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5 Ways to Save $200 a Month

by Ted Hunt


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Most American families face a financial crunch at some point, and in the current state of the economy, it's happening more than ever. Former two-income families are trying to make it on one paycheck after a parent is laid off from work. Many employees have taken part-time jobs instead of full-time work or accepted fewer hours per week just to keep a job. Don't despair. Here's how to cut $200 per month out of your spending without even saying "ouch."

Unplug Unused Electronics: $7 Per Month 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average American home spends $1,900 per year on energy bills. An estimated $80 to $190 of this goes into electronic devices and appliances that aren't even being used. Unplug your cell phone charger when you take it off in the morning and unplug unused gaming and video consoles. Don't leave laptops plugged in unless they need a charge, and pull the plug on the toaster oven, coffee maker, lamps, and stereos when not in use.

Get a New Homeowners Insurance Quote: $17 Per Month

Take a look at how much you're paying for homeowner's insurance. Are you taking advantage of discounts you're eligible for, such as home security discounts? Could you save money by raising your deductible? Check homeowners insurance rates by state to see if you can get a better rate. Some homeowners can save up to $200 per year, which means about $17 per month back in your pocket for something more enjoyable than insurance premiums.

Get a New Car Insurance Quote: $17 Per Month

By comparing insurance agencies, raising your deductible, and taking advantage of savings like multi-vehicle discounts, your family could save as much as $200 per year or more. This translates into a monthly savings of about $17. Also ask about good student discounts, safe driver discounts, and discounts for combining your homeowners and auto policies. Experts recommend revisiting your insurance policies once each year to assure you're getting the best deal and have adequate coverage as your life changes.

Cut Entertainment Expenses: $55 Per Month

American families spend an average of $225 each month on entertainment. You don't have to cut out all the fun to see significant savings in the entertainment budget. By saying goodbye to your Netflix account, cutting out a visit to the local theater and passing on the latest video game releases, your family can see tremendous savings.

Cut Back on Eating Out: $104 Per Month

The average family of four spends $2,620 per year eating out. Reducing this by half saves over $100 every month. Also, meals at home may lead to better family interactions. At restaurants, it's easy to spend time watching other people, texting, and chatting with the waiter. Eating at home reduces distractions and allows your family to spend intimate time together while saving a big chunk of the family budget.

With these five easy budget cuts, your family will have an extra $200 to pay bills, save up for summer vacation, or put towards some super cool holiday gifts for next year. Saving money doesn't have to be painful. It just takes some creative problem solving and a little willpower to stick to the plan.

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