Here are some suggestions on how to save money living check to check and still live your life.
Being short on cash to make ends meet isn’t easy. But there are strategies on how to save money living check to check. Unfortunately, no strategy will automatically result in more disposable income than you know what to do with. However, some of these tips can help you still have a life while carefully making ends meet.
Use a Travel Rewards Credit Card
The most common travel rewards credit card offers airline miles or points that are redeemable for plane tickets. If you use this credit card to make purchases you would be making anyway, you can start saving airline miles and get yourself a free ticket or two. If you’re especially good at reading the fine print and playing the credit-card-rewards-game, you can look for special promotions and loopholes to further maximize your travel rewards.
For instance, a credit card company a while back offered a massive amount of airline miles if you made a lot of purchases on the credit card within a limited amount of time. The credit card holders were able to game the system by using their credit card to buy thousands of dollars in US currency at face value, in this case, $1 coins from the US Mint. When they received the coins they ordered, the credit card holders simply took them to their neighborhood bank and deposited them into their checking account.
Since they deposited cash, their checking account was immediately credited, and they instantly paid off the credit card. Yet the credit card holders could hold onto their bonus airline miles they earned for their “purchases.” Needless to say, this trick doesn’t work anymore, but it gives you an idea of what is possible if you’re clever.
One thing to keep in mind: you must pay off the credit card in full every month. Do not carry a balance; otherwise, finance charges will wipe out your hard-earned rewards.
You may not think coupons save much money, but those cents saved can add up, especially if you can combine them with store promotions. For example, if a grocery store has a buy-one-get-one-free deal on an item, but you have a coupon that makes one item half price, you can buy two items at what is effectively 75% off. But be careful not to use coupons for items you don’t need. Otherwise, you’ll be spending more money than you otherwise would, even if it’s only 25% of the retail price. Oh, and don’t forget that many grocery stores will double manufacturer’s coupons.
Think about Switching Banks and Pharmacies
It’s common to see a bank or pharmacy trying to get new customers by offering cash incentives to switch establishments. For example, many banks will give you a few hundred dollars for opening a checking account and setting up a direct deposit. And many pharmacies will give you $20 or $50 in store credit for bringing your prescriptions to their pharmacies for filling. If you have great health insurance, this may be a no-brainer since you’ll probably pay the same price even after switching pharmacies.
Maximize Your Entertainment Dollar
Living check to check means there are fewer extra dollars spent on entertainment. Ideally, you’d cut out all entertainment expenses to save the most money possible. The only problem with this suggestion is that you’d probably go insane. But what you can do is examine how you’re spending your entertainment dollars and objectively consider how much enjoyment you’re getting from the money spent.
For instance, if you buy yourself a new Blu-Ray movie disc, compare that to going to a movie theater with your family. Depending on the price of the movie and Blu-Ray disc, it might be the same price for either. But how much more fun will you have going out to see a movie with your family than owning a Blu-Ray movie disc? If you have to cut one of these things out, it should be a no-brainer which one it is.
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