Americans carry a staggering amount of debt. The average household has at least one credit card with a whopping $15,950 in credit card debt, according to CNN Money. It?s easy to envision these people as big spenders paying a fortune for flashy new cars, expensive ski vacations and closets spilling with new clothes, but the reality is that many Americans struggle to stay afloat because of the increased cost of living.
Food costs, energy payments, gas prices and other daily expenses take an enormous chunk out of even the most careful spender?s budget. Prioritize the things that matter most and cut back on the expenses of daily life with these creative life hacks, and you?ll find yourself paying down that debt and saving more.
Be a Guinea Pig
If you just can?t stomach the cost of an expensive haircut or weekly pedicure, consider being a guinea pig for students in training. You can get deeply discounted rates at local beauty schools. Don?t worry?teachers typically hover nearby, ready to swoop in before a student makes an error. Although a trainee may take longer than usual to complete a service, New York Magazine reports that many training salons offer free cuts. Before you make an appointment, ask about teacher supervision and whether the trainee can deliver the style you want.
Forego That Daily Cappuccino
Stopping by Starbucks on your way to work may seem easy, but even a basic coffee sets you back a couple bucks. Instead, invest in a new coffee machine with a built-in timer. You?ll wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the machine will pay for itself within a few months.
Rethink Your Insurance Payments
If you?re like most people, you chose a car insurance plan a few years ago and haven?t bothered to change it. Call your insurance company and ask for ways to discount your auto insurance rate. You might be surprised at how far it gets you. For example, State Farm offers reduced rates for a good driving record or for individuals who take a defensive driving course. An easy weekend course could translate to big savings in your insurance bill. Ask your insurance agent to prorate your bill if you?re on a six-month premium plan.
Drink Tap Water or Buy a Filter
There?s no sense in paying for bottled water, even if you buy in bulk. Save the environment and your dollars by drinking tap water instead. Hate the taste? Purchase a water bottle with a built-in filter, which eliminates chlorine, one of the most common causes of tap water taste problems.
Those name-brand cleaning supplies don?t seem so expensive at the store, but once you?ve piled your cart with all-purpose cleaner, stove cleaner, carpet stain removal, mildew spray and drain cleaner, you?ve amassed quite the cleaning bill. Basic products like soda water, vinegar and lemon juice are just as effective as their brand-name alternatives. Michigan State University suggests dissolving 4 tablespoons baking soda in a quart of warm water for a homemade all-purpose cleaner. Similarly, a simple mixture of vinegar and water is a great way to clean floors.