Want to move beyond the finance basics and really start to see an impact in your budget? Knowing some of the small, and less obvious, changes that you can make, will save you money and assist in getting you on the path to financial freedom. Here are five of the best financial hacks to improve your financial situation quickly.
This post is sponsored by CreditRepair.com. All opinions are mine alone and are honestly conveyed.
You probably know that budgeting and saving for the future are some of the financial habits of successful people, but some of these lesser known financial hacks can actually have a major impact on your financial situation. Not every choice that you make regarding your money is a big decision that is obvious will impact your finances. But, sometimes the smaller decisions are just as important.
Lower your monthly payments
Did you know that your credit score directly affects the monthly payments that you make? This is probably not something that you think about, but when you apply for a credit card, auto loan, or even a mortgage, the payment that the bank gives you is based primarily on your credit score. The higher your credit score, the better the program that you will qualify for, which gives you a lower rate, and ultimately, a lower monthly payment. So, if you have things showing up on your credit report that may be dragging your score down, you will want to work to get those items corrected or removed. You can work on getting these things fixed on your own, or you could choose to contact credit repair professionals to help you get your credit back on track.
Get a life insurance policy that pays you back
When it comes to choosing the type of life insurance policy that is right for you and your family, it can be confusing. While a whole life policy is a good choice because it has a cash value, those types of policies can be expensive to pay for each month. A term life insurance policy is definitely more affordable, but it only last for a specified period of time and should your family never use the death benefit, there is no cash value at all. But, what most people don’t know is that there is an in-between option—a return of premium life insurance policy. And just like the name indicates, if you don’t use the death benefit, you will receive your premiums back that you paid in each month in a lump sum at the end of the insurance policy term. With premiums in the moderate range, it is quite affordable; gives your family access to a death benefit; and if the death benefit isn’t used within the term of the policy, you will get a lump sum of premiums back. So you are giving yourself peace of mind with the term life insurance policy, but also setting aside a “savings” account if you don’t need the insurance benefit.
Buy items off-season
So you are probably not in the mood to buy a winter coat in the spring, a swim suit in October, or Christmas decorations after Christmas; however, you can save a ton of money by doing so! This strategy takes patience and planning. You have to be able to plan ahead for actually using the items, so if you are buying clothes for your kids, you will need to think ahead to the larger sizes that might fit them in a year.
Of course, buying décor after the holiday is going to be much cheaper, but you may not even have to wait a year to use it. When buying items at after-Christmas sales, look for items that aren’t specific to the holiday. For example, if you buy a pretty, red cake stand, you can probably use it for Valentine’s Day. Or a solid green cookie tray might be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. So when buying sale items after a holiday, look for items that may be versatile enough to use throughout the year.
Wait until the new models are out
Much like buying items off-season, you will find discounts for items that are last year’s model as well. These items are still brand new, but since they contain last year’s technology or design, you will get a discount when the updated version hits the market. For instance, the best time of year to buy a car is typically toward the year-end. New car models come out late summer, so the car dealerships are trying to make room for the new inventory. And, most dealerships want to end their fiscal year with good sales numbers, so many of them have big year-end sales events as well. This strategy also works for buying smaller, yet somewhat expensive items, such as smartphones, computers, cameras, and mattresses.
Stock your freezer with sale items
Filling up your freezer with food staples that are on sale is a great way to save money on your grocery bill each month… and it goes hand-in-hand with your meal planning. Although, it is meal planning in reverse. Instead of deciding what you want to eat for the week or month and then going out and buying groceries according to that, you will actually plan your meals around the items that you have on-hand, and then will grocery shop for the week to fill in with just a few ingredients that you need to complete each meal. For example, turkeys go on sale around Thanksgiving and hams go on sale around Christmas. Instead of just buying for your holiday gatherings, buy an extra turkey and ham when they are on sale, put them in the freezer, and then you will have them for meals later on this winter.
In fact, I just bought this extra turkey to put in my freezer while it was on sale for $0.38 per pound! It was usually $1.49 per pound, so on a 13 pound turkey, I only paid $5.11, instead of the usual price of $20.04! I’ll make this in January or February and can use it to plan several meals, such as turkey tetrazzini, turkey gravy over mashed potatoes, or turkey and rice soup.
Also be on the lookout for sales at your local grocery store and when items such as chicken, ground beef, roast, or pork loin goes on sale, buy several packs and have a fully stocked freezer so you never need to pay full price for the meat of your meals—which is usually the most expensive part of your grocery bill.