Shrinking Your Bills

“The problem with saving,” the woman on the elliptical next to me at the gym the other day told me, upon learning that I am a financial planner, “is that it’s so boring. I feel like I can never do anything fun.”

This, fortunately, couldn’t be less true. Try the tips below to save tons without missing out on a thing.

  1. Medical expenses. The average person on a company insurance plan pays $3,600 per year in medical bills – split between insurance premiums and deductibles. Save by seeing your primary doctor first when you have a problem (specialists charge more), by shopping for items such as eyeglasses and contacts online, and by asking your doctor for a free sample when you are considering a new medication or product – to avoid paying for something you may not use. Of course, a healthy lifestyle also helps.
  2. Cable, Internet, and phones (mobile and regular). To get the cheapest plan for you, analyze your usage patterns (now and in the future), and be realistic when doing so. Don’t try to save $5 per month by squeezing yourself into a 300-minutes-per-month cell phone plan if you use 600 minutes. It will come back and bite you.
  3. Electricity. This is an easy place to save – and you’ll be helping not only your bill but the planet, too. Those energy efficient light bulbs really do save you money. Every single light bulb in our home is energy efficient. To shrink your electricity bill further, install motion detectors to make sure lights aren’t left on when you or the other people in your family leave a room. We also have energy star utilities and our bill has been cut by 25%.
  4. Car. This is another place where you can save tons of money without missing out on anything fun. Make sure you don’t overdo oil changes (every 5-8,000 miles is sufficient), keep your tires in shape and rotate them regularly, get your car to a mechanic right away if a weird symbol lights up on your dashboard, and most importantly: slow down. Cars use far less gasoline when you go slower. Plus, it’s safer and better for the environment. Hey, what about a hybrid car? That’s another real way to save.


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