Debt Reduction for the New Age

5 08 2011

Featured in the United States Marine Corps – 2nd Battalion 25th Marines Newsletter (October – December 2011) and the Military Saves September 2011 Newsletter

We currently live in a world filled with electronic innovation.  Tablets, wi-fi  and smart phones oh my!   These innovations are marketed to ‘make our lives easier’.  However, at what price are we willing to pay to keep up with this electronic era?

If you find yourself struggling to pay monthly bills try eliminating the following expenses:

  • Smart Phones.  Many smart phones require a data/internet plan.  While the aura of smart phones sounds enticing, it may just hurt your wallet.  Monthly data plans can cost $60 per month.  However, factor in (1) monthly insurance that many people purchase on their smart phones and (2) multiple telephone lines for families and this monthly data expense can sky-rocket to triple digits.  The math:  $60 smart phone data plan per year = $720.  Switching to a $30 non-data plan per year = $360.
  • Stop Paying for Postage.  A great electronic modernization is online bill payment.  With the click of a mouse, monthly bills can be paid online, which eliminates the need to purchase postage stamps all while saving a trip to the Post Office.  People can set up automatic payments to ensure bills are paid on time every month (this also helps to avoid any late fees incurred for any  late payments).  The math:  120 bills paid per year = $53.  Switching to online bill pay = $0.
  • Cancel the At-Home Delivery Newspaper Subscription.  The expense of at-home newspaper delivery can add up quickly by year-end (and that may not include tips for the carrier during the holiday season).  There are many newspapers that can be viewed online for free, as well as free newspapers located in the metro-section of major cities.  Smaller cities and  towns may circulate gazettes which are free as well.  The math: one year newspaper subscription = $140.  Switching to online viewing = $0.
  • Double Think Kindles.  Kindles are the newest gadget in today’s market.  They allow people to read books digitally while only weighing an ounce or two.  However, the price to download books can be expensive  as well as   the price of a kindle itself.  Those looking to eliminate this expense should visit their neighborhood library.  Books, DVDs, CDs and audio books are available at no cost to the borrower!  If your library does not have the book you are in search of, the library can ship for free the book of your choice from a neighboring branch, if available.  The math:  24 $10 kindle books per year = $240.  Switching to library use = $0.
  • Home Phone v. Cellphone.  If you are a household that utilizes both a cellphone and landline you may consider canceling one over the other.  However, this may not be a fitting choice for every household.  If one expense is worth canceling factor in the amount of use and monthly cost to help in your determination over the two – home phone v. cellphone.  The math: elimination of one monthly bill = $15 to $50 range.
  • Cell Phone Internet v. Home Computer Internet.  In an attempt to eliminate redundant expenses, the choice may be to cancel a cellphone data plan or home computer internet.  For those folks that prefer to use internet on-the-go, foregoing the home computer internet may be a wiser decision.  As with home phone vs. cellphone expenses, people should factor in the use and cost to better help in their decision-making.  Either choice of elimination will save money per month.  The math: elimination of one monthly bill = $10 to $50 range.

As with every expense comes a trade-off.  If you are not struggling to pay monthly bills there may be no need to cancel certain expenses.  However, if your expenses are becoming increasingly difficult to pay each month, decide between the trade-off of keeping or eliminating the bill = paying or saving.

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