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Saturday, December 24, 2011

 5 Places Where You Might Be Wasting Money (And What to Do About It)

You've got a budget, and you're sticking to it. But sometimes it still feels like your trying to carry water in a leaky bucket. The truth is, you probably are. A good amount of deadwood can be trimmed out of every budget. Keep reading, and we'll tell you how.

Stop Eating Out — Let's face it, most of us eat out entirely too often. But does that mean we should stop eating out entirely? Of course not, but when you see how much you are actually spending on it, whether it's Wendy's, Red Lobster, or your daily Starbucks coffee, you might want to. Think about it. The average Starbucks beverage costs around $3. If you buy one every day for a month, that's $90. Every day for a year, $1,095. Can you think of a few things you'd rather do with $1000 than pee regularly the first half of your day? Me too.

Limit Unnecessary Travel — Life in the new millenium is all about errands, isn't it? It seems like we spend more time in our cars, than in the comfort of our own home. We're always running to the grocery store, or the mall, or the movies, or the post office. Consolidating the trips will save gas as well as wear-and-tear on your vehicle. Try to run all of your errands in one weekly trip. Or don't leave the house unless you can run at least three errands in one trip.

Reduce Utilities — Eliminating your utility bills altogether is impossible. Unless you want to live like the Unabomber in a tiny lean-to in the wilds of western Montana. But most of us could stand to trim a little excess out of our bills. Take stock of your utilities, and determine what you can live without. Do you really need the Caller ID or Call Waiting on your phone? Also, check for any discrepancies. Did your water bill suddenly spike? It might be signs of an expensive leak. Consider upgrading to energy efficient appliances. Not only will this automatically save you money in the long run, some power companies provide incentives for energy efficiency.

Get A New Quote — Look at your home, health, and auto insurance. Few people think about their insurance as soon as they sign the forms…except perhaps to pay the bills. But insurance rates fluctuate, sometimes because of market forces, and sometimes because of your circumstances. Maybe you've quit smoking, or haven't had an auto accident in 10 years. Take the ten minutes and call around. You may save yourself hundreds of dollars a year.

Reconsider Entertainment — A good place to consider cutting costs is in your entertainment budget. Consider cable TV. Are you really watching those premium channels or sports packages? If not, or if they aren't worth the extra money, consider cancelling them. Are there magazines that you receive, but never read? Do you rent movies, and then never watch them? Or maybe you buy season tickets to the local sports team, but only make it to a game once or twice a year.

To learn more about how you can cut down on the money you spend (without doing away with the things you love) and put more money in your bank account,

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