1. Compare insurance rates and cut $25 to $75 per month
A friend of mine saved $900 by comparing auto and home insurance rates. You may not be able to save quite this much, especially if you don’t drive. But you might have rental insurance. Compare rates of five companies on the insurance you do have. Choose companies that have low complaint ratios on your state’s department of insurance website. If you save just $25 per month, that’s a nice dent in your student loan payment.
2. Cut $50 from your food budget
Believe it or not, cutting $50 from your food budget may be fairly painless. Here’s a couple of ways to do it. Abandon wishful grocery shopping. Do you buy groceries in hopes that you’ll eat out less or eat more produce. Don’t. Review your own habits. You may be letting food spoil. It’s common to throw out 25% of your food budget. You’re better off eating out and taking home the leftovers for another meal. Plan based on your own lifestyle and you may save at least $50 per month.
3. Cut $25 to $75 per month from daily transportation costs
Everyone can cut some money from their daily transportation costs: gas, public transportation or cab fare. I limit myself to $30 per week on cabs but only $10 per week on subway fares. The result is I walk when I have to travel less than 2 miles. Someone who drives can carpool to save gas or combine trips.
4. Cut $20 on up from your budget by rewarding yourself only for accomplishments
I lost weight and improved my finances by rethinking how and when I reward myself. If I’m going out to a $20 dinner, it’s because I lost weight, kept to my calories or did a great job on an article. If you think about your splurges for a job well done, you’ll splurge less while enjoying each one more.
You may use one tip or several. However, the odds are, you’ll be able to find $200 extra from downsizing your budget.
Reyna Gobel is the author of CliffsNotes Graduation Debt: How to Manage Student Loans and Live Your Life, Second Edition, and student loan expert for Wisebread's New Graduate Help Center.