The It’s Your Money book section on budgeting has a lot of insights and ways you can take an extra $100 extra and pay off $25,000 in debts in less than four years. But there’s also a challenge for you: During the next week, make it a game to find out where you can cut down your current bills. Don’t assume anything, make some calls, stop and think, look at something a little different, ask some friends, and see if you can’t find at least $100 to cut each month.
I bet you can do it without ever affecting your lifestyle. But here we are, feeling overwhelmed by our debts with no clue how to make a big dent in them, and wondering “what’s the use” trying to reduce our monthly expenses. That mindset is an absolute financial killer, and the first thing that has to change is the attitude that there’s no point and no use. There is – and pays off BIG – really big!
Here’s the example of what I did last year:
Cut off a bank overdraft: $20 a month in fees and interest
Switched bank accounts for lower service charge package: $10
Changed phone carriers from Telus to Shaw: $25
Changed my fax line to smart-ring: $30
Changed long distance plans: $15
Cancelled two magazine subscriptions I didn’t have time to read anyway: $10
Switched to Esso Speedpass for an extra 1.5c off per litre: $8
That’s just seven of the dozen things which I found in two days, for a saving of around $290 a month. Over a year, that’s $3,500. Now add the tax to that – because we have to earn gross income in order to have this $3,500 left – that’s $5,000 worth of income saved!
What are yours? Is it a programmable thermostat that’ll cut your utility bill 15%? Is it a saving of $100 a month just in one less dinner out? Maybe a cell phone plan change, or perhaps dropping down one level on your cable TV package?
So tell me the last time you got a $5,000 raise? Still wonder what’s the point? And why do it? Because every bill you cut down, every dime of interest you save, every dollar that’s NOT going out the door to make someone else rich is exactly like getting a raise – only a lot quicker and easier to accomplish! You can increase your earnings or cut your money going out – both work – this one is just easier and faster to do.
Make it a game and not a pain and you’d be amazed at what you’re leaking out the door that you haven’t questioned in years! You have to start somewhere and you have to start sometime, and taking a hard look at your current bills is one of the best places to start.
If you have an idea, let Phil or me know. I’ll put up $100 for a great idea we can share. If I don’t get an actual good one, the money will go to a Kelowna charity. So one way or another, I will pay it out. Care enough to share it. I’m at yourmoneybook.com and Phil’s e mail is on the radio station web site.