budget


Yes, it's hard to save money – especially when you think you've already cut the fat out of your monthly budget.

But Kiplinger's personal finance editors offer eight ways you may not have considered that can help you wring out a few more dollars to squeeze into your savings:

Negotiate your rates – If you're paying high rates on credit balances, call each of your issuers. If you have good credit, and especially if you can point to better offers you've received from other issuers, there's a good chance lenders will agree to lower your rate.

Get a credit card with rewards – If you're spending $80 a month on gas, groceries and sundries, putting it on a card with a five percent rebate will net you nearly $200 a year. Look online to find the right card for you – but pay off the balance each month.

Make media free – Cancel your subscriptions or let them expire. Dust off your library card and get movies, books and magazines for free at your local library.

Change your calling plan – Visit your provider to determine whether a cheaper plan is available based on the number of minutes you use each month and other contributing factors.

Ditch the gym – Does your community center offer workout facilities? Can you make do with old-fashioned exercise opportunities like running daily with a friend or neighbor?

Brown bag it – If you're spending $8 or more for your lunch each day, you can pretty much halve the expense by packing your own lunch. Pack yourself an occasional treat to make the sacrifice seem worth it.

Reshop your auto insurance – If it's been a while since you comparison shopped, make a few phone calls and see if you can lower your rates.

Control heating and cooling costs – If you don't already have one, spend about $50 for a programmable thermostat. It could save you 10 to 20 percent in heating and cooling bills year-round.

<a href="http://newsletter.rismedia.com/news/view/72700/">Reprinted</a> with permission from <a href="http://rismedia.com/">RISMedia</a>. ©2015. All rights reserved.