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Finding Money to Save

Finding Money to Save

| April 22, 2024

Inflation has been a beast on the ole’ pocketbook. In the 4th quarter of 2023, household debt reached 17.5 trillion dollars with credit card debt - an increase of 50 billion dollars within that same quarter. This translates to Americans spending more with less capability to pay their debt. All while most of these same Americans need and want to be saving for retirement. So, let’s look at a few ideas to possibly help you achieve that:

#1 Check Your Credit. What? Yes, you read that correctly. Your credit score impacts a multitude of expenses in your everyday life, which could be the to the tune of six figures or more over your life time. This is obvious when it comes to getting a loan, mortgage, or credit cards, but it is less obvious as to how it impacts your auto and home insurance premiums, required deposits, rental rates, etc. You may be thinking—I should have perfect credit. And you might actually have it, but find that it’s not reported that way: credit bureaus and the companies that report to them make mistakes all too often. You need to check it.

Go to where you can pull each of your three credit reports once per year. Pull one or two and take a look for accuracy. If you need help, we recommend using for everything from fixing specific errors all the way to completely restoring bad credit.

#2 Check Your Insurance. It is no secret that auto insurance premiums have gone wild for many - perhaps most - people recently. The same is true for homeowners’ policies. Unbeknownst to many, you may be carrying unnecessary coverages and low deductibles when you don’t need them and could afford something different. Reviewing them could definitely be worth your while. A little bonus here: often, too many people are not carrying enough or the appropriate liability coverage, so find out.

#3 Unsubscribe. We now live in a world where it seems that we subscribe to everything we come across… and it sounds harmless for only $1.99 per month, right? We should turn to the wise words of Benjamin Franklin—"Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.” Take a look at everything you are subscribed to on your phone, Amazon account, Google, etc. If you don’t know how, ask the young guns in your family to show you. WARNING: This may increase the risk of total shock!

#4 0% Interest. You may be wondering if that is even possible today. It is and so is 1%, 2%, 3%.... If your credit is good, then you are probably getting offers for credit cards with interim low rates. If you have other debt with higher interest rates, this may be a great opportunity for you to pay off the higher interest rate debt. Just be sure you pay off the new debt within the terms stated for that low rate… and always read the fine print.

#5 Change Your Coffee. I recently spoke to a young couple who calculated that they were spending $150 per week on coffee. This is $7,800 per year! They’ve now purchased a barista machine and are brewing their own. What is the “coffee” in your budget? How could you approach things differently?

Capital One always asks…What is in your wallet? This is meant to create a sense of pride for carrying their card.

I would ask…What is in your budget? Do you feel pride? If not, what needs to change?