American Consumer Credit Counseling Shows Consumers How to Save by Cutting Back on Unnecessary Spending

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ACCC discusses ways to save on costly items such as housing, food, transportation, healthcare, and clothing

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However, it is important to avoid borrowing from retirement and instead look to other ways to save. Most companies with 401(k) plans offer matching funds, so failing to contribute means the consumer will miss out on free money.

Creating a budget can help consumers see how much they are spending and areas they can cut back to save more. It is not always easy, but there are many different ways that consumers can cut back on unnecessary spending. In an effort to support our consumers, national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling has created a list of tips to help consumers save.

“To pay off debt or save more now, consumers may be tempted to cut back on future necessities, such as their 401(k) contributions,” said Steve Trumble, President, and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, based in Newton, MA. “However, it is important to avoid borrowing from retirement and instead look to other ways to save. Most companies with 401(k) plans offer matching funds, so failing to contribute means the consumer will miss out on free money.”

According to a report by Bankrate, almost 6 in 10 Americans do not have enough money in their savings to cover an unplanned expense of $500. About 41 percent say they have enough in their savings to cover an unexpected expense, which is up from 37 percent in 2016. To pay for surprise expenses of a significant sum, a little over 20 percent say they will put it on their credit card.

American Consumer Credit Counseling has created a list of how consumers can save by cutting back:

Housing and Utilities:

  • To get a lower rate, refinance the mortgage or switch from a 15-year to a 30-year loan
  • To save money on taxes, challenge the property tax assessment
  • Investigate whether bundled services (cable, phone, internet) are cheaper or if it is possible to do without some of these services. These days many people are replacing landlines with cell phones.
  • Be more efficient by washing only full loads of laundry or dishes
  • Lower energy bills by turning off lights and electronics when not in use and turning off heat or A/C when no one is home

Personal Insurance and Retirement:

  • Consider refinancing term life insurance. Rates have dropped in the past decade so that consumers may qualify for a lower premium.
  • Suspend contributions to annuities and other accounts that don’t offer matching funds or tax breaks
  • At a minimum, consumers should contribute the amount their company will match to their 401(k).

Food

  • Bring lunches and snacks to work
  • Check the fridge for items before they go bad
  • Give up unhealthy vices such as soda, candy, salty snacks, etc.
  • Use the weekly grocery store circulars to find sale items and shop accordingly
  • Prepare a meal plan for the week and stick to it when grocery shopping.

Transportation:

  • Consumers should raise the deductibles on their auto insurance policy.
  • Investigate carpools and public transportation.
  • Plan errands around the driving route to avoid multiple trips to save on gas.

Health Care:

  • Buy generic or store brand drugs, and speak with a physician about less expensive alternatives.
  • Order prescriptions via mail or internet.
  • Look for cost-less or low-cost clinics
  • Utilize any reimbursement benefits that one’s health insurance may offer.

Clothing and Services:

  • Buy clothes out of season when stores discount them
  • Consider buying used at thrift shops and second-hand stores. Also, consider clothing swaps with friends.
  • Avoid dry-clean only clothing
  • Cancel health club/gym memberships and find ways to workout at home or outside.
  • Cancel unnecessary expenses like magazine subscriptions and utilize resources like the internet or library.

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. To help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living, and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit http://www.consumercredit.com/financial-education.aspx

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