The reasons that people cite for cutting costs vary from household to household. Some families worry about the economy and want to cut costs wherever they can. Others have financial goals and need to find ways to save money for investments, to build up their savings accounts, or to pay off debt. Whatever the reasons, cutting costs helps families save money on essential expenses. The goal is to save money without adding risk.
Annual Insurance Premiums
Health Insurance: Think about choosing a health insurance plan with a higher deductible. It means paying more money up front, but you will likely save on premiums. Adding in a health savings account can help offset costs. Check with your tax advisor for tax benefits to using a health savings account. If you use your health insurance frequently, consider switching to a plan with a lower deductible. Doing so helps people save on services based on co-pays. You can also save on check-ups, prescriptions, and other health expenses by using coupons.
Auto Insurance: If you are paying a car loan, there is not much you can do beyond shopping for the best-priced car insurance policy. Your lender will dictate how much coverage you must carry. You can save money by driving less and commuting via public transportation or even riding your bike to work. Check with your insurance agent about where annual mileage limits are for saving money on your policy.
If you own your car outright, consider if it is worth the cost of carrying comprehensive coverage. That is the coverage that pays for repairs to your car when you are at fault. If the value of your car is low, it might cost you more in comprehensive policy premiums than you would receive if you totaled your car. Cutting out comprehensive coverage saves a lot of money each year.
It is a good idea to sit down with your insurance agent and ask questions. Good questions to ask are “What is the value of my vehicle?” and “What is the repair total before the car becomes totaled?” An insurance review is a process that people should go through each year as the value of vehicles usually declines. Other tips include taking safe driving classes or even getting rid of your car altogether. Both options can save you money. If you need a car, consider buying a hybrid with excellent mileage.
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Food: Grocery costs represent a large part of most monthly budgets. Save money by preparing more meals yourself. The fewer cans and boxes that you open, the better. Eating lower on the food pyramid helps save money too. Don’t forget about coupons. Coupons represent a huge annual savings to American shoppers. Use grocery coupons to help develop your weekly or monthly menus. Coupons work for many things besides groceries.
Electricity: Vampire appliances rack up millions of dollars each year in wasted electricity. A vampire appliance uses electricity even when you power it down. Unplugging a laptop-charging unit saves money. If you pick up the end of the charger and it is warm, it is using electricity. Those little savings tips help families save money every month.
HVAC: Turn down the HVAC, and add more layers of clothing in winter months. Consider installing a whole house fan for summer cooling and not using the AC. Installing a geothermal unit also saves tons of money each year. These ideas represent investments in long-term savings.
Look over your budget at the items that cost the most. Look at those items with a critical eye. Do you need them? Cable television represents the perfect example of an area on your budget where you might save money. What if you dropped your cable subscription and switched to a service such as Netflix? Do you need to pay the cable company for channels that you don’t watch?
If you want to save money, invest the time in looking for ways to reduce wasteful spending. Vampire appliances represent wasteful spending. Saving money may mean a lifestyle change, such as eating a different type of diet. Looking at your budget objectively is the key.