We talk a lot about budgeting and making frugal choices – but what happens when you do everything right and still find yourself coming up short month after month? Or maybe your day-to-day cash flow is fine, but you find yourself needing cash to do things generally deemed financially smart – things like paying an attorney to set up an estate plan or purchasing life insurance.
Sometimes when you can’t spend any less, the only way to give your budget some breathing room is to give yourself a little more cash to work with. These 5 tips will help put cash in your wallet without changing your standard of living – and you can get started on most of them with just one phone call!
Cash at Your Fingertips
- Refinance your house. If you are a homeowner with considerable equity in your home and decent credit score, refinancing could save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan and lower your monthly mortgage payment – leaving cash in your pocket. Doing this tip can be as simple as making a phone call to your current lender or using the service.
- Adjust your tax withholding. If you get an annual tax refund, lower your withholding to increase your take-home pay now. If you find yourself owing taxes come April, without the money to pay the bill, increase your withholding to save yourself the stress later. If you’re ready to do it, talk to your payroll department at work.
- Consolidate credit card debt. If you’re lucky enough to still get 0% or other low-interest balance transfer offers, consolidating credit card debt on a new card could make your monthly payment lower, allowing you to keep extra cash in your pocket for other expenses or pay down your debt faster. Just make sure to pay off the card before any promotional rates expire, and don’t use that newly freed-up credit to finance any new purchases!
- Liquidate small taxable investment accounts. Maybe you inherited a small investment account, or put a few hundred dollars into a “hot” stock once on the advice of a friend or magazine. Chances are you’re paying exorbitant fees for a broker to keep that money – and not seeing much growth if it’s a small amount in an undiversified portfolio. Call your broker or log in to your online brokerage account to liquidate the account and get the cash – investing is better done in a retirement or other tax-advantaged account. If you’ve held the investments for less than a year and they’ve increased in value, wait to sell them until you hit the one-year mark so you can pay the lower long-term capital gains tax rate!
- Increase your insurance deductibles. Increasing deductibles on your home, car, and even health insurance can lower your monthly or yearly premium. Before you do this, make sure you have the cash to pay the deductible should something happen – if you don’t have it now, maybe you can use one of the tips above to get it! To take action on this tip, call your insurance agent.
Do you have any other ways to access cash?