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Here are five easy, lightning-fast things you can do right fucking now to help your financial situation. DO THEM.

5 Easy Things You Can Do Right Fucking Now to Help Your Finances

When you wake up from the capitalist, consumerist nightmare that is our socioeconomic system (#SJW #eattherich), the thought of getting your financial shit together can be daunting. Where do you begin? What can you do right away to make an improvement in your financial prospects? How do you avoid fucking everything up even further?

It can all be a bit overwhelming.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Here are five easy, lightning-fast things you can do right fucking now to help your financial situation. Do them.

Increase your line of credit

One easy way to improve your credit score is to widen the ratio of available to used credit. In other words: call your credit card company and ask them to increase your credit limit.

We wrote about this in great detail here:

I asked my credit card company to increase my limit today and it took fewer than three minutes. And they have an instant messenger app, so I did it while I was on a conference call for work. Multi-tasking FTW.

I chose my oldest card, the one that I really only use for one bill. And they practically doubled my limit: from $5,999 to $11,000.

This is a good way of improving your credit score because it doesn’t involve applying for new credit. Applying for new credit (taking out a loan or getting a new credit card) would trigger a check of your credit report. Too much of that and your score gets dinged.

Get a library card

It should be pretty clear by now that Kitty and I love the fucking library. Exhibits A and B:

I feel like I shouldn’t have to continue extolling the virtues of the public library yet HERE WE ARE.

If money is tight, you can replace virtually all of your entertainment expenses with a free library card. That’s not hyperbole.

No money for Netflix, Hulu, or Spotify? Borrow free DVDs and CDs from the library. No money for the museum or art gallery? Your library will let you borrow free passes to a number of cultural enclaves. No money for wifi at home nor an expensive latte at the coffee shop so you can use their wifi while applying for jobs? The library will let you use their wifi for free. No money for seeing performances? The library hosts visiting writers and academics in their lecture series.

I don’t think I even need to mention borrowing free books.

Set up an automatic savings deposit

Saving money can feel impossible if you’re living paycheck to paycheck. One way to ease into the practice is to start small and build a habit.

Set up a regularly scheduled automatic deposit to a savings account. Even if it’s just $1 a week, it’ll make a difference. Eventually you can increase that number, but for now the important thing is to make it a regular habit.

And if you use a high yield savings account, that little trickle of automatic deposits will gain some healthy interest on the side.

Online banking—or even just banking with a brick-and-mortar establishment with a solid website—makes setting up automatic deposits easy and fast. Set it, forget it, proceed with being your bad-ass self on the daily.

Turn down the heat

Yo, heat’s expensive. But fortunately, you can control it.

One way to save money on heating is to turn down the dial on your water heater. You probably don’t want your showers to be painfully scalding anyway, so turning the heat down a skotch isn’t going to hurt you. You might not even notice the difference.

If you have the soul of a cranky New England dad, you can also turn down the thermostat. But if like Kitty you have the body type and constitution of a miniature Italian greyhound, you can turn the thermostat down at night while you’re in bed swaddled in layers of down and flannel. Then turn it back up slightly when you’re up and about.

Renegotiate your services

Any company that provides you with a service—be it home security, cable, cell phone, or wifi—has a very sneaky and evil model for making money. They get you in at a reasonable rate, and then they quietly inform you a year or so later that your rate is increasing.

When this inevitably happens, you have two choices:

You can calmly accept the shitty deal they’re offering you.

Or you can fight back.

You always have the option to call your service providers and ask for a better rate. Our Internet little sister Tori over at Victori Media has a great script for calling your service providers and renegotiating. Follow this plan to glory!

So how about it, Bitch Nation? What are some super fast and simple ways you’ve improved your finances recently? Go ahead and share it with the whole class!

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16 thoughts to “5 Easy Things You Can Do Right Fucking Now to Help Your Finances”

  1. Always renegotiate! Customer royalty is the only way to flex any effective power to those evil giants. And it’s not that awkward, the reps doesn’t care (they work for the giant, not care about them) and they’ve dealt with it thousands of time.

    1. YASS. I remember the first time I tried it and they were like “Yeah ok sure.” Really? I don’t even have to fight about it? Why doesn’t everybody try this?!

  2. — My Husband and I refuse to get credit cards. What we did do, though, was go to a credit union and apply for a 2k loan. Once that was paid off, we applied for a 5k loan to renovate our house. We then used the credit we’d built up to purchase a car- which I used my sneaky ass “I’m a prim and proper tiny lady” negotiating skills to get us a good deal + a trade in on. Setting up auto pay on that directly from our savings account made our credit skyrocket after the first year. Now we’re able to refinance it for an even lower price, while our credit keeps climbing.

    — The first thing I did when we moved into our new house was turn the thermostat on the water heater down to the “on vacation” setting; it’s a one person household and we rarely use enough hot water to empty the tank in one go at any given time, so we’ve literally never noticed a difference…. Not unless one of us takes a shower too soon after the other one (which is a rare occurrence, since I like to shower while he’s at work because I do all sorts of fancy pants pampering shit.

    — Every time my internet company increases my price above what I expect, I always call in an ask to cancel the one useless service I don’t use (but which having ultimately gets me a lower price): My home VOIP service. Rather than have me get rid of it, they almost always miraculously manage to pull “a special deal” out of their back pocket, which always inevitably takes my price down for the next year. Wash, rinse, repeat for five minutes once yearly.

    It really does get you results… But I always thought it was common sense. Either that, or my mother actually did manage to teach me something worthwhile for once XD

      1. It’s better than the credit card alternative, IMO; it’s too easy to wrack up additional debt and get carried away with those. Especially if you’re not money saavy or are terrible with impulse buys…. Go into a Credit Union and tell them you want to build your credit, then take out a small, fixed rate, loan with a 14+ month payback time (since loans have to be on your account for 14 months or longer before they’ll count towards your credit)- and never take out more than one loan at a time, if you can help it- though? You’ll always know exactly where you stand and exactly how much you’ll pay off, when, and for how long.

  3. Great post! I channeled my inner bitch and WALKED (I never walk, where is my frugal award?) to open a library card on my lunch break today. I felt like Jack Skellington. “WHATS THIS? THERES FREE STUFF EVERYWHERE!”

    So glad I had you guys to remind me of how awesome the library is, definitely the best underrated hero of the frugal life.

  4. Somehow I forgot about the library for like 15 years. That used to be my spot when I was a kid. And I have access to one of the best library systems in the world in NYC…

    Anyway, now I use Overdrive to listen to FREE audiobooks all the time! Super exciting.

  5. The final one has been a gamechanger for us. We negotiate our internet bill once a year, and used to do the same with our DirecTV (back when we had it), AT&T bill (before we switched to Airvoice).

    The savings you get on recurring costs though keep on earning you savings. Way more impact that one time cost avoidance.

  6. This made me think “I wonder if my library has the Game of Thrones DVDs”, and it does, and now I am going to be poor because I need to quit my job and watch all of it.

    Otherwise, this would be great advice for saving money.

    Also, Peter Dinklage is awesome.

    1. I went to the exact same mental place on this, which is pretty funny! GoT for the win!

      I’ve been doing a shitty job of contributing to the retirement funds. Something always comes up. So, I’m going to go right now and set up an auto deposit for every payday.

  7. I use mystery shopping to cover a good chunk of my dining out and entertainment spending. I realized that I’m not going to stop eating out so I just found a way (other than dating) to get someone else to pay for it.

  8. Hi Kishore: In point 12 when I mentioned renegotiating expenses, I was referring to vendors. Like the example of the landscaper. I hope I answered your question. Let me know if I misunderstood. Thanks you!

  9. I wrote most of my second book at the main library in Anchorage, Alaska. There’s a no-phone zone with a long counter and a bunch of plug-ins — and NO DISTRACTIONS like there are at home. My reward for getting lots done: I get to take home a book*.

    Here’s another thing you can do RFN: Complain, politely, about things that go wrong. I’ve had several instances of this lately, all of which came out in my favor. One instance took about five rounds of back-and-forth e-mails, but since it resulted in a $79 refund I considered it worth the effort. (Hey, I’m a *small* business.)

    And another RFN thing: Use what I call the “frugal filter” before buying stuff. Specifically, ask yourself these questions:

    –Do I really need it?
    –Do I already have something that might suffice?
    –If I really do need it, is there a way to get it cheaply (thrift store, yard sale) or even for free (Freecycle, borrowing from a friend)?
    –If it’s not available the cheap/free way, how else can I bring the price down? (Possibilities: Social buying vouchers, flash sales, using an online price comparison tool like PriceGrabber.com, cashing in rewards points, ordering through a cash-back shopping site like Mr. Rebates or Dollar Dig, paying with a discounted gift card.)

    The frugal filter very quickly becomes automatic. And while it doesn’t mean you’ll never buy anything again, it can certainly help you to see your spending in a different light.

    *Or five.

  10. My credit card company told me a limit increase does trigger a hard credit check, which is still probably worth it but worth noting. Is this a standard regulation or does it vary between credit card companies?

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