25 ways to cut your personal expenses

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by Jamar Bates

•Use the public library to check out movies or books for free.

•Consider dropping your land line phone at home. Your cell phone may be all you need and some come with free long-distance services.

•Send free e-cards and save on postage.

•Stop buying clothes that are “dry clean only.” Learn to iron.

•Don’t renew subscriptions to publications you don’t have time to read.

•Only use ATMs where you won’t be charged service fees.

•Wait a little longer between manicures (or try doing one yourself!).

•Pay cash when possible—psychologically it’s harder to spend cash than using credit cards, and you’ll save on interest charges.

•Check your credit history. Go to FreeCreditReport.com and make sure everything is accurate. Good credit may mean lower interest charges.

•Get multiple quotes on insurance. It pays to shop around.

•Raise the deductible on your homeowner’s and car insurance policies.

•Pay attention to the expense ratios on mutual funds you buy.

•Go to matinee movies instead of movies at night.

•Cook in bulk and freeze.

•Purchase a programmable thermostat for your home.

•Only do full loads of laundry and fill the dishwasher before running it.

•Bring your lunch to work or scout out the inexpensive places to buy lunch.

•Have cocktails at home and then go out; have dessert at home.

•Be a smart grocery shopper—cut coupons, shop at discount stores, and stock up on sale items. Check out Costco or Sam’s Club.

•Fill prescriptions with the generic form of the drug.

•Keep up maintenance on cars. It may prevent costly future problems.

•Get annual physicals to prevent costly future problems.

•Wash your car at home and skip the car wash.

•If you see something in a catalog that you want to buy, wait a week before ordering to see if you still really want it.

•Pay bills online. Save postage.

(Jamar Bates is a financial advisor with MassMutual Financial Group in Atlanta. He offers comprehensive financial planning and advisory services for individuals and business owners regarding retirement planning, investments and insurance. He can be reached at 404-521-0001 or jbates@financialguide.com)

 

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