If you have a tight budget, the thought of finding any extra money can seem unrealistic. But with a few minor tweaks to your spending, it may be easier than you think.
Here are ways to cut down on debt and actually save money in the long run:
- Consolidate debt — Sometimes the key to paying down debt can be as simple as combining it. One way to consolidate is to get a 0% balance-transfer credit card, transfer your debts to this card, and pay off the balance in full during the promotional period. Another way is to get a fixed-rate debt consolidation loan through your credit union. By consolidating your loans, you could save on interest rates, simplify monthly payments, and start saving money. However, if you’re just going to use it to run up more debt, consolidation isn’t for you.
- Refinance your house and car loans — Refinancing your loans to get a lower interest rate will free up money that can be put toward other bills or put into savings. A credit union loan officer can determine if you qualify for lower rates.
- Revisit home and auto insurance policies — Check the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website and Insurance Information Institute for advice about picking reputable companies and then compare quotes from different companies. Consider raising deductibles. Ask your insurer about good-student discounts for kids in high school and for college students who live away at school but leave their car at home.
- Go green — Be environmentally conscious and save money while doing so. Programmable thermostats, fluorescent and LED bulbs, and window coverings are options that can help you save energy and money. Go green at the credit union as well by signing up for e-statements and automatic bill payments. Using automatic bill pay will help you avoid late fees and make consistent progress toward your financial goals. Signing up for automatic loan payments may also get you a discount on your interest rate. Ask a credit union loan officer for more information.
With just a little research and a few emails or phone calls, you should be able to free up more cash to pay off debt or put into your savings account.