Making important financial decisions is heavily influenced by how much money is in your bank account. When you have $1,000 in the bank, you’re likely to have more leeway with your choices than if you had only $100. However, the common issue is identifying ways to tweak your budget to build the savings you need.
It’s not always easy to find money in the budget to save up for your financial goals. Expenses like groceries and utilities are necessary and can’t be cut out, so you have to get creative with how to raise your needed funds. If you want to thrive in an uncertain economy, consider these 18 ways to find an extra $1K in your budget.
How to find an extra $1K in your budget
Negotiate your bills
Services like Truebill can help negotiate your bills down to make those costs more manageable. Truebill professionals work with service providers like Verizon, T-Mobile, and Spectrum to negotiate lower prices for the bills you’re paying. If Truebill saves you money, it takes 40% of the savings. So if you save $100 on your internet bill, Truebill takes $40 and you end up with a net savings of $60. If Truebill doesn’t save you anything, you don’t pay anything.
Automate your savings
If you’re worried about how to manage your money when you have a limited budget, consider using an app like Digit to reach your savings goals. Digit analyzes your bank account balance, income, bills, recent spending, and other factors to determine how much money you can safely put into savings.
Then it automatically puts money away for you so you don’t have to worry about it. Your savings can vary, but according to Digit, members save an average of $2,200 each year. That’s a lot of extra money to put toward a dream trip, emergency fund, or anything else you can think of.
Transfer your high-interest debt
It’s typically worth it to use loans and credit cards to build your credit, but not if you end up paying more in interest than your original debt. If you’re carrying debt with high interest rates, look into a balance transfer card like the Citi Double Cash.
These types of cards allow you to transfer over existing balances and avoid paying interest on them for a time, which can allow you to pay off your actual debt instead of trying to get through the interest. This could potentially save you thousands of dollars and get you out of debt quicker.
Invest your spare change
Every little bit of investing counts, but only if you’re doing something worthwhile with your money. Acorns amplifies the idea of putting money into your piggy bank for a rainy day by taking your spare change and investing it into stocks and bonds. Acorns Round-Ups can round up any purchase you make from a linked account or card to the nearest dollar.
The amount rounded up is then added to your Acorns investment account. Your total investment will increase according to your spending habits and what you’re invested in. So if you have daily expenses, you can see your spare change start making a difference very quickly.
Refinance your home
Refinancing your home can open up financial opportunities you didn’t know you could have. If you refinance and get better rates, you’re suddenly paying less money each month and you now have more room in your budget for other things. Figure loans make it easy to refinance your home, simplifying the entire process for a quick closing date.
With Figure, the application process is completely online, so you don’t have to waste time with in-person meetings. You can also see the proposed offers and rates before having your credit checked. When you’re ready, simply submit your application and track the process through your online account. You’ll be notified when your loan is finalized, and you can sign the papers straight from your account dashboard.
Save on your car insurance
If you want to find the best deals on car insurance, use an insurance marketplace like QuoteWizard to help you out. QuoteWizard finds the best insurance deals in your area in just a few minutes or less. Plus, it’s also free and simple to use.
The average cost of car insurance in the U.S. typically ranges from about $600 to more than $1,200 each year. Since QuoteWizard compares dozens of rates from multiple companies at the same time, it’s an excellent opportunity to find something that works for you.
Create a formal budget
If you want to see where you can find some extra cash in your finances, you need to create a budget. Budgeting is typically more in-depth than simply thinking about spending less money every now and then. Instead, you have to sit down and take the time to track all of your income and expenses.
The type of budget you want to create depends on your financial goals, but it never hurts to start by setting limits on certain things that aren’t completely necessary, like monthly subscription services. Or you can budget with specific goals in mind. If you want to make a large purchase or save up for a vacation, decide how much money you’re going to put away on a weekly or monthly basis, and then stick to your plan. You may have to move money away from other expenses to make the budget work.
Use the right credit cards
Using a credit card may seem counterintuitive to finding more money in your budget, but it doesn’t have to be if you use the right credit cards and do so responsibly. For example, a cashback card like the Chase Freedom Flex can help you earn valuable rewards on purchases you’re already making.
The rewards you earn can be redeemed for statement credits, direct deposits, travel, gift cards, and more. That’s basically a discount on everything you buy, just for using a credit card instead of paying with cash or certain debit cards.
Earn while you shop
Everyone has to shop occasionally, and some of us more than others. To get rewarded for your shopping, incorporate cashback apps like Fetch into your daily routine. Fetch is a free app available on iOS or Android devices that rewards you for every receipt you take a photo of inside the app.
This includes receipts from purchases you make in person or online, so it’s easy to earn rewards however you prefer shopping. Once you earn enough rewards, redeem them for valuable gift cards from hundreds of retailers, including Domino’s, Walmart, eBay, iTunes, Hulu, and more.
Rent your car when you aren’t using it
Whether you drive a little or a lot, you can rent your car out when it’s available with Getaround. This car-sharing service makes it easy to put your vehicle to work when you don’t need it, which means extra money for you with barely any effort put in.
Getaround is available in more than 300 cities around the world, so there’s plenty of opportunities for you to list your car and start earning money as soon as you want to. The amount of money you can make depends on where you live and what type of vehicle you want to list, but Getaround will work with you to make your listing as profitable as possible.
Audit your non-essential spending
It’s important to know exactly how much money is coming in, how much you’re spending, and what you’re spending on if you want to cut down on non-essential spending. When you lay everything out in front of you where it’s clear to see, it’s easier to figure out which expenses can be cut and where you can start saving money.
You know you have to pay for food and utilities, but do you need to be spending so much on eating out or having three different TV streaming services? Maybe you do, but the point is that most of us have some sort of non-essential spending in our finances. If you can audit your finances and cut out some of your extra expenses, you’ll immediately put money back into your pocket.
Be mindful of your utility usage
Utilities are part of our everyday lives and often deemed necessary for our way of living. We need clean, running water and heat when it gets cold, as well as electricity to power our homes. Because we need these things, you don’t need to get rid of them. Instead, you can simply be more mindful with how you use your utilities.
Overall, the little things add up when you think about utilities. The longer you run a hot shower, the more water and power you’re using, which increases your utility bills. You may also run your air conditioning or heat at the same temperatures all the time, causing these bills to be higher than they need to be. Look for ways to conserve energy, like using a programmable thermostat to automatically change the temperature in your home throughout the day. You’ll see the savings start to pour in as your bills go down.
Rent your storage space
Do you have extra space in your home, garage, shed, or elsewhere? If so, you can make money by renting out your available space with Neighbor. Storage units can often get pretty pricey, which is why Neighbor is such a unique and convenient option for many people. You can use this to your advantage if you have a space you’d like to rent out.
Neighbor allows you to list your spare bedroom, RV pad, garage space, and much more for free. Then you connect with renters interested in using your space and you earn money when it’s being used. Individuals who list their spaces on Neighbor have earned hundreds of dollars per month to thousands of dollars per year.
Take surveys in your spare time
If you want to make money expressing your opinion, use Survey Junkie in your free time to earn some extra cash. Survey Junkie helps brands and retailers find out what consumers think about their products and services by giving surveys to its users.
The service is free to use and Survey Junkie will reward you for your time and thoughts with points for each successfully completed survey. When you earn enough points, redeem them for PayPal deposits or gift cards from big brands like Walmart, Visa, and Amazon.
Sell your stuff online
If you like a good deal on used goods, one of the best places to look is online marketplaces. You can find all sorts of items online that people want to sell for one reason or another. Most of the time, it’s because they no longer need the item or want to make some space in their home.
You can do the same thing with items you have lying around the house or garage. You may not think what you have to offer is worth much, but you’d be surprised at what you can sell online. Besides, it doesn’t take much time to snap a few photos and list your items. You can also do your research beforehand and see whether the same or similar items are already being sold. Then you list a competitive price and wait for the magic to happen.
Cut the cable cord
Cable TV is a great form of entertainment used by millions of people around the country. You can watch your favorite shows and sporting events, but it all comes at a price. These days, the price of cable TV can easily exceed $100 every month. That’s well over $1,000 when you’re looking at how much you pay for a year’s worth of certain cable TV subscriptions.
If you cut the cable cord completely, that’s a lot of cash you can use for your financial goals. Or, you can substitute your TV subscription with a streaming service or two and still save hundreds of dollars a year.
Brown-bag your lunches
It may not seem like you’re spending much money when you’re buying food off a dollar or value menu, but compared to buying groceries and making your own lunches, that’s a lot of money that could be saved. And that’s assuming you’re buying the cheapest meals or items when you’re eating out.
Overall, there’s no real contest on which option will save you more money between eating out and brown-bagging your lunches. Packing your own lunch will almost always win. To find out for yourself, add up how much you spend on eating out every day and then try buying groceries and bringing your own lunch for a week. As long as you’re honest about the experiment and don’t have pricey grocery habits, you’ll see the kind of money you can save when you make your own food for lunch.
Skip the coffee shop
You may think you need your morning pick-me-up, but thinking about how much you pay for it every day could change your mind. Coffee prices will vary by your location, where you’re buying it, and what type of coffee you like, but no matter what it’s going to get pricey.
For example, a $1 cup of coffee becomes $5 per workweek or $20 per month. That ends up being $240 per year. Now if you like bigger and fancier types of coffee, you might be paying around $5 per beverage. That’s $25 per workweek, $108 per month, and $1,300 per year. It’s safe to say your visits to the coffee shop can quickly add up.
If you can’t go without your caffeine, brew your own coffee at home and bring a travel mug to work with you. Your wallet will thank you.
The bottom line
If you’re figuring out how to save money, the right strategies for you will vary depending on your financial situation. You may not drink much coffee and already pack your own lunch, so these types of expenses don’t apply to you. Still, you can use this list as a reference point for ideas you haven’t thought of. You may even get your creative juices flowing and think of other ideas that work for you.
Whatever your goals are, be sure to keep them top of mind so you’re always more aware of your finances. This will naturally help you cut down on unnecessary expenses and find some wiggle room in your budget.