Get out of debt

 Expense # 1:  Utilities

All your utilities expenditures are a necessity right?  Well, let's see. 

Cable TV:   Do you have cable TV?  Do you have TiVo or DVR?  HBO?  You need to look real hard at these luxeries.  They are not necessary.  As a matter of fact, you may see an improvement in your life without them.  These luxeries can cost $45 to $100 per month.  If you cancel, that could be put directly toward paying off that credit card bill.

Internet:  Do you have high speed internet?  Do you really need it?  If it's not for a business, then probably not.  Go to a $9.95 dial up plan.  You will probably save $25 to $45 by doing this.

Heat, Air, electricity:   Turn down your heater setting, turn up your AC setting, and turn off those lights, TV, radio, PC, and everything else you are not using.  You can save $10-20 a month easy.

Something you may want to look into to save money on utility bills is to do an energy audit of your home.  You can go to various web sites, type in information on your home, and they will respond with ways to save money on energy for your home.  The good thing they can do is compare the cost of making the change vs. the dollars it will save you in energy costs.  So if it costs $1000 to make a change, but you will only really save $30 per year in energy costs, itís probably not a good upgrade.  However, you may find some ideas (like running the dishwasher at night or turning off your computer during the day when itís not being used) that may save you $100ís in energy bills per year with no upfront costs.

Some web sites to try include:

The U.S. Department of Energy at http://hes.lbl.gov.

This site will help you compare the energy cost for an average house in your area vs. the energy cost for an energy-efficient home.  Also, it will give you numbers on how much, on average, different appliances cost in energy to run.

Another web site to try is www.energyguide.com

 

Other tips to save on energy bills:

 

Windows - Save energy by sealing the gaps and cracks around your windows with a silicone or foam sealant or install weather stripping. Also, save energy by sealing gaps around all other openings including your power outlets, dryer vent, attic and garage doors.

 

Lighting -  Check out the new low watt light bulbs that are compact fluorescents.  A 14 watt bulb will put out 60 watts of light.  Compact fluorescent bulbs use 66% less energy and last up to 10 times longer than a regular bulb.  You will save money on both energy and the cost of bulbs.  You can also save energy by installing dimmer switches on bulbs.

 

Thermostats - If you have a programmable thermostat.  Have it set to lower when you are away from home and heat before your arrival.  Also have it lower during the night.  This can save lots of energy at very little inconvenience or cost.

 

Insulation - If you have blown insulation, be sure you have at least 7 inches in your attic and that it has not become packed down.  Lots of energy can escape through your attic if not properly insolated.  This can save a lot on your energy bill.

 

HVAC

  • Save energy by changing the filters to maximize the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Ceiling fans

  • Reverse your ceiling fan for upward air flow which will push the warm air down from the ceiling saving energy.

Washing Machines

  • If you need to replace your washing machine, consider a front loading washing machine.
  • Front loading washers use and average of 7000 gallons less water a year and 50% less energy.  This is a big savings.
  • Front loading washers are also gentler on your clothes, so you save money all around.

Refrigerators

  • ENERGY STAR refrigerators use up to 40% less energy than those purchased in 2001 or before saving lots on your power bill.

Dishwashers

  • ENERGY STAR dishwashers use up to 25% less energy than the federal minimum standard saving big $'s on your power bill.
  • Run your dishwasher at night to get the lower power rate on your energy use.

With electrical and gas bills getting bigger every year, looking hard at where you can save on energy costs can greatly impact your  monthly expenses.

Water:  Do you water your grass?  This can run $20-100 per month depending on the area.  If you can't afford to water your grass every other day, depending on your weather patterns you can try not watering at all.  In some cases, the roots will go deaper and your grass stronger.  You will also reap some good savings.

Other ways to save on your water and power utility bill:

- Install a water conserving shower head

- run your dishwasher at night to save on power

- wrap your water heater in an insulation jacket.  Again to save on power.

- Save energy by sealing outdoor pipes and hoses. 

Go to Expense # 2:  Food

 

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6 Steps to no Debt 

Step #1:  Renegotiate debt, consolidate debt, and settle debt

2) Pay off your credit card

3) Get some emergency savings

4) Start investing in 401k plan or IRA

5) Pay off other debt

6) Invest conservatively

Controlling Expenses 

1) Utilities

2) Food

3) Clothing

4) Entertainment

5) Gas

6) Other "Stuff"

Financial Mistakes to Avoid

Holding Loser Investments and Stocks

Not saving for Retirement

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