How I Saved $2,900 by Taking a Day Off

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If someone told you that you could save thousands of dollars in just one day, you likely would think they were a scammer with a get-rich-quick scheme.

With a few phone calls, a little research, and an organized game plan, however, you could clean up your finances and be on your way to saving some major cash. All you need is one day off from work.

Taking a ‘money holiday’

Managing your money can be difficult and time-consuming. Besides the day-to-day tasks such as tracking your budget and balancing your checkbook, there are bigger concerns you need to deal with. You might have to find a new insurance provider, cancel subscriptions, or make updates to your accounts.

However, between work, family, and other obligations, finding the time to work on those things can seem unrealistic. You end up putting off those tasks, sometimes for months.

I found myself procrastinating on things I needed to do. After work, the last thing I wanted to do was hop on the phone with customer service lines or submit paperwork. But my laziness was costing me money, so I decided to make money management a priority.

Now, I take one vacation day a year that is exclusively dedicated to financial matters. I use that day to knock out all of the tasks I’ve been putting off. By putting my “money holiday” in place, I regularly earn $1,500 or more — last year, I saved $2,940 by making time to manage my finances.

For my money holiday, I focus on these seven things.

1. Rent

Rent is by far my largest expense. Every year, I schedule my money day about 90 days before my lease is up so I can review the renewal notice and see what the new rent will be. Last year, my landlord notified me that my rent would be increasing by $250 a month.

A lot of people grumble about rent increases, but you have the power to negotiate your lease terms. My husband and I have always been good tenants; we’re quiet, we pay our rent early, and we take care of our apartment. Replacing tenants like us can be expensive, so I’ve found that landlords are usually happy to work with us.

I email the landlord and explain that I’m not happy with the increase, highlight how we’ve been such easy tenants, and propose a new price. Most recently, I talked my landlord down from $250 to a $100 monthly increase. Taking 10 to 15 minutes to send that email saved me $1,800 this year.

If your landlord won’t budge on price, see if signing a longer-term lease — such as 18 or 24 months — would result in a discount. If you have the means, you could even offer to prepay rent for several months in exchange for a price cut.

2. Cell phone plan

I’ve had the same cell phone provider since I was 15 years old (thanks, T-Mobile!). But every year, I spend about 30 minutes on the phone with their customer service to negotiate my monthly bill.

Before calling, I research what my current plan would cost with other services like AT&T or Verizon. Usually, I find that switching providers would save me about $10 a month. I take screenshots of those deals before calling my provider’s customer service.

On the phone, I explain that I’ve been a loyal customer but that cost is important to me. I mention that I looked up other providers’ deals, and offer to email them to the representative. At that point, the representative usually transfers me to a manager. I go through the same spiel again, and the manager agrees to reduce my bill to match the other providers’ offers.

It’s a tedious process, but using the phone to negotiate my bill saves me $120 a year.

3. Car insurance

While it’s a good idea to shop around for a car insurance policy, I start by reviewing my current policy and seeing if I need any changes. Now that I work from home, for example, I drive much less. By reducing the mileage on my policy, I can save about $8 a month.

I also review my coverage. If my car has depreciated significantly, I might need a smaller collision policy. And, because I’ve built up my emergency fund, I can get away with a higher deductible. By making those changes, I can save an additional $10 a month.

Once I know how much coverage I need and what deductible I’m comfortable with, I compare car insurance policies from several different companies. Just like my cell phone plan, I use my research to find a cheaper deal. Then, I call my agent and see if they can match it or reduce my price.

Altogether, I save about $20 a month on car insurance, adding up to an extra $240 in my pocket over a year.

4. Unclaimed money

You might be surprised to hear that there could be money waiting for you to claim it, but it’s true. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators says over $3.2 billion was returned to individuals in 2015 alone.

Old savings accounts, insurance premiums, and other payments can sit unclaimed for years, but you can get government or state agencies to return it to you.

On my money holiday, I search for unclaimed cash or property using sites like Unclaimed.org and MissingMoney.com. You just enter your name and the state you live in now (or where you lived previously), and the site will tell you if there is unclaimed property waiting for you.

Last year, I found out that I had unclaimed dollars from insurance premiums I paid while I was living in another state. By searching and taking five minutes to complete and mail the claim form, I received a check for $250.

5. Bank and credit card statements

It’s a good idea to check your statements regularly, but on my money day I study every statement for the whole year, line by line. Although I do look for inaccuracies or fraudulent charges, I really focus on little subscriptions or plans I signed up for but no longer use.

Whether you signed up for a gym membership and never went or you subscribed to multiple streaming services, those small charges add up.

When I went through my statements, I found two old subscriptions for writing apps that I no longer found useful. I canceled them and saved $15 a month.

6. Unused items

The average household has about $2,500 in unused items in their home, according to iSold It.

Although my husband and I don’t have that much, we do have unnecessary clutter. We keep a box in the closet to stash unused items in, such as clothes we’re sick of, knick-knacks we no longer like, or kitchen supplies we replaced. That box usually sits there untouched — until my money holiday.

On my day off, I take pictures of each item, research their value, and list them for sale on eBay. I package each item so that when it sells, I just print a label and drop them off at the post office.

By following that process, I sold $190 worth of clothes last year.

7. Taxes

When I first started freelancing, I wasn’t sure how to handle my taxes. I was terrified of an audit, so I didn’t deduct any of my business expenses or charitable donations. Big mistake. I could have deducted hundreds from my taxable income.

After I learned my lesson, I started a new process. I have a file organizer and several labeled folders for each tax category, such as income, business expenses, donations, and other deductions. On my money day, I go through online order confirmations or monthly subscriptions to collect all of my relevant receipts.

I print each one off and file them away accordingly; I prefer having hard copies so I can access them easily while I’m doing my taxes. By devoting a chunk of time to getting organized, my taxes are easier to complete and I get the full tax deduction I’m entitled to.

Because those deductions add up, I saved an extra $160 on my taxes by just going through receipts and emails.

Saving thousands in a single day

Those are the seven things I focus on during my money holiday, but your priorities might be different.

You could update your budget, negotiate with a credit card company for a lower interest rate, or research high-yield savings accounts. Whatever tasks you’ve been meaning to do but keep putting off, tackle them head on — your bank account will thank you.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
1.99% – 5.64%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.89% – 5.90%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.25% – 6.09%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.89% – 6.77%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

2.39% – 6.01%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

1.99% – 5.41%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

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 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% 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 July 31, 2020, 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 7/31/2020. 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 protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2020 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.


2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

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.

As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.

Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.

Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.

KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

This information is current as of September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
 


3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 2.99% APR to 6.09% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.09% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.25% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.18% plus 2.32% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. 

4 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.

The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 10, 2020.


5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. 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 0.16% effective August 10, 2020.

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.