How to Cut Costs and Reduce Debt
June 8, 2020
If these past months have taught us anything, it’s that we should prepare for the unknown. Many have experienced job loss, rising debt, and diminished savings. Some things we can’t control, but we can control what we spend and how we approach debt.
One of the best ways to spend less is to cut down on regular monthly expenses. Some bills may seem insignificant, but when added together can make a real difference. Here are a few ideas:
- Cancel gym memberships. Can you walk or bike instead? If you own a fitness tracker, use its personal goal-setting features. Ask a friend to be your fitness buddy and keep each other motivated with inspirational texts or chats.
- Get rid of any subscriptions you don’t need—magazines, music streaming, gaming, etc.
- Reduce or eliminate your cable bill. Consider downgrading from premium to basic cable or switch to streaming service only.
- Reduce household expenses. Try a smaller garbage can size. Can you bring your water bill down? Some cities base yearly sewer fees on your water usage in certain months. Check with your local agency to verify if and when that applies and strive to lower your water use in that month to lower costs all year.
- Save on food. Eliminate meal kits for now and beef up your culinary skills. Start a garden. Buy generic when you can.
- Review your insurance policies with RCU Insurance Services to see where you can save. (See article “Does Your Insurance Cover Your Current Needs?”)
- If your car payment is more than 10% of your monthly take-home pay, consider refinancing with RCU or chatting with someone at RCU Auto Services to see if a less expensive car might suit your needs.
- One of the best ways to reduce debt is to stop creating new debt. Some people place their card in water and freeze it, so they have time while it thaws out to decide if the purchase is worthy of charging it. See if you can come up with some version of that to slow your charging activity.
- Pick one debt and give it all you’ve got. Instead of paying slightly over the minimum payment on all debt, pick one and pay a larger chunk toward it while making the minimum payments on the rest. Paying off one debt completely will give you incentive to keep going!
- Transfer high-interest balances to one, lower-rate RCU Visa® card (with no balance-transfer fee). Visit redwoodcu.org/balancetransfer.
For guidance with these or other financial issues, please call us. We’re here in good times and bad, but we especially want to hear from you when times are tough. We may be able to help in ways you never imagined.
You can also take advantage of the financial counseling services available through our trusted partner BALANCE and schedule a free confidential phone discussion, or by calling 1 (888) 456-2227.