I really like to save money, but who doesn’t?
What I don’t like, however, are money-saving tactics (like extreme couponing) that require a ton of effort only to save a few bucks. I prefer to put in a little legwork to reap the savings over the long-term.
If you’re looking for some easy ways to save, here are seven (almost) effortless ways you can save money while in college.
Get a Prepaid Cell Phone
The prepaid cell phone industry has exploded.
You can get almost any type of phone of you want with no contract and a more attractive plan. And, surprisingly, these more attractive plans are usually much cheaper than contract phones.
If you make the switch from a contract plan to a pay-as-you-go cell phone plan you can save hundreds of dollars per year, effortlessly.
Check out our favorite cell phone plans for college students.
Use Credit Card Reward Points
I’m not a huge proponent of using credit cards for their reward points. However, this is because in the back of my head I feel like I’ll spend more money by using credit instead of debit. Fortunately, there are tons of people who are quite skilled in accruing credit card reward points without racking up credit card debt.
If you pay your bill in full each month, use a credit card with rewards points, let them accrue, cash them in, and put the money toward one of your larger purchases for the year. (Perhaps a weekend getaway?)
Check for Cheaper Car Insurance
As a former insurance agent I can vouch for the fact that shopping around for car insurance every few years can really save you a bundle of money.
If your current auto insurance is with an independent agent you can call and request that they shop around for you. If you’re with a captive agent (an agency that only represents one company) then you may have to do a little work yourself. Luckily, the birth of online quotes makes this process pretty simple.
One word of warning: when getting new quotes make sure that you are getting an apples-to-apples comparison. You don’t want to skimp on auto insurance coverage just to save a few bucks. Make sure you have enough liability coverage.
Stock up on Commonly Used Items
There are a couple of reasons why it’s a good idea to stock up on commonly used items. First, if you buy items in larger quantities you can usually get better pricing. Second, by stocking up you’ll make fewer visits to the store and most likely, fewer impulse purchases.
Take Advantage of the Dollar Menu
Eating out has been one thing I’ve struggled to completely nix. I know — eating fast food isn’t the healthiest habit but if you’re going to do it anyway you might as well save some money, right?
If you’re not up for preparing your own food and are heading out to grab a bite, shop the dollar menu. If you eat out a lot, shopping the dollar menu can save you a significant amount of money over the course of a year.
Negotiate Your Credit Card Interest Rate
If you have credit card debt, getting your interest rate lowered is one easy way to save money. Sometimes all it takes is calling your credit card company and asking if they’ll lower the rate you pay.
If your credit is in good standing and you always pay your bill on time then you have a good chance of being told yes.
If you can’t get your interest rate lowered you can always go with the next option to save money on interest (see below).
Transfer Credit Card Debt to a 0% Interest Card
Zero percent credit card offers are a dime a dozen. If your credit is in decent standing, then you should be able to find a credit card with a 0% introductory rate with terms ranging anywhere from six to eighteen months.
Transferring your existing credit card debt to one of these special introductory offers is an awesome way to save money. Just make sure you have a plan to tackle your debt aggressively and cut up your old card if you’re afraid you’ll rack up more credit card debt.
Little Effort, Big Results
Instead of putting in hours scouring sales pages and clipping coupons you can implement these seven (almost) effortless ways to save more money.
One of these tactics alone may not save you a ton of money, but when you combine them the savings can be huge. Most of these ideas can be done in an hour or less but will produce long-lasting results.
What ways do you (almost) effortlessly save money?
Jon Fritz is a life insurance agent licensed in 50 states who has been working in insurance for over five years.