9 Ways to Save Hundreds a Month

In these challenging economic times, how can we set our spending priorities?  First, value people more than things.  Are you trying to decide between buying a piece of furniture or taking a trip?  Take the trip.  The couch will wear out, but you’ll have the memories forever.  Wondering if you should work extra hours so you can buy the “thing” of your dreams?  Skip the “thing” and spend that time with your kids instead.

If you’re looking for ways to free up some money, here’s a quick list of 9 ways to save hundreds a month.

1. Do it yourself. Can you cancel the “bug man” and do your own treatments?  Are you paying for pool service, house cleaning, or yard work?  Do you pay $20 a week to have your car washed and cleaned?  DIY! Or, pay your kids  to do the work and at least keep the money circulating within your own family.)

2. Negotiate. A friend of mine called his cable/internet provider and asked them to match a better deal from another provider.  They said they couldn’t match it, but after reviewing his bill, they shaved off almost $40 a month.  Look at your monthly bills and see which ones you can negotiate.

3. Printer Settings. Open your printer preferences and set your printer to grayscale, or black printing instead of color, as your default.  Also choose a fast draft option, or a middle setting instead of the “best” setting. 

4. Entertainment. Do you have cable TV and Netflix?  Do you get movies from Red Box or the video store?  Think about downgrading your cable service and watch your favorite shows online for free on sites like Hulu.  Instead of renting movies, check them out from your public library.  Go to the online catalog and search for your favorites. 

5. Car Savings. You’d be surprised how much those little odds and ends in your trunk weigh.  Get them out and you’ll cut down on your trips to the pump.  Make sure your tires are properly inflated.  This will actually help your gas mileage.

6.  Cut the land line. If your cell phone has an excellent signal in your home, consider losing your land line.  If you want to keep your landline for safety reasons, call to cancel extras you don’t really need – call-waiting, three-way calling, etc.

7. Insurance Deductibles. Think about raising your deductibles for your car and home insurance to $1,000.  That will cut down on your monthly premiums.

8. Switch banks or change to a credit union. If your bank is charging you fees for basic checking, debit cards, and other features, shop around.  Banks are offering all kinds of incentives to get new customers.  Also check out credit unions.  Their buildings aren’t as flashy as bank buildings, but they usually charge far fewer fees.

9. Go after your home mortgage. This will actually cost you a bit more each month, but it will save you years and thousands of dollars off your mortgage.  Divide your monthly mortgage by 12.  Pay this amount on top of your mortgage payment monthly (make sure your lender knows you want this extra money to go toward your loan’s principle).  By the end of the year, you will have made one extra mortgage payment.