Spending can quickly spiral out of control. That’s the power of high-limit credit cards and zero-interest payment plans on personal loans. Before you know it, you have a house full of new furniture and ticket stubs from over a dozen concerts. While it was all worth it at the time, you weren’t thinking about how to save money.
Luckily, no one is asking you to give up your brand-new California king. There are plenty of ways to save money without skipping a beat. A certified financial advisor in Boca Raton, Florida, offers the below savings secrets anyone can implement.
Here’s how to save money without even noticing:
1. Pay bills with a rewards card
The first – and probably the easiest – trick the pros will tell you about is to use a cash rewards credit card for regular bills and purchases. You know you have to make a car payment every month or go grocery shopping every Sunday, so why not make money doing it?
Most cash-back reward cards offer 1% to 3% cash back, though the percentage varies by category. That’s free money you can use to help grow your nest egg, pay off student loans or save for a mini vacation. The key is to not carry a balance on these cards, so be sure you’re paying them off in full each month. Treat the cash rewards card like a debit card and assume the money is gone immediately after you swipe.
2. Transfer balances
If you do happen to have a credit card with a high balance and a high interest rate, you probably feel stuck in the hamster wheel. Your best way out of that scenario is to transfer the high balance to a no-interest, credit card.
Usually, the deal is 0% interest for a set period of time. For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card offers 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months. This gives you a good window to pay down what you owe without interest charges and fees adding to the balance. By transferring balances, you save money almost immediately.
Plus, that 12-month deadline may be the motivator you need to stay focused on your overall spending habits.
3. Negotiate medical bills
This doesn’t mean you can walk into your doctor’s office and ask them to waive the copay. Negotiations will happen when you’ve incurred major medical expenses, such as an ambulance ride or hospital visit. Most facilities use third-party processors to bill you for any treatment and care you received.
Take the time to call these processors and talk down your balance or discuss payment plan options. They may offer a discount if you pay the bill in three months versus six. Either way, you’re saving money.
4. Split your direct deposit
Many companies offer their employees direct deposit as a way to receive their paycheck. This saves you from waiting on a physical check that you then have to take to the bank and deposit in person. But it is also an easy way to save money, especially if you have a specific savings goal in mind.
When planning a wedding, for instance, open up a savings account at a bank different from your checking account. Then, ask your human resources or payroll department how to set up the two banks for a split deposit. You may be asked to choose two percentages. One is the portion of your paycheck that will go to checking, and the other is the percentage that gets deposited into savings. Some systems may let you choose an exact dollar amount.
5. Automate transfers
If your company doesn’t offer direct deposit or can’t split up your paycheck into two accounts, you can always set up automatic transfers. You will need to have your savings accounts at the same bank as your checking account. Otherwise, you may incur unnecessary fees or may not be able to transfer money at all.
Automatic transfers are similar to splitting direct deposits. You’ll choose a set amount to transfer to savings on a continuous basis. It can be weekly, biweekly, monthly or any schedule that works for you.
Typically, scheduling transfers on pay day helps you to not miss the money. In other words, it goes straight to savings before you notice it hit your checking account.