In my husband’s research of ways to maximize our income he learned about a few lesser known ways to make your money work for you. Here are six money moves you need to make to make your money work harder!
- Utilize your Flex Spending and Health Savings Accounts. These are often offered through your company are are a way to set aside PRE-tax income to help pay for a variety of things including daycare and preschool, copays, eye glasses, even Botox! Using these accounts keeps you from being taxed double (your income tax AND sales tax). ***In our case we pay our daughter’s preschool tuition, and then receive the reimbursement from our FSA. Usually by the time we receive the reimbursement we have already absorbed the cost so that money goes right back into our savings. So in a way this is another way of saving for us.
- Never pay for credit cards or bank accounts. Forget those cards with annual fees, or banks that require you to pay for a membership or yearly fee. While there are some exceptions to this rule (see #4), in general there is no reason to pay for these services when there are so many free options available.
- Nix the loyalty to one bank. Banks are much different than they used to be. Unless you have some sort of relational allegiance to a bank (like your husband works there), you should be continually shopping around for the highest interest rate. Because of inflation, your money loses value over time if it is just sitting under your mattress. In the same way, although no bank is currently offering an interest rate that is keeping up with inflation, letting your money sit in a bank with a lower than market rate interest rate means you are losing money even if your account balance remains the same. ***We have changed the bank we use for our primary savings account three times in the past 5 years!
- Employ a credit card strategy that works with your spending habits. While we don’t encourage having a ton of credit cards, and only used a single credit card for years, we have now learned that researching to various benefits of different cards and utilizing them in a way that works best with your spending habits can mean greater cash back. ***We use one main card for the bulk of our purchases, but put all of our grocery and gas expenses on a different card that has a higher cash back percentage for those specific categories. Groceries make up a huge part of our monthly expenditures, so doing this allows us to make the most money back off of our purchases. This is the one exception we make on paying for a credit card. We pay an annual fee for our Amex, but we make that money back and much more because of the high percentage of cash back we receive on our grocery purchases.
- Assess what you can cut. Those monthly subscriptions add up. Some people say millionaires are made $10 at a time, and this is exactly what they are talking about. Use a website like these that will show you all the things you are paying monthly subscriptions to and narrow down to what is truly necessary. If you can, share some of the expense with family. ***We share things like streaming and shopping subscriptions with our family so the annual fees are shared.
- Learn about taxes and tax deductions. There are a vast amount of tax deductions available that you may not know about. They are there for a reason, and they can save you tons of money in taxes each year! Reducing your taxes is one of the biggest ways you can maximize your income!