t consider time when buying something.
What I mean by this is, stop to ask yourself how long you plan to use the item for.
If it is a one-time use, find the lowest price possible, regardless of quality. But if it is to use over the long term, you want to buy something that lasts, which means you might pay a little more upfront.
Don’t make the mistake of only focusing on the price. Consider how often and how long you will use it and then decide how much or how little to spend.
#11. Ask Yourself How Will This Improve My Life
Another thing you can do to help you stop spending money is to ask yourself how the item will improve your life.
If you see a new kitchen appliance you think you need, before you buy it, ask yourself how will it better your life. Maybe it will save you time because you do a lot of baking.
In this case, it could be worth it. But spending a few hundred dollars might not be worth it if you need it once a year for Thanksgiving dinner.
#12. Reuse Everything
Before you toss something in the trash, stop for a minute and see if there is another use for it.
If you are missing a sock, use the other one to dust.
Worn out sneaker? Keep it and use it to do yard work so you don’t ruin your new pair.
With a little thinking, you can find alternative uses for most everything and save money in the process.
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I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.