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I saved $268.58 per month
Frustrated over articles that told me to cut back on my dry-cleaning, lower my cable bill and stop buying lattes, I needed to find something to cut back on that I actually used. I haven't used a dry-cleaner in over 20 years, I don't drink coffee and I haven't paid for cable or satellite t.v. in over 5 years but I did find ways to cut over $268.50 out of my monthly budget. Here is how I got the money out of my budget:
The phone bill: I stopped getting annoying sales calls at dinner time by disconnecting my home service and exclusively useing my cell phone. Many cell phone companies offer unlimited minutes for about $40 so why would I pay $67 plus long distance charges? I get unlimited calls and text with 10g's of data for $40/mnth with an off brand cell phone company. I just use wifi where ever I go. My budget saved $97.50 with these two changes.
The car insurance bill: By reviewing my coverage, I was able to cut some unneeded coverage and save $35 a month. The bank I finance the car through would not allow a deductible of more than $500 but I was able to remove some extras like the large med pay. If you don't have health insurance, you should use the largest med-pay available, this will help pay for medical expenses if you should get into an accident. If your car is paid for, take the highest deductible possible. Put your savings into an account to save for your next car.
The mortgage and home owners insurance.: I streamlined my FHA loan to take advantage of lower interest rates. It did not cost me any money upfront, I did not need to verify my income, and I did not need to get a new appraisal. Right now, people are opting for 15 year mortgages and saving oobs of money.
I could have saved more, but I opted to skip one month's payment and add it to my emergency fund. With the new benefit of an emergency fund, I was free to increase the deductible on my home owner's insurance. These combined changes saved me $99.
Since I made this change, the mortgage insurance premiums (MIP's) have increased significantly but interest rates have also plummeted. If you have more than 20% equity in your home, it sill may be a viable option for you.
The car payment: Using my most recent tax refund and my super duper shopping skills, I went for the single payment option. I now own my car outright. I'm keeping my insurance deductible high right now until I can replenish my emergency fund.
Dr's appointments and medicine: Between co pays for the kid's doctor's appointments and 20% co pays on medicine, I averaged $20 a month in medical bills. This year I switched to the huge deductible plan my provider offers and I put the premium difference into a health savings account(HSA).
The 80/20 plan would have cost me $450/mnh but the high deductible plan cost only $300. I put the $150 into the health savings account. Instead of paying a copay at the doctor, I pay the entire bill, but I don't pay it out of my family budget. The money I use is from the tax-free HSA account and saved me an average of $20 a month. Unlike the Flexible Savings Account also offered by my employer, I do not need to use all of the funds in my HSA at the end of the year. It can stay there until I need it or I retire, and I never pay any taxes on it.
These personal budget reducers have reduced my 8 month emergency fund goal by $2148. Many of these reductions would not be possible without a healthy sized savings account. I can save money every month on insurance, for example because I am able to cover a higher deductible.
Your biggest budget buster
What is your biggest family budget expense?
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