Congress may not be able to eliminate the pork in its spending to save money but you can. Anytime you overpay or overspend on items you either don’t need or can purchase cheaper elsewhere, you are taking away your chance for a secure future. Just because our government is in debt doesn’t mean you have to be. You can have a secure future with fewer bills and more savings by just being careful how you spend money. Here are some ways to cut out the pork and save.
Review your car and homeowner’s insurance – Compare the prices of several companies to get the best price on your insurance. In most cases, if you have all of your insurance with one company you can save money. Also, review the coverage and deductibles for each policy. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium you pay. In most cases, people who switch insurance companies can save $200 – $400 a year on premiums.
Memberships – Do you pay a monthly gym membership but rarely ever use it? What about DVD rental memberships, club memberships or sports memberships? If you are not getting any use from the memberships you are paying for you should consider canceling them. If you pay $40 a month for a gym membership you can save $480 a year by canceling it. For a DVD rental club at $9.99 per month you can save $120 a year by canceling it. If you aren’t using these memberships to their fullest you can save money by canceling them and find inexpensive alternatives for when you do want to exercise, play a sport or rent a DVD.
Magazines and Books – Reading and keeping up on all the latest trends is great but if you are buying your magazines and books at the book store or grocery store then you are paying too much. For must have magazines you cannot live without it is better to subscribe to them then to buy them monthly. The average magazine subscription for a year generally saves you 30% to 70% off of the price of the magazine. Books are also getting expensive, even in discount stores. The average paperback book today runs from $5.99 to $14.99. Instead of buying new, try borrowing from the library, starting a book club with friends and co-workers, or buying from used book stores instead. Or try the website paperbookswap.com. For only the cost of media mail postage you send out books you own to people who order them and in return you can order books for free. There are thousands of books to choose from and it cuts the cost of buying books in half.
Banking Fees – Are you still paying a monthly fee for your checking account or debit card? Most banks today waive those fees but some still charge them. If you are paying a fee, notify your bank that you would like it taken off or else you will move your accounts elsewhere. Also, do you use your debit card at machines all over town and pay ridiculous ATM fees each month? Most banks have certain ATM machines you can use for free, so try to think ahead and get the money you need before you run out and have to pay a fee. Every dollar counts when you are trying to save money instead of waste it.
Cell Phone – Are you paying for services you really don’t use like nationwide long distance, phone insurance, internet or texting? Are you paying for more minutes than you really need? Review your cell phone bill and cut out the extras you don’t use.
Credit Card Interest – Whether you have several credit cards or only one, if you are paying monthly on a balance you need to find the best interest rate you can to save money. Call your credit card company and ask for a better rate. Many companies will offer you a lower rate just to keep your business. If they do not, then consider transferring your balances onto another card that offers a better rate. You will not only save money on interest but will also be able to pay down your credit card debt faster.
Department Store Cards – If you are carrying balances on department store credit cards then you are paying too much on interest rates. Transfer your department store card balances onto one of your lower interest rate credit cards and try not to use these cards in the future. Paying 20% interest on a department store card as compared to 6% on your credit card is a waste of money that you could be saving instead.
Grocery Bill – Food prices are always fluctuating but eating at home is still a better value than eating out all the time. You just have to be a savvy shopper to save money on your grocery bill. Always check the sale flyers before shopping and plan your week’s meals around the specials. Don’t shy away from using coupons, either. Ask family and friends to save the coupon flyers in the Sunday paper for you if they don’t use them. Or try one of the many internet sites where you can print off the coupons of your choice. Even if you only save $3-$4 each week with coupons it is well worth the few minutes you spent clipping them. Think of it as free money, like someone handed you $4 every time you went to the grocery store.
Saving money can become addictive and before you know it you will find many other ways to cut out the pork in your spending. Be diligent about putting the money you save on cutting expense in a savings account instead of finding new ways to spend it. After a time you will have a growing savings account and will feel more secure no matter what the economic conditions are around you.