When you are looking for ways to trim your budget it can be difficult to know where to begin. Even if you have a well thought out spending plan finding new ways to save is essential. Doing so helps you make consistent progress toward your goals. The start of a new month is the perfect time to analyze your spending and trim some of the fat. This list is far from exhaustive but these 5 straightforward ways can help you keep more cash this March.

In this post we recommend some specific products and providers, we have not been paid to endorse any of these companies. If you choose to sign up for their service we will not receive any monetary compensation. 

Cut Your Cell Phone Bill

The death of the 2 year cell phone contract is a welcome change for most of us, because it  means we can get a much better deal on this essential need. Dozens of smaller cell phone providers have entered the market putting pressure on the big boys (Verizon, Spring, At&T T-Mobile) to bring their prices down.  Choosing a new cell phone provider, or negotiating with your current provider can be a great way to save some cash this month. Here are some of the best discount providers:

  • Republic Wireless: They offer plans with data as low as $20 per month. If you choose RW you will have to buy a new phone due to their WiFi hybrid calling model but they have lots of affordable options.
  • Boost Mobile: Boost offers an unlimited talk, text, and high speed data plan for $45 per month with auto pay.
  • Virgin Mobile: Virgin offers an unlimited talk, text, and data plan (with 5 gigs of high speed data) for $35 per month.
  • Ting Wireless: Ting has a unique pricing model, they only charge you for the minutes, text messages, and data you use. Their pay as you use model can lead to significant savings for some people, especially if you don’t use your phone very much.

If you don’t want to switch providers you can always try to negotiate a better deal with you current company. If you have paid your bills on time for as long as you’ve been with them, ask if they can do better for you as a loyal customer. They want to keep your business and if they believe you would leave they may knock some ducats off your monthly bill.

Even I’ve switched cell phone providers!

Tackle Your Credit Card Debt

The most straightforward way to save on a credit card balance is to do a balance transfer to a new card, especially one that offers a 0% interest promotion. The best offers can give you up to 21 months without interest, think of what you can do with that much time! Pay as much as you can toward that card during the promo period and you can save hundreds in interest payments. If you want to know which cards offer these promo periods, we’ve got you covered. Keep in mind that because you will be applying for a new credit card as part of this process it will have a small impact on your credit score.

You can also consider negotiating your balance with your credit card company. Call the general customer service number (usually on the back of your credit card) and ask if they can lower your interest rate or accept a lower amount as payment. Sometimes you will need to talk to a supervisor but be persistent, you can usually get what you want. This tactic may save you money but it can also dramatically impact your credit score so only utilize this option if you have no other recourse.

Open a New Savings Account

Did you know that there are banks out there that will pay you to open an account with them? In some cases you can earn as much as $350 for opening a new checking or savings account. Banks are constantly competing for new customers, and you can reap the benefits of that competition. Here are the best current offers out there.

  • Chase-new customers can get up to $350 if they open a new checking and savings account and complete qualifying activities.
  • Citibank-new checking and savings account customers can earn up to $300 if they open a new account package and meet minimum requirements.
  • SunTrust Bank-new checking and savings account customers can earn $100, $200, or $300 depending upon which new checking account they open.

You can also call your current bank to see if they are doing any customer retention promotions, a simple phone call may lead to more money in your checking or savings account.

Cook All Your Meals at Home

Cooking at home is not only a money saver, but it is also better for your health and well being. If you are living in one of our crashpads you have access to a great kitchen. Why not coordinate with your roommates to share expenses for meals? If you aren’t living in one of our crashpads (check them out on our homepage) commit to only eating at home this month. Every meal you eat out costs $13 on average, versus $4 if you cook for yourself. You bottom line and your waist line will benefit form home cooked meals.

Do a “Buy Nothing” Challenge

This tactic may be the most unusual but effective of this list. What if you tried to buy nothing extra in the month of March? If you purchased only essentials (food, toiletries, gas, etc.) how much would you have left over to pump your savings account? Likely a whole lot! Self sacrifice can be painful but learning to live lean in your spending can have tremendous benefits for your bottom line.

Any other suggestions for how to save money this month? Have you tried anything on this list, how did it work for you?