This is a question I get time and again – “How do I save money?” While how to go about saving money seems intuitive to some people, there is a large group out there that just doesn’t seem to know how. For those seeking the answer on how to save, I usually point them toward a number of the articles I have written to get them started and let them go from there. I do this because I don’t think that there is a single “correct” way to save money. I think individuals need to look at their specific circumstances and learn what motivates them. They can then use that to encourage themselves to save money. That being said, it seems many people want a step by step approach as a solution to getting their finances in order. For those seeking such an approach, I’m going to begin a Daily Financial Challenge.
For those that regularly read personal financial blogs, most of the information in this series will be fairly basic. Still, it never hurts to review and there may be a surprise now and again that will make the posts worth reading. It also should be a good reminder to review certain financial areas that tend to be forgotten over time.
Nothing I will present will be rocket science simply because when it comes to getting your finances in order, it isn’t knowing what to do that is difficult, but actually following through and doing it (and thus the importance of finding what motivates you). Hopefully splitting all these activities into daily challenges that take less than 30 minutes will make them more doable. So without further ado, challenge #1:
If you already have your credit card balance paid off then you get to skim the first week here since we’ll focus on those that have credit card debt to begin. Today’s challenge is to gather up all your credit card statements, call each credit card company and ask for a better interest rate. You may want to look through your pile of junk mail to see if you have any offers that you can use for leverage.
There is really nothing much to this. All you need to do is call and say that your interest rate is higher than you think it should be and will consider moving to another credit card if you can’t get a better rate. If you have an offer in hand of a better rate you can mention this. Be polite no matter how they answer and see what happens.
Will you get a better rate? A lot will depend on your current credit rating. If you have made all your payments then there is a better than average chance that you will while if you credit is poor then it might be tougher. If you don’t get the rate lowered, don’t worry or be disappointed as we will try this on a regular basis. The important thing is to get the courage to call and ask. It is well within your rights as a consumer to do so and every percentage point you shave off the interest rate means more money in your pocket.
That’s it for today. If you got a better rate, you saved yourself some significant money by making a few phone calls. If you didn’t (or if you’d like to get your interest rate lowered even more), your homework is to keep an eye out for junk mail offers with low rates. Either way, we will try again later in this series.
Feel free to comment on any of these challenges or ask for more information or about things you don’t fully understand.
Lastly, if you do commit to trying to do all of these daily challenges, by January next year you will have laid a solid financial foundation so that you can achieve any financial goal you want. I’m happy you’re along for the ride.
NOTE: The entire challenge series is what I would do with my money and is merely my opinion. You should do thorough research and seek professional advice and decide to do what is best for you. My Disclaimer