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Cutting Costs to Pay for the Holidays

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Authored by Jon Mercer in Holidays, Personal Finance
Published on 12-31-2008

If you are worried about how you are going to pay for your holidays you are not alone. Millions of Americans overextend themselves during the holidays and have no idea how they will pay for it later. One plan that many have adopted is to cut costs on things you pay for all year long. Painless little cutbacks can add up to big bucks toward paying off those holiday overspending bills.

On the average, Americans spend about $431 on gifts for the holiday season. This is fine if your budget allows for it, but in these tough economic times it is a burden for many Americans to recoup from the holidays. Here are some ways to get back on your budget after the holidays.

Refinance your home: Interest rates on home loans have dropped significantly over the past several months; this is a good opportunity for anyone who owns a home or has refinanced their home in the last two years. Also those who have adjustable-rate mortgages can benefit from this. Fixed rate, thirty-year mortgages without up-front fees were going for 5.7% earlier this week. For someone paying 6.25% on a loan balance of $500,000, refinancing would save $161 a month or $1,930 a year.

Appeal your property tax: Every county assessor’s office offers a process to appeal property assessments. If you can convince your county tax assessor’s office that your property taxes are too high, you could possibly save big buck in taxes.

Shop around for car insurance: Auto insurance rates can vary from different insurers by hundreds of dollars a year. State insurance regulators often provide cost comparisons of insurers on their web sites; this could help you to find the least expensive rate for the auto insurance that you are required to have by-law.

Check out your cell phone plan: The average consumer never evaluates his or her cell phone plan unless they need to add minutes or change their plan. In today’s market you could be paying too much. Sometimes you can get a lower rate without even switching carriers. If you cut back on your minutes per month or give up some of the extras, you could save as much as $50 a month on your current cell phone bill.

Look for waste: Most of us have some expenses we could cut out without any pain. If you can just find just one expense that you can live without, it could save you enough to balance your budget after the holidays. For instance, cutting back on one $20 payment a month will save you $240 a year.

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