A Smart and Frugal Retirement

Reduce or eliminate recurring costs

Fees – Many people continue to pay recurring fees on bank and investment accounts. Shop around; there are banks and brokerage firms that offer no fee options. You may also be able to change the type of accounts you have at your current bank to reduce or eliminate fees.

Pay off your credit card balances in full every month to avoid costly fees.

Insurance – insurance costs can and do vary from company to company. If you have home, auto, medical, life and other insurance policies you need to shop around for the best prices. Also don’t assume that when your policies come up for renewal they are still the best option out there. You have to check prices every time your policies come up for renewal.

Some insurance companies offer bundle pricing. They offer a reduction in total insurance premiums if you purchase auto, home and other policies from them. Be cautious when considering this because sometimes purchasing various policies from different companies actually result in cheaper overall premiums.

Also make sure that your level of insurance is correct for your needs. You may be over insured and paying for it.

Phones – decide if you require a land-line. If you do need a land-line check to see if an Internet land-line will work for you. In most cases this is cheaper than the phone company. If you have a second land-line for a fax machine and only receive occasional faxes consider eliminating it and using your primary line for faxes. Or completely eliminate the need for a fax machine and land-line by setting up your PC to send/receive faxes.

For many people a cell phone may be sufficient and carrying the cost of a land-line is a waste of money. When selecting a cell phone determine if you will use the features (text, data, etc.) for which many companies charge additional fees. In fact you should decide if you need a smart phone. A basic cell phone costs much less every month.

Cable/FIOS – many people think that the cost that Cable/FIOS companies charge is fixed and cannot be negotiated. This is not the case.

First, if there is competition in your area (both a cable company and FIOS from the phone company) you have a much better chance of bringing your costs down. Second, sometimes these companies have different packages they offer that may not be evident and can save you money as opposed to buying separate services (a bundled of basic cable, HBO, Showtime vs. buying each service separately). Also check with your provider for bundling costs of TV, Internet access and phone. Sometimes these costs are lower than just paying for two of these services and it may make sense to purchase all three even if you don’t use one of them (like the phone).

Do not negotiate with the first person you speak with in customer service (this also applies to other services or products). Ask for a manager. If that does not work ask for their termination department and tell them that you find their costs too high and you will terminate service if they cannot come up with a better deal. Amazingly they almost always come up with a better deal.

I am sure there are many other ways to cut costs. You have to be alert and think can I do better when you pay those bills or purchase that product or service.

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1 Comment

  1. You can save money on cable tv by cutting the cable altogether and getting a good antenna installed. The reception is actually better than what you’d get from cable because the signal is picked up directly and not filtered through the cable company. If you need more than just the local broadcast stations because your favorite shows are on cable stations there is always Hulu Plus, Amazon, and Netflix, and with a $99 device like Roku you get enough instant play to allow you to see anything you want to see.

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