Wednesday, December 03, 2008

the simple home - how to cut your spending by $500 a month

Like you, I'm always looking for ways to seal up the money leaks in our home. As the keeper of my home and the one who spends most of the money for home front needs, I'm compelled to find every way I can to effectively manage what God's given us.

One of my personal tips to look for leaks is to simplify, declutter, get organized and stay organized. So many times, we can't find something, head out to the store, buy it and then later on find that we actually have two of what we were looking for.

Here's 7 More Ways to Save $$ from Consumer Reports Money Lab that will help you (as the keeper of your home) possibly find a few more ways to stop those money leaks.

No. 1: Find Cheaper Auto Insurance Average savings: $65
How to do it.
Start at the Web site of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and click on NAIC States & Jurisdictions to find your state's insurance department. Most provide comparative premium quotes based on standard customer profiles. If your state doesn't, you can get quotes from insurers by phone or over the Internet.

No. 2: Optimize Your Life Insurance Average savings: $110
How to do it.
Life-insurance premiums have dropped so dramatically since the 1990s, it will probably pay for you to replace a policy bought years ago with a comparable one. Get a physical checkup and follow your doctor's advice for shaping up before applying for a new policy. Get quotes and don't cancel your existing policy until you have a new one already in place.

No. 3: Shop Smart for Food Average savings: $200
How to do it.
Plan menus around sales on fresh poultry, fish, meat, dairy, and produce, and make use of leftovers. Avoid costly prepared meals. Try less-expensive store brands. Sign up for store discount cards. Stock up on sale-priced staples. Eat more low-priced, high-nutrition foods such as beans and potatoes, says Andrea Carlson, a USDA economist.

No. 4: Stop Paying Bank Fees Average savings: $25.
How to do it.
Bank at a large institution with lots of ATMs in convenient locations to avoid the cost of using other banks' machines—as much as $4 per withdrawal. And use the no-fee cash-back option at supermarkets.

No. 5: Call Up Phone Savings Average savings: $35
How to do it.
Peruse your last few months' phone bills to assess how many minutes you typically use on landline and wireless calls. Comparison shop among cellular service providers, the local phone company, independent long-distance carriers, and your cable TV company. Don't buy more than you need, such as an unlimited cellular plan if you rarely go over 900 minutes per month.

No. 6: Pay Off Your Credit Card Average savings: $65
How to do it.
Paying off your balance is easier said than done. The trick is to stop charging. Then pay more than the minimum required each month until it's paid off. Dig up cash for this from your U.S. Treasury stimulus check, garage sales, or extra work part-time.

No. 7: Increase Your 401(k) Contribution Average tax savings: $125
How to do it.
If you're not already contributing the maximum, put more into your 401(k), IRA, or other tax-deferred retirement account. You'll also cut the amount of income tax you'll pay each month. (Note that this does not apply to Roth accounts.)

What's your tip to either simplify, declutter, get organized and then save $$?

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Melissa said...

Hi Lylah! I am becoming a better steward of what I have been given, and am now working on becoming much better at it in a lot of different ways. We've gone down to 25watt bulbs all energy saving ones. Our water heater is at the lowest, and when we take showers we turn the water off between shampooing/conditioning, sudding up, and rinsing off. I use the water to wash my hands and brush my teeth or rinse from mouthwashing enter a bucket I keep in the sink. I use that to flush the toilet. I turned off the water to the toilet, and just flush it with the used water from handwashing and etc. We also don't use our dryer any longer, and hang dry our clothes in order to save more on our use of electricity plus reduce our carbon foot print. I love natural light, so we open our curtains and blinds from the early morning to dusk. Another thing we do is to not worry about food at all. We buy what we need to eat, not anymore. In my being conscious about how much we have eaten, I have really begun to understand the main purpose of why God has given food--to nourish my body not stuff down the pain or hurt. We also are up to buying the next best thing in life. The want for something more or better isn't there in our hearts any longer. What matters to me most is that I have been given this body of mine and I am using it to glorify God in a way I never had before. I also feel that way about the home we live in, the lifestyle we are adapting to, and so on. Life is no longer about having better shoes or nicer clothes. Its about being grateful for what I have been given because somewhere in this world someone walks tens or hundreds of miles on bare feet or goes without eating or even go without clean water and shelter. Its about me realizing the greater call to love than saying I need something other than Jesus and the love of my family to sustain my life. I do have to say I do relish the comforts of what I have been privileged to have, don't get me wrong, but life is so much more different than turning in the car I drive for a brand new one just because it doesn't fit the image I want to have or look like its good enough. To me, I have everything I need, and to want something material more than what I have been given is too much. Oh, another way I save is that I contribute to savings bonds instead of purchasing them after I get paid in check form. In my doing so, I get more untaxed monies from my net income. And, I like that. Its like a bonus being an American. :o)