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I gave a little bit of background on myself in my first post, but let me elaborate on that a bit.
No, I wasn’t raised in poverty and my story isn’t one of extreme hardship, even though most of us have heard such stories. Like most people, I came from a middle-class family that was neither rich nor poor.
Also like most people, I’m not rolling in the dough, spending money on anything my heart desires. I had to fight to get to where I am today, and I’m still working to make improvements.
I suspect many of you out there have similar situations, so I’m willing to spill the beans and hopefully help you out in the process.
Taking it One Step at a Time
This is another concept I alluded to in my first post because it’s so true: realizing financial independence and freedom isn’t about going from drowning in debt to being an overnight success. Generally, you have to take baby steps to get there, cutting out a few expenses here and there, and maybe even making a few extra dollars.
How to save money: less is more
Okay, so maybe you disagree. But, still, if you can cut down on just a few expenses you don’t need, that will probably go a long way. I think most of us have heard this at some point, and with good reason: eliminating unnecessary expenses is a sure-fire way to improve your financial situation.
I will probably pepper in more ideas throughout the life of this blog, but here are some starters:
Cutting the Cord, and Other Monthly Expenses
- Yes, cut the cord! I stopped paying for cable and picked up a Mohu Leaf 50 to get local TV in HD. You can also supplement cable with services like Hulu.
- Consolidate paid monthly services. I prefer to skip ads if possible, so I was paying for both YouTube and Spotify’s premium plans to stream music (and videos). That obviously wasn’t necessary, so I consolidated to just one service – YouTube in my case since it has both music and videos. Of course, you may be partial to other services, but consolidating them down as much as possible is a quick and easy win.
- Reduce car insurance coverage. This one can depend on your risk tolerance somewhat, but I did so recently. Definitely, do your own research and consult with your agent before making a decision. For me, my premiums were just much too high to justify paying them every month, so I switched to just liability. Your mileage may vary, though – pun intended.
- Refinance loans. I no longer have student loans, but one thing I did when I did have them was that I refinanced through SoFi. That was just the lender I used, but you can do this through a lot of different lenders. At the time, this allowed me to go from a mind-boggling $950/month payment at 7.9% interest all the way down to $300 at 5%. Needless to say, that was a huge improvement, and it’s definitely worth looking into for anyone who is being held down by loans.
Sure, being extremely frugal isn’t necessarily the only way to improve your finances, but it helps.
Do you have any tips for improving finances? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.