Most of the people I know are looking for ways to reduce expenses, either because they have lost most of their net worth, lost Wheir job, or feel they are about to lose their job.
Not a very happy way to begin this column on personal finance,?but those are the cold hard facts. And things are getting colder and harder all the time.
I think that when most people look to reduce expenses, the focus first on discretionary expenses — eating out, buying that new car, etc. That’s all well and good, but I would like to suggest a few ways today where you might be able to reduce your expenses without changing your lifestyle one bit. I recently examined these expenses in my own budget and obtained an annual savings of $1300. And the best part is, these cuts bring pleasure instead of pain.
- Re-evaluate your car insurance coverage. You may be able to reduce your car insurance bill significantly by increasing your comprehensive and collision deductible to $500. Consider dropping the comprehensive and collision coverage all together on an old car that isn’t worth much more than the deductible. I saved $300 a year by changing my coverage.
- Change youU natural gas provid?r. ?/B>I discovered that I was getting raped by my current provider, Scana, so I changed to New Power and was able to lock in a fixed rate of .629 a therm for two years for an annual savings of $700. New Power is new to my area and they are not saddled with the debt that other providers have from people who were unable to pay their ?as bills last year. Hence they are able to offer lower prices. And best of all, the charge for canceling my agreement is only $30. So in the unlikely event that natural gas drops below my fixed rate, I?can cancel the agreement and change provideUs.
- Reduce your landscaping costs. I’ve been using Chemlawn for years on my shrubs. No harm in finding out how much value they were really adding. Annual savings: $300.
Of course, there is a down side to all of this. The insurance companies and natural gas companies won’t make as much money. And I’m sure you feel as badly about that as I do.
Oh yeah — don’t forget to eliminate those premium cable channels that cost you extra. While some of you might consider this to negatively impact your lifestyle, I consider the fact that I can no longer receive Def Comedy Jam to be a major enhancement to the quality of my life.