5 Easy Ways to Trim the Fat and Put Cash Back in Your Pocket

BY: - 2 Aug '17 | Money

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A few days ago I renegotiated my Direct TV cable bill. After a quick ten minute call my bill was slashed by $60 a month for the very same cable package. I also got NFL Sunday Ticket thrown in for free.

I’ll save $720 a year, after just a ten minute phone call. Of course if I had been really smart I might have cancelled my Direct TV service altogether, but being a diehard sports fan that was out of the question.

I’ve been motivated to find even more ways to save.

A useless nine dollar monthly Verizon “device protection” service was cancelled, saving me $108 a year. My gym membership that I never used – gone. A $14.95 monthly Audible service is no more. Our next target is the collision part of the auto insurance on our family’s 2002 Trailblazer.

But, why did I wait so long to seek out these savings?

It could be because the rewards are not immediate. When we save money we don’t actually see the money. Our gain is not physically visible. When I renegotiated my Direct TV service I didn’t get $60 in cash handed to me on the spot.

I have fitted all the light fixtures in my home with energy efficient CFL bulbs. After nearly choking on the $3 cost per bulb I bit the bullet anyway because the bulbs will save me a nearly two hundred dollars a year in energy costs. The decision was hard though because the financial benefit would not be realized immediately, yet the cost of the lightbulbs was immediate.

And because the financial rewards of saving are not always immediate, we procrastinate, letting money slip through our fingers.

Consider, for instance, that a Nerd Wallet analysis of mortgage loan data found that homeowners are losing $13 billion a year by not refinancing their mortgages. A homeowner with good credit could save, on average, $215 each month by simply refinancing their home loan.

According to a survey commissioned by InsuranceQuotes, 66 percent of policyholders never, or rarely, check to see if they can obtain cheaper coverage. Worse, the average American has been with the same auto insurance company for 12 years. Many auto insurers know this and take advantage by gradually raising their rates on their most loyal customers. Simply shopping around could save you hundreds per year.

That’s why it’s time to examine your finances for savings using a fine tooth comb. Remember, every day that you procrastinate is a day that you’re losing money.

Start off with your largest expenses, then work your way to the less costly ones.

  1. Mortgage: Do you have a mortgage that you could refinance? This one step alone could put one to two thousand dollars back into your pocket each and every year.
  2. Auto Insurance: When’s the last time you shopped for auto insurance? Stop letting auto insurers take advantage of your loyalty. Shop around. You don’t have to wait until renewal time to switch insurers.
  3. Cellphone and cable services: Are there ways you could cut your cable or cellphone bills? Call your cable company and renegotiate your bill. Many people are cutting the cord. Cable companies know this so they’re more likely to play ball with you. Analyze your cell phone bill. Is there a plan that will save you more money? Consider switching carriers altogether. Competition between cellphone carriers is intense and you many be able to snag a great deal.
  4. Subscription services: Check for recurrent services you never use. These are the sneakiest of costs because they’re often overlooked. Do you have a gym membership you don’t use? Maybe you pay for magazine subscriptions for magazines you never read. Perhaps it’s time to ditch your Audible or Spotify subscription.
  5. Utilities: Your home is one of your biggest expenses and utility bills can suck money from your wallet. Simple changes can fatten your pocketbook. Turn down the thermostat on your hot water heater. Caulk or weatherstrip your windows. Purchase a programmable thermostat. Replace your HVAC filters. Unplug unused electronics. All of these will save you money year after year.

If someone offered you a free $100 bill would you turn it down? Probably not. But that’s in essence exactly what we do when we fail to find ways to save money. Unfortunately, it’s often much more than $100 we’re missing out on. Scrubbing your finances for savings could literally save you thousands of dollars every year. Stop procrastinating. Do it today.

BMWK, are you throwing money out the window by overlooking the savings in your budget?

About the author

Alonzo Peters wrote 298 articles on this blog.

Alonzo Peters is founder of MochaMoney.com, a personal finance website dedicated to helping Black America achieve financial independence.

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5 Financial Tips to Keep Money from Ruining Your Relationship

BY: - 3 Aug '17 | Money

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By: Dr. George James

Some say that money is the root of all evil while others believe the love of money is the source of all evil.  In loving committed relationships, money can become the evil that breaks the couple up.  In a healthy relationship, it is important for the couple to talk about money, discuss spending habits, figure out how to pay bills together and develop a budget to help with future goals.

 

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This is not an innate process, like any other aspect of a romantic relationship.  Both members of the relationship will have different perspectives on the role of money in their relationship.

  • One person wants to save, the other wants to spend.
  • One wants a budget and the other wants to be care free.
  • One is considered cheap/frugal while the other has expensive taste.
  • One person has a Roth IRA and savings while the other person has mounting credit card debt.

The financial imprint from our family, friends and society can manifest itself not only in clear obvious ways but in deeper subconscious ways as well.

The disparities aren’t as polarizing as this seems, but there are differences that each couple should pay attention to in order to reduce money battles and tension in the relationship.  As the tension builds over the course of the relationship, the couple starts to experience power struggles.  “I make the money, so I make the decisions,” or “I take care of the kids, so I make decisions,” or “I worked hard this week, and I deserve to treat myself.”

Click Here to Download a FREE Copy of the BMWK Generational Wealth Pledge for Black Families!

Most of our perspectives on money come from what we witnessed throughout our lives.  How our family, and sometimes friends, used or misused money can shape our thoughts and actions.  The financial imprint from our family, friends and society can manifest itself not only in clear obvious ways but in deeper subconscious ways as well.  These conscious and subconscious experiences with money can create a divide between you and your partner without the proper tools.

5 Financial Tips to Keep Money from Ruining Your Relationship

  1. Talk it Out – Talk sooner rather than later about your views, values and perspectives about money.
  2. Listen Before You Dismiss – Before you dismiss or reject what your partner has to say, try to listen to her/him. Think about what might have influenced their perspective. Ask questions to get a clearer picture.
  3. Plan for the Future – Work on a plan for your money. For most people that means developing a budget.  This could also include working with a financial planner.
  4. Make the Commitment – Commit to whatever plan you both come up with. If not, you will only sabotage your end goal.
  5. Have Fun – Leave room to have fun. Set money aside to go on dates, vacations, activities, shopping and other fun things.

In Shopping, the fourth episode, of the new web series Funny Married Stuff we highlight the dynamic mentioned above as a couple uses a humorous approach to discuss who spends the most, how they will work to save towards a goal and how their love & support for each other outweighs their different perspectives on money.

Maybe you find yourself in a similar situation as the couple in the episode or you relate to the example above.  Here are some steps you can take to discuss money, it’s role in your relationship, your financial goals, how to overcome power struggles, and how to show each other love and support instead of resentment when money comes up.

For more episodes and information about Funny Married Stuff go to www.funnymarriedstuff.com and www.youtube.com/funnymarriedstuff.

Dr. George James, LMFT speaks, counsels, consults, coaches and teaches people how to overcome difficult relationships problems and build successful happy connections. James has been a reoccurring expert on many radio, TV and online programs. He is also a reoccurring relationship contributor to Ebony magazine. James is a staff therapist and an AAMFT-approved supervisor at Council For Relationships.  Find out more about Dr. George James at GeorgeTalks.com.

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BMWK Staff wrote 1236 articles on this blog.

Content and articles from the staff and guest contributors of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com

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