Cost Cutting Tips
Most of us spend more than we need to for a lot of things. If you really can afford luxuries such as gourmet teas or designer clothing and still save for your future, you’re lucky. However, if you’re struggling to meet the financial goals you’ve set on your retirement roadmap, it’s time to look for ways to cut expenses—daily, monthly, and long-term. Start by seeing if you’d benefit from either of these big cost-cutting strategies: •If you’re paying high interest on a mortgage and you plan to stay in your home for a few years, consider refinancing. Be sure to do your home- work to avoid closing costs that might make the move less attractive financially. •Reduce your credit card debt. Call the bank and try to negotiate lower finance charges. Then pay down the debt as fast as you can, starting with the high-interest debt. (See AARP’s Tip Sheet, “Managing Debt.”) It’s easy to spend money without realizing how much it adds up to over a week, a month or a year. So, to make other cuts in your expenses, try reviewing what habits, like eating lunch in a restaurant every day or buying expensive clothes, can add up to in the course of a year. Here are some places to look for cuts. Meals and Entertainment
Americans love to eat out, whether it’s a daily break- fast at a pricey coffee shop or fast-food dinners when you feel too tired to cook. Keep track of where you’re eating your meals and what they cost. Bringing your lunch to work and cooking your meals for dinner are good ways to reduce food expenses on a regular basis. Movie fans can save money by renting DVDs, instead of paying admission to the theater and eating that expensive popcorn. Household and Transportation Expenses
Cable television, phone service—including your cell phone— and Internet service can add up to a tidy sum every month. Make sure you have the most economical plans available. If you’re in an area with more than one provider, comparison-shop. Energy costs are climbing and will...
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