Free Up Cash and Keep Your Latte
“Get a side gig” or “give up your latte” have become the most clichéd-advice given to those looking to free up cash. Many of us neither have the time nor do we want to work more than we already do. And while spending habits are indeed a key player in watching cash flow, there are other areas of regular “leakage” that are often overlooked. So, if you’re looking to free up cash, why not consider some fresh options to cut expenses on regular services that could save you a ton in the long run.
1. Basic Utilities
Many of us don’t give our utility bills a second thought because we don’t believe we have a choice. The pricing strategies of corporate America are designed to make us believe that it costs what it costs. Most consumers are not aware of the price creep and hidden fees that sneak into our monthly bills over time. And even fewer are aware that they can actually negotiate these.
For those who either don’t want to bother negotiating with their utility companies, or don’t want to be confrontational, did you know that there are companies that will do this for you at no charge to you? One company that both empowers consumers and gives back to the community, BillShark, has an 85% success rate in lowering bills for Cable TV, Wireless Phone, Satellite TV, Internet Access, Satellite Radio, and Home Security. When you upload your bills to their site, they advise you how much they can save you each year. Using their service costs you nothing as they only take a percentage of the amount of money they save for you. It’s a guaranteed win-win. Since launching in 2016, BillShark has saved its clients more than $10 million, with average customer savings totaling about $300 per bill annually.
Well Wallet Tip: For every bill you submit to BillShark, they will pay for one child to receive one hour of instruction in the fundamentals of personal finance through their One BILL, One CHILD program. BillShark is a socially responsible company. As BillShark’s ethos is empowering the consumer, they believe that financial literacy is strength.
2. Cell Phones
This is another area that many people overlook but that can save you hundreds of dollars per year if you are willing to do a bit of research. There are tons of options for consumers today as cell phone service providers compete for your business. According to a survey by Consumer Reports National Research Center, nearly half of survey participants who switched providers cut their monthly bill by at least $20 per month. If you want to see if you can save $240 dollars per year or more, set aside a few hours and look into your carrier’s competitors to see if you can get a better deal.
Well Wallet Tip: Did you know that paying $20-$50 dollars more than the minimum payment of your credit card bill can save you thousands in interest over time? Put those savings to work for you and pay down your consumer debt.
3. Monthly Memberships
Are you really getting your money’s worth from that expensive monthly gym membership? Do you really take advantage of that online book club you pay 10 bucks a month for? Take a good honest look at the passive fees escaping your bank account or being charged to your credit card each month. If you have been paying for a service monthly that you haven’t used in a while, cut it loose. Seriously. Monthly services are only convenient if you use them. Otherwise, they are just bleeding you dry. Worried that if you cancel your gym membership you will never be motivated to work out? If you aren’t using it now, chances are you never will. If you get the fitness bug again later, there are tons of free Youtube videos that will give you a workout without wasting gas money to drive anywhere (and increasing your carbon footprint.)
Well Wallet Tip: Eliminating just $50 in monthly membership fees alone can save you $600 per year. By investing that money in socially responsible stocks you can grow your financial prosperity while doing good for People and Planet at the same time.
Is your bank charging you monthly fees so that it can use your money? How about ATM fees? Did you know that your bank is making money off of your deposits anyway? Banking fees are a total rip off and you do not have to put up with them. Today, more and more socially conscious banks are competing for your business.
What is a socially conscious bank? Socially conscious banks are those which are both customer-centric while financing values-driven enterprises for the good of the community and the planet. Put simply, they want to offer you a better deal and show you that they are doing good things with your money.
Take Aspiration Bank for example. Aspiration Bank not only provides free checking (you can pay what you think is fair, even if it’s zero), they pay you interest on your balance and give you access to free ATMs worldwide. If your bank is reaming you with fees, it’s time for a divorce.
Well Wallet Tip: Aspiration is completely divested from fossil fuels and Aspiration’s “Dimes Worth of Difference” donates one dime for every dollar of its revenue to charitable activities that enhance economic opportunity. Opening an account with Aspiration both increases your financial health, protects the planet, and empowers those in need.
5. Electric Bill
There is no getting around the number of electronic gadgets that we use every day that draw power. But did you know that many devices draw power even when we are not using them? Printers, TV’s, DVD players, chargers, and video game consoles all draw power when in standby mode. While keeping our devices plugged into a power strip is convenient, they consistently draw power increasing our bill and our carbon footprint. Using a smart power strip can save you 10% or more on your monthly power bill. Smart power strips allow you to unplug all of your gadgets at once to make it easier to eliminate phantom power draw.
Well Wallet Tip: Have you always wanted to support clean energy but couldn’t because of rent or pricey solar panels? If you’re paying an electric bill, Arcadia Power’s free service can switch your bill to clean energy. It takes 5 minutes to set up, and it gives you $20 off your next power bill.
Adopt a Money Hacking Mindset
Sometimes the answers to life’s most difficult problems are right at our fingertips if we take the time to look at things from a different perspective and explore new alternatives. Whether you are looking to free up cash to attack a credit card balance, invest for your future, or save for a dream vacation, it may be easier than you think. Look into ways that you can hack your regular expenses. You may be surprised at how much you save without sacrificing your days off…or your latte.