Frugality can be painful. There are too many articles telling people to take a short, cold shower or skip their Macchiato.
I’m not going to tell you how skipping your Starbucks can save you money, because there are bigger and better ways to save while you sip on life’s little luxuries.
If you are in true financial dire straits, we trust that we’ll find you staking a tent in someone’s yard to save money, or partitioning your dining room with a sheet to onboard a roommate—by the way, these are actual stunts I’ve done just to get myself unstuck.
This article is about finding more significant opportunities to save $500 and then learn how to invest $500.
Some of the best money-saving maneuvers lie in the monthly services you already pay for. You may be surprised at the number of ask-and-you-shall-receive opportunities you have right in front of you.
Pick and choose from my list to help you build some cash flow:
1) Bank Fees Be Gone
Look a bit closer at your bank statements. Note all of the fees you paid in a year, then walk into your bank with your list. Be bold and ask the bank manager to lower your fees. In such a direct business encounter, it’s easier for the manager to negotiate your fees than lose your business.
Awkward? Possibly. Profitable? Definitely.
Possible monthly savings: $10 – $40
2) Free Energy Audit
Did you know most utility companies can send someone out to audit your home for ways to save energy? They could show you how to alter appliance settings, open/close vents, seal window cracks and set auto-off features on lights to trim monthly costs.
Free help to save money? This one’s a no-brainer.
Possible monthly savings: $25-$50
3) FSA and HSA Pre-Tax Dollars
What do FSA and HSA mean? You’ve heard these terms thrown around in your meetings with HR, so here’s the deal. FSA is a flexible spending account and HSA is a health savings account. Both are accounts that allow you to pay for items like daycare, prescriptions, glasses, and even drugstore meds and band-aids using pre-tax dollars.
This can really add up depending on your needs.
Possible monthly savings: $40 – $75
4) Cut Your Cable
Cable providers are notoriously fierce competitors, slapping together offers every which way to keep every customer. Give them a call and claim that you’re considering changing providers. Have an offer in mind and be ready to negotiate. Or you could just ask what offers they have going on—because there’s always something going on.
Most cable companies can find a way to shave your bill to keep you around.
Possible monthly savings: $25 – $40