It’s a cycle that many people are familiar with: You just got paid, but after spending some cash over the weekend you’re suddenly broke again. Where does all your money go?
Find out exactly how your money is being spent with a personal spending audit. It’s not as boring as it sounds — and you could find some extra cash to put towards your student loans, savings, or maybe even something fun.
How to find extra money in your budget
1. Schedule an audit date
Take yourself out on a money date: Schedule a day and time to sit down with a cup of coffee (or glass of wine) and get this audit going. The goal is to make the process as enjoyable as possible.
In preparation for the audit, gather all your financial statements, including those for your bank accounts, credit cards, student loans, car loans, and any investments you have. Open a spreadsheet or grab old-fashioned pen and paper, and list out the balances in all your accounts.
2. Review your spending habits
Now that you have all your financial information in one place, look at each transaction that has gone through your bank account and credit cards in the last month.
How often do you purchase a cup of coffee? Have you worn all the clothes and shoes you bought recently? Did you need to buy all of those books?
Review your spending habits and go through each item line-by-line. Ask yourself how much you really needed each item. You might start to feel a bit of buyer’s remorse, but this can be channeled into a good thing.
The goal is to spend money on items you love without guilt, but avoid mindless shopping that doesn’t add value to your life. A personal spending audit will help you achieve this goal.
3. Manage your money for free
If you’re not already using a free budgeting app to help manage your money, now is the time to sign up with one. You’ll be able to monitor your transactions every day, evaluate your spending categories, and look for places you may be overspending.
A free money management app will make your monthly budget meetings go a lot quicker, and you’ll be able to see your finances on the go with mobile apps.
All of this will help you create long-term spending habits that are aligned with your values, so you don’t get to payday and end up broke again.
4. Find ways to cut expenses
What are you paying for that you could do without? Do a thorough audit of your expenses and look for alternative ways to find extra money.
Go back through your bank accounts for the past 90 days and review all your expenses, such as magazine subscriptions, cable TV, cell phone costs, and other bills. Are you being charged for added expenses you didn’t sign up for don’t use regularly?
Spend some time researching lower car insurance options. Call your student loan servicer and ask how you can reduce your interest rate, or if you qualify for any payment reductions. Don’t just try to cut back daily spending — look for other ways to reduce your expenses overall.
You may not have to sacrifice your Friday night happy hour if you’re able to negotiate lower payments on some of your bills.
5. Start a regular savings routine
A savings account can be a lifesaver for all kinds of emergencies and financial hardships. You won’t know how badly you need one until it’s too late.
Get started now with a regular savings routine. Even saving just $5 or $10 per week is better than nothing. As your savings habit becomes more solidified, you’ll be able to increase your contributions until you’re socking away a good amount of money regularly.
If you find that you’re more of a spender than a saver, you may need some extra help. Consider using a micro-savings app like Digit, or separating your money out into different savings buckets with SmartyPig. These apps can help you save money, even when you’ve tried and failed to do so on your own.
If you’re trying to find extra money, doing a quick audit of your finances and spending habits will help. Think about it — no more feeling out of control or wondering where your paycheck went.
These tips will help you take a good look at exactly how you’re spending your money so you can pinpoint holes in your strategy. Use the extra cash to put toward student loan repayment and other financial goals, and invest in your future. Give it time and you’ll start seeing positive financial results.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.49% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 17, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/17/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.48% effective April 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.49% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 6.65%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.41%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.11%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.98% – 9.72%6||Undergrad & Graduate|