Looking for new ways to save money can be tedious, and that’s true whether you’re a seasoned pro or a financial novice. If you already feel like you’re saving in every way imaginable, racking your brain for ways to cut your spending more is never fun.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save that don’t involve couponing, going without or rearranging your life. The truth is, sometimes saving money is just a matter of adjusting your spending instead of cutting it.
If you’re angling for new ways to save, consider these seven strategies that could save you $100 in an hour or less.
1. Ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card.
If you’re carrying high interest credit card debt, you could save a bundle on interest in minutes by calling up your card provider and asking if they’ll offer a lower interest rate on your debts.
Consider this example: You owe $10,000 on a credit card that carries an 18% interest rate. At that rate, you’re paying around $150 in interest each time you make a $400 monthly payment.
However, if you make payments on time and have a good credit history, your card issuer or bank may be willing to drop your rate. And if you can talk your bank into lowering your interest rate to 10%, your monthly interest charges will drop to $83 per month and continue dropping as you pay down principal.
2. Sign up for a balance transfer credit card.
Another way to save $100 or more on credit card interest payments is signing up for a balance transfer credit card. Most of these cards offer a 0% annual percentage rate for several months, though some charge balance transfer fees, usually around 3% of the balance.
Fortunately, you can avoid balance transfer fees altogether and score $100 or more in savings depending on your debt level and current interest rate. The Chase Slate credit card offers 0% APR for 15 months and no balance transfer fees for balance transfers made in the first 60 days. It doesn’t charge an annual fee, either.
3. Shop around for auto insurance and homeowners insurance.
This savings hack doesn’t even require a phone call. By shopping around for a new auto insurance and homeowner’s insurance policy, you can save hundreds of dollars per year for similar coverage to what you have now.
4. Create a meal plan.
Shopping for groceries without a plan is the best way to ensure you overspend. Without a meal plan, you can wind up buying ingredients you don’t need or that aren’t on sale. Not having a meal plan can also lead to food waste, which is basically money down the drain.
To save $100 or more this month, create a meal plan before you hit the store. Better yet, check out your grocery’s flyer online and plan meals around major sales items and loss leaders.
By using your store flyer to plan a few meal ideas ahead of time, you can create a grocery list with ingredients you’ll use, save money and time at the store, and reduce waste.
5. Create a monthly budget & use it.
While nobody likes the “B-word,” budgeting is one of the best ways to save $100 or more. And if you’re worried about getting started, it’s not hard.
Start by sitting down with a pen and paper and your last month’s bank and credit card statements. After you look them over, write down all your expenses including fixed bills (e.g. rent and car payments) along with variable bills like utilities and food. Then, compare the total amount of your spending to your monthly take-home pay.
Are there any categories where you’re spending too much? How about groceries, dining out and entertainment? Be honest with yourself, then narrow down a few categories where you’re willing to spend less.
From there, you can write down a monthly budget or “spending plan” to use in subsequent months that limits your spending in those categories. Just by dining out fewer times per month or using a meal plan, it should be easy to save $100.
6. Switch to term life insurance.
If you have permanent life insurance coverage or a term policy you think could be too expensive, it’s never too late to shop around. By getting a free quote for life insurance, you can find an inexpensive term insurance policy that is cheaper than what you have now.
7. Increase your 401(k) contributions.
Here’s an easy (and slightly sneaky) way to save a lot more than $100 in an hour or less. The next time you get the chance to visit your company’s human resources department, ask about boosting your 401(k) contributions. Most of the time, you can change your contribution amount by filling out a simple form provided by your company.
You can up your savings by $100 per month if you want, or you can boost your contributions by a percentage instead (e.g. contributing 8% of your salary instead of 7%). The best part about this savings hack that you may not notice a change in your paycheck. Because 401(k) contributions are made with pre-tax dollars, saving an extra $100 or one percentage point doesn’t always lower your paycheck a commensurate amount.