Looking to save some money to go towards a goal you’ve set for yourself? Being Dutch, people naturally believe I’m cheap. In North America, “Going Dutch” means you’ll split the bill at a restaurant – something that’s actually fairly uncommon in the Netherlands in my experience. We like taking each other out.
Contrary to the stereotype, I enjoy spending money and have been called a “big spender” by some. While I dedicate a large portion of my income towards travel, I live quite frugal when it comes to things that are less important to me. It’s all about setting priorities. I take most of these tips at heart when spending to free up more of my money for things that matter to me.
Here’s some of my most favourite money saving tips.
Use the slower shipping option.
When it comes to making online purchases, it is often tempting to opt for the fastest shipping. From now on, practice delayed gratification and opt for the slower, cheaper shipping option. Best part is that some (not all) online store will still ship at the faster speed anyway!
Spend less time watching TV.
TV is also known as the income reduction device. Binge-watching is designed to keep you on the couch. Same goes for aimlessly surfing the internet, by the way. It is easy to sit in front of the TV for hours on end, even if we have tasks we could be working on to improve our lives and our finances. So try cutting back on the amount of time you waste watching TV. There are other, more productive, things you could be doing. Joining an online course or reading a book, for example.
Follow a money management system.
A financial planner can help you to prepare for your future plans; and how it will be shaped by saving and spending decisions today. Do this as soon as possible, and get yourself in a plan. In my millionaire mindset class, I teach one of the simplest money management systems that helps you allocate money for different purposes, regardless of how much you make today.
… and follow through. When it comes to saving, setting goals is vital. Decide where you want to go, commit to it, and then follow through.
Pay off your credit cards.
Never, ever carry a balance on a credit card. It’s one of my seven golden rules of travel hacking. If you do have a balance today, try paying it off right away. If that’s not possible, just call the company and politely ask them to reduce your interest rate. Your credit card company can do a lot for you. It can lower your APR, extend payment deadlines, and allow you to enter into an extended grace payment or a debt repayment agreement. Take advantage of these services, rather than simply not making payments. Also, never exceed your card’s credit limit. Exceeding your card’s credit limit often comes with costly penalties. Avoid doing it.
Pay off high interest rate debt.
Instead of paying down low-interest rate debt, pay down high-interest rate debt. This will reduce the overall amount you pay for debt servicing.
Ask to get fees waived.
Stores, credit card companies, and membership programs are often willing to waive fees if you claim that you will not use the service otherwise. Resort fees are another pesky expense that you can easily avoid by using my travel hacking principles.
Ask your bank.
Call your bank and ask for better terms. I like to regularly meet my bank manager or account manager to go over all my accounts. Often there are better options available as the bank’s offering changes frequently. This could help you to eliminate fees and get a higher interest rate on your savings or investments. Instead of blindly accepting expensive extra’s that your bank offers, consider whether or not you need each of them.
Re-finance your car.
Consider re-financing your car. If your income has increased or your credit has improved, you might be able to get a lower rate. If that doesn’t work, consider selling your car and buy a cheaper one—or perhaps one that gets better gas mileage.
Re-finance your student loans.
While students loans often have some of the lowest interest rates available, don’t blindly assume that’s true for you. If you are able to re-finance your student loans at a lower rate, do it.
Cut The Cord.
Contact your TV and Internet provider for the most recent bundles and deals. If you feel like you might be paying too much for your TV and Internet, contact your cable company to find out about the most recent deals. You may find that similar packages are now available at a much lower price. Or even better: cut the cord completely: with some creativity, maybe all you really need is an internet connection.
Track your debt.
Instead of paying attention to your minimum payments only, keep track of the total amount of debt you’re holding, including student loans, credit card debts, and your mortgage.
Track your savings and investments.
Many people make the mistake of ignoring their savings and investment. As a result, they reap small returns—if anything. They also face the risk of large losses during recessions and bubble bursts. Pay attention to where your money is invested and saved.
Don’t save your credit cards.
Storing your credit card information on sites like Amazon makes it easy for you to buy things you don’t need, so don’t do it. Make it harder by not saving your payment information. Another advantage is that when a site gets hacked, your information is less likely to get compromised because your card information was never saved to begin with.
Do not spend up to your credit limit.
Spending up to your credit limit is rarely a good idea. Instead, try to stay as far away from your limit as possible.
Use a credit card for small purchases.
In order to improve your credit, use your card for small, daily purchases. Remember to pay the entire balance each month. Having cash available will make you more likely to spend it. Instead, try to carry very little cash.
Be mindful of teaser rates.
Most credit card companies will offer an initial teaser rate. Be mindful that this is not your permanent APR, but instead a temporary APR that is likely to change in a matter of months.
Let your creditcards fly you.