In order to build our wealth, we need to spend less and invest more. The problem is that spending less of our money doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. That’s what money is for, right? You have to enjoy it because you worked hard for it.
New clothes, dinners, the latest tech gadget and nights out with friends can make us happy!
What if we could have both? What if we could spend less of our hard-earned money on the things that don’t bring us joy and spend more on the things that make us happy and have more money to invest?
Well, I have seven areas for you to consider that may just do the trick. They have worked for me and my family, and I want to share them with you. After all, personal finance is about maximizing happiness in my book.
Investigate High Deductible Insurance Options
In order to protect yourself and your family, you need to have proper insurance coverage. That being said, we don’t need to overpay for it if we don’t have to.
If you have a good emergency fund in place, you may be able to look at high deductible insurance plans. By shifting the burden of the higher deductible onto yourself (instead of the insurance company), most providers will give you a break on your monthly premiums. For example, when our family went to a high deductible health plan (HDHP), I was able to decrease our monthly insurance payments by around $200. That’s $2,400 per year!
This higher deductible concept can work for your homeowners insurance as well as your car insurance. Be sure to speak with your insurance agent to understand if you’re properly covered while still being able to save some dough. The last thing you want is too little coverage in case an unexpected incident occurs.
Examine Whole Life vs. Term Life Insurance
Everyone’s situation is different and there’s no one-size-fits-all for life insurance. If you’re looking to save money and still keep your family protected, researching a good term life insurance as a replacement to your whole life policy is a smart idea.
Typically, the premiums will be 10 – 20 times higher with a whole life policy than with term. Given this, a term life insurance policy holder will pay much less.
Again, insurance is very personal, so it makes sense to do your research on any monthly policy savings as well as any differences in coverage. This could be a smart way to save a good chunk of money each year without cutting into the fun stuff.
Shop Around and Negotiate
We shouldn’t always pay the face value. There’s always room for negotiation. And when we do negotiate, we feel good about ourselves for scoring a deal!
Some easy areas to negotiate are rent, retail items, cable, cell phones and insurance.
By simply doing your research beforehand and finding competitive offers or rates, you’ll come to the conversation prepared. For example, if your cable company isn’t giving you the best pricing lately, contact their competitors and find out what deals they have. Share those prices and deals with your provider and say, “I’m looking to save money on my monthly bill. What can you do for me?”
You’ll be surprised at what an hour of research and bit of patience on the phone can do for your monthly bills!
Review Your Subscriptions
Our monthly subscriptions and memberships can really add up. Netflix, Hulu, Audible, Amazon Prime, the local gym, cable TV … the list goes on and on.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with these things, and if they bring you massive joy, I’m all for it! Here’s the challenge for all of us, though: Which of these memberships and subscriptions are we not actually using? Which of these are not actually making us happy?
Let’s say you got Netflix years ago, but you haven’t watched a show on the streaming service in over a year. If that’s the case, you should stop paying for it.
Similarly, if you’ve had that gym membership all year, but you’ve only gone once, it’s time to reconsider if you’re a gym person or not.
These subscriptions and memberships can add up, take over your budget and put you in debt. Ask yourself if they’re worth it.
Depending on where you shop and how you shop, a huge part of your annual expenses can be consumed by your groceries. There may be a few grocery store hacks that can save you big money and still keep you healthy.
Consider shopping weekly and shopping with a list. By reducing the amount of trips you make to the store and having a set of specific items to purchase, you’ll more than likely cut your grocery spending dramatically.
Additionally, check out discount grocery stores like Aldi. You have to bag your own groceries and return your own cart, but small inconveniences like this will put money back in your pocket. My wife and I made these changes for our family and our grocery spending went from $900 per month to $600 per month. Yep … that’s $3,600 per year in savings!
Pack Your Lunch
While you’re at the grocery store, be sure to pick up some items so you can pack lunch for your busy workday.
This small act could save you hundreds of dollars per year and, depending on what you’re eating, it could be a healthy alternative to eating out every day.
There are tons of healthy lunch options to consider. Check these ones out for starters!
Travel is so much fun, but it can be very expensive. Flights and hotels can add up to thousands of dollars and push us further into debt.
Taking advantage of travel rewards through credit card offers can be an easy way to keep travel in your life for a fraction of the cost. The next time you’re considering a trip, look into a credit card partner that helps you get to your destination for the smallest cost possible.
You’ll need to be sure you’re not adding additional high interest debt into your life to go on vacation. Be sure that you pay off your credit card bill in full each month so you’re not vacationing on credit. That sunny vacation won’t feel so good when you’re paying 20% interest.
If you plan things safely and accurately, you could experience thousands of dollars of (nearly) free travel.
How do you save money without killing your joy? Let us know in the comments below.
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