#50 Harvesting the Low Hanging Fruit with Jen Turrell

Financial Fluency Episode #50: Harvesting Low-Hanging Fruit

Often when I talk to people about increasing their savings, or increasing the amount that they want to put to pay down their debt, we look into their world to try to figure out where we can find the extra money to put towards those things.
One thing I love doing is looking at the low hanging fruit – the stuff we can easily cut down and plant elsewhere.

You can listen in or read below and Tweet it out here

Start by Looking at Your Subscriptions

Go to your PayPal account, your credit card, and even your bank, and look through your last few statements. You have a ton of recurring fees and subscriptions, right? I want you to really think about each of these. Are you really getting your money’s worth from each one?
With something like a gym membership, take a look at how much it costs versus how much you go. Would it be better value to get a day pass?
App subscriptions are pretty common nowadays too. You may have signed up for the paid version of MailChimp so that you can automate your email sequences rather than doing it all manually. How much time is that subscription saving you? What is that time worth in $$? Can you find a similar service for a lower price?

Explore Your Options

With your apps and programs, you can also look for alternatives that offer more than one service. For example, I used to use Sprout Social for engaging on social media, and Edgar for auto-posting. Both of these cost around $50 a month, and I often failed to see the ROI… but then I find eClincher. eClincher offers a combination of the inbox and the automation and costs only $25 a month. Win/win!
Go through your different accounts, and think about where you’re seeing a return on your investment. How much does each of these tools actually help you? If it’s not giving you the results that you want, maybe you need to try something else. Stop those payments for a while and look at a different strategy.

Think About Your Wind-Down Time

Cable TV can be another pretty big expense. How much would you save if you just used Netflix (with Apple TV for special occasions)?
Do you subscribe to any magazines or book clubs? Do you read them religiously when they come in, or do you have stacks of unbroken spines on your coffee table?

Evaluate Everyday Expenses

You should also take a look at your actual bills. Renegotiating some of these regular expenses can amount to a lot of savings.
I called my cell phone company and asked if there was any wiggle room, given that we have three lines in the house. They took $10 of each line – that’s a saving of $30 a month!
With your credit cards, you can always call and ask if they’ll reduce your interest rate, especially if you have one card at a lower interest rate.

Build Barriers

Another thing we can do, looking at your smartphones and tablets if you have them, is lock in-app purchases. I have kids with iPads now so I’ve had to make sure they can’t make in-app purchases without me. I do it on my own phone too, so I have to go into my settings and confirm the fact that I want to make an in-app purchase before I do it. The same applies to Amazon One Click Buying.
Try wiping all the saved credit card information from your computer too, to make it a little harder for you to enter your information to buy on different websites. If you really want to do it, you can just go to your wallet, take out that credit card and pay, but it makes it less of an impulse purchase, which helps.
Putting an extra step in between yourself and the checkout gives you a few seconds to decide if you really need that item.

Look at What You Have

Look through your purse, wallet or desk drawer and see if you have any gift cards. A lot of us receive gift cards for the holidays, and sometimes we forget to use them. If you don’t want to use them, re-gift them or find a site online where you can sell them.
Are you owed a refund for anything? Is there anything you were planning to return? Do it now.
People often forget about rewards points on their credit cards and store cards. Check in on those now and then, to see if you can either use them or cash them out.
You could also declutter your house. I was shocked recently by how much money I found in mine. I had a clear out and put a whole bunch of stuff on eBay. I got rid of electronics I’d upgraded, a few art books, and a pile of clothes from mine and the kids’ closets. I also sold a Twin Peak boxset that we’d never opened. Someone bought it for me right after I had the kids, but I just thought it was too creepy to watch with little ones in the house!
Sure, it took a little effort, but after shipping and fees I walked away with $1,300 – not too shabby!
If you commit to even one of these steps, you will see a difference.
Jump over to my free Facebook group, and let me know what low-hanging fruit you harvested! How much did you save?
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