How to live with less:

October 21, 1991|By From Consumer Credit Counseling Service and other sources

* Prioritize monthly expenses.

* Figure out which expenses are mandatory and which are not. If income doesn't cover mandatory expenses, look for places to trim.

* The grocery bill is a good place to cut back. Are you spending money on unessential items like cigarettes, lottery tickets, sweets?

* Consider refinancing a mortgage at a lower rate. Interest rates on mortgages are lower than they have been for years. But make serious inquiries with several lenders because closing costs can vary greatly.

* Contact your gas and electric company for tips on how to save on utilities. They publish practical books on the subject.

* This winter, wear sweaters around the house and lower the thermostat. For every degree you lower it, you cut your heating bill by about 3 percent.

* Don't ignore older children living at home as a resource for household expenses. Teen-agers still in school can get after-school jobs to cover their personal expenses; those out of school with jobs should pay room-and-board expenses.

* Study telephone bills to find long distance calls or unessential services that can be eliminated.

* Shop around for lower rates for both automobile and household insurance. Often a higher deductible means lower regular payments.

* For household goods, shop systematically. Follow advertisements for sales and comparison shop, especially for big-ticket items. Often this can be done on the telephone.

* Generic brands usually offer substantial savings over name-brand items.

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