Whether you’re goal is to pay off debt, beef up your emergency fund or cross some other hurdle in your financial journey, nothing speeds up the process quicker than an increased cash flow. You can only increase your cash flow in two ways: spend less or earn more. Below are some ideas that I’ve personally implemented to get started. They’ve worked for me, and hopefully they’ll work for you!
1. Review your insurance policies. Are you paying for more coverage than you need? Are you missing out on any discounts (military, organizations, etc)? How much would you save on your car insurance by raising your deductible? (Note: I don’t recommend raising the deductible unless you have funds in place to cover the cost should something happen). Are you paying for more life insurance than you need? Again, I am not recommending that you haphazardly slash all your insurance policies, but I am suggesting you take a look at them and make sure you are paying for what you need…no more, no less.
My story: I was constantly being charged overage fees on my cell phone. These quickly racked up to $200-$300…after the second month of these astronomical bills, I increased my monthly payment by $20 for the unlimited minutes plan. When my contract expired I switched to another service provider with an unlimited voice & data plan. Savings: $30/mo from the previous unlimited plan
2. Lowering your cable bill can significantly increase your cash flow. So you’ll miss a few shows…motivate yourself by thinking about your long term goals. Do your homework and get ready to make some changes. Before calling your current provider, find out if there is a competing service offered in your neighborhood (satellite, cable, etc). Ask about their prices and if they have promotions for new members. Armed with this information, call your current provider, tell them you want to lower or cancel your service. Often times they will make concessions to keep you as a customer. They may offer you a promotional rate for 3-9 months. At this point it is up to you rather you want to keep your service and take a lower rate, temporarily increasing your cash flow, cancel the service altogether, or switch to another provider.
My story: I opted to completely turn off my cable. I realized most of the shows I watch either come on broadcast stations or I can watch on the Internet. I was offered some very tempting deals to keep my service, but in the end I decided to cancel anyway. Savings: $60/mo
3. Sell it on Ebay! Do a full inventory of your possessions. What do you own that you can sell? I’ve successfully sold used military uniforms, computer parts, martial arts equipment, and instruments on Ebay. Do you have slightly used clothing? Shoes? Purses? Try selling them as a whole lot. Some items ship & sell better than others, so do some research to make sure what you’re selling is worth the effort.
My story: I was sold 2 whole life policies (yes 2!!!)….after much research I surrendered both of them after 4 years and took the cash value. For my current situation, term or no life insurance makes the most sense as I don’t have any dependents. Savings: $50/mo plus one time cash value of the surrendered whole life policies
4. Cell phone plans: If you are reading this, chances are you are in the 82.4% of Americans that own a cell phone category. Review your usage for the last couple months. If you are consistently under your quota, consider switching to another plan to save money. Also research smaller providers (Cricket, Metro) to see if they have lower monthly plans. With cell phone companies competing for our business, it is a buyer’s market. Most companies offer unlimited nights & weekends, free incoming calls, and mobile to mobile. Review your calling patterns and figure out what works for you. Do you talk to the same people all the time? Perhaps T-mobile’s myFave network would suit your calling pattern. Alternatively, if you find yourself consistently going over on your usage, you’ll either need to change your talk habits or spend more now to save later.
My story: I made over $75 on Ebay selling martial arts & electronic equipment I have not used in years. As of the date of this writing I have pulled approx 10 more items that I will be listing for sell that will probably generate another $200 – $300.
What about you?
There are many more ways to increase cash flow than what is listed here. Have you used any of the methods listed above? Perhaps you have more ideas? I’d love to hear your success stories and ideas in the comments below!