It's January—and you just finished your biggest shopping month of the year to prepare for the holidays. The average person in the U.S. spends around $1,000 on gifts over this busy holiday month, and even more money on travel, food, and holiday decorations.
So, now you might be looking at your 2019 budget and wondering how you can start to build back up your bank account? Here are my four tips for easy ways to find extra dollars in your day-to-day spending.
1. Get cash back on purchases.
You should always try to get cash back on spending if you can. There are so many websites (such as Ebates) that will give you cash back for your online shopping. It's a no-brainer and extremely easy.
You can usually get around 1% to 10% cash back by using a cash-back website, and many cash-back sites are good for thousands of online stores, such as Walmart, Target, Amazon, Apple, and Macy's.
2. Find more affordable car insurance.
It blows my mind how many people overpay for car insurance. Shopping around can help solve this issue, and it's such an easy step that so many people just skip over!
I recommend using a digital agent like Gabi or Cover to shop around. (Or just save time and get a quote from Clearcover to see how much you can save on your car insurance bill.) Surprisingly, I've talked to so many people who have never shopped around for a lower rate - they just took whatever they got and thought that was it.
“...Nerdwallet revealed the average person could be leaving over $400 on the table by not researching car insurance options...”
However, I definitely think the average person needs to shop around when it comes to car insurance and in fact, Nerdwallet ran a study that revealed the average person could be leaving over $400 on the table by not researching their car insurance options at least once a year.
3. Cut out subscriptions that you aren't using.
When I say subscriptions, I mean pretty much any monthly expense that you pay for automatically, such as entertainment subscriptions (cable, Netflix, Hulu), monthly boxes, gym memberships, or anything else that you aren't using.
Now, I'm not saying that you need to get rid of every monthly payment. But if you find that you aren't using a certain subscription or if you just want to find some extra money in your budget, then cutting out some monthly expenses can be an easy way to free up hundreds of dollars.
And now you may be thinking "Hundreds of dollars?"
Yes. Many subscriptions aren't used, but since the cost for each subscription is usually small, many people don't think to cancel them. All those unused subscriptions can add up to a large amount over the course of a year.
The great part is that there now new technology assistants on the market that help you analyze your spending and suggest subscriptions to cancel including ones like Trim and Charlie. Let tech do the saving for you!
4. Go to restaurants less.
Another way to easily add more money back into your holiday spending budget is to eat out less. So many people spend so much money on going out to eat, and, by eating at home more, you may be able to save a good chunk of change.
I recommend bringing your lunch to work as often as you can, eating everything that is in your pantry and fridge before shopping again, and planning meals as much as you can.
There is so much food waste in the world (the average family throws out a LOT of expired food and leftovers every month) and we don't want to contribute to that. So, instead, we are clearing everything out before we go shopping again.
When the holidays roll around next year, think about new ways to give gifts.
The holidays are now over, and I hope you had a wonderful time. But, for the next holiday season, remember the real reason for celebrating the holidays: spending quality time with your loved ones.
You don't need to spend a lot of money to be happy, instead, simply be present and enjoy your time together. Throughout the next year, you can think of thoughtful, and less expensive, gifts and gestures to give someone as a gift, to make the holiday season more affordable. Some examples include framing a memorable picture, an item from somewhere that you recently traveled to (such as local coffee!), baked goods, a custom designed T-shirt, making your own soap for a gift, and more.
The options are endless (and more affordable)!