by Christy Bieber | Updated July 23, 2021 - First published on July 22, 2021
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You don't have to give up things you love just to free up some extra money in your budget.
Most people could use a little extra money in their monthly budgets. The only problem is, changing your lifestyle in order to free up cash can be difficult.
The good news is, you don't always have to sacrifice the things that you enjoy to improve your personal finances.
In fact, here are three good ways to reduce your bills without making any real changes to your habits at all.
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One of the best and easiest ways to cut your monthly bills is to pay less interest to creditors. After all, chances are good that sending your hard-earned cash to lenders isn't your favorite thing to do. And you won't miss making large interest payments if you can avoid it.
So, how do you reduce your interest rate?
You may be able to do it by refinancing your loans. Interest rates are low right now, presenting a prime opportunity to refinance all kinds of debt, including:
Say, for example, you borrowed $10,000 a year ago using a five-year personal loan at a 12% interest rate. If you refinance to a new four-year personal loan at an interest rate of 5.5%, you'd save about $26 per month over the life of the loan and reduce total interest paid by close to $1,250 -- without changing the time it takes to become debt free.
When you refinance, you need to pay attention to any upfront fees or closing costs you have to pay. The average closing costs can be substantial, especially on a mortgage.
You also need to consider your loan payoff time, as there are pros and cons of longer repayment terms. For example, making your loan term longer could significantly reduce monthly payments but raise total costs.
But if you can lower your interest rate, you can often save considerably both each month and over time -- which gives you extra money in your budget without any sacrifice on your part.
Taking advantage of opportunities to save is another great way to reduce your spending without big changes to your lifestyle.
Look for discounts with just about every purchase, whether that means:
You would be surprised how often you're able to pay less than full price if you ask companies if they are willing to help you look for opportunities to reduce your monthly bills.
If you haven't shopped around for services for a while, there's a good chance you're overpaying.
You probably have a choice of companies you can do business with for many of the services you use on a monthly basis. Loyalty to any one particular company may not pay -- especially if there's little difference between the service you'd receive from one company to the next.
In our household, for example, we change electricity providers at least twice a year because we shop around for the best rate -- and we don't care which company actually provides our electric service. We also shopped around for cable (back when we still had it) and have switched high-speed internet companies multiple times to get a lower monthly cost.
When you don't have a sound reason for sticking with a particular company, compare quotes for their services at least once per year. Doing so could net you some great opportunities to reduce your budget without any change to your daily life.
By being a savvy shopper and not paying more interest than you need, you can hopefully reduce your expenses by hundreds of dollars per year or more -- even without giving up any of the splurges in your budget. This type of change is sustainable and can free up the money you need to accomplish all of your most important goals.
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