Want all this in your inbox?
Get the Refinery29 Newsletter
You're in for a treat...
Thanks for signing up!
Please upgrade your browser for the best Refinery29 experience. Read more.
This is the thing about credit-card balances: You’re not just paying interest on your total, end-of-month statement. You’re paying what’s called “compound interest,” which is interest added to your total tally each day you hold a balance, says personal finance expert Andrea Woroch. Of course, it’s best to not carry a balance, but in reality, it sometimes happens. That’s why you owe it to yourself and your savings to shop around and see if it’s possible to transfer your balance to a 0% interest offer. CreditCards.com is a good place to start researching. Not possible? Call your credit-card company and ask for a lower interest rate, citing what makes you a valuable customer, such as the number of years you’ve held the card and the fact you always pay your bills on time. Even getting your interest lowered by a point or two will save you cash in the long run.
You save: up to $20 a month assuming a $500 balance
According to financial experts, you should be following the 50-30-20 rule when it comes to spending money: 50% goes to fixed-cost bills like rent, car payments, and phone plans; 20% goes to saving or paying down debt; and 30% goes to discretionary spending, which includes grocery shopping but also fun stuff like happy hours and biweekly nail-salon trips. Figure out your discretionary spending budget based on your weekly paycheck, assuming that half has to go to the necessities (gas, groceries, etc.). Then, take out half that amount in cash every Monday. When you know that you only have $80 for the week to spend on drinks with friends or impulse purchases, you’ll be a lot more mindful of where your money is going, says Duran. Plus, having to pull out cash at the bar instead of starting a tab makes you actually see those $12 cocktails adding up.
You save: $100 a month
Have a cold-brew habit like woah? We’re not going to tell you to give it up. Instead, load up a gift card every Monday a.m. with $25 in cash. Giving yourself a java budget for the week will stop the impulsive just-because second caffeine run of the day and help keep your spending under control. This works for lots of stuff beyond coffee, so consider shopping around for gift cards for chains you frequent. At a site like Gift Card Granny, you can save 10% on the cost of the gift card (think: a $25 gift card for $22 with free shipping), says Woroch.
You save: $40 a month
Buying a bottle of H20 may seem like NBD, but it quickly adds up. Taking two seconds to pack your own for a sweaty spin session or afternoon out will save you $2 each day. The key is to find a bottle that you love, like bobble’s leak-proof Insulate™, which keeps beverages icy-cool for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12. Also consider brewing your tea or coffee at home, skipping the a.m. stop, and see your savings add up even more.
You save: $60 a month
You see an LBD you like. And when you hit “add to cart,” all your info is on file, so it’s incredibly easy to just proceed to checkout. Resist the urge by making it as hard as possible to make online purchases. By avoiding auto-fill on your computer, phone, or tablet, you actually have to pull out your credit card, which gives you just enough time to think through whether you really need — and can afford — the item in question.
You save: $100 a month