Money-Saving Tactics for Busy People
by A.J. McKnight
It is a misconception that saving money has to be time consuming. Even the busiest of us can find efficient, effective ways to improve the budget with these tips.
Frugal folks know that the smart use of money-saving tactics can go a long way in reducing costs and increasing savings. But some of these cost-cutters, such as couponing and meal planning or line-drying clothing, can be somewhat time-consuming and not necessarily practical for those with busy schedules.
After all, time is money, right?
So what are your money-saving options if you are cash-strapped and time-strapped?
Try some of these money-saving tactics for busy people that are short on time yet big on savings. Many are once yearly tasks that can help you save month after month.
Money-Saving Tactics for Insurance Costs
Carve out 15 to 20 minutes at least once per year to review your auto insurance coverage and deductibles. Perhaps you no longer need as much coverage or can now afford to increase your deductibles and reduce your monthly premium. Then compare auto rates to determine if it is time to switch insurers.
Suppose you reduce your monthly premium by $10 each month, or $120 per year. That’s a darn good return on a 30 minute investment!
Do the same for any other types of insurance you carry. Take a weekend to review all of your policies or schedule time throughout the year to go over them one at a time.
Money-Saving Tactics for Taxes
Are you a homeowner? If housing prices have dropped in your area since you bought, you might be able to get a reduction on your property taxes.
Do you get a big tax refund each year? Consider if it makes better financial sense to adjust your withholdings and get a slightly larger paycheck each pay period than a yearly refund.
Money-Saving Tactics for Subscription Services and Memberships
Are you paying for the convenience of any subscription services or memberships that you no longer have the time to use or enjoy?
If you can’t regularly use it, then lose it.
You can always rejoin at a later date. Or at least consider a more cost effective alternative.
How much are you paying per use?
That $10 a month gym membership may have made good financial sense at a time when you could hit the gym a few times per week. But if your visits have dropped off to once or twice per month, either because of covid or lack of interest, consider trading that $10/month gym membership for a $10/month streaming fitness video service that you can do conveniently at home. Or better yet, spend an afternoon searching for and Pinning or bookmarking a variety of free online exercise videos that you can do for the next several months.
Do you get to Sam’s Club enough for the savings to be greater than the yearly membership fee?
Do you have enough time to watch both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video?
Have you been unable to redeem many of your Audible audiobook credits for the past year?
Compare and cancel
Make note of the renewal date for each subscription service or membership you have. A few weeks before each renewal, review your use and satisfaction over the previous year. Cancel those you rarely use and comparison shop for a cheaper alternative for those you do. Sure, you may end up renewing a service or membership, which will not reduce your budget, but at least you’ll know you’re actually getting something for the expense.
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Money-Saving Tactics for Food Costs
One of the easiest areas of the budget to trim is food costs.
You can easily find thousands of cost-cutting tips and ideas on everything from meal planning to food shopping to cooking. But if you aren’t strategic with choosing and executing those cost-cutting tasks, you can find yourself swapping a lot of time for little savings.
Best money-saving food tactics that are shortest on time
Who says you need a completely new meal plan each week or even each month?
Spend one weekend finding two to four weeks worth of simple recipes that use affordable ingredients. Consider recipes that incorporate items that you frequently find on sale at your local grocer, that call for seasonal (i.e. cheaper) vegetables and that use less meat and more veggies, starches and grains. Then put together one master meal plan that you can reuse over and over until the next season of veggies comes in. Then update your meal plan accordingly.
Instead of spending time clipping coupons, buy store brands.
Practice portion control. Many of us eat more food than our bodies need. It obviously takes no additional time to eat smaller portions. But it can reduce both your food budget and your waistline.
Money-Saving Tactics for Credit Card Interest
Do you know how much interest you are paying each month for any credit card balances you carry?
Take a few minutes to pull your statements and add it up. Imagine what better uses you could find for that money each month!
Do some research to see if a balance transfer to a 0% or low-introductory rate credit card makes sense for your situation. (You can compare balance transfer cards here.) Even if you cannot pay off the entire balance prior to the end of the introductory period, you’ll still save quite a bit in interest.
If you cannot transfer your balances, determine if you can adjust your budget to increase your monthly payments knowing that any extra you can pay any given month will save you in interest every month thereafter. (Just make sure you don’t keep adding to your balances each month.)
Use these guidelines to choose the best plan to pay off your credit card balances.
Saving Money vs. Making Money
For some, it makes more financial sense to find ways to increase income than to reduce expenses. You may find a few extra hours of work each week can net you more than a few hours trying to save a few bucks. Sure, it will make your schedule even busier, but it might be just the thing you need to force yourself to cancel some of those lesser used subscription services you can’t quite part with or curb that late night online shopping habit.
Consider finding a side gig or additional part time work. Even an hour or two a week can make a difference to your bottom line.
Find the Money-Savings Tactics that Work Best for You
It is a misconception that saving money has to be time-consuming. Or that it is easier to save money than to make money.
You just have to figure out which approach works best for your schedule and your budget.
Even the busiest of us can find efficient, effective ways to improve the budget with these money-saving tactics for busy people. And by using these money-saving tips and tools, maybe you can reduce expenses enough so that you don’t need to be quite so busy.
Reviewed April 2021
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