Wandering For Money

Money Saving in 8 steps without feeling like you’re saving

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Some steps are more simple than we think.
Now these are ways to just cut expenses and save $$ PLUS they may take you surprisingly less time than other things…
If you can cut $20 off your monthly bill in 30 minutes, that’s better than a lot of online options out there to make $20 a month.

Here’s my suggested list on how to save:

1. Look at your credit card statement

Not to get all judgmental on yourself. Just look at what charges are there (high level, not every $2 Dunkin’ Donuts coffee). I would suggest doing so for 2 months or maybe 3.

Things to look for:

  • Do you see a monthly charge for something you did a free trial for and never cancelled? Well cancel! Unless you want it but if you forgot and haven’t used it in forever or ever, cancel
  • Do you see a monthly charge for something you subscribed to but paid for the full year up front and now there are also monthly charges? These happen rather often from what I have seen. They are easy to miss when they may be small and are for a service you use. However, if you paid for a year and are ALSO getting charged monthly (for no separate reason), at the very least you can search for your (hopefully email) receipt and inquire about it. Or just login to that services account and chances are it will say your plan. If it says $80 for a year yet you are also getting charged a consistent $15 a month – contact them!
    • Along the same lines, is there a monthly charge for some service you never recalled signing up for? Contact them. These alone saved me about $30 a month…in about 30 minutes. So $360 for the year. Still 30 minutes. It was a mistake by a service (or two in my case) but hey mistakes happen and they won’t alert you to it but it can add up.
  • Also check for other types of double charges. Are you being charged twice a month for a monthly service? Did the pizza you order last Thursday turn into 3 pizza delivery orders? This stuff is way too common. Main culprits I see: telecom/internet/cable/cell, food delivery services, and online subscription services. This doesn’t mean they all do it. But I have seen them myself or heard from others that had these issues enough times that it’s worth mentioning.
  • Do you see suspicious activity? This is almost something that should be obvious but we all get caught up in daily life and hear the words suspicious activity thrown all over the place that perhaps it gets easy to not check our own statements. So just do a quick check and remember it doesn’t have to be a big amount. Remember the movie Office Space?
  • Do you see a charge for a product or service you returned or cancelled? These jump out to me pretty quick if say I cancelled because I was told it would take an extremely long time or it was not what I was initially told. Yet there it is still on my statement…credit cards usually have a short form to fix this. If not, call your card or bank. They are usually very helpful.
  • Do you see a double charge or unusually high charge?
Sadly this happens. You order takeout and it shows up 3 times on your statement even though the delivery service called to say the restaurant was actually closed 🤔. Usually you can fix these things faster than you can make money through a lot of money making apps/sites. While they may sound petty, you got nothing for these extra payments so get that money back!
Just take a look and I think you will know what looks off because you know your spending habits best. Or you will find an extra charge or subscription, etc. that you didn’t think about or forgot about.
Also, now that you are here, are any legitimate charges standing out because of how high they are in comparison to everything else? That could be because they are naturally just the more costly expenses in your life. However, by looking, you may see say a cable or utility bill that maybe you have not thought about much but has entered into year 2 pricing or otherwise gone up for some reason. If money is tight I’d check these out.
I found out the “free” showtime I was getting that I never used was added to my monthly bill as an additional charge after the first year. Comcast said this is standard. It took a bunch of calls to get it off – allegedly…. and then it stayed on for a few more bills. So it took a ton of calls. As annoying as speaking to Comcast is, paying them extra because they cannot get things right the first time is a no go. 🙅‍♂️
Conclusion on this one:
Basically this process is a good opportunity to check perhaps incorrect charges, realize current expenses and consider if they are a bit too much for what you use.

2. Look at LOANS (AHH 😱)

Now that we got past credit card statements….
*if you have loans, I would consider looking into options for refinancing so long as your credit score is good but either way, you never know!
*loans are always a stressful thing to think about and especially if you’re tight on money but there are usually options out there. It may be as simple as calling up your lender. Remember: they want you to pay at least something at some point in time. With so many people defaulting on loans or declaring bankruptcy, they want to keep people who may actually pay something. They want to work with you here.

3. Become more aware of how much you’re spending and where

*use apps! These can become your new best friend. Apps to track money spending habits are plentiful so find one that works for you.
I once thought jeez I’m spending a lot lately, what have I been doing? Didn’t use an app but started paying attention to my grocery trips since those were higher than usual.. The culprit: Buying too much fancy cheese..I love my cheese but man can it add up. I don’t love it that much. Some things sneak up on you and if you aren’t short on money you may not think about it; but what if you do and realize you are spending a huge amount on cheese and crackers? You may change your mind then. A trip somewhere may be worth more to you than expensive cheese and crackers..

4. Medical expenses (in case credit card bills and loans haven’t stressed you out enough -not my intention. They are stressful things for many people but hopefully I can help alleviate some of that stress)

  • Do you hate dragging yourself to a doctor when you come down with a bug? Or have to pay a lot for that visit? Check out on demand doctor apps. Depending on the illness (and your insurance for some, although not all require it and just charge a low rate comparable to, or even cheaper than, a copay). Some apps offer very reasonably priced “visits” (note: this will depend on your state – some will not be available where you live, some visits are a questionnaire, & some have a short video chat). I have used Lemonaid and loved it. There are other similar ones out there. Lemonaid charges a $25 fee for the visit (depending on state this may only be a questionnaire or a short call). Services include birth control pills as well as things you may go to an urgent care center for (e.g., flu, UTI, sinus infection, etc) and some other services. $25 is at least for me cheaper than my insurance copay + transportation costs and if I get the flu this year it’s what I’m using. 🤒
    • Bonus: from my experience with Lemonaid, the doctors are very friendly and knowledgeable. *since I have only tried Lemonaid, feel free to sound off in the comments about any others you have tried!*
  • Prescriptions. Check out pricing on GoodRx if you do not have health insurance or your insurance does not cover a certain medicine or has a high copay. Also – some prescription companies offer coupons so check their websites!
  • GoodRx lets you search the discount cost of a medicine at nearby pharmacies. Then save or print a coupon for that medicine. It will almost look like an insurance card but for the specific medicine and pharmacy. (If you search a medicine it shows you the pricing at nearby pharmacies so you can compare).
    • Note: use the coupon from the GoodRx app or site. I had a paper GoodRx general card. I kept asking pharmacies for cost estimates and they were always way higher than what I was seeing on the app or website. Sneaky sneaky. 😏 but now you know!

5. Other saving opportunities (that I believe should not go last on the list because they add up!)

-return return return!!! If you bought something that can’t even be used in your home (I had a water filter that could not even fit on my sink) return it! It will never help sitting around. Unless one day in the future you sell it as an antique to someone who is really not thinking right. Return.

Apps and member saving rewards…..

-this depends on where you shop a lot and if they have an app with special savings which a lot do.
Honorable mention: CVS app (which currently gives you $3 extra bucks for downloading it)
You can connect your CVS card to it and link discounts from the app to your card. Then swipe your CVS card next time you shop and discounts are added automatically. No coupon cutting (although not every coupon on the notoriously long CVS receipts will be on here but it’s a simple way to quickly save some money) you just hit send to card for each discount you see in the app and use your CVS card when you next shop there (which I’m assuming you do already if you have a CVS card). I mean how much easier could it be?!
Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, and Target all have apps as well as many others but I have not looked into those much. It really depends on where you shop a lot. But I am a huge fan of the idea of being able to link my store membership card and just swipe it when I shop. Automate the money saving process $$.
Notes about these apps:

Likely you will need to go on the app and add the discounts you want as they change and/or expire, but for the CVS one you just scroll and hit send to card. AND at least with the CVS app, the coupons from it are in addition to any other coupons say in store. Double coupons? With a few quick clicks in an app? Yes please. Some of my receipts have only been a few dollars to maybe $5 when I bought $20+ worth of stuff. It won’t always be like that but hey leaving with $20+ of products after paying $2, it almost feels like stealing. These things add up.

Think about it like this…
Say you make $15 in half an hour. Well to take home $15, don’t forget taxes. So you’d probably need to make at least $20 to get to $15 after tax. Some money making apps you’ll spend your life hitting $20 but for arguments sake, let’s assume you make $15 after tax in 30 minutes. If using a savings app, you can cut $15 off your receipt purchasing things you’d get anyways BUT by hitting a few buttons in an app in a few minutes (hey maybe even in line), you have the same amount of money either way. Just way more time.
*Take-Away: Don’t focus too hard on the making money side of things when in essence by saving you can make more and in less time (sometimes – no guarantees here but no guarantees with work from home gigs or the economy for that matter. Just find a system that works for you. Don’t go crazy over it)

6. If some service or housing issue occurs, voice your concerns

Do you think the evil people at Comcast will just give you a credit if your service goes out without you having to call? Yeah right.
If you paid or are paying for something that is failing to deliver, you shouldn’t have to pay as much. Not all companies care but it’s worth a try

7. Referrals

Referring someone to an app may get you $10 but consider things such as your apartment or internet. Referrals for these types of things run higher. For example, I got a $100 Visa card for referring a friend to a cable service and $250 off my rent for referring.
-Although this may fall under money making, I include it under savings since sometimes you get the bonus via a reduction in your bill.

8. Membership Benefits

Membership in a variety of organizations typically offer benefits. Do you belong to a professional group, an honor society from college, or have a frequent flyer account? They may offer some savings to their members. Check them out! Usually it’s as easy is checking their website.

Now you try one of my suggestions. I only listed ones I used that I personally felt weren’t going to feel like a big sacrifice or even just would mean giving up something I love. These are things that saved me money and weren’t a big deal to me. I am not saying go live in a cave in the forest and survive off of berries; these are all things intended not to really change your life, but may save you a lot.

Bottom line: saving doesn’t always have to mean giving up the things you like and use in your life. It may just be making some evil company give up the extra charges they are trying to sneak onto your bill. Or realize you may not have a very well rounded diet when you figure out the reason your spending is high is over cheese and crackers. It can be easier than you think and easier than some money making pursuits.
Now go get back your money!
And stay tuned for more ways to save money via apps and sites.

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