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How to cut your cost of living

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Updated: 3/27/2003 4:09 pm
The best way to cut your cost of living is to start with the items that represent your greatest expense. For most people, that's rent or a house payment; a car payment; and loans or credit card debt. To whittle down housing costs, consider moving to a less expensive place. Those who live in a larger city may find prices more reasonable in the suburbs. Older but well-kept apartments may offer a big savings over brand new complexes. Your car may be another sizeable expense. Could you get by with a smaller vehicle? Do you have an extra car that's rarely driven? Downsizing can help you save on gas, repairs, and insurance costs, in addition to reducing the car payment itself. Still another major expenditure is high interest rates on loans or credit cards. Try to pay off your cards in full each month to avoid interest charges and late fees. Reduce loan interest by paying a little extra each month. Home mortgages can often be refinanced, adding up to thousands of extra dollars over time. Also, shop around for better deals on auto or homeowners’ insurance. Utility bills can be costly. Keep yours down by making sure your home has plenty of insulation in the attic and installing weather stripping around doors and windows.

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