Control Your Runaway Expenses and Still Have Fun

For most of us, the cost of everything has risen ahead of our income. In some cases it may be more than costs that have risen; it may be your consumption. If you are looking for ways to control both rising expenses and increasing consumption, here are some timely suggestions.

The Roof Above and the Utilities Within

You are probably using more of your income for housing than in the past, but make sure you are getting the best rates available for both your mortgage and any equity loans, and that you are deducting every penny allowable under current Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules. Shop around!

Review your home heating fuel consumption for the last 12-24 months and get on a budget plan that reflects true current prices. Lower fuel prices should not mean relaxing where insulation and conservation are concerned. Check your insulation, and trim another degree off the thermostat!

Check your local electric and water departments for free conservation programs and tips. Expect their rates to continue rising, and adjust your lifestyle accordingly. As with heating, remember to adjust the thermostat during air conditioning season.

Telephone service has added enhancement upon enhancement over the past few years. Ask yourself if you are really using all the new services, or if you have them because the ads are so convincing. Life without call waiting may be rather pleasant.

The cost of cable television is something to behold, and the necessity of cable is a wonder of the modern age. An assessment of true cable usage may prove that all those marvelous channels are watched so infrequently that the cost per view is one that could be trimmed easily. Is it time to return to fewer channels and more trips to the library?

Cutting Down Expenses

Going to the super grocery store can be a great adventure. Make a shopping list of what you want. Get a special store card to scan for specials, clip some coupons, and grab a supermarket circular for specials. The use of lists, specials, and coupons can reduce your weekly food bill by up to 20%.

Clothing prices have gone out of control, but you have the power to bring them back into line by remembering one fact: The name on the front, back, side, or anywhere else does not mean that the article of clothing will wear any better or any longer than the no-name variety. Try this fact on for size and watch your clothing expenses fit with reality once more.

The cost of an afternoon or evening at the movies is another wonder of our times. It may be time to begin enjoying Friday nights at home with the family making pizzas and watching videos. Family game nights are another great option!

A meal out at a restaurant is not always a luxury. There are times when it becomes as necessary to personal survival as sleep. It does not need to have a luxury price tag, however two-for-one specials, and kids eat free are more common than ever before.

All the little expenses banking fees, subscriptions, personal care, lottery tickets and such can creep up gradually to create a new Godzilla ready to devour the best-laid spending plans. Analyze all of them and see which are truly necessities.

The final budget-busting monster of the modern age is the credit card, with its associated annual fees and finance charges. Get credit card debt paid off, or at least under control.

Expenses have increased, and your income may not have kept pace with them. You also may have fallen prey to spending patterns that have made increased consumption and deficit financing a way of life. If your expenses have run away, rein them in today for a comfortable, more secure future. The runaway train of debt can, indeed, be stopped before it derails!

Healthy and Physically Fit

The added expense of a good fitness program can lead to better health and fewer visits to the doctor or chiropractor. In many cases, the sidewalk outside your home will work just as well as the fitness club down the street.

If your doctor agrees, shop generic when you need medications, and look for pharmacies that offer reduced rates on prescriptions; the same stores may also offer reduced prices on prescription eyewear needs.

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