20 Ways to Save Money You Probably Haven’t Tried Yet
You'll be amazed at how much money you can save each month when these small and simple expert strategies add up.
Automate your bills
When you're being conscientious and seriously trying to sock away every dollar possible, you can undo all your good work in one fell swoop when you inadvertently rack up late fees. Brittney Mayer, a credit strategist at CardRates.com, offers a simple solution: Automate your bill paying. "It's easy to do, not just through your bank but through your credit cards. You'll never miss a payment again." Mayer estimates this strategy can save consumers a solid $30 per month. And if you think that's smart, check out 11 genius ways to save on every household bill.
Take advantage of card-issuer shopping/deals portals
Many credit card issuers have created shopping portals and deals pages that offer discounts and rewards on everything from coffee perks to hotel stays, Mayer tells Reader's Digest. Take advantage of those shopping-and-deal portals for things you are going to have to purchase anyway, and you could save up to $20 per month. Mayer particularly likes Chase's new "Deals" tab.
Find a credit card that offers price protection
Did you know that some credit cards will automatically hunt for lower prices on your recent purchases and even refund the difference? Well, it's true, Mayer tells us. It's called "price protection," and it can save you up to $1,000 a year (Citi Price Rewind caps your savings at $1,000, for example), so you could save as much as $83 per month. On the other hand, here are 10 times when you should never use a credit card.
Seek out credit cards offering cash-back rewards
Stop paying cash or debit for purchases that could be made with a cash-back credit card. Mayer points out that there are cards that offer as much as 6 percent back on purchases. Some credit cards offer higher rates of cash-back for certain types of purchases (say, gas or groceries). Seek out these deals and strategize which card you use to pay for your purchases: Mayer estimates you'll end up with an extra $50 in your pocket every month. Check out these 40 surprisingly simple ways to save money at the supermarket.
Make sure to collect the rewards you've earned
If you are already racking up cash-back rewards, just make sure you're taking that extra step to redeem them. For some credit cards, it's as simple as a swipe on a smartphone app. For others, though, you may need to redeem them at the card site. If having to take that extra step to redeem them is too much for you and you find that you just don't do it, seek out a type of rewards card that works for you. Don't miss out on free money, says Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at WalletHub.
Take advantage of other credit card perks
In addition to price protection and cash back, many credit cards offer other perks, including purchase protection, extended warranty coverage, and travel insurance. Mayer tells Reader's Digest you can save, on average, $15 per month by taking advantage of these perks.
Apply for a co-branded travel card
This is a credit card partnered with a travel company, such as the Amex Starwood card. "Some co-branded travel cards offer things like free checked bags, in-flight discounts, free hotel stays, and room upgrades that can make your annual vacation much more affordable," says Mayer; she estimates a savings of around $10 per month on average. Here are 10 credit card perks you should always use on vacations.
Negotiate annual fees on credit cards
Still paying annual fees on your credit cards? If so, Mayer's guessing you haven't tried to negotiate those fees away. "Many cardholders have luck when requesting a waiver of the annual fee because credit card companies are motivated to retain your business," she says. Depending on the quality of the retention offer, this could save hundreds a year, or equate to an average monthly savings of $30 dollars, Mayer tells us.
Look for 0 percent APR credit cards
If you typically carry a balance on your card, you should consider shopping around for a credit card that offers 0 percent APR. Your savings will vary depending on your balance, says Mayer, but you're guaranteed to put dollars back into your pocket. Here are the 11 best credit cards for every type of purchase.
Transfer your credit card balance to the 0 percent card
Got that 0 percent APR card? Now use it to pay off the credit cards debt that are carrying higher percentage balances. "It may sound counterintuitive to get a new credit card in order to save money, but you absolutely can do it," Matt Shultz of CompareCards.com tells us. Just be sure to pay down that 0 percent APR card before the rate goes up—you usually have up to 12 months. You don't want to end up right back where you started.