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Whether you are living a luxury lifestyle or whether you are looking to increase your low-income salary, there are certain steps you can undertake in order to make the most of your financial wealth.
Here we’ve put together a list of 17 quick and easy tips that will help you make the most of your income. See one that’s not on the list and should be? Let us know in the comments below.
1. Review Bills and Contact Your Suppliers
In recent years, energy bills in particular have risen substantially. Most of us are unaware that we can take action to limit these increases. Rather than simply accepting the fact that your bill is constantly rising, you can do something about it.
First of all, you need to shop around regularly to see what other providers are offering. Sometimes, companies will increase your bill if you are a long-term customer because they know that they can get away with it. Instead, shop around and enjoy the better deals that you will find.
Even if you don’t want to change suppliers, give them a call to tell them about the better deals that you found and that you are thinking of leaving. It’s possible they may offer you something a little better in hopes that you stay.
Aside from just energy, you can do this with any bill you might have. Regardless of whether it is your phone, internet, TV, gas, electricity, or anything else, shop the market and find yourself a better deal. If you save just $5 per month on the five bills mentioned here, you will save a total of $300 in total over the course of the year.
Think about what this could do for your bank account. Or better yet, consider investing it into a commission-free investment account such as Acorns for as little as $5. Sign-up and get $5 for free toward your first investment.
2. Manage Your Credit Card and Get Loyalty Bonuses
Most people get a credit card because they know just how useful they can be when managed correctly. However, they soon become a nightmare when you don’t take care of them.
One simple tip is to always remember to pay off your balance each and every month. Tell your creditors that you would like your balance to be due on a certain day each month. This way, you can check back just once a month to pay off all of your bills. The deeper you fall with a credit card, the harder it will be to climb out of trouble.
Furthermore, you should also look for credit cards that offer cash back, loyalty bonuses, and even 0% purchase deals as this will allow you to make the most of the card. One such card is the Discover It Card. It gives you 2% off all purchases your first year and 5% in cash back on certain categories.
Here’s a quick card of what the card has to offer:
- 2% cash back on all purchases your first year
- 5% cash back on purchases on certain categories that change quarterly
- No annual fee
- Free overnight shipping for lost or stolen cards
- Discover Deals shopping portal to get 5% – 40% cash back at certain stores
If you already have a couple of cards that are maxed out, you can always do a balance transfer to another card. This will give you a little more time to clear the debt without interest getting in the way.
3. Insurance Checks
Just like we mentioned with your monthly bills, insurance companies also like to increase their premiums if you choose to renew. For this reason, you have to spend some time looking around for the best deals. Although many people don’t shop around because of the “effort” involved, this is something you have to do if you’re serious about spreading your income a little further.
Again, a simple $5 per month save on three insurance policies will save you $180 over twelve months. This, coupled with the $300 you saved on your bills, amounts to a grand total of nearly $500 saved in one year. Let’s face it, a $5 saving is a fairly reserved estimate as well meaning that you could save well over this amount.
4. Consolidate Your Insurance Plans With One Company
Nowadays, there are various companies that offer more than one service. Instead of using two or more different companies, you might as well go with one. For example, you will find insurance companies that offer life, home, and pet insurance and by having them all under one policy.
This will not only save you time by not having to look for additional plans, but usually they offer package deals, ultimately saving you more money in the process. Less paperwork and less phone calls means more time to manage your financial wealth.
5. Get A High-Yield Interest Bank Account
Unfortunately, interest rates aren’t like what they used to be. You used to be able to get a savings or CD account of up to 7% or more, but now it’s difficult finding one as high as 1%. However, every little bit counts. The more interest you earn, the higher your savings.
Furthermore, many banks have recently started moving forward now offer benefits so you join their service. For example, you are likely to find insurance, breakdown assistance, free music downloads, and more just by changing your bank account.
One great bank account that we recommend is the Discover High-Yield Savings Account. You get 0.95% APY on all money stored. While it may seem low, the average savings accounts these days is under half a percent. Not only that, but there’s absolutely no monthly fees. Take a quick look at the image below to compare.
6. Manage Your Budget Efficiently
Without even taking any of the steps listed so far, it’s almost certain that you could save a bit more money just by budgeting a little better. Sadly, many of us tend to think that we don’t have enough money on a monthly basis. Yet if we planned our finances, we would know that this isn’t true.
For example, you could always eat out one less night of the week. Cooking at home a bit more often is also a great way to save money. Although it may take a little time, you need to sit down one month and assess exactly where your wages are going. As soon as you do this, you will spot areas where money can be saved.
Without even realizing it, you may have grown an addiction to shopping for clothes or frequently buying alcohol. Once you find that out, it makes it that much easier to find a solution.
7. Pay Your Bills And Be In Control
This one is more of a psychological thing. We aren’t suggesting that anybody isn’t paying their bills. What we mean by this is that you should physically sit down and pay all of your bills online or over the phone. When doing this, you are in control of where your money is being distributed rather than the money just coming out automatically.
By getting into this habit, you are more likely to spot discrepancies and you will also feel more motivated to reduce some of your bills. Furthermore, you will start to think again about those optional purchases that are being made every month.
Soon enough, income will spread further because you are more wise as to where your money is going. It’s that much easier to manage things when they’re all in one spot.
8. Reduce Your Food Bill
Despite popular belief, eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive and you can make your income go further by planning out your meals ahead of time. Normally, we miss out this step of planning and it leads to food being thrown away. In reality, this is your hard-earned money simply being thrown into the bin.
Before you go shopping, sit down and write a list of meals that you will eat over the next week. Then, you will have a strict list of ingredients that you need and you will be less inclined to arbitrarily add random items to your trolley. Here are some great meal ideas that you can use to eat for under $3 a day.
If it helps, shop online so you won’t be tempted by items when walking past in a physical store. If you plan ahead, just as you should do with your finances every month, you can keep your shopping experience an efficient one.
You can also save money by growing certain foods at home. We’ve put together a list of 35 different foods you can grow at home.
Use Receipt Scanning Apps To Earn More Cash Back
Now there are a handful of apps that give you cash back on certain products when you scan your receipt with your smartphone. Apps like Ibotta have partnered with multiple stores across the nation. Upload your receipt after your purchase and earn $.25 cents to $5 in cash back per item.
Some of these apps pay you just for uploading the receipt, so it doesn’t matter what you buy. Just make sure to take a clear picture that includes the total, store name and an itemized list of products that you bought. You can view our list of 11 other apps like Ibotta that pay you to scan receipts.
9. Loyalty Cards
At first, loyalty cards may seem disheartening because it takes a while to save anything significant. Furthermore, you have to get a different loyalty card for every single store. However, they can be highly beneficial if you want to make your income go a little further.
If you sign up to a supermarket loyalty card, you will get sent vouchers and discount coupons regularly which means that you can save money on your weekly shopping trip. Sign-up to more than one store and visit whichever one gives you the highest discount.
Additionally, you can sign-up for as many locations as you want. As long as you visit them regularly and are going to be spending money there every time anyway, you might as well get something in return.
Even if it is a free coffee every ten visits, something is much better than nothing. The process may seem time consuming at first, but eventually you’ll get used to it.
10. Pack Lunches
When we were children going to school, we would take packed lunches. We somehow lost this idea growing up. Rather than visiting the local shop every lunch break, why not pack your own lunches?
Instead of paying over the odds for a simple sandwich and a bag of crisps, it will be much cheaper to buy a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter at the beginning of the week. If you save $3 a day, this will add up to over $1000 in a year in savings. You can even get 500 lunch bags for under $20 on Amazon or you can buy a lunchbox for all of your lunches.
11. Be More Patient About Your Purchases
If you like to reward yourself with the money that’s left after paying the bills, next time try to to be a little more patient. At the time, we think that all purchases are wise ones. However, waiting a few days can drastically change your opinion.
In a high percentage of scenarios, you will come back to the decision a week later and decide that you actually don’t need that see-through toaster or whatever it may be. Instead, why not plan for your future by starting an investment account with just $5?
If you can get into the habit of waiting on all of your purchases, you will be more likely to think it through and only buy the necessities.
12. Spare Change Jar
How many times each month do you throw some loose change in your wallet or on the bedside table at the end of the day? In truth, a lot of us do this and we end up wasting money just because they aren’t in in the form of paper.
Let’s not forget, this extra money that you’re throwing away that could be used toward future purchases. If you find yourself doing this regularly, set up a loose change jar and soon enough you will fill it right to the top which you can then change into notes.
This is really great for those in a living situation with multiple people. I often find spare change around from my roommates, and it’s difficult to determine when a dime or a quarter belongs to someone.
Not only that, but when we have spare change in our pockets, we are more likely to buy a coffee or something else that we don’t need. Save it and reap the rewards months down the line.
13. Buy Discounted Gift Cards
Instead of paying full price at the grocery store or any other retailer, you should consider buying a discounted gift card. Raise and Cardpool are two online gift card resellers that can save you anywhere from 3% – 20% on your next purchase.
For example, we see on Raise that we can get a Red Robin Gift Card for 15% off. Before you decide to go out for an expensive dinner, check one of these sites first to see if you can get a discount.
They may take up to 24 hours to send your gift card to your inbox, but they usually appear within just a few minutes. Not only that, but you also get a $5 bonus for signing-up as a new member.
14. Kill Expensive Habits
Did you know that more people are quitting cigarettes than ever before? Thanks to the years of research and the introduction of many resources, smokers now have more support than ever.
If you go through four packs of cigarettes in a week at $5 each, that’s over $1000 that you could save over a year. Ultimately, think about how hard you had to work in your job to earn that amount.
15. Buy in Bulk
When purchasing food or anything that has a lengthy expiration period, you should always try to buy in bulk. Most of the time you’ll end up getting a better deal. Of course, you shouldn’t buy foods that will soon expire.
16. Find Cheap Activities
You don’t have to necessarily spend money in order to have fun. Whether it is with your friends or your children, you can make your money go further by choosing to go on free or cheap days out rather than visiting the most expensive trips.
When you go to the cinema, adding up the price of popcorn, tickets and drinks can cost a simple outing to the movie over $20 for just one person. Instead, consider going to the beach or the park on a sunny afternoon.
For those of you looking to travel, there are ways to travel across the US and still see plenty of attractions on a shoestring budget. All you have to do is plan accordingly.
When it comes to your friends, it doesn’t always have to be an expensive shopping trip. Instead, you could have all of your friends over to your house to relax in front of the TV. In truth, there are thousands of ideas that will be cheap or free, and it will help you to utilize your wages in a more efficient way.
17. Use Technology
Over the years, technology has started to play a more important role in society and so the investment has increased every single year. As a result, there are plenty of apps that will help you to make the most of your money.
As mentioned above, the Ibotta App will pay you to scan your grocery receipt. Cross Media Panel is a program that gives you passive income just for installing a browser extension. GiftCrush is a mobile app that pays you just to leave it running in the background, without any work on your part.
Not only will you find apps that help you to budget, you can also download apps that compare the prices of foods in supermarkets, where to invest your money for a better financial future, or how to reduce your waste and efficiently plan meals so you can eat healthily for a respectable price, and more. As soon as you discover these apps, you can start to save money.
These 17 quick tips are easy to implement and can help you toward a healthier financial future. As long as you bear these in mind, you will reduce your costs on a monthly basis and have more money to put elsewhere.
Even though some of these tips will only save a few dollars here and there, you will soon see the difference once you start to combine them.
Have any questions or want to add to this list of ways on how to make the most of your income? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
My name is Jason Wuerch and I'm currently located in Madrid, Spain running a personal finance blog called Frugal For Less. My goal is to help everyone and anyone willing to make and save money through easy and simple ways that don't require much effort. Just because you're frugal doesn't mean you have to give up life's luxuries.