With the US Economy getting more gloomily with each passing day, consumers may need to find innovative ways to cut back on some big expenses. Below I have compiled some cutback ideas that provide the biggest bang for the buck.
AUTO INSURANCE- Start by shopping around and requesting multiple quotes, but make sure the coverage you seek from competitor’s matches the coverage you have or want. If you don’t compare rates using the same coverage amounts, then your comparison will be useless. By increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could cut your cost on collision and comprehensive coverage by 15 percent to 30 percent. Opting for a $1,000 deductible could save you 40 percent or more.
HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE- By raising your deductible to $500 or $1,000, you can also reduce your premium by reducing coverage on the “household contents” portion of your insurance policy. This part of your homeowner’s policy covers your personal belongings and not the structure of your home or liability. By raising your deductibles, combining policies (auto insurance) and installing home security devices, you can save as much as 25 percent every month on premiums.
GROCERIES- According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend nearly 14 percent of the household budget on food.
SHOPPING TIP: Make a simple meal plan for the entire week before you go shopping. This will keep you from buying things that look enticing but don’t get eaten.
COOKING TIP: Prepare a dinner plate or two using leftovers; date and freeze them. Display a list of meals on the front of the freezer. When something gets eaten, cross it off the list. When a new meal is ready for the freezer, add it to the list in chronological order so older food gets eaten first.
CABLE and PHONE SERVICE- Premium cable channels and cell phone plans with thousands of minutes and options like texting and Web access will add un-necessary charges to your monthly bills. According to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the average monthly price for expanded basic programming is about $43. By adding a couple of premium channels, a sports package or two, your monthly bill can easily amount to $100 or more per month. How often do you really watch your premium movie channels?
EXTRA CELL PHONE OPTIONS- The average monthly cost for bundled cell phone service that includes voice, web access and texting options can run you about $99 or more plus taxes and surcharges. Cutting back on cable and cell phone extras can save you $100 or more a month.
UTILITY BILLS- A ccording to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average American family spends more than $1,600 a year on home utility bills. The price of home heating oil alone rose 49.2 percent between August 2007 and August 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Much of that energy is wasted through cracks in windows and doors and through open chimney flues. Be sure to close the damper on your fireplace if you have one. Leaks through the damper can increase your heating bills by 8 percent or more. Set your thermostat back when you’re not home and while you’re sleeping or switch over to a programmable one. —-You can save up to 10 percent on your heating and cooling costs. A home that incorporates a “whole-house energy efficiency plan” by using proper insulation, compact fluorescent light bulbs and energy-efficient appliances can cut energy costs by up to 25 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
ENTERTAINMENT- One way you can cut expenses is to invest in region-specific entertainment coupon books at sites like Entertainment.com. The books sell for between $25 and $45 each and end up paying for themselves. The discount coupons offer deals for eating at local restaurants, but an added benefit is you can also save on Movie Theaters, Theme Parks and other local stores. If you were to use only 10 percent of the coupons, you’d save about $1,820!