If you're like me, you're always looking for new and creative ways to pinch a penny, preferably until it squeals. With the economy continuing to founder, more of us need to make our dollars go further and work for us more efficiently.
It's really very simple, the more successful you are at cutting expenses, the more money you'll have to put in your pocket. So listen up, children, and see how you can better handle your money.
Car insurance. When I was married, we stayed with the same insurance company for twenty plus years. When I got divorced, I had to find my own insurance, and imagine my surprise when I found out I could insure my vehicle for nearly $300 less than what I had been paying! That news was good enough, but I've also discovered that it helps to shop around every six months or so. What is the cheapest right now may not be in a year from now.
Save money on gas. Sure the station on your left may be two cents cheaper than the one on the right, but hey, over time, that adds up. I'm a big believer in going where the best price is. Likewise, knock off the aggressive driving, speeding, etc, and adopt a friendlier approach. Driving slower, using cruise control, and keeping your car tuned properly can go a long way towards increasing gas mileage and getting a little more bang for the buck.
Go over your most recent cell phone bill and see what you are actually paying for. I personally thought it would be really good to have internet on my phone until I saw how limited it was and how much time I spent trying to make it work for me. Certainly not worth the extra money on the bill every month. Same goes for determining how many minutes you use every month. If you average 500 minutes, then perhaps the 1500 minutes plan isn't worth it.
On a related note, cancel your land line. In the age of cell phones this is a useless and unnecessary cost. Your cell phone can do everything your land line can do and more for about the same price. Don't throw your money away.
Unlike land lines, everybody needs internet, but take the time to shop for the best deals. You can typically save $20 or more a month by going with the right company. True, the connection may be a little slow, but in many cases, you probably won't even notice. And if you do, ask yourself if it is really worth and additional $240 a year just to get Facebook to load a half second faster?
Probably the easiest fix when it comes to money is what and where you spend on food. Too many of us like to go out and think nothing of plunking down the plastic. Unfortunately at the end of the day, that can come back to haunt us as an incredibly high credit card bill.
So, make going out to eat something special. Roll it back to once or twice a week. Look at your credit card statement and add up what you spend on restaurants. The answer may shock you.
Learn to cook. I long held the belief that I can burn water, until I started having to do for myself, and I figured out that I can in fact heat up food and serve it. It may be something as simple as frozen dinners, but you can still do it. And here's the rub, you may even find it preferable to going out, because there is always something more satisfying when you can do it yourself.
Take your lunch. Instead of getting out for an hour, I bring my lunch and eat at my desk. The result is that I spend about $40-$50 a week less and I'm able to get off an hour before everybody else. What's not to like.
You can also lose about $30 a month by conquering your addiction to caffeinated sodas. I know it's hard, but you'll feel better and you'll have a few more dollars in your pocket as a result.
Pay your bills on time, each month, every month. I know this is a given, but how many times have you let a bill lapse, only slightly, and end up paying a late fee? Late fees add up. Paying your bill on time doesn't cost you extra. Being late does.
See? You can do this. Now go therefore and save big time…