Gardner Magazine Budget Dog

Budget Dog would like to share some tips for saving money in the New Year!

cable tv

Cable TV

If you like your current channel lineup, it may be possible to have your cake and eat it too, that is, keep everything you like and save money in one of four ways: 1. Cable companies often will give you a two year contract agreement which could save you $20, $30 per month or more.  2. Talk to the customer solutions department, sometimes known as retention.  Very often your cost will be lowered. 3. Go with basic cable or with internet only and make up the difference with any of a number of streaming services which are often less expensive than a cable package and offer the same channels. 4. Use on over-the-air antenna to get local channels.  Not sure if they’ll come in where you live? There’s an easy, NO COST way to find  out.   First find out the exact latitude and longitude for your address at latlong.net  CLICK HERE.   Then go to TV Fool.com, input those figures and you’ll find out the tv stations which can be picked up at your address.  CLICK HERE.        You can buy a TV antenna at a local store or online for anywhere from $35 to $100.

Internet

Internet

With the new infrastructure bill, there may be opportunities for cable internet coming to your community.  Traditionally, new customers can get very good discounts.  If you are a current “internet only” customer, there may be contract discounts available similar to that offered to cable customers. It never hurts to ask for a discount.

Budget Dog Has More Ideas to Save Money

Electricity

When buying any electrical item, look for the Energy Star label for energy efficiency.

Electricity

MA law allows you to utilize savings from a different electric company.  It’s worth checking out.  And some consumers have saved money with solar, but costs among installers and suppliers vary greatly, so read the fine print carefully.  

To save money on your own, you can use a power strip to make it easier to lessen standby or vampire power – By doing so, you don’t have to unplug each item, just turn off the power strip and, voila, no power is then being used.  

To save easy money on lighting, switch to LED bulbs – they used to be expensive, now they are cheap and consume less power than florescent bulbs and about 1/10 the power of conventional bulbs.

Water and Sewer

Both of these costs are generally dependent on usage and a few simple steps can save you a considerable amount of money.

Flushing the toilet – If you have a large household, consider flushing after every 3-4 #1 sessions, saving potentially hundreds of gallons every month.   

Bathing – Consider using the shower instead of the bathtub and limiting each person to an efficient 6 minute shower.  You’ll save money with every shower.

Dishwasher – Run the dishwasher when you have a full load of dishes.

Washing the Car – Wait until there’s a huge rainstorm coming. Soap up the car on the outside. Let the rain wash your care FREE!

phone service

Phone Service

Landline – If you have internet service, you can have a landline phone using what is called voice over ip.  You get an electronic box which connects to the internet and you are able to make phone calls at a much lower monthly cost than a traditional landline.   911 service is still available.   Another method to maintain a landline phone is to obtain a box from your cell phone company which uses the cell phone network, but allows you to plug in a conventional phone.

Cell phone service – Many discount providers are now available.  Switching to one of these companies could save you half off your bill while giving you the same service.

Buying a Car

Negotiate – Because supplies of some vehicles have been tight, some consumers have been happy to pay list price.(MSRP) Don’t make that mistake. Even if you end up paying a bit more than you would otherwise, always attempt to get a discount. The dealership has invested considerable time in showing you the vehicle. Even if you get a little bit off, the money you save could buy a nice dinner out.

Forget the extras – Look carefully at what you are buying and don’t buy anything you don’t want.

Finance separately – Dealers often make additional profit on financing. Check for a better rate at your bank or credit union.

Grocery Savings

Plan out your meals – By deciding in advance what your meals will be, you’ll cut down on waste and probably not need as much takeout.

Make a list – Once you’ve planned your meals, make a list and stick to it.

Buy sale items – Be aware of prices and stock up when the savings make sense.

Savings

Autosave – The easier way to save a desired amount of money every week is to set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account. This is easy to do with any online banking service available through your bank or credit union.

There’s always a way to save money if you’re looking for it.  Watch the prices at the grocery store.  Very often one package of boneless chicken breast might be 2 dollars per pound, but a fancy brand a foot away might be $3.50 per pound.   Some say, chicken is chicken!   Look at last year’s checking account statements and make a list of all of your expenses.  Very often, you can save money on many of your bills if you look hard enough.    Then save all of this money and become filthy rich.  (I wish.)