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How Much Spending Could You Cut?

Poll QuestionWhen Brian O’Connor set out to cut $1,000 from his family’s monthly budget, he found it wasn’t all that difficult.

He cut the most fat through recurring expenses, like his phone, cable and Internet services. An afternoon of phone calls saved him $140 a month and earned him $653.80 in refunds, discounts and a gift card.

He reduced, but didn’t cancel, his cable service and his Internet service. Upon closer examination of his monthly bill, he realized that his family wasn’t using all of the data they paid for every month.

O’Connor told U.S. News & World Report that there were other charges like the data plan that, had he been paying closer attention to his account statements, should already have been removed or reduced.

He also noted that he found a $15 monthly charge to use his mobile phone as a modem – a service he needed on a vacation but then forgot to cancel once he was home.

We think this may be the biggest take-away from O’Connor, a Detroit News columnist who penned about his experience in the newly released The $1,000 Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese.

Too many people don’t spend the time scrutinizing bills for unnecessary and sometimes random expenses. Perhaps it’s because paper bills rarely arrive in the mail anymore, and e-mails announcing when the electronic versions are available online are either too easily deleted or buried in your inbox.

But we can all agree that these small, unnoticed expenses can add up quickly, and you won’t catch them if you don’t look for them.

Other categories where O’Connor garnered monthly savings included unusual expenses (like a hobby – for example, O’Connor has a boat), child care, home and groceries.

More of his savings:

  • More than $100 a month by taking advantage of his flexible health spending account for his son’s speech therapy.
  • $60 a month by ditching his house-cleaning service.
  • $40 a month on groceries, simply by comparison shopping and using coupons.

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If I really tried, I could cut...
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