There are some things that we all enjoy buying. These are the "fun" purchases that motivate, bring us joy, satisfaction, and a sense of well-being. For some people, it might be a morning cup of coffee, or going out to dinner for "date night" once a week.
Other bills we pay a little less enthusiastically. Here are a few power-tips for saving money on regular expenses that nobody gets excited about:
Student Loans: Few people realize that student loans can be refinanced. Everyone gets the same high interest rates when they apply for a student loan, because we all start without a credit history. After spending a few years successfully navigating the working world, college graduates may qualify for a better deal. Rates for refinanced student loans can be as low as 2.2%. Check out LendEdu.com
Mortgages: If you have a variable rate loan, now is an excellent time to consider refinancing with a fixed mortgage. This may be your last opportunity to lock-in to low interest rates. Bankrate.com is a great place to start looking (and it is also a great place to find better deals on credit cards). If your situation is on the complicated side, you may want to find a mortgage broker, such as Magnum Opus Federal.
Income Taxes: There are many ways to trim income taxes, but the most urgent is to start making contributions to a qualified retirement plan at your place of work. You can reduce your taxable income on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Not only that, but you will also systematically build your investment portfolio!
Ask your employer about what might be available to you. Solo entrepreneurs can easily open up a SEP-IRA account, while small businesses have many plans to choose from.
Utility Bills: You might be able to save 15% on your electric and gas bills by simply changing providers. The process is seamless and easy. Visit ChooseEnergy.com
Cell Phone: Comparing cell-phone rates can be dizzying and complicated. However, this definitely qualifies as a bill that nobody enjoys paying! Here is the best resource that I could find on shopping for wireless carriers.
Insurance: Find better deals on term life, property, and casualty insurance at LowerMyBills.com
Building wealth involves time and effort. Having good habits makes it so much easier. The pain-free way to save money is to be a smart consumer on things that you might not always care about.
Jim Lee, CFA, CMT, CFP