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How To Save Money Day To Day (Spending Less)

Household Expenses

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If you own your home, can you refinance to obtain a cheaper interest rate? Is it worthwhile when you consider the costs of the new loan?

Even if you can't decrease the interest rate, can you refinance to reduce your monthly expense? This may be a costly maneuver in the long run. In the shorter run, you can relieve stress and free up money for other uses.

If you're interested in saving interest over the long haul, it might make sense to make additional prepayments beyond your regular monthly payments.

  • This can be done with lump sum payments you can send to the lender when you have extra money.
  • Some lenders have a program where you pay half of the monthly payment every two weeks instead of once a month. In order to start automatic payments, the lender may require that you pay a month in advance -- which means that in order to start the program, you may have to pay two months worth of payments in one month. If you do make an extra mortgage payment, be sure to include a note indicating that you want the extra money applied to a reduction in your principal (the amount you borrowed).

To figure out whether or not prepaying a mortgage might be good for you, check out a calculator such as's calculator at offsite link.

Telephone bill

  • Many telephone companies offer special programs for basic phone services for people who are seniors, disabled or have low fixed incomes. Contact your local phone service provider to find out if this might work for you.
  • If you have a computer with a high speed connection, you may be able to switch your phone to the computer where you can get unlimited calls for a flat monthly rate.
  • Can you make do with a cell phone instead of both a cell phone and a land line?
  • In your area, check whether you can receive phone service bundled with television and computer service -- which saves on all three services.


  • Electric companies sometimes have special programs for seniors, people who are disabled or who have low fixed incomes. If not, you might be able to enroll in a level-billing program that will spread your bill out evenly over the year.
  • Electric companies also sometimes provide free energy evaluation. For a free evaluation, see the U.S. Department of Energy website at: offsite link


When's the last time you shopped for a new rate? See Buying Homeowners Insurance.

Your cable or satellite provider

  • Do you really use all the features/channels that you're paying for, or would you be OK with a more basic plan?
  • Would it be less expensive to bundle the service with your telephone and/or computer?
  • You likely did the research once that led you to the provider you have. If you did the research today, would there be a less expensive alternative? It's worth taking the time to find out if you think about how much you spend for this service -- particularly if you think of the money you spend per year instead of per month.

Internet Access

Do you really need high speed access for which you pay extra, or can you make do with dial-up access through the phone for which you're already paying?

Some companies -- such as AOL -- offer limited service plans for free or at a lower price.

Perhaps you can get what you need from the internet at your local library or internet  cafe.

Mobile phone and telephone land lines

Choose the plan that works best for you. Call the customer service representative of the phone companies that serve your area and ask them to compare your usage to the plans that are available. Also be on the lookout for new promotional plans: they often don't apply only to new customers.

Hint: If you threaten to move to another provider, you may be able to get a deal. After all, what does the company spend on your account?

Consider moving to a less expensive residence.

Once you have a fix on all of the expenses needed to maintain your household, consider moving to a less expensive residence.

If you do consider a move, in addition to the cost of purchasing or renting a home, include the costs to maintain it. Also include the costs of moving and the expenses involved with visiting friend and stores you like in your current neighborhood.

Consider moving to a less expensive locale.

Review all the costs associated with maintaining your household, starting with where you live. Does it make sense for you to move to a less expensive space or, even, a less expensive city?

The cost of living varies widely in different areas. This may not be so important when you're still working since salaries can also be expected to be less in those areas. However, this fact can become important if you're on disability. On disability, your income won't change if you move (unless you're on Supplemental Security Income (SSI)), but your expenses might decrease.

If you'd like to compare the costs of living in different areas, check out: offsite link and offsite link.

For salaries in different areas, try offsite link.

Appliances and Electronic Equipment

Retailers "refurbish" returned goods by repairing them, if necessary, and possibly repackaging them. Prices can be as low as 20% of retail. Best deals usually occur in January because of Christmas returns.

Before purchasing a refurbished piece of equipment, find out the following:

  •  How the dealer defines "refurbished."  It may be only an item that is perfect, but was returned. Or there may be cosmetic damage such as a small knick.
  • The type and length of warranty
  • The store's return policy with respect to refurbished items.
  • Whether the item comes with all the basic components that usually accompany a new product.

If you decide to stay in your home

See New Uses of Assets for ideas on reducing your mortgage payments, generating cash, or living with someone to share expenses.

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