5 Easy Ways to Add $50 to Your Pocket
In terms of the economy, things seem a little better than a couple of years ago, but we are kidding ourselves if we think everything is hunky dory. The media outlets can talk all they want about a recovery, but chances are good that your family can still use some help. Here are five ways you can gain $50. You won't be rich overnight by doing any of what I've outlined below, but the money saved is nothing to sneeze at. (See also: 10 Monthly Bills You Can Slash)
1. Pause Your Memberships for Part of the Year
Chances are good that you can live without some of your memberships and subscriptions. Even if you do utilize them, it's likely you don't need them all months of the year. Consider canceling them for part of the year and reactivating them during others. Take your gym membership, for instance. Do you really need a gym during the summer when it's more enjoyable to stay active outdoors? Can you cancel your membership before the Thanksgiving weekend and start it back up in January if you won't be thinking about losing weight during the holiday season?
2. Cut Your Home Services
You've likely heard of the suggestion to cut your cable TV and give the Netflix free trial coupon a go, but it's hard to give up the sports channels, isn't it?
If so, why not cancel your subscription a few days before you go on that annual vacation? Since you will be gone for a week or maybe even two, you won't be needing the service anyway. When you come back, you'd likely take a few days to recuperate. Add another week or two to give Netflix a serious try, and you are looking at one less cable TV bill, even if you hated not being able to channel surf.
3. Start Using Your Credit Card to Pay for Everything
My friends used to make fun of me when I whipped out my credit card for tiny purchases, but it's a smart move as you are responsible with your spending. Using your credit card to pay is actually faster, and the rewards from just your small purchases can add up to big bucks after a few months.
From bills to that candy bar purchase to lunches out, you should be thinking about how to put everything on your credit card. And always ask whether you can use your credit card, too. Last time I bought a car, the dealership allowed me to put $5,000 on the credit card while paying the rest with a check. Since my card offers 1% cash back, I got $50 just for asking.
If you still haven't refinanced your 6% 30-year fixed-rate loan, you owe it to yourself to get this done. Work out the numbers, because this can be more complex than you might think. But you may come out ahead even if you borrow money to come up with the sum underwater borrowers need to refinance. A home equity line of credit, your savings, 0% balance transfer credit cards, and even family members could be potential sources of funds. Though this is more work than the other suggestions, the reward is potentially much greater than $50 too.
5. Get Rid of Redundancies
We don't often think about it, but we often pay for the same thing in different ways. Take internet access, for instance. You have it at work, there is free WiFi in many stores, everybody in your family has that data plan, and you have internet access at home. Sure, it's convenient, but do you really need to be paying for so many different types of access?
An alternative way to think of spending is to ask what benefit you are actually getting out of an expense. You may not like mowing your lawn, and paying for someone to do what you hate is perfectly fine. But if you pay for a gardener just so you can go work out at the gym, then it seems like a waste of money.
It's your money, but spending a bit of time to optimize how you spend it will let you live the life you want much more easily.