From PRIME, a special edition of City & Shore Magazine
By Deborah Wilker
Yes brown-bagging lunches, cutting out bottled water and unplugging electronics are good savings tips. But if it’s real money you want in your pocket, it’s best to look at the bigger picture, particularly as we age and our household needs change.
It’s easier than ever to cut the satellite or cable cord, which could free up about $100 a month, depending upon how many premium channels and DVR boxes you’re currently using. Alternatives such as Netflix, Roku, Amazon Prime, Chromecast, Apple TV, iTunes, Hulu and others, aren’t perfect (or entirely free), but the savings can be substantial. Check www.canistream.it to see what’s streaming where and when.
At a minimum, reevaluate viewing habits. Do you really need a cable/sat box in every room? Return a box or two, stick those extra TV sets on rabbit ears and pocket $15-$30 a month. Your kids, who watch most everything online anyway, won’t miss it when they come to visit.
If your cell phones have all been on a shared family plan for the last decade or so, time to break free and get that bill down from $200-plus to under $100. Since most phones today are used more for texting than talking, many old mega-talk plans are unnecessary. Review monthly usage and buy the minimum.
Do you really use your landline? Unless your cell reception is non-existent at home, ditch it for a savings of at least $25 a month.
In Florida it’s backyard pools and older AC systems that use the most power. Set indoor thermostats between 75-78 degrees, and higher when you’re out. If your AC system is more than 10 years old replacing it can yield roughly $150 a month in FPL savings in homes of 2,500 square feet or more. Cutting pool pumps back to four-to-six hours a day can also account for major savings.
If you didn’t want pool chemicals around when the kids were little, or you simply lacked the time to maintain the pool yourself, it’s time to DIY – and save at least $75 a month.
Review automated settings for lawn sprinklers, and adjust seasonally. During summer when it rains almost daily, there’s no reason to incur municipal water charges. Save about $40 a month.
Remember that subscription, gym membership, singles event or coupon club you unwittingly (or wittingly) signed up for three years ago? Review all credit card bills closely and rid yourself of monthly charges for services you no longer use, or even knew you had. Savings: Potentially limitless.