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Budget Like It’s 1971

January 13, 2012

In the 1980’s Prince sang, “Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999!” Well, if you’re being financially squeezed, perhaps its time to “budget like it’s 1971!” What that means is to take a hard look at where your money is going and how you can cut expenses. Chances are you can make big cuts in discretionary spending for high tech products and services. Let’s look at how we can save money on three technologies that were not commercially available in 1971:

Cable or Satellite TV
Basic cable or satellite television services promise a reasonable monthly rate, but your bill can quickly escalate with high definition service and premium channels. Many of these channels are never watched or wanted, but you still pay for them in a subscription package. So ask yourself, can you live without watching the Golf Channel in high definition?

Basic internet services also start low, but can quickly double in price as speed increases. Many companies offer high speed internet in a bundled package that includes television and telephone. Bundled packages are often discounted for the first year of a two year contract, and jumps significantly in price during the second year. However, that is not always the case, and more companies are offering “no contract” services as a way of luring new customers. The moral here is, “Shop around!”

Cellular Phone
Basic cell phone “talk” minutes are relatively cheap, while text and data packages are more costly. One simple way to reduce your cell phone bill is to ask your carrier to conduct an audit on your account. You may be able to reduce your monthly minutes or eliminate extra features you don’t use.

The popularity of cellular phones has made the home phone almost extinct. Even those households that use a landline for fax use can reduce costs by connecting a home office fax machine to the internet and drop home phone service altogether.

Ask for a Discount
You don’t get what you don’t ask for! If you are under contract with a television, internet, or cell service, call your provider and say you are a loyal customer interested in reducing your bill. In many cases the provider will discount your bill to keep you happy (and loyal)!

Families struggling with finances can save money by taking a critical look at their expenses. If cutting costs isn’t enough, the federal bankruptcy laws can eliminate your debts. The combination of reducing spending and eliminating bills through bankruptcy can be powerful financial medicine.


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