Saving money is a hot topic these days. I haven’t always been a frugal person but once I learned the art of it I realized how easy it is to save those pennies and dimes. Living a frugal lifestyle has allowed me to pay off my debts, buy a condo with cash and have a decent savings. These tips won’t change your life overnight, it’s an ongoing process. Also, not all tips work for everyone so you need to access your own needs.
Assess the services and memberships you are paying for. Are there any that you don’t use or could live without? Do you really use that gym membership? If cancelling the cable television is not an option how about downgrading from the premium package? Same with Netflix – do you really need 6 DVDs at one time? Cancel or downgrade all the extra services you can. You’ll be surprised at what you won’t miss.
Cancel the optional features and services from your home phone. There is a lot of discussion about getting rid of landlines in order to save money . I like having a landline phone but I don’t see a point to all these extras. I don’t think I’ve ever once made a three-way call. I have a trick to see who is calling me and it doesn’t cost a dime. I merely pick up the receiver and say “hello.”
Let your fingers do the walking. If you need a telephone number use a phone book or online directory. Avoid calling Information as you will be charged for the calls.
Make sure your cell phone plan meets your needs. If you go over your minutes every month you’ll save money by increasing your plan. Although, changing your calling habits will save you even more money. Downgrade your plan if you find you never use all of your minutes.
Pay your bills on time. Why add to your expenses by paying late fees? Most people set aside a day each month to pay bills but it’s too easy to miss due dates this way. Try to pay bills as they arrive. If that doesn’t work for you at least set a day aside each week.
If you are comfortable with automatic withdraws from your bank account you may find that a convenient way to assure timely payments. Plus you’ll save on stamps.
Buy the least expensive checks. Apparently you can save money by ordering checks from an independent printer. If you’re like me you prefer to order checks from your financial institution. When its time to reorder, tell the clerk you would like the least expensive design available. The bank will do the rest. Some people argue that the puppies or mountain scenes say something about their personality. Your plain checks will say that you’re too smart to waste your money.
Account for all withdraws you make using checks, debit cards and ATM transactions. Otherwise you may wind up with an unpleasant surprise at the end of the month. Also, be aware of charges for using an ATM not associated with your bank.
Save money on your insurance by raising your deductibles. Since you’ll be working on saving money you will have the finances to pay for the higher deductible.
Using the same company for all your insurance needs will result in a multi-policy discount.
Call companies and ask for incentives to keep you as a customer. It is my pet peeve when businesses give great deals to new customers while ignoring their long-term, loyal customers. Ask for those introductionary rates. The companies most likely to work with you are: credit cards, internet, cable , trash and cell phones.
Adjust your thermostat and weather strip your doors and windows. By lowering you thermostat a few degrees you can save approximately 10% on your bills. Lower your heat even a little more when you go to bed or will be gone from the house. Investing in a programmable thermostat makes this task a little easier and allows for the house to heat up a bit before waking or coming home.
Give yourself a pat on the back for taking control of your finances.