10 Ways to Save Money In Your Budget

Finding room in your budget for saving and investing isn’t always easy. Here are some painless ways to find that extra couple hundred dollars per month.

  1. Ask service providers like satellite TV companies and credit card companies to lower your rates. A simple call to DirecTV got me $10 off per month for a year. I just called and told them I could get such-and-such deal with Dish Network and would they lower my bill. Their response – sure; no problem. Took five minutes. If you have a credit card balance, the exact same technique can work. Call the issuing bank and simply ask them to lower your rate. Most times, they’ll do it. This technique works anywhere there’s good competition and/or customer acquisition costs are high.
  2. Get quotes on auto and life insurance. Though the phrase is cliche, fifteen minutes actually can save hundreds on car insurance. It’s really easy to compare with tools like Lowermybills.com. Life insurance premiums, too, have dropped significantly over the last several years. Getting a quote is free and can save several hundred dollars per year. And you won’t necessarily have to switch insurance companies. With a better offer in hand, you can use it in the same manner as tip #1 above with your current insurer.
  3. Cancel unused or underused subscriptions. Take a look at subscriptions you pay for – magazine, DVD, whatever. How much use do you really get out of them? If you’re not sure, just try living without them. Call the company and tell them to suspend your subscription for a month or two. If you don’t miss it, cancel, and don’t forget to get a refund for the remainder of your subscription. The same goes for pay TV channels like HBO.
  4. Use the library. If you read or watch movies at home a lot, get acquainted with your local library. The books are surprisingly new and DVD rentals are a buck or two.
  5. Review your auto insurance coverage. Check out what your deductible is, what add-ons like rental reimbursement you have, and your collision coverage. It doesn’t pay to pay for collision on older cars, so drop it and save a couple hundred bucks. Deductibles should be set as high as you feel comfortable. Check also to make sure you’re not paying for an add-on twice. By that I mean if you have AAA, it makes no sense to pay for towing through your insurance, for example.
  6. Eat out once less per month. Just eating out once less per month can save decent money. For the three of us at a ‘regular’ sit-down restaurant, we’re looking at $40.
  7. Pack your lunch. By eating yesterday’s leftovers for lunch every day at work, I figure I save in the neighborhood of $120 per month. Besides, it’s most likely healthier.
  8. Ask for discounts. Make the most of being a AAA member or a student – ask for a discount. What’s the worst that can happen? They say no.
  9. Compare prices on drugs. The legal kind. It’s shocking the variance in prices for prescription drugs from retailer to retailer. So before you fill that prescription, just call the pharmacies for a couple of different places.
  10. Consider consolidating investment accounts. It’s common for investment companies to charge a quarterly ‘account maintenance fee’ for balances under some amount. We used to be charged every quarter because our mutual fund account was under $10,000. Once I consolidated, we were over their minimum amount and the charge disappeared.

None of these ideas are going to pull you back from the brink of bankruptcy, but if you’re looking for a little bit of extra room in your budget, trying one or two might do the trick.
Photo credits: fief.org, cri-dove.org, maine.com