10. Use a "basic" cell phone plan with limited minutes.The average cell phone bill is $63 - $77 per month. Scaling back from a cell phone plan with loads of minutes (and bells and whistles that you don’t find necessary) to a basic plan with limited minutes can save you $20.00 – 30.00 per month. You’ll still have the peace of mind of having your cell phone, especially in case of emergency, but won’t have to pay for what you’re not using. Estimated monthly savings: $20.00-30.00.
11. Use a cell phone with prepaid minutes. Why pay for hundreds of dollars for cell phone minutes you're not using? With pre-paid cell phones, you will only pay for the minutes you use, saving you upwards of $30 per month. Estimated monthly savings: $20.00-30.00
12. Drop extra line services from your home phone. Extra services on your home phone, such as call waiting, can each cost around $50 per year. Check which services you’re currently signed up for and drop any that you don’t need on a regular basis. Estimated monthly savings: $5.00-10.00
13. Save big on your home energy costs. There are many ways to lower your home energy costs 10% or more, by turning down your thermostat; using appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines during non-peak hours; unplugging appliances when not in use, using ceiling fans instead of A/C; and much more. Find additional energy efficiency information at www.energysavers.gov. Estimated monthly savings: $25.00-100.00
14. Switch to a free-checking or one without a required minimum balance. Often times we stay with the same bank we used for years, out of convenience or habit. However, with familiarity can come high monthly service charges. Many banks offer checking accounts that are free, or ones that don’t have a minimum balance service charge, which can save you up to $10 per month, so consider shopping around. Visit www.bankrates.com. Estimated monthly savings: $5.00-10.00
15. Use only your bank's Automated Teller Machines. Use only your own bank's network of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and avoid costly fees from other banks, which can run $1.50 - $3.00 each time you withdraw money. If use an ATM once a week, save over $5-$10 per month by eliminating these extra charges. Estimated monthly savings: $5.00-10.00
For Tax Savings
Explore options if you are facing an unusual hardship situation such as job loss.
• The IRS may be able to adjust payments for back taxes, help you avoid defaulting on payment agreements or possibly defer collection action.
• Visit the IRS Web site to learn more about help for financially distressed taxpayers.
E-file to get your refund in as few as 10 days.
• Learn more about electronic tax filing and payment options.