With 2014 just around the corner, I wanted to give you a nice Christmas present before Christmas arrives, by giving you 14 ways to save money (free up cash) in 2014.
Here are some creative ideas that helped me pay down over $900,000 of debt in just 3 years! I hope this will help you as well so you can have a more relaxed and merry Christmas and a great start to your new year!
- Sell off assets - Find items, vehicles, and other property that you aren't using that you can sell off.
- Donate items to charity - You can donate to your local Salvation Army or other non-profit stores to write off up to $500/yr, or more, on your taxes. Use that tax saving to pay down your loan.
- Increase your tax exemptions - If you get a tax return each year, talk to your accountant about increasing your tax exemptions to take home more money every paycheck. For example, if you get a $3,000 return, you overpaid taxes by $250 a month. Instead, take that extra money home each month to pay down your loans right away.
- Start a part-time business - Not only can you earn more money, but you can use the special tax advantages available to business owners on expenses you normally pay for anyways, such as vehicle mileage, some food, and phone/utility bills.
- Get an extra part-time job - One of the best ways to pay off debts faster is to earn more money.
- Ask your boss for a raise - Talk to your boss what it would take to merit a raise. Be sure to approach this subject from a perspective of adding value to your employer.
- Stop contributing to your retirement plan - This is a strategy that usually only makes sense for the short term. Remember - you are likely to save more in interest by paying off your loans than you'll earn in fluctuating mutual funds.
- Pay extra to one loan at a time - Instead of putting extra on all of your loans, only pay extra to one loan at a time. Not only will they pay off faster, but you'll feel a greater sense of accomplishment.
- Call the lender to reduce your interest rates - Like asking for a raise, it never hurts to ask. Call your lender and ask if they are willing to lower your interest rate. If they say "No" initially, ask to speak with a supervisor.
- Negotiate on some of your bills - You may have some loans past due or bills in collection. Ask them if they will accept a smaller amount if you pay in full today. Some may even be willing to accept 35-40% of what you owe.
- Ask for a forbearance or refinance your loans - In some cases (especially student or car loans), you can ask a lender to skip up to 6-12 months of payments. By doing so, you can apply the extra savings to your higher interest loans.
- Pay off the loan with the highest payment to balance ratio - Take each loan balance and divide it by the minimum monthly payment. The one that has the lowest number should be the one you pay off first because it frees up the most money with the least money out of pocket. For example, say you have one loan at $5,000 with a $400 monthly payment, and another loan at $5,000 with a $100 monthly payment. It would be wiser to pay off the loan with the $400 per month payment because you can now apply $400 to the next loan on the list, instead of only $100.
- Increase deductibles on your insurance policies - One easy way to free up money for most is to increase your deductibles on your insurances. In some cases, this could free up $20 - $200 a month!
- Track your money each week - When you keep track of your money, you tend to keep more of your money. Look for expenses that are excessive or not productive, especially when it comes to bank fees and food costs.