Although it can take time and effort, cutting your expenses doesn’t have to be painful; nor does it necessarily mean giving up little luxuries to which you’ve become accustomed. Sometimes it’s just a matter of finding a less expensive alternative. And certainly you don’t want to spend hours of your time to save only $3.00 per month. So here is a list of 10 ideas which can easily be implemented and offer a decent money-saving reward.
The trick is to pick one or two strategies to implement right away. Then, a month later, do a few more. And then a few more later on. If you have a family, get everyone’s support and involvement by explaining the benefits and long-term rewards of cutting back on expenses.
Coupons. Using coupons at the grocery store is a fun and easy way to immediately slash your grocery bill.
- Landline. If you still have a landline, consider getting rid of it. If you’ve been hesitant to take that jump because of spotty cell phone reception at home, instead, consider an internet based phone service such as Google Voice, Skype, or magicJack.
- Cell phone. If you have multiple cell phones, switch to a cost-saving family plan. If you have only one cell phone, see if you can find someone, a friend or family member who is willing to add you to their family plan. If that’s not an option, go the prepaid route. Most prepaid plans offer the exact same services as regular service plans, but offer a significant discount for paying in advance.
- Public transportation. Take public transportation instead of driving a car. You’ll save money on gasoline, automobile insurance, and that associated with the wear and tear on your car. And as a passenger, you’ll have time to read a good book, return phone calls, or otherwise get a jump start on your work day. If public transportation is not an option, consider car pooling. And if you´re in a city, consider walking!
- Cable TV. Get rid of cable tv. If you have children, or are otherwise glued to your favorite shows every night, this may be too drastic. If, on the other hand, you only watch an occasional show or movie, consider replacing your cable with a service like Netflix or Hulu. Both of these services, and others, provide subscribers with many popular tv shows and movies for a fraction of the cost of cable tv.
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- Mortgage. Refinance your mortgage to a lower rate. While you’re at it, see if your lender will lend you extra to pay off any credit card balances you may have. If they won’t, consider transferring the credit card balance to one with a lower rate. But before you do, let your credit card issuer know you are going to transfer the balance, and ask them if they will match the other issuer’s lower rate. Many issuers will gladly do it in order to preserve your business.
- Insurance. If your auto, home, and other insurances are issued by different companies, consider consolidating them under one roof. Most insurance companies offer a multi-policy discount which can be fairly significant. The same goes for your life insurance. Each life insurance policy has it’s own policy fee. By consolidating your three $100,000 policies into one $300,000 policy, you could eliminate costly fees. If you don’t have the time to comparison shop, use an agent (preferably one who has access to multiple insurance companies) who will do the work for you.
- Utilities. Be more conscientious with utilities around the house. Some appliances (i.e. ovens and window mounted air conditioners), even when not in use, draw electricity. So unplug them, or turn them off at the circuit breaker, when not in use. Make sure your faucets are not dripping and your toilets have good seals. Don’t leave ceiling fans running when you´re not in the room. Use timers for lights instead of leaving them on. unnecessarily.
- Dining. Limit your dining out; and when you do, look for specials. If you have children, eat where “kids eat free”. Most restaurants have promotions on their slow nights. Drinking water instead of soda will increase your savings (not to mention the health benefits).
- Library. Use the library. Most libraries these days offer a host of free services: Internet, educational software, DVDs for movies and television series, traditional books and e-books which you can download to your computer or e-reader. Why pay for something when you can get it for free?