The President's Corner
Sadly, many folks have lost their jobs or their hours have been reduced due to the pandemic. So, I thought I would provide some money-saving suggestions in this month’s column. In fact, these tips can help anyone save money, including those on a fixed income. I should begin with a disclaimer that everyone has their own unique needs, wants, acceptable levels of risk, etc., therefore, the suggestions below might not be right for everyone.
When was the last time you reviewed your insurance policies? If you are like me, you probably have life, homeowners, and car insurances. I make a point every year to review these policies and make necessary adjustments or switch companies to save money. For instance, if your dependents are grown and your home is paid off, you may not need life insurance anymore. Further, if your car is no longer considered new, you might consider dropping comprehensive coverage and going with a liability policy. Also, increasing the deductibles on your insurance policies could save you hundreds each year.
How much do you pay a month for telephone, internet, cellular services, and cable? Again, every six to twelve months I call my carrier, which happens to be AT&T, and ask them what kinds of deals they can offer to keep me as a customer. In fact, after speaking with the first representative, I typically ask to speak to their superior and often get an even better deal. Further, if you are paying for HBO, Showtime, or other pay channels, quit them. Streaming services, like Netflix, are much cheaper. You might also consider quitting that magazine subscription. The Cuyahoga County Public Library has an online magazine collection available to library card holders. Go to cuyahogalibrary.org and click on Digital Collection under the Borrow tab.
Do you have an auto loan? Interest rates have fallen considerably over the past several months. Call your bank to inquire about refinancing. In fact, some auto lenders are offering special refinancing for folks who have been furloughed from their place of employment.
Most folks these days have two or three credit cards. I highly suggest getting cards that do not have annual fees. There are plenty of great websites out there that you can use to compare rates and fees. It goes without saying, pay credit card debt off first, as the fees and interest rates are ridiculously high – probably higher than any other loan you have. You might also be able to take advantage of a balance transfer that could save you a small fortune.
I have been doing most of the cooking at home during the pandemic. In fact, secretly I am trying to make up for the many dinners my wife made when she sacrificed for our family as a stay at home mom. I have found that planning the meals for the week is a big cost saver. Otherwise, I find that I simply roam the grocery and fill the cart with a bunch of odds and ends that don’t really combine well for a bunch of healthy meals. Also, dig deep into that freezer and use that rump roast that has been sitting down there for far too long. I have rediscovered crock pot cooking, which is so easy and tastes so good!
Lastly, call every company you owe money to (utilities, banks, health care providers, credit card companies, etc.) and ask if they are providing any assistance or relief during the pandemic and/or to folks whom have been negatively affected financially by the pandemic. As I always say, “It doesn’t hurt to ask.”
In closing, most of us are already saving money during this strange time, due to not eating out, limited entertainment options, not driving as much, etc. Taking a little time each day to brainstorm how to cut costs can add up over time. If anything, you might have a little to squirrel away should the pandemic resurge in the future, as many are predicting. I pray for your financial well-being, your health, safety, and happiness and as we move into the welcomed warmer months of summer.
Parma City Council President Sean Brennan