How do hardworking people maintain or even improve their lifestyles amid a troubled economic environment? There’s no one-size-fits-all magic trick for achieving the goal. Instead, the solution is about making several small adjustments tailored to your specific situation. Some discover that one or two tweaks, like revamping the monthly budget or using shopping lists, can get the job done.
Others find lifestyle relief, and financial strength, by refinancing their student loans and exploring no-cost recreational options in their communities. Fortunately, there are many choices and directions. There’s no need to feel tied to a single tactic or strategy. Consider leveraging the power of the following approaches that have delivered excellent results for many people.
Use Grocery Lists & Coupons
One of the oldest lifestyle hacks still works wonders for those who apply it correctly. Make a standard grocery list of items you routinely purchase. Keep it in your phone or on a note card when you shop. Leave space for additional items that you don’t buy every week.
Then, each time you head for the grocery store, create a current version of the listing for that day’s shopping. Boost the savings power of this technique by using e-coupons from one or more of the major coupon sites. Download the apps to your phone and be ready to scan codes when you go through the checkout lane. It takes a while to get the hang of coupon apps, but they can cut grocery bills by at least 5% for most shoppers.
Refinance Your Student Loans
Perhaps the most potent lifestyle hack of all is to refinance existing college loans into a brand-new agreement. In addition to lower monthly expenses, a fresh start on education debt through refinancing means more time to repay the entire obligation, access to favorable rates, and generally better terms.
It’s easy to forget that when you took out college loans in the first place, you were not yet a working person. Most borrowers are young adults headed to school, and they have little or no credit history. Years later, after being in the working world and earning a steady income, refinancing is the wise way to go. That’s why so many graduates choose to refinance their school loans after graduation.
Plug Obvious Holes in Your Budget
Few adults can boast that they have air-tight budgets. To really stretch the money you earn, go through the budget with the aim of finding at least two leaks, places where you tend to spend more than necessary. While everyone is unique, there are some national trends and common budgetary pitfalls that appear quite frequently.
First, examine the amount of cash spent on fast food, convenience store purchases, alcohol, tobacco, restaurant meals, and impulse buying. By honing in on the most likely suspects, it’s usually simple enough to spot a few holes in a typical monthly budget. Some problem areas are most subtle. Spend time examining grocery lists. It’s far too easy to purchase junk-type foods instead of staples.
By slightly rearranging meal menus, the average consumer can cut food bills. The savings come from eliminating unnecessary items like soda, candy, and the like. Focus on purchasing nutritious foods and beverages whenever possible.
Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions
For a large percentage of working families, there are good and bad ways to spend money and the cost of subscriptions can become a burdensome factor in their financial lives. One hack that can deliver excellent results quickly is to end subscriptions you don’t really need, or just plain can’t afford. What are the common culprits in this category?
Look for small monthly fees paid to online publications, cable bills that include channels you rarely watch, computer malware protection apps that charge annual fees, and any other recurring costs for software, apps, videos, films, gaming platforms, etc.
Reconsider Gym Memberships
While it’s a great idea to stay in shape, gym membership fees can have a significant impact on personal finances. If you pay a monthly or annual fee to an athletic club of any kind, honestly evaluate the value of the arrangement. Consider experimenting with no gym membership for one year. Develop a home-based exercise routine along with some outdoor activities to replace the things you did at the gym. Most working people are surprised to discover that they are overpaying for gym privileges.
Or, if you are among the millions who pay dues to a health club but rarely visit the facility, consider canceling the membership immediately and exercising casually at home. It doesn’t cost much to purchase a few weights, a yoga mat, and other common workout equipment.