Richard Chew – Financial Lifestyle Expert and Principal of 1st Capital Wealth Management

Inflation Busters: 10 Tools To Help Manage Your Budget:

1) Upgrade Your Cash Back Card.

You can do better than 1 percent on purchases. Look for one that does not have an annual fee and that gives additional cash back on the categories in which you frequently shop and that has a sign-up bonus. It’s not uncommon to get 3 percent back or more on some categories.

2) Request a Lower Credit Card Interest Rate.

Call your credit card issuer and ask for a lower rate. According to a recent survey we reviewed, 76% of cardholders who did so were successful. The average rate reduction was 6.3 percentage points.

3) Ask For a Late-Fee Reversal.

The same survey found that most credit card holders proved successful when they requested the fee for paying late be waived. So, you should ask…any savings is a savings. Especially, when late fees typically run $30-$40.

4) Transfer Your Credit Card Balance.

The typical balance transfer credit card offers 12-15 months without interest, and some cards have balance transfer periods up to 21 months. That can be a huge savings with interest rates rising to an average of more than 20 percent for cardholders.

5) Don’t’ Rule Out First-Time Homebuyer Programs.

Some affordable mortgage programs have a broad definition of “first-time homebuyers”. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans for first-time homebuyers are available to anyone who has not owed a primary residence for three years.

6) See If Your Employer Offers A Pet Insurance Plan.

I know it sounds strange, but a growing number of companies provide pet insurance as an employee benefit. This may be a more affordable option than purchasing it on your own, since employers typically get a group discount on benefits for their company/employees.

7) Use Free Money Review Tools.

Some banks and credit card issuers provide free tools that let you generate reports on personal spending. Running a report once or twice a year may surface insights into your biggest spending Lifestyle categories and highlight areas where you might be able to cut back.

8) Take Advantage of Workplace Wellness.

Many employers have been rolling out new benefits for everything from creating a financial plan to paying down student loans. Check any offerings in your employee benefits manual or company portal.

9) Trim Your Withholdings.

Getting a tax refund means you’ve let the government hold on to your money for free, some of it for more than a year. Better to withhold less, invest the extra cash that’s in your paycheck, and pay a small amount come tax-filing season. (Not giving specific tax advice, suggesting this as a consideration).

10)   Online Discounts Are a Goldmine.

Have your computer search for savings to enhance your Financial Lifestyle. Free browser extensions such as PayPal Honey, Retail-MeNot, Deal Finder and Slick deals can find and apply coupon codes at checkout.