The events of the past year have forced millions of people around the world to take financial stock of their lives. Are all of your monthly expenditures really necessary? Are you really saving as much as you can? If you experienced a financial emergency, do you have enough money put away that you’d be able to weather the storm?
Maybe you’ve finished auditing your finances and cutting costs wherever you can, and you’ve reached the point at which you’re sure you can’t reduce your expenses any further. What’s more, when you look at how much money you’ve managed to save over the past year, you’re decidedly unimpressed. Is there really nothing more that you can do to save money and put a bit more away each month?
As a matter of fact, it might surprise you to learn that there are still several money-saving avenues you haven’t explored yet. Exploring those avenues, however, will require you to take advantage of some life hacks and disruptive technologies. Are you using these great money-saving life hacks yet?
If you smoke cigarettes, the best thing that you can do by a long shot to save money is to quit. Smoking adds to your cost of living in countless ways, and it’s not just the cigarettes themselves. If you smoke in your car and in your house, you’re decreasing the value of those assets. If you have life insurance and health insurance, you’re paying more for those services. Last but hardly least, you also have to consider the cost of the long-term damage that you’re doing to your health.
You already know all of those things, of course, and you’ve probably tried to quit and failed because that’s what happens to the vast majority of smokers. If you haven’t tried vaping yet, now is the time. Vaping is the easiest way to quit smoking because it allows you to continue getting your nicotine by inhalation, which is more satisfying than traditional nicotine replacement products.
Companies like V2 Cigs UK charge significantly less for vape kits and e-liquid than what you pay for cigarettes. Most health experts agree that switching to vaping substantially reduces the risk to your health from nicotine use, and depending on your insurance provider, switching to vaping may reduce your monthly premiums. Since vaping leaves no lingering odor, it can even help you avoid the hit to the value of your home and car that smoking causes.
Without a doubt, the most disruptive media technology of the past several years has been streaming video services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Streaming video services make it possible to watch many of the most popular television programs and movies – and often, a great deal of compelling original programming – for a reasonable monthly rate.
The thing that makes streaming media even more interesting as an option for video content is the fact that, if you buy many of your household essentials via the Internet, you’re probably paying for that video content anyway in the form of a yearly Amazon Prime membership.
Streaming video services give you instant access to all of the content that you could ever watch. Cable TV, on the other hand, seems to get more expensive with each passing year. So, why are you still paying for traditional TV? Cut the cord and go with a streaming service instead. Don’t forget that, in most areas, an inexpensive antenna will allow you to continue receiving your local TV stations in high definition for free.
Events like the GameStop short squeeze opened eyes across the world to the possibilities of retail investing in 2021. Fee-free brokers and fractional stock ownership have eliminated entry barriers and allowed anyone with a bit of extra money to invest in stocks that they like. For those who don’t feel comfortable managing their own investments, there are also services that will manage your money for you with an extremely small monthly fee. You can even use credit card roundups and invest nothing but your spare change. Everyone knows that investing is the way to ensure that you’re prepared for emergencies and will have a comfortable life in retirement, but until now, the need to have a large sum of money up front has prevented many people from getting started. Now, that barrier no longer exists.
If you feel like you don’t have any money to put away, then the best way to get started with investing is by eliminating unnecessary expenditures and vices here and there. Do you really need that six-pack of beer or expensive delivered meal, or would the opportunity to have more money later provide the necessary incentive to deny yourself that temporary pleasure? Every time you decide against spending your money unnecessarily, put at least half of what you would have spent into an investment account. You’ll be surprised by how quickly your account grows.
Roll-Your-Own Phone Plan
Do you really require the latest and greatest phone every year, or does your current phone actually serve you fine? A top-of-the-line phone will set you back around $1,000 these days – and, of course, all of the major phone makers are expected to release new models each year. The mobile phone carriers are kind enough to “include” the phone as part of your monthly plan – but of course, that doesn’t actually mean you’re getting the phone for free. You’re paying for the phone over time with a monthly bill that’s much higher than it needs to be, and you’re often giving the carrier a down payment for the phone before you can even get started.
After a year, you can avoid the down payment on your next phone by returning your current phone to the carrier – which is actually a horrible deal because the phone is worth more than the cost of the down payment. And all the while, you’re under contract with that carrier and can’t switch to another carrier without paying a hefty early termination fee.
If you really want to adopt a lifestyle that leaves more money in your pocket each month, you should ask yourself if it’s really necessary to get a new phone every year. If you own your phone outright, there’s no need to pay an exorbitant monthly fee for phone service. Instead, you can go with a “roll your own” carrier and cut your phone bill in half. It’s a decision that can save you hundreds of dollars per year.