Let’s be honest—much of America is in the financial tanks because of poor financial planning. When you look at your finances, what do you see? A house payment? A car? Dusty, old college debt? Our collective financial struggle is the product of excess and fiscal imprudence. Before you consider big refinancing options, like your mortgage payment or your car payment, look at the small changes in your pocket first. You may be surprised to find that long-term, effective refinancing strategies begin with taking stock of your everyday expenses.
Here are a few small sacrifices that might mean the difference between forbearance proceedings or buying the home you always wanted.
Open a savings account
Committing $50 dollars a month to a savings account is $600 dollars saved in a year. If you live paycheck-to-paycheck, unexpected medical costs, court fees or licensing fees can quickly unhinge the hard work of the most honest of penny-pinchers. This little extra is serious wiggle room when disaster strikes. If you can afford to contribute a few dollars more on top of that $50, that could be spent in good faith on extravagances like vacations or a new computer. Don’t underestimate your ability to save. Once you hit a milestone, say 1500 dollars, take yourself out!
Consult that financial whiz kid you went to college with
We all know at least one– the one college friend who started at a major capital firm right after school. Last you heard, she now lives in London or Paris and is the toast of the town.
These friends, regardless of if they show it or not, are hard workers. They also have a sixth sense with numbers and finance. All this “good sense” is communicable. If you can nail them down to a date, pick their brains. Come with questions and be ready to listen.
Trade in one of your credit cards for a library card
Silly and quaint as it sounds, the idea could be applied in a number of different ways: cancel your cable subscription and spend the money saved on your favorite hobby; instead of going to the movies, go for a bike ride. These are small, healthy ways to refinance your life and add to your individual value. With diligence, they can also save you money.