Somewhere I read where the recent, big federal tax cut computed out to a savings of more than 10% for the ultra-rich and about 2.8% for us regular (poor and getting poorer) folk. With the cost of living rising because of the increase in gas prices and etc. being about 2.9% per year, we have all (of course) lost a little more ground. People, this is not a one time thing. It is, and has been, a long-term trend.
So a few ideas on how to cut a few corners in order to continue eating in the future:
- Trade your fancy phone in for a cheap flip-phone with no contract and/or a landline. Savings per month $50. See http://justageezer.com/2017/03/18/hello-hello-damn-hello/.
- Keep your current auto(s) on the road and do not purchase a new one because it is shinier. A new car will cost around $500 a month while keeping the old one running probably (by my experience) costs about $100 a month in repairs. Savings per month $400 (for one auto).
- Give up cable TV, get an antenna, and a subscription to something like Netflix. You can get local television and more movies and TV shows than you can watch. Savings per month $110.
- Take a good look at auto and other insurance and see where coverage can be reduced or eliminated. For example, it doesn’t do any good to have collision coverage on older cars that will pay you only a few dollars if you have an accident. May also consider raising you deductibles for lower rates. Monthly savings $20 per month.
- The best way to save money on restaurant dining is simply to eat at home. But if it is something you enjoy then consider looking at Groupon for your city. It has its limitation (e.g. limited participants and duration of offers), but the savings are often very good. For a wider selection of choices consider looking into Passport Dinning. With Groupon, you pay for your meal(s) one at a time, but with Passport you pay an annual fee. Each deal may come with what they call “Fine Print” which may specify certain requirements or limitations you need to comply with. I have participated in both of these programs and found both provide excellent value. Savings per month $20 plus.
- Take advantage of garage sales. If you find what you need, the cost is miniscule even when gas is added in. Where else can you find nearly new books for $.25. Savings per month $20.
- Get clothing at thrift stores. As a Geezer, what does it matter if you are an era out of date fashion-wise. Savings per month $20.
- Don’t pay cash but use a credit card that pays an annual dividend back according to how much you charge. Money saved per month $25.
- Find a neighborhood barber who doesn’t have five TV’s on the wall, but instead gives haircuts at a reasonable price. Savings per month $10.
- Raise some sort of garden for the basics like tomatoes, carrots, beans, and cucumbers. Savings $25 a month (during the summer).
- Change from getting a printed daily newspaper to one provided on the Internet. Savings is $20 per month.
- If you can chose between getting prescriptions from a mail order or local pharmacy, check both for prices. For some reason, the best price can often vary as to which one is the less expensive. Savings is $15 per month.
- Never pay for home delivery of anything. Bottom line, no matter what they say, I have never had a business challenge me when I say that delivery is free or there is no deal. I have received free delivery on furniture, appliances, barbeques, televisions, air conditioner, and other merchandise. Savings per month $10.
- Use websites like Nextdoor, Home Advisor, or Angie’s List to get recommendations for home repair or service providers at a good rate. Check credentials on local Better Business Bureau site. Money saved per month $20.
- Get your kids or their spouses to help you get jobs done instead of paying professionals. Money saved per month–probably nothing after you pay for their meals, screw ups, band aids, bribes, etc.
- And the suggestion I saved for last because it can often result in the biggest savings of all, is to never pay the going price for a large purchase or service. I guess you would call this dickering or haggling and many people (including my wife) consider this behavior as somehow rude or inappropriate. Well I have never been one to worry about being a bit impolite or unmannerly, but I would say that the positive results I usually get proves sellers expect their prices to be challenged. Now this strategy doesn’t work at Safeway or Wal-Mart, but any situation where you are dealing one-on-one with a salesman or service provider qualifies. If I am buying a car, new driveway, fence, furnace, water heater, sprinkler system, appliances, television set, or any other major expenditure more than $100, 90% of the time I can get a better deal just by asking for one. To me, it is the companies who are “rude or inappropriate” for inflating their prices and so it never bothers me to ask “What’s your real price?” Money saved varies, but could be hundreds of dollars in a year.
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One more thing you can do to keep your costs down is to vote the politicians who passed the recent federal tax bonanza for the rich, out of office.
With the exception of those of you with your own yacht, the rest of us need all the cash we can gather to repair the leaks in our worn-out rowboat. I would love to hear about your ideas for saving money.