Happy New Year! If you’re trying to save more money in 2018, I’m here to help you do it without depriving yourself of the things you love.

When I was paying off my $86,000 mortgage in two years, I drastically cut my expenses to reduce the mortgage balance as quickly as possible. I’m still using many of those money-saving strategies to this day.

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How to save money on your cell phone, cable/internet and prescription drugs

What I want you to know is that saving money doesn’t have to mean cutting back on your favorite hobby, gym membership or eating out. If you can find ways to reduce your spending in other budget categories, you can keep the daily trip to Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts and not worry about it. You just need to make the numbers work!

Here are five ways that I recently saved money without sacrificing quality of life:

1. Lowered my cell phone bill to $12 a month

If you’re with Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile, you may be paying too much for cell phone service. There are many low-cost options to consider. In September 2017, I switched from Sprint’s $60/month unlimited plan to Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile. The wireless provider runs on Verizon’s network and uses Xfinity’s 18 million Wi-Fi hotspots to help customers limit their data usage. I’m on the $12/GB plan, but there’s also a $45/month unlimited plan. I’ve been able to keep my data usage below 1 GB for three out of the past four months, so $12 before taxes and fees is all I pay. Two things to consider: You must have Xfinity internet service to qualify for the mobile deal, and there are also limited phone choices compared to other cell phone carriers.

2. Saved $50 on my cable/internet bill 

For years, I’ve marked my calendar to remind myself about when I need to call my cable/internet provider to negotiate a lower rate. If you’ve recently moved, you know that the introductory rates are great, but they often go up after a year or two. Instead of doing the negotiating yourself, there’s a new service called Trim that will do it for you. Once your account is linked, Trim monitors outages and goes to work to get you one-time or monthly bill credits. My bill has been lowered three times in two months, for a total savings of $49.83. Trim keeps 25% of the savings it negotiates on your behalf.

Trim helped me save $49.83 on my Xfinity by Comcast bill

$49.83 savings using Trim

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3. Cut prescription drug costs by 75% 

If you take any prescription drugs, you need to download the apps GoodRx and LowestMed. They find discounts that you may not even know about! Sometimes the price you pay through the app is even lower than your insurance co-pay — or sometimes free! In addition, I was able to cut the cost of one prescription drug an additional 75% by asking my doctor for a higher dose and splitting the pill into quarters. This isn’t safe to do for all medications, but you may want to ask your doctor about pill splitting and other money-saving options.

4. Lowered 6-month auto insurance premium by $100 

Shopping around can save you a lot of money on car insurance! About a year ago, I called up three auto insurance providers and got quotes for the exact same coverage that I already had. I was able to save $100 by switching from GEICO to Progressive. There are many online services that will fetch auto insurance quotes for you, but be prepared to get a lot of phone calls and have your email inbox flooded. I prefer to do the comparison shopping myself. It takes about 15 minutes to get a quote from a car insurance provider. Have your existing policy handy to speed up the process.

5. Saved $1,200 on food spending 

Low-cost grocery stores Aldi and Lidl forced competitors to drop prices in 2017 on many supermarket staples. I tend to shop all around town, so I’ve noticed lower prices at stores like Walmart, Kroger, Trader Joe’s and Sprouts. There are a few factors that helped me save $1,200 on grocery and restaurant spending last year: switching to a vegan diet, weekly meal prep with my Instant Pot pressure cooker and following my “restaurant rule” to avoid takeout/delivery when it’s not part of a social experience.

Here's a look at my grocery spending in 2017 compared to 2016

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A note about this blog… 

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to refresh Michael Saves / Save on (Almost) Everything. I recently switched up the look, but there are a lot of bugs to be fixed. There’s also a lot of content that I want to update for 2018. Thank you for your continued support and patience as I build a better blog for the future.

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