Before I began paying off my debt, I was constantly reminded of one thing – I was stuck in a vicious cycle. No sooner did breathing room appear than it would vanish into thin air. Payday came and went, and all my money was gone. If you feel the same way, it is possible to get your finances back on track with some effort.
I did not believe it was possible when I first began. I thought I couldn’t break the cycle and that debt was a normal part of life. As a child I saw my parents struggle with debt and I thought it was a normal part of life.
Do you think the same thing? Believe it or not, it’s a myth. You can get your finances back on track and pursue financial independence. This post shares how you can do it.
Ways to Save and Get Your Finances Back on Track
If you need to get your finances back on track and want to kill debt, save more money, or make more money it is possible. You don’t need to be an expert to accomplish on the below list, you simply need to pick something and start.
Here are 25 ways to get your finances back on track and reach your money goals.
1. Cut Cable
Do you still have cable? If so, you’re overlooking a huge savings opportunity! The average cable bill is $110 per month and I regularly speak with people who spend $150+ per month.
We canceled DIRECTV over four years ago and now save $90 per month. You can cut cable and still get all the shows you want, plus save $50+ per month.
You will need a streaming option to do this. Hulu with Live TV is a great option for streaming needs. Hulu Live offers 75+ channels for just $69.99 per month.
Start with their free 7-day trial to see how the service works for you.
Afraid you might lose out by giving up bundle pricing? Read our guide on how to get Internet without cable or a phone line to see how to save money without the bundle.
2. Lower Your Car Insurance
When was the last time you compared your auto insurance rate against other providers? Forbes reports that nearly 40 percent of drivers haven’t compared rates in the past three years and nearly 20 percent have never compared rates.
If that describes you then you’re likely leaving hundreds of dollars on the table each year. We all must have auto insurance but there’s no reason to pay more than you need to.
Comparing rates helps you determine if you’re paying for something you don’t need, or simply have too much coverage – both of which will result in you spending too much each month.
Compare rates at Esurance to see how much money you can on your auto insurance needs and still have the vital coverage you need.
The Zebra is a suitable alternative that lets you compare multiple insurers at once.
The site claims drivers could save around $440 per year when they switch carriers, making it well worth it to look at rates.
3. Change Cell Phone Providers
How much is your monthly cell phone bill? If it’s more than $30 or $40 then you’re overpaying. Just like with cord-cutting, there’s no longer a need to pay a big phone company $100+ per month for your needs.
Tello is a great option for a discount cell provider. They operate on the Sprint network and offer plans starting at $5 per month.
You can bring your own phone and you can customize your plan based on your specific needs and situation. Read our Tello Wireless review to learn more about the provider.
4. Never Spend a $5 Bill
This is a newer trick we’ve learned to save money. If you use cash on a regular basis, save every $5 bill you receive. When you get 20 $5 bills, trade it in at the bank for a $100 bill.
Having a large bill makes it mentally more difficult to spend, so you end up saving money quicker. If you think it will take you too long to save up 20 bills, go for 10 and trade it in for a $50 bill.
Investing and Growing Your Money
Do you want to grow your money? Here are some simple ways you can start now.
5. Open an IRA
Are you currently saving for retirement or does it seem so far off that you think starting now won’t make a difference? Don’t believe that lie. You can invest with little money now.
You just need to start. There are many online brokerages out there that simplify investing for you.
Betterment is an example. The robo-advisor manages your investments for you and has no minimum balance requirement.
This is all done at a low cost, with a portfolio that matches with your goals.
6. Find One Way to Make Extra Money
We hear a lot about side hustles. It’s for good reason as they can be a great way to bring in additional income. The side hustle my wife started ten years ago turned into a business and we’ve more than replaced our income as a result.
There are many ways out there to make more money – regardless of your skill level. Below are a few ways to make extra money with little specialized skill:
- Drive for DoorDash. The DoorDash app works similar to Uber Eats but you only need to be at least 18 years old. You get to keep your tips, and create your own schedule. Pay varies, depending on factors like tips and delivery times.
- Be a grocery shopper with Instacart Shopper. With Instacart Shopper you basically act as a personal shopper for people who want grocery delivery. You can make up to $20 per hour with Instacart Shopper.
There are many ways to bring in additional income. Here are 25 ways to make extra money you can start today.
7. Monetize Your Down Time
How much time do you spend watching TV each day? Do you have a long commute on public transportation?
Did you know you can use that time to make extra money? The best way to do this is through online surveys. There are many legit survey companies that let you make money while watching TV or sitting at the doctor’s office.
Here are some of the best survey sites to make money on the side:
Survey Junkie: This is our favorite survey site. They pay you cash straight to PayPal or let you redeem rewards for Amazon gift cards.
Read our Survey Junkie app review to see how you can make money with this top survey site.
Pinecone Research: This site pays $3 per survey and you can choose between Amazon Gift Cards or virtual Mastercards for your payment.
However, if you’ve joined Pinecone in the last 30 days, your first redemption must be by bank transfer to verify your rewards account. They also pay to do product testing.
InboxDollars: Earn money for taking surveys, watching TV or making purchases online. Get $5 just for signing up.
Surveys will not replace your income but they can be a good way to pad your savings account in your spare time.
8. Check on Your 401(k)
When was the last time you checked in on your 401(k)? 401(k) plans are great but it’s also easy to miss out on opportunities to cut down fees or find a better performing fund that’s more in line with your goals.
9. Open a Savings Account
A savings account is the best way to start saving, especially when you set up automatic transfers to it on a regular basis. If you don’t have a savings account, consider opening one to get your finances back on track.
CIT Bank is a great option. CIT Bank pays 1.00 percent (4 times more than the national average) if you open a Savings Builder savings account.
It has a minimum balance requirement of just $100 and requires a monthly deposit of at least $100, and offers the same $250,000 FDIC coverage as a savings account does.
10. Make More Money at Your Job
Side hustles are a great way to make money. However, you shouldn’t overlook the opportunity staring you in the face – and that’s at your day job.
Can you volunteer for overtime? Can you take on additional duties? Not only is it a terrific way to get your finances back on track, but you can also grow professionally.
It may also keep you from needing to borrow against your paycheck via a wage advance app. Key to this is banking any extra funds you earn.
11. Have a Short-Term Savings Goal
Many struggle to save for long-term needs, or simply save for a long period of time. Instead, make a goal to save a certain amount of money each week or month for the next three months.
Use the momentum to build your savings and bonus points for challenging yourself to save even more – the goal, after all, is to change your behavior towards saving.
Budgeting and Debt
It’s difficult to get your finances back on track if you don’t know where your money goes each month, or if you have debt. Here’s how to tackle both.
12. Cut One Bill
How many memberships or subscriptions do you use each month? Do you have any that you don’t use? If so, that’s wasted money you can easily reclaim with little effort.
I know calling to cancel subscriptions can be a hassle. It takes time and you may overlook a subscription or two.
Trim helps you by canceling old subscriptions for you. Trim is a free to use app that connects to your bank account to analyze your spending.
It identifies subscriptions and memberships and cancels the ones you no longer use.
Trim also works to negotiate bills on your behalf so you can keep more money in your pocket.
13. Lower Your Mortgage Payment
How much is your mortgage payment? Have you taken advantage of the low rates to refinance and lower your payment? If not, you’re overlooking a simple way to save money.
Rates are going up, but they’re still low, historically speaking. Check your rate at LendingTree to see how much you can lower your mortgage interest rate.
You can compare up to five lenders and have results within minutes.
14. Consolidate Your Credit Card Debt
If you have credit card debt you know just how suffocating the interest can be. The average APR on a variable rate card is almost 16 percent – and many are significantly higher than that.
Assuming you’ve cut the behavior that led to the credit card debt in the first place, you can save a good chunk of money by consolidating your outstanding balances into a lower rate loan.
Online lenders like Lightstream can help you slash that rate in half or more so you can pay off the debt quicker. This also frees up money to throw at other financial goals.
Check your rate at Lightstream to see how much you can save on your debt payments.
If you’re facing financial trauma lowering your rate could be a good way to help provide some breathing room. You may even feel the need to file for bankruptcy, but that could be ruinous.
Read our guide on the top alternatives to declaring bankruptcy that will provide better relief.
15. Start Tracking Your Spending
I’m not talking about the “B” word here. Budgets may not work for everyone, and that’s fine. However, there is immense power in tracking your spending as it shows you where your money goes each month.
You can simply write down each expense, use Excel, or use an app to track your spending. Tracking your spending sounds difficult, but it’s pretty simple, especially with an app that automates everything for you.
Tiller is a great service to track your expenses. The service connects to your bank and other financial accounts and automatically pulls all of your transactions and puts them in a Google Sheet.
This lets you go through your spending and find potential savings opportunities.
Tiller offers a free trial for the first 30 days, and is then $7 per month if you decide to keep the service.
16. Refinance Your Student Loans
Did you recently graduate with student loans, or have you been paying on them for several years? You know how staggering the debt can be and feel like you’ll never be free of the loans.
The best way to pay them off quicker is to consolidate or refinance the loans.
Credible is the best option to use to compare multiple lenders. Credible lets you check rates with up to ten lenders at once, allowing you to get results within a few minutes – with rates as low as 1.86 percent APR* on variable loans and 2.73 percent APR* on fixed loans, with autopay. (*See Terms)
The average person who uses Credible saves nearly $19,000 on their loans. Check your rate today!
Read our Credible review to learn more about how the platform works.
SoFi is another excellent choice to refinance your student loans. Read our review of SoFi to learn more.
17. Get A Credit Builder Loan
Do you want to get a mortgage or new to you car, but have a low credit score? One way to improve your credit score is through a credit builder loan.
A credit builder loan is a simple way to build your credit and improve your score to help you achieve goals you have in life. Here is how it works: a bank lends you money and they deposit the funds into a savings account in your name.
You make monthly payments, typically for 12 months, and up to 24 months. The amount is small and usually in the $500 – $1,000 range.
Once you’re done with payments you receive the cash in the savings account plus any interest.
The bank reports your payments to credit bureaus, helping improve your score. Good credit is not required for such loans, as they’re meant to help those in need.
You can receive a credit builder loan at your bank, but you want to look online for the best rates.
Credit Strong and Self are the top choices in the space. You can even pay off your loans early if you wish.
You can read our reviews of Credit Strong and Self to learn more about how they operate.
18. Take Inventory
Think of this as the precursor to consolidating your credit card or student loan debt. Sit down and list out all of your debts, the interest rates, balances and minimum monthly payments to see where you stand financially.
This allows you to know what you’re up against and form an effective plan of attack.
Save Money on Food Costs
One of the top ways to get your finances back on track is right in front of you – your refrigerator. Here’s how to lower food costs and save more money.
19. Get Money Back when You Buy Groceries
How much do you spend at the grocery store each week? You know you can get cash back on that shopping.
I’m not talking about clipping coupons, but actually getting cash back for what you buy. With the Ibotta app you can get money back on all your shopping.
The Ibotta app shows you offers based on your location and the store you’re shopping at. Do your shopping, buying the offers you selected and scan your receipt to get your savings.
Ibotta also works at over 300 online retailers so it doesn’t just work on groceries.
The best part of using Ibotta? They have a redemption minimum of just $20 (payable via PayPal or Venmo) and they give you $5 after you upload your first receipt!
Read our review of other top cash back apps to get money back when you go shopping.
20. Start a Meal Plan
I hate food waste. We average over $500 in food waste per person, per year. That’s literally like throwing cash in the trashcan. A simple way to lower this is to start meal planning so you can shop wiser at the store.
A service like $5 Meal Plan can help you come up with meal plans that everyone in your family will like and also help cut down on food waste.
21. Get Paid to Lose Weight
This doesn’t fit perfectly here, but it’s close enough. Do you want to lose weight, but just can’t seem to start. If you’re like me, making extra money can be a great motivator. And yes, you can even make money losing weight.
HealthyWage is a service that lets you bet against yourself to hit a specific weight loss goal. Here’s how it works.
You go to HealthyWage and enter how much you want to lose, it has to be at least ten percent of your overall body weight, and the amount of time you want. You also enter how much you want to bet.
Their calculator determines how much you can win, which is up to $10,000. You have weekly weigh-ins, where you enter your weight lost for the week, as well as support others on your team.
Once you hit your goal, you can claim your earnings. Make sure to look for a low-cost gym membership first so you don’t lose too much of your earnings!
Read our review of HealthyWage here to learn more.
22. Stop Eating Out
Eating out is fun, but it’s expensive. The average family spends at least $225 per month eating out at restaurants. That may seem like nothing, but taken over a year it comes out to $2,700 – that’s nearly half of the amount needed to max out a Roth IRA.
Find a way to cut that in half, or more, and put that money to work for you, not against you.
Around the House
One overlooked way to get your finances back on track is doing something around the house. Here’s how you can do something in your house to improve your finances.
23. Sell Something
How much stuff do you have lying around the house that you don’t use? Why sit on those items when you can turn them into cash? This is especially the case if you have items like old cell phones, games, movies and more.
Gazelle is a great option to sell those items. You scan the barcode on their site and they tell you how much it’s worth. If you accept the offer, they send you a shipping label and once they receive the item you get paid.
Have Apple products? Check out BuyBack Boss as a good alternative.
24. Create a Visual Reminder of Your Debt
Are you currently paying off debt? Make yourself something visual to have around the house to keep you on track. I did something similar when I was paying off debt and it helped me when I wanted to give up.
Start with the amount you currently have and draw a progress bar going to $0.
Each time you throw more money at the debt fill it in. I found this was a great way to keep me motivated to continue attacking the debt.
25. Fix Something Around the House
I’m not very good with my hands, but I learned one thing quickly when we became homeowners – it’s expensive to hire someone to fix something for you.
With the abundance of tutorials online you can do many things around the house and save a chunk of money in the process. I mean, really, do you want to pay someone $200 to fix something that requires a $10 part?
There are many other simple ways to get your finances back on track. Find a few that you can do. Don’t give up because you think they won’t do anything for your finances.
Each step you take will help you reach your goal of better managing your money.
What are some other ways to get your finances back on track this year? What’s a new way you’ve found to save money recently? Do you assign savings from certain items to specific goals?
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