It seems the price of everything goes up every year, while our small raises barely keep up.
But the good news is that a few modest changes can give you the equivalent of a $1,000 raise. And you don't have to quit your Starbucks habit.
Many People Looking for Extra Savings
At Price Hill Chili on Glenway Avenue in Cincinnati, you'll find hard working Cincinnatians all doing a little extra to save a few dollars.
Allison Mecurio says she's lucky to have family members helping her preschooler.
"We do a lot of hand-me-downs, so its been nice to count on that because clothing is expensive," Mecurio said.
A few booths away, Marilyn Holtenbach recently joined a warehouse club to save some grocery money.
"I now shop in bulk at Sam's," she said.
So what can you do? Here are some easy steps you can take to save an extra $1,000.
Sell at Consignment: $200 a year
Start by looking for cash in your closet.
Lysha Broad of Kennedy Heights earns more than $200 a year at consignment shops, just by cleaning out the closets of her and her children's unwanted clothing.
"I took a coat in to a children's consignment shop, and it wasn't in that great of condition and they gave me $9 for it," she said. One recent trip, selling clothing her children had outgrown, netted her more than $50 cash.
Review Your Landline, Cell Plans: $100 A Year
Then call your phone carriers. Just reviewing your cell plan can save $100 a year.
Make sure you are on the best family plan your carrier offers.
Things have probably changed in the year or two since you last reviewed it, and there is a good chance you are now overpaying for voice minutes and text messages you no longer need.
And trim extras from your landline service as call waiting and forwarding, which most people barely use anymore.
Tim Langston of Clermont County downgraded his landline to a "basic" package for $20 a month a couple of years ago. Sure, he has to pay 3 cents a minute for his local calls, but he barely makes any, so the basic service is all he needs.
"I was very rarely making calls, I was paying telemarketers to call me," Langdon said.
Switch One Cellphone Line To Prepaid: Save $300
Have a teen or college student?
Put that student on a prepaid smartphone plan, like Walmart's Straight talk or Virgin Prepaid.
You get a smartphone (iPhones now included) with as much data as most people need for just $49 a month, as opposed to $79 with a legacy carrier, saving your budget $300 a year.
Michael Handy of West Chester went prepaid for himself, joining Republic Wireless' $20 a month, very basic prepaid plan (it uses only one one brand of smartphone, no iPhone or Galaxy).
"This advertisement came up for $20 a month for cell service. I thought I'd check it out, and it works." Handy said.
Confused? To sort out all the prepaid plans, check a website like "SaveonPhone.com," that compares them all.
Trim Your Cable Bill: Save $200
Next, call the cable company and save $200 in the next year. How? Start by dropping a premium channel ($10 a month), and asking for a better package.
Tell them you are thinking of turning in your equipment and "cutting the cord," and see what they offer you. Typically, you will lower your monthly rate by about $10 - $20.
Call Credit Cards, Insurance Agent: Save $150
Mommy blogger Andrea Deckard of SavingsLifestyle.com says it's then time to negotiate with your other services.
Call your credit card companies and ask for lower interest rates. Again, tell them you are thinking of closing the account unless you get a better rate.
Deckard says if you cut a revolving 24 percent card down to 10 percent, you can save $50 on average this year (This will not work with store credit cards, however, like Macy's or Target, which do not negotiate their rates).
Then call your insurance company and raise your car and home deductibles. Your homeowners deductible should be at least $1,000, not $500. You don't want to make a $500 claim. Ever. It can raise your rates.
Two years ago, Deckard saved $150 a year by calling her insurance and credit card companies.
"I think if you call them and say 'here's the situation, here's what I have right now, tell me what plans are available,' they will always work with you," Deckard said.
Brown Bag One Lunch A Week: At least $50 a year
We're not telling you to brown bag your lunch every day. Very frugal people (like me) do that, but for most people it gets old fast. So bring a sandwich and chips, or just some veggies, chips, and cookies, one day per week.
That will save $50 a year. Actually, you'll save $100 or more, but we are trying to make our numbers add up to $1,000.
And You Can Still Buy Starbucks
A few calls, some budget tightening, and consigning, and you just saved $1,000 over the course of the next year.
And we didn't even suggest you stop going to Starbucks. People hate that suggestion.
As always don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is
a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
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