10 Tips to Trim Your Budget

1. Insurance

Match prices for car, household, health, business and life insurance. Combining at one insurance company might lesser your insurance costs. That might mean you’ll need to take your business elsewhere to save money. But before you do, be sure you’re receiving all the deductions you deserve at your existing company.

Consider raising your deductible for lesser rates. Ask your agent what other discounts you might qualify for. Habitually working from home could mean a discount on car insurance.

2. Finance Charges

Are you still paying a monthly charge even though your bank currently offers free checking? Particularly if you have direct deposit, most banks offer some type of free checking. I found I was paying $8 a month for only a few services (like free certified checks) that weren’t available on the bank’s free checking program.

3. Cable and Satellite Television

Rivalry in this industry means that new packages are available that could save you money. Television and phone service providers are now bundling together their services, so joining your phone and TV services at one company may save money.

New customers, whether bundling services or not, usually get the best deals, so it may be essential to change providers. But sometimes threatening to switch will net you a discount. Also, if you’re really serious about saving money, consider decreasing your package by cutting out pay cable channels.

4. Cell Phone

Cell phone companies love to offer free phones to tempt you to sign up for another two-year contract. Before you renew your contract ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do you truly must a have new phone and what is the hidden cost up sticking with your plan to get it? (Are you using all the minutes allocated?
  • Are you paying for Internet and texting but not using it enough to justify the cost? Or are you using it so much that one more plan might be a better deal?
  • Would a low-cost plan or a prepaid cell phone serve you just as well?

5. Telephone

Numerous individuals are getting rid of their lines entirely. However, if you work out of your home, this may not be a possible option. But if you have a separate fax line, you might consider discontinuing it. With a scanner, you can email documents as PDFs instead of faxing.

Like cable and Internet providers, landline phone service packages keep getting cheaper as more disagreement comes on the market. Consider VOIP or cable phone services. If you do stay with your traditional telephone company, be sure you are getting the discounted long distance service and not paying for services you don’t need.

6. Internet Provider

Shopping around for a better package of telephone services might also save you on your Internet access if you use DSL. But there are many other choices for Internet services with cable, satellite and a whole host of wireless Internet options.

The Internet is a telecommuter’s lifeline, so make your inquiry first. Be sure if you change service providers the new one will offer the services and reliability your business needs.

7. Refinance Your Home

Refinancing your household can cut your monthly budget payments the most expressively, sometimes saving you hundreds of dollars per month.

But refinancing includes many upfront costs (interest points, taxes, fees, etc.), so it may take several months (or even years) for you to truly understand these savings. And if you’re not planning to stay in the house for long, you could actually lose money by refinancing. Carefully consider the pros and cons of refinancing your home before taking this cost-cutting step.

8. Credit Card Prizes Points

If you have a credit card with , use them. But use them cleverly. Keep in mind that credit card businesses offer points to encourage you spend more. So don’t pay more (by racking up interest or fees) in order to get rewards points. To collect points faster, focus your spending on the one card that offers the price you will use (for me that’s the one with Home Depot gift cards) rather than spreading your expenditure among several cards.

Saving rewards points for your dream vacation or another splurge runs the risk of the points expiring or never been used. Using points on a regular basis helps you cut your monthly expenses. Consider using reward systems that pay cash or offer gift cards that you will actually use.

9. Utility Bills

Like phone and cable businesses, your utility company likely has more opposition than it once did. Often you can change gas or electric providers for a better price on your energy needs, while still remaining a customer of the same utility company for billing and delivery purposes. However, these other suppliers don’t always have a better price so be sure to do some comparison shopping.

But the old-fashioned way to save on utility costs is simply to conserve electricity or waste less water.

10. Credit Card Interest Expense

Monthly interest can be a huge expense for those with a big debt. Making only a minimum payment means the regular interest eats up most of your payment. Reducing interest can mean more money for other expenses or paying off debt faster.
One way to lesser your interest is to simply ask for a lower interest rate. Companies will often force to keep your business. If they don’t, consider a balance transfer  to extra card with a better rate. Read the fine print, though, balance transfers occasionally offers rates that go up after a period of time and usually involve fees