Yes, you can save a lot by cutting out the little pleasures in life. Nonessentials like caffe lattes and premium channels can really add up. But life is too short for mediocre coffee! The good news is that not all money wasters bring you joy. Here are seven painless ways to stop throwing away hundreds of dollars a year.
You could save: $560 a year
Most U.S. households now rely on mobile phones only. But fewer than one-quarter of homes with people 65 and older have made the switch. If you want to keep your landline, don't overpay. Until recently, my mother-in-law paid $84.54 a month for plain old telephone service. By replacing her copper-wire connection with phone service delivered through the same cable as her TV and internet, I trimmed her telecom bill by $565.32 a year. Bonus: The static in her phone is gone.
You could save: $100 a year
With cards getting ever costlier, finance and consumer writer Anthony Giorgianni buys boxes of blank greeting cards and personalizes them for each occasion. It's easy to find beautiful cards, sold in quantities of 24 or more, at prices that work out to well under 50 cents per card. Send them out instead of birthday and holiday cards often priced at more than $4 a piece.
Credit card late fees
You could save: $28 or more
The top penalty for missing a payment is now $28 for a first-timer, rising to as much as $39 for subsequent late payments. But you might not have to pay. Ted Rossman, an industry analyst at creditcards.com, says 84 percent of people who ask for a break on late fees get it.
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You could save: More than $600 a year
The average American tosses out almost a pound of food per day. (One survey found American households waste $640 every year.) My favorite tool for reducing waste — and my food bill — is the freezer. Leftovers and iffy produce turned into soups and casseroles, for example, last just a few days in the fridge but can be stashed for months in the freezer. For more info, consult the cold food storage chart at foodsafety.gov.