Making money is hard. Saving money is hard. However, sometimes, there are simple, easy steps that can be taken that can put thousands of dollars in your pocket. Here are three techniques you can implement right now that can do just that for very little time or effort:
- Shop your insurances. I know this sounds boring and dull, but some of the best financial strategies are. Insurance premiums for home, auto, life, health, and disability can be a large percentage of your annual budget. Oftentimes, things change with the company you are currently using or in your personal situation that can cause the company that was the best value for you years ago to become the highest price in the market for your needs. Getting quotes on these insurances every two years or so will not cost you much more than an hour or two of your time and is very likely to reap large rewards. We recently recommended this to a member of ours who seemed to be paying very high homeowners insurance premiums. They had been with the same company for 15 years and did not realize their costs were going steadily higher. After quoting through three different companies they were able to secure the exact same coverage from a highly rated insurer and save more than $3,000 per year. This, all for the cost of about two hours of time. Certainly, well worth the effort.
- Mortgage Refinance. If you own a house and have a mortgage, the interest you pay on that mortgage can be hundreds of thousands of dollars over its lifetime. Falling interest rates are a gift to homeowners as lower rates offer the opportunity at refinancing your mortgage at a lower rate and potentially knock tens of thousands of dollars off your interest payments. As I write this, rates are at historic lows, and thus, looking at refinancing your mortgage should be high on your priority list. For not much more than a few hours of your time, you can save lots of money over the next 15 or 30 years of your loan. This seems like a smart use of your time.
- Review the fund fees in your IRA or 401k. Investment costs, like mortgage interest, can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars over your investing life. In fact, the difference of 1% in expenses annually compounded over 30 years of investing can cost an investor more than $200,000 by retirement. That’s not pocket change. Regularly review your 401k and IRA funds to make sure your focus is on costs, getting the same funds for the lowest fees. It is not uncommon to see one S&P 500 fund that charges 1.4% and one that charges .04%. If you have $100,000 invested that is a savings of more than $1,300 per year. Over time, when compounding is accounted for, the savings are compelling.
Each of these three money-saving options should be reviewed regularly, every two to three years. Stay focused, invest a little time, and save lots of money.