Four dollars per gallon gasoline is making a mess of many home budgets as is higher food costs, mortgage payments, and other consumer goods. The average American is feeling the sting of diminished earnings, putting a real crimp on savings.
One of the last things you want to do when life is tough is to cut back on savings. That extra money can pay for future emergencies, help fund your retirement, and cover vacation, home improvement, and other anticipated expenses.
But, saving money when your disposable income has shrunk seems virtually impossible to do. Or is it? Can there be a way to set aside money even when the cost of living continues to rise? Let’s take a look at some common sense ways you can lower your bills and still have more money left over to save.
Food — Milk, bread, bananas, you name it has been going up in price, much fast than the inflation rate. Transporting food from warehouse to store has gotten costlier and those costs are being passed on to you. Wherever possible, clip coupons to save on your favorite foods while switching to generic or less known brands when you can. Shop the warehouse clubs and you could save 10-30% off of your food order.
Insurance — If you combine your homeowners insurance with your auto insurance, then you should receive a ten percent discount on your bill. Shop around too and take a good look at your 2001 model year car with high miles — it could be time to drop collision coverage.
Debt — Pull out your credit card statements and examine which ones have jacked up their interest rate recently. If you are carrying balances on high interest rate credit cards, then transfer those balances over to a lower rate card. Many card providers are still offering 0% interest on balance transfers with some waiving transfer fees too.
Cable and Phone — If you haven’t combined your phone and cable service yet, consider doing so at once. Get an internet connection, cable service, and local and long distance coverage for a flat monthly rate. You should be able to save 10-50% by combining your bills to one service provider.
Electric and Gas — If you have central heating and air, keep the indoor temperature at 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter. Supplement cooling and heating with ceiling fans, reversing oscillation for the proper season.
Dental and Health Care — If you are covered through your employer, then medical costs are a known quantity. Still, you can reduce your expenses by using “in network” doctors and labs, get your prescriptions filled at WalMart or a similar store offering cut rate medication services. If you need insurance on your own, shop through a cooperative to get the lowest rates.
Miscellaneous Expenses — Perhaps the greatest savings can come through the elimination or curtailing of various vices. Quit smoking, stop drinking, avoid gambling (including the lottery!), and take a hard look at your entertainment expenses. Take in a matinee instead of a night movie; eat out less each month.
Finally, with all of the money you save you can start setting aside some cash for savings. Maximize your employer’s 401(k) plan and set up automated savings through an online bank such as ING Direct to withdraw money on a regular basis from your checking account to a savings account.
The national economy will eventually improve, but you don’t have to let your personal economy take a hit while you wait for that to happen.
Helpful article? Leave us a quick comment below.
And please give this article a rating and/or share it within your social networks.