Debt settlement allows you to settle your debts, making one low monthly payment, and to get out of debt in a shorter amount of time than by paying back your balances in full. With debt settlement, the savings are often greater than with debt consolidation. While credit card debt can be expensive and stressful, getting out of debt doesn’t have to be. If you think that you can’t afford a debt settlement payment every month, think twice! This article lists 21 easy ways to start saving money for your debt settlement program.
1. Make saving money a game, not work. Just feel good about all the money that you are saving and you will attract more situations into your life to save even more money.
2. Watch fees, because they are everywhere. If your checking account doesn’t have overdraft protection, the charge for insufficient funds now averages $34.00 per transaction. And according to SmartMoney.com, “Some banks even charge a fee each day an account sits in arrears.”
There are also ATM transaction fees, ATM balance inquiry fees, point of sale usage fees, monthly service fees on checking accounts, late fees on utility bills, and much more. These all add up over time.
3. Buy generic or store brands instead of brand names. For example, the price for a 42 oz. box of generic oatmeal is now $2.69 at one East Coast supermarket chain. Comparably, the store brand is $3.59, and the brand name is a whopping $5.39. Is your calculator available?
4. Consider paying your life insurance annually. Did you know that insurance companies charge you more if you pay monthly, quarterly or semi-annually? Pay once a year and you’ll pay less.
5. You are probably paying too much for your cell phone. Consider changing to a cheaper plan.
6. Consider doing your own taxes, instead of using a tax preparation service. There are many software programs that make doing taxes easy. If you have a simple tax return, some of these programs have a free edition.
7. Read your supermarket’s weekly circular before you go food shopping. Make special note of “buy one, get one free” offers, particularly on higher ticket items like meat, cheese, bagged salads, orange juice, whole grain bread, vitamins, batteries, and cleaning supplies. Plus, don’t ever leave home without your manufacturer’s coupons.
8. If you haven’t done so already, consider bundling your cable and internet service. You’ll save money toward your next debt settlement payment.
9. Many drug stores, grocery stores, and other retail establishments have loyalty cards that offer incentives to regular customers. Use these cards wherever you can.
10. Here’s a money-saving tip that the electric and gas companies won’t like. You can save lots of money on your heating and cooling bills if you set your thermostat one or two degrees higher in the summer, and one or two degrees lower in the winter.
11. If you’ve been eating out more than twice a week, consider eating out no more than once a week, once every two weeks, or even once a month. You will appreciate eating out more, and you will also be surprised at how much money you save.
12. Did you know that you can save a lot of money if you stop watching commercials on television? Do you really need that miracle eye cream or singing bird clock or perfect meatloaf maker or windshield saver? Often, the urge to make a purchase will disappear when you ask yourself, “Do I really, really need it?” Use the money toward your debt settlement program.
13. During the summer, turn off the air conditioning when you are not home.
14. Whenever possible, buy in bulk.
15. You do not need to buy the $12.99 bottle of shampoo or the $19.99 bottle of conditioner that your hair stylist recommends. Expensive does not necessarily mean better.
16. If your employer has a health care spending account, don’t lose another dollar and use it. A health care spending account (also known as a flexible spending account) is a tax-advantaged plan that allows you to set aside a portion of your earnings to pay for “qualified expenses” such as medical and dental care. Money deducted from your earnings that is deposited into a health care spending account is not subject to payroll taxes, thus saving you substantial money.
17. Read newspapers online. You can save up to $1.50 for the weekday version, and up to $3.50 for the Sunday edition.
18. Eat less meat and more fresh fruits and vegetables. It is healthier and will save you lots of money over the long haul.
19. Stop eating a lot of junk food. Those bags of potato chips, cheese curls, and corn chips are not good for your budget, cholesterol, triglycerides, or waistline.
20. Do your Christmas shopping all year long. It is less stressful and expensive than doing it at the last minute.
21. Give up the daily or weekly lotto. The odds are against you, and you will save money in the process. For example, if you are spending $5.00 every week on the lottery, that’s $260 a year. Use the money more constructively, such as applying it to your debt settlement program.