Here are more ways to help you build that financial nest egg.
Last week, we offered ways to sock away money with the help of your Lumia and a couple of Windows Phone apps. Here are five more tried-and-true tips that you can use every day and two additional money-management apps for Windows Phone.
Negotiate a lower interest rate on your credit card or transfer your balance to a lower-rate card. If you have a balance on a high-interest credit card, make a plan to pay it off as quickly as possible. Next, call the credit-card company and ask for a lower rate. A big bargaining chip is to let them know that you may transfer your balance to another credit card.
Chances are good that you may get a lower rate. If that doesn’t happen, do a search on your Lumia (or ask Cortana, if she’s available in your country) for credit cards with zero or low-interest rates.
Cancel unused gym memberships. If you’re a member of a local gym/fitness center—but rarely or never darken its door—cancel your membership. You don’t have to belong to a gym to get in shape: Go for a run, cycle, and use weight-based exercises (such as push-ups, crunches, squats) for exercise.
Dress minimally. Cull your closets of clothing that you haven’t worn in the past several years and of once-trendy items now past their prime. Next, build outfits that work well together. Stick to clothing with a classic, timeless feel and that mix and match well.
Invite friends over instead of going out. Dining out is expensive—you can blow through your monthly food and entertainment budgets very quickly. Why not host a dinner-and-movie night with some friends instead?
Arrange a potluck meal—ask everyone to bring a side dish while you provide the main course—and watch a free movie checked out from your local library or a film streamed via Netflix or other entertainment provider.
5. If you’d rather get out of the house, check out free events in town or re-discover nature.
The San Francisco Bay area, where I live, is bursting with free events. That includes music concerts (jazz, pop, classical), films, plays (Shakespeare in the park, anyone?), and art walks that showcase local galleries and artists.
But you don’t have to live in a major metropolitan area to find free entertainment. Many cities and towns host events that don’t require a fee—just search “free events” along with the name of your town.
You can also make your own entertainment: eat a picnic lunch in a community park, play tennis on your town’s public tennis courts, read a book or watch a movie checked out from your local library, hike in nearby mountains or trails, or hang out at the beach.
Here are two more free Windows Phone apps that can help you manage your money
Smart Budget: I love the clean, streamlined look of this app and how it tracks my income and expenses. Features include: support for multiple accounts (credit card, savings, etc.); dynamic Live Tiles to inform you of your budget status; charts and graphs; the ability to add an expense via the “Quick Add” Live Tile; different currencies; and transaction reminders.
You can also export transactions to Excel or a CSV document and back up and restore your data on OneDrive.
Tip Tracker: If you’re a waiter, bartender, or work at another job in which customers give you tips, use this well-designed app to record and keep track of them.
The app’s features include: unlimited amount of records; performance tracking (e.g. tips per hour, average tips per day); the ability to edit and rearrange your records, and support for up to three jobs. You can also back up your data onto OneDrive.
Do you find these money-management tips and apps useful? Let us know below.