As a fee-only advisor I often speak with clients in regards to their cash flow. We sometimes drill down to fine detail. When this occurs I always seem to find ways to cut corners without negatively impacting the client’s lifestyle. Here are a few of the examples I have learned over the last several years.
- Eliminate Bank Fees- Banks are battling for assets and usually are willing to work to retain quality clients. Recently, I found out that a client was paying $100/ month for a few specialty services. After a quick phone call to the bank and a change in account type, my client will save roughly $1000 a year.
- Plan Ahead – Be smart when it comes to planning for trips. While there are possibilities for saving big bucks for last minute travel deals, the best way to save (while not sacrificing) is to plan ahead.
- Use Coupons – I know this may seem painful for some, but there are great coupons out there. More and more organizations are producing coupon books in return for advertising, and many of the deals are fabulous. Dining is a great example. There are plenty of ways to save 50% on your next dining experience. The recent craze has been with online coupons sites, such as Groupon and Living Social.
- Home Energy Audit- Here in middle TN, our power provider (TVA) offers a free energy audit at http://www.energyright.com/ . What a great way to save a few bucks without crimping your lifestyle.
- Reduce Services- Are you paying for services you are not using? Cell phone plans are a great example of a service that should be reviewed with the provider to double check for inefficiencies.
- Maintain Your Assets – While this tip may not save you money on the front end, it will on the back end. Properly maintained assets will most often out-last poorly maintained assets. Painting your house prevents rot, changing the oil in your car prevents a multitude of problems, replacing air filters for your HVAC keeps the units running efficiently…..etc.
- Do your Homework for Big Purchases- If you are in the market for a big ticket item (big-screen TV, car, jewelry…etc) do your homework. Research the product, as well as the price. Impulse buying doesn’t usually produce either the best price or the best product.
- Eliminate Credit Cards with Annual Fees – If you’redisciplined enough to use credit cards (and most of my clients are), then make sure your card does not have an annual fee. If you have a card with an annual fee, call the company and ask if they will remove it. To do this you will need to be a stable customer with a good history and good credit. If the company will not budge, and a few will not, look around for a better deal….they are everywhere these days.
- Get Rid of your Old Stuff – you can either have a garage sale or donate your items to a charity. If you donate your items you might get a charitable deduction for the items you donate….remember to get a receipt, create an itemized list, and take pictures.
- Use a Fee-only, Comprehensive Advisor – It’s amazing what I am able to find for my clients in the way of savings….not to mention the peace of mind. Tax savings, insurance premiums, investment expenses, and attorney fees are a few ways in which I can save my clients money. While I am not an attorney, I have relationships with attorneys who understand that my clients receive some financial education from me, which saves the attorney time and in return saves the client money.
This list is not exhaustive, nor is it meant to be, but it simply illustrates the fact that we can all save a few bucks here and there without sacrificing. Do you have a few suggestions you would like to add? I would love to hear them.