Budget Busters

Today's Topic: Gas prices

Every time you think you’ve got your household budget set, gas prices go up again sending all your calculations down the drain. You need gas – to get to work, school, the doctor, so where can you cut your spending in order to be able to fill your tank and still purchase the other essentials you can’t live without? Following are a few suggestions.

Do a home energy audit

Did you know that your coffee maker, toaster, phone charger and other devices suck up energy even when you’re not using them? They do – and they can account for as much as 20% of your monthly electric bill. Take a walk around the house and unplug these items and others you’re bound to discover. You can also make your home more energy efficient by replacing air filters every 3-6 months, and making sure your windows, vents, and even the space around electrical outlets are properly insulated. This prevents your A/C in the summer and heat in the winter from being wasted. To see how you’re doing, ask your utility company to provide you a year over year expenditures statement so you can see if any of your bills are trending upward and taking steps to stop it.

Did You Know?

According to the Alliance to Save Energy, the average U.S. household spends $5,550 a year on energy. Purchasing energy-efficient appliances, making certain home improvements and taking actions – like those mentioned above – every day can save hundreds of dollars.

Lower your auto insurance payment

You compare the prices of electronics and clothes before you buy them, so why not compare auto insurance quotes? There are websites that make comparing quotes a snap, or you can do it the old fashioned way by calling around. One of my best friends made a few phone calls and replaced her $300 a month plan with one for $55. In less than 20-minutes, she saved $2,940 a year.

Did You Know?

Credit report company Experian provides multiple auto insurance quotes in minutes. You can see all the best rates side-by-side and quite possibly save yourself more than $900 this year.

Pack your lunch

It’s easy to give in to the convenience of fast food. But going out to get lunch every day, at $10 or so a pop, is $50 you could’ve saved. And you could’ve eaten healthier, too. Get into the habit of shopping for lunch foods and preparing a sandwich or salad before you go to bed. And until this habit gets really ingrained, leave yourself a note for the morning or you might just leave your lunch at home!

Did You Know?

A woman in the U.K. has come up with a time-saving way to make lunch sandwiches for her kids and herself. She pre-makes all the sandwiches in one sitting and freezes them, pulling them out on the morning she needs them. Her trick to preventing sogginess: she doesn’t use butter and she squeezes all the air out of the sandwich bag.

Embrace your local library

Libraries today offer so much more than books. They are a treasure trove of digital options including movies, foreign language classes, audiobooks, e-books, music, and more – for adults and children. And you can access all these items – including books! – free, simply by presenting your library card.

Did You Know?

Many libraries now allow members to “check out” passes for local attractions. Libraries in Atlanta provide members with passes to the local zoo, the aquarium, and the science center. Call your library and ask if they offer free passes to specific events and activities.

Switch – or ditch – your cell phone carrier

If you’ve never considered looking into free cellular service, this is the perfect time. Life Wireless offers government subsidized cellular services through the Affordable Connectivity Program to qualifying individuals and families. And, if you’re unemployed or participate in a government benefit program such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, or WIC, you already qualify for this Federally funded free cellular service. As a participant, you receive the following, free, each month: Unlimited talk, text and data*, and a free smartphone or you can bring your own.

Even if you’re paying just $20 a month for cell service, wouldn’t you rather have that $240 to spend on groceries or gas or other household essentials? It takes just a few minutes to complete the application. Do so now, and you could be cutting your monthly cell phone bill to nothing in no time.

Did You Know?

If you’re approved for Life Wireless/Lifeline Assistance Program and sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), you get two sources of free talk, text, and unlimited data that you can split between two phones. That means free cell service for you and free cell service for someone you love. If your child has been asking for a cell phone, this is a terrific opportunity to provide him or her with talk, text, unlimited data and the ability to stay in touch with you!

Of course you don’t have to split the service between two phones, you can keep it all on one. But it’s a wonderful option if your spouse, child or relative needs a phone – and who doesn’t? – but has been unable to get one due to the expense.

Whichever option you choose – to keep the data on one phone or split it between two – Life Wireless will make sure you receive the free talk, text, and unlimited data to help you stay connected.

Option 1: Combine Your Data

Activate Lifeline and ACP on the same device and receive unlimited talk, text, and data, plus 5GB of mobile hotspot.

Option 2: Split Your Data
Split your data between two phones or supported devices and you’ll have one device with ACP’s free talk, text, and 6GB of data and a second device with Lifeline’s talk, text, and 4.5GB of data (6GB of data in California).

More ways to save

Hit delete

Delete apps like UberEats, DoorDash, and GrubHub so you’re not tempted to spend money on pricey delivery services. You can still treat yourself to occasional takeout meals that you pick up yourself, or an evening out at a restaurant, but those apps are notorious for charging exorbitant fees on orders. On top of that, you also have to pay the delivery fee and tip the driver.

Barter

Are you handy around the house? If you have a private landlord contact them and see if you can do any work for them in exchange for a decrease in rent. Can you design a website or do bookkeeping? Are you an excellent seamstress? Do you speak a second language? Offer your talent and skills in exchange for things or care that you or your family need. True story: The son of a good friend of mine needed to have his wisdom teeth removed. She couldn’t afford the fee, so she offered to redesign and rewrite the dentist’s website. It was a win-win for everyone.

Ask

Are you paying a high interest rate on your credit card or cards? Contact your credit card company and ask them to lower it. They won’t offer to do it, but if you have a history of making your payments on time and for the minimum payment required, and you call and ask, it’s quite possible they’ll agree. Remember: if you don’t ask, the answer is always no. So ask.

Save on school stuff

Make sure you sign your children up for the free or reduced price lunch program most school systems offer and keep a lookout for school supplies and backpack giveaways conducted by churches, local civic groups, nonprofits, and even local insurance agencies like State Farm. These events typically take place a month to a few weeks before the start of the school year and your child will benefit from a new or like-new backpack filled with brand new pencils, pens, notebooks, paper, erasers, and more. Stocking up on school supplies can easily cost $100 or more. Take advantage of these events and save.

Cancel those subscriptions

Cable television. Magazines. Gym memberships. Weight loss apps. These and others like them are subscriptions so many of us forget about, but still get charged for. Set aside time to review your credit card statements and checking account statements and you might be amazed at the number of items you thought you cancelled but are still paying for. Don’t have time to do it yourself? Try Truebill. The site searches forgotten subscriptions on your behalf which is great, but just be aware that for every dollar you save by using the service, Truebill takes 40% as what it calls a “savings fee.” So if they save you $500 annually on a particular bill, they’ll charge you $200.

*After you have used your plan’s high-speed data 15GB allowance, we will not turn off your data. Your speed will be throttled to 256 kbps.

 


Posted 3 weeks ago
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To obtain Life Wireless service potential subscribers must meet certain eligibility requirements such as receiving governmental assistance or a household income that is 135% or below Federal Poverty guidelines for a household of that size, or the percentage guideline for your state. The specifics of what determines a potential subscriber's eligibility are specific to each state. Life Wireless service is limited to one per household, and cannot be combined with any other Lifeline offering.