Whether you are just exploring dfree® or seeking to get to the next level, dfree® volunteers have compiled valuable tips
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Negotiate to eliminate current debt. Call your creditors and lenders and create opportunities to pay off less debt sooner.
Learn about the tax code, particularly deductions. You may not be claiming money to which you are entitled or you may be paying too much in taxes by doing things such as not claiming the right number of tax exemptions.
Speak up for yourself and make a habit of asking what discounts are available. Many retailers and service providers have discounts that are not disclosed unless you ask.
When making job changes, learn how to negotiate aggressively upfront – when the employer is most likely to give you the best deal. When you know you are a valued employee, don’t be afraid to renegotiate your salary and benefits — if you are willing to change jobs if the employer does not value you appropriately.
Get in the habit of seeking out and acting on information that helps you save money, such as mortgage or loan refinancing. Make sure you read fine print and can spot “bait and switch” scams.
Never feel pressured to make money decisions immediately. If a store, a lender or an investor is pressuring you to make a quick decision, that may be a strong indication that the deal is not in your financial favor.
Create a relationship with a local bank and frequent it enough to take advantage of the free advice bankers offer on financial matters.
Start thinking about your retirement and the lifestyle you’ll want when you are older. What do you have to do today to create the future you want?
Make a list of your values. Examine if your lifestyle habits are in line with those values.
When making a major purchase, such as a car, consider first if you can buy a used item instead of a new one.
Become a consumer by establishing a habit of doing basic research before buying things so you can better understand the value, the expected shelf-life and the use.
Buck the social pressure for immediate gratification by purposely delaying discretionary spending. You can even make a game of it – try going 30 days with no discretionary purchases, then 45 days, etc.
Stop buying expensive gifts if they are not in your budget or if you are doing it for reasons such as to impress people. “It’s the thought that counts” is often true and many people appreciate home-made, original or thoughtful gifts more than pricey ones.
Reconsider your living arrangements to save money. If you are single, can you get a roommate? If you are renting, might you pay less on a mortgage? Can you do with less space? Can you find a nice place in a cheaper town?
Make a habit of reviewing your monthly bills to ensure you’ve been charged properly. Look for areas where you may find savings, such as cutting down on gas or electric use.
If you have children, consider changes that could save you money such as moving to a town with excellent public schools or having a live-in family member to provide daycare.
Become more actively involved in your church. Many churches offer financial opportunities, such as scholarships, or other opportunities, such as references or dfree financial freedom programs, that help with financial undertakings.