You have a budget, you save, you pay all your bills on time … yet somewhere along the way, money seems to just disappear. It’s like there are invisible hands reaching into your wallet and sucking away your money.
Guess what? There are. Those “hands” are things you are paying for that you don’t use or don’t need, or unnecessary extra costs. Between PCS moves and deployments and all the challenges of military life, it can be easy to let those things slip by.
To help, here’s seven easy ways military spouses can save money each month, probably without even noticing:
- Get rid of subscriptions you don’t even know exist. Remember signing up for three months free of a music streaming service and typing in a credit card number? Yeah, neither do we. But it happened, and now a year later, that credit card is being charged every month. Same with that game app for the kids. And that online genealogy site. Go through your credit card statements line by line and look for every forgotten subscription or service that you paid for but never use. Then cancel them.
- Get rid of subscriptions you do know exist. Do you really need all three different streaming services to watch TV? Probably not (gasp!). You might also have subscriptions to magazines you never read, but they’re on auto-renew so they just keep coming. Or you might be paying for other extras that are fun, like satellite radio, but are easily replaced by something that is free and just as good.
- Check your cable and internet service. Many companies offer bundles, and their deals are changing all the time. Call and ask what the latest best price is and if you are eligible for it. When you PCS, ask for the best deal for new customers. And if you’re sitting on your couch right now, pick up your remote and scroll through the channels. How many of these do you really watch?
- Revisit your cell phone plan, especially after a move. There may be a better choice in your new area, and most providers now let you transfer your number so you don’t have to worry about losing touch with friends spread across the globe.
- Conserve utilities. Adjust the thermostat, even just a little. A few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer can add up over time – as much as 10 percent a day, according to Energy.gov.
- Look for hidden fees, ways to save on things you have to pay, and tools to make savings easier. Take advantage of free checking and savings accounts. Make your credit card work for you, either by accumulating points or cash back, or by not paying an annual fee. Set up direct deposit for savings and investments, and auto pay to save money on things like insurance.
- And, finally, watch what you spend on “luxuries.” Things like a coffee a day or eating out or going to the movies add up fast, and are easy to substitute with freebies at home. Ok, this one might not be totally painless but it will result in a big pay off in the end!
Navy Federal is federally insured by NCUA