Times are tough! Getting a higher paying job or a second job is a great way to make some extra money, but it probably is not a realistic solution for you. A more realistic solution is to make smarter spending decisions. As the saying goes, “it is easier to save money than to make it.”
You don’t have to change your lifestyle by not buying things you want, but instead, try to save money by buying things that are on sale or look for better deals.
Recently, I was turned onto a new service called Billshrink. The cool thing about it is that it can help you save money on your credit card bill and your cell phone plan, without changing your spending habits or cutting back on your cell phone minutes.
When you first sign up for Billshrink you are asked to enter in your cell phone number and your carrier password so that they can analyze your cell phone plan. Here is what mine looked like:
If you look at the picture above, you can see that Billshrink analyzes:
- How many minutes you are paying for every month versus the actual number you are using.
- The number of phones on your cell phone plan.
- If you use a data package.
- If you use text messaging.
- The areas in which you make calls from and the provider signal strength in those areas.
- The networks you most frequently call (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint).
- What times you most frequently use your cell phone.
Based on these factors Billshrink tells you which cell phone plan/provider you can switch to and the amount you would save every month by switching. For example I am with Verizon and I pay $264.75 every month. If I switch to AT&T, I would save $2,968 over 2 years and that even includes the cost of breaking my Verizon contract. I know that may not sound like a lot of money to you, but that is roughly a years worth of cell phone payments.
I currently have a Wells Fargo Visa credit card that I use to spend an average of $2050 every month. Most of that money goes towards entertainment, airfare and shopping. My credit score is good, and I pay my bill off in full every month.
What I found out about my credit card is that just because there isn’t any annual fee, doesn’t mean it is good. The Wells Fargo Visa card doesn’t have a good rewards program.
Because I am a jet setter Billshrink recommended that I switch to a United Airlines credit card. By doing this I will earn an extra $832 worth of rewards point within a year, which is two or three free domestic flights.
On top of using Billshrink, you should always look for deals. You can still buy what you want (within reason), but try to find a good price when making purchases.
In most cases there isn’t much you can do to save money on your monthly bills without changing your lifestyle. For example, if you want to save money on your electricity bill you can’t switch to a different provider, you have to use less electricity. But the thing is there are two monthly bills that you can easily reduce:
- Television – chances are subscribing to satellite or cable TV. Check out your plan and figure out if you actually watch all of those channels. If you don’t, cancel the channels you don’t watch. Other than that, you should play satellite and cable TV providers against each other. Call them up and tell them what another provider is offering you until you get a good deal.
- High speed Internet – there are tons of different high speed Internet options for you, all you have to do is find the cheapest and best one. Just like with satellite and cable TV providers, you can pin them up against each other. On top of that consider getting a lower high speed Internet package if you aren’t using it to download files. Trust me, you won’t notice a difference in speed.
If you have a shopping addiction like me, you can save tons of money if you buy your cloths online compared to going to a store. For example, I shop at Banana Republic, Nordstroms, and Saks Fifth Avenue a lot. So instead of buying clothes from their retail stores, I buy them from their Internet store.
If you buy clothes from the Internet, you can use coupon codes to get good bargains. Here are some of the websites I use to find coupon codes:
- Retailmenot – find coupon codes for 20,000 online retail stores.
- Coupon Album – coupons for every online apparel store.
- eBay – you will be amazed how cheap 20% off coupons and gift cards go for on eBay.
Best Buy and other electronics stores are a great place to buy gadgets if you want to get ripped off. Instead of going to the store to buy electronics, you should go to the store to figure out what you really like and want to buy.
After you figure out what you are going to buy, search blogs like Engadget, Gizmodo, and CrunchGear for special offers. On top of that you want to search price comparison engines like PriceGrabber, check popular ecommerce stores like Amazon, and browse eBay to see if you find a steal.
There are a ton of ways you can save money, you just have to get creative. What I propose to you is to leave a comment with a creative way you can save money without changing your lifestyle. Whoever comes up with the best way to save money will win a $100 from me.
A winner will be announced by 12am, Monday night (PST).
Update: The winner is Network 21.