Originally published Tuesday, 14 August 2012.
In light of recent difficult economic times and in remembering those times when I scraped pennies to put gas in my car to get to work, I want to share some simple, but valuable ideas on how to save money in your household.
- Invest in a thermos and make your own premium coffee at home. It is estimated that coffee shops' average cup of coffee with all the fixings is $4.00 and the average American buys 3 per week. This is almost $50 per month spent on luxury coffee. That's $600 per year!
- Unplug all appliances in your home when not in use. That's right. Unplug that television, lamp, blender, and can opener. Even when appliances are not in use, they still use energy when staying plugged in. I learned this little tip a few years ago and immediately saw a difference in my electricity bill. (I would estimate about $50 per month, at least!)
- Call your credit card company and ask for a lower rate. It seems simply, right? The truth is, many Americans secured a credit card many years ago and have paid satisfactory for many years. The rate may have been at 19% several years ago, but credit card companies will very often lower your rate in order to save your business. (Obviously, I recommend having $0 credit card debt, but in the event you already have the debt, get the lowest rate possible).
- Shop cable, internet, and phone companies. Most of us sign up for these services when moving into our new place and rarely every do anything different. Because the economic market is suppressed, competition among companies is very high. Call your companies and ask for their very best deals. Then, simply shop with competitors. (I have even been paid $100 cash to stay with my phone company in the past!)
- Refinance your home, if you are a homeowner. Rates are as low as 3.25% right now, which is unprecedented. If you are paying more than this on your home mortgage now (and you can recoup closing costs on the new loan within 30 months), go for it! There can be drastic savings on your monthly mortgage note and your long-term interest.
These suggestions can save you thousands every years and only take a few minutes each to implement into your daily life. We all can afford to save a few dollars to put back for children's college funds, our retirement, and more, so get started today.
Author/Speaker, Jennifer Maggio, leaves audiences across the globe riveted with her story from homeless teen mom to 11-time Circle of Excellence Winner in Corporate America. She is the critically-acclaimed author of two books, Overwhelmed: The Life of a Single Mom and The Church and the Single Mom. She has been featured on more than 100 radio and television shows and has a passion to encourage single mothers and women everywhere. For more info, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.