"...more importantly, you can buy gift cards at a discounted price!"
Hey guys, Mike Frontera here back with another edition of Retirement Theory. As you know, one of the challenges that people face in retirement is keeping their household expenses under control. And one of the cool things about working with people during their retirement lives is I get to hear some great tips on how to do just that.
Recently I was meeting with a couple who successfully challenged the assessed value of their home and was able to lower their property taxes by over $2000 per year! How would you like to get that kind of money out of your expense column? Now, let’s look at other GREAT tips that many have used to help keep their budget in check and see if it can do the same for you, and extend the longevity of your retirement savings in the process
Let’s start with one you may already know—cutting out cable. Nowadays, cable can easily exceed $150 per month, with many going over $200 per month. That’s $1800-2400 per year! Before forking over all that money to the cable company, check out some of the great alternatives that out there.
Services like NetFlix and Hulu provide movies, current television series, and award-winning original programming that you can't get through cable. You like watching TV live? Take a look at Sling TV, or DirectTV Now or Hulu. Are you afraid you’ll miss your favorite local channels if you switch? Pick up an HD antenna on Amazon for under $30!
What about your Internet bill? If you don’t use the Internet to stream a ton of movies and shows, you can probably run your laptop or your iPad right off your cell phone’s Internet signal. You do that by setting up what's called a WiFi hotspot and it basically entails sending out a WiFi signal right from your phone. If you don’t have it, or don’t know if you have it, call your cell phone provider.
Speaking of phone and Internet, when was the last time you called your provider and tried to get your bill lowered? If you call and complain about your bill being high, they may be willing to set you back up on a promotional rate. Quite often, especially with cell phones, new agreements come out all the time with better terms. I called my provider last year and I let them know I was considering switching carriers. They put me on hold and came back with a plan with more features and it was less money. $30 less per month. That’s a nice win!
Are you looking for a new car? Be sure to jump on Google and type in the car you’re looking for along with the word “incentive”.
There are also sites, like Edmunds.com and truecar.com that can provide insight to you on the type of discounts offered on vehicles off MSRP- or what's called "the invoice price" - which tells you basically what the dealership paid for the car. Also check out my blog “how to get a great deal on a car” for even more tips on that.
Are you willing to get a bit creative with your money saving? Visit a gift card exchange site online. Here you can sell gift cards that you don’t want, but almost more importantly, you can buy gift cards at a discounted price.
Here’s an example: You need to buy dog food. You can go to cardpool.com – and buy a gift card in varying denominations for 9% off. Boom, you just lowered your pet expenses by 9%! Look around! Check that site out and see what else you can save money on!
What about saving money on your energy bills? Yes, you could buy all new windows and appliances, but a huge portion of your bill comes from your heat and air conditioning use. And no, I’m not gonna tell you to leave your house at 60 degrees in the winter and throw on a sweater. But, what may be worth your while is to buy a smart thermostat.
Smart thermostats, like the one from Nest, can actually learn from you and adjust your home temperatures accordingly. They tout average electric bill savings of 10% to 12% per year. And the best part, is unlike a programmable thermostat that you have to program yourself and periodically adjust (and nobody ever does), a smart thermostat does all that for you. For example, it knows when you’re home and when you’re away based on the proximity of your cell phone to the thermostat. How cool is that?
Finally, what to do with all of these great savings that you’ve found? Why not set up an online savings account? You can usually set one up in like 15 minutes online. Just google FDIC insured online savings account. The great thing is, you’ll often receive a lot more interest with an online savings versus your local bank. You can set up an automatic transfer each month to deposit money into your new account and build up a nice pool of money over time. And getting an automatic savings plan is great financial inertia! It may give you the momentum to really start watching your expenses and add even more money to the savings column!
So, do you have questions for me? Let me know. Give me a call at (518) 612-1060, or just visit me at www.retirementtheory.com . Do you follow me on Facebook? I think that you should. You'll see videos like these, and get blog and article shares on everything retirement planning. Once again, thanks for joining me. See you next time.