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- Frugal Living
How To Save Money and Cut Bills
During difficult economic times, everyone is trying to save money. We all know people who lost their jobs or suffered during furloughs and salary cuts. After some research, these are ways to save money that work.
For those who own homes, you should think about whether you will save money by refinancing. Recently, I refinanced and went from 6% interest to 3.25% interest. Since I had refinanced a couple of times before, I was not making headway on my loan. However, I looked into a shorter loan and learned that not only will I be saving close to $65 per month on my note, but now my loan is half as long as before, thus saving a lot of money because the bank is not making the money. In fact, I cut my yearly interest to a third of what it used to be. A number of people will ask me whether they should refinance. I tell them to go to one of my favorite sites with three different refinance calculators: www.hsh.com/refinance-calculator.
People think about bundling to save money. My theory has been the opposite. Instead of bundling my cellular phone and landline, I have AT&T for my smartphone but Vonage for my landline. I am saving money because Vonage is very reasonable, and it offers unlimited long distance and international phone calls. I am living in a city where even local calls can add up.
Cutting Fuel Cost By Going Green
Many utility companies offer rebates if you buy new energy efficient appliances. Also, if you make green improvements, the Federal Government will give you a refund of up to 30% of the cost of such improvement and local utility companies may help, too. This is incredible since there used to be a cap of $2000 in federal energy refund.
There are certain household items that do not need to be a specific brand. Some items are toilet paper, paper towels, dinner napkins, sponges, etc. A dollar here or there adds up.
Interest-Free Credit Cards
There are a number of companies offering interest-free credit cards. Here is a website that summarizes some of these offers: www.creditnet.com
Join A Credit Union
Most banks do not look after your interest. They seem to impose fees at every turn. The latest fee now is the use of debit cards, which is merely withdrawing your money directly from your account. Some banks even charge a fee to talk to their customer service.
However, a credit union is a different type of banking. Since you are a part owner when you join, the credit union has your best interest in mind. For example, credit unions can often offer money market interest rate without all of the restrictions imposed by regular banks. Also, credit union fees are generally lower. And if you want personal banking, then credit union is the route.
There are several types of cashback shopping being offered, and if you are not taking advantage of them, then you are missing the potential savings. When it comes to online shopping, I generally check different cashback sites. One of my favorites is Fatwallet.com, but you cannot take it for granted that any cashback site that you have been using often will be giving you the best rate. I saved so much money by going through Fatwallet.com, and after the waiting period is over, the money may be dispersed in different methods, including PayPal. Further, many credit card companies offered a percentage back for different types of purchases. For example, Discover Card will give you 5% off depending on the month and the type of purchases being promoted. Over the summer, Discover Card was offering 5% on travel-related purchases. Other cards, such PenFed, offer 5% cashback on gasoline.
Where I live, people shop at Ralph's Supermarket and gain points to use to save 10 cent per gallon at Shell Gas. The gasoline price at Shell was comparable to Costco, and it is better quality gasoline that will not clog your engine like Costco's gas will.
Use Entertainment Books
These coupon books are typically $40, but you may find them discounted shortly after November 1 (most coupons are good for a year starting on November 1), just like calendars are discounted as soon as it is after the new year. These books are great because you will find that they quickly pays for themselves. The way it works is that restaurants, stores, and other merchants advertise and offer a percentage discount or a "buy one, get one free" deal. The bottom line is that you won't be paying full price.
Marathon Taping of Free Previews
I have never ordered premium movie channels, and there is no reason to. If you have basic cable or satellite television, there are at least 3 free previews to premium channels per year. If you have Tivo or DVR and you have two channels, you can review all of the programmings during the free period and tape all of your movies using your two channels. We find that we do not even have time to finish watching the movies before another free promotional is offered. We stopped buying DVDs as well, unless they are dirt cheap at Blockbuster.