|Look for breaks from service providers
During these difficult times, the old adage "every penny counts" has become more relevant than ever.
Before you slash your budget and take on a second job, make 10 phone calls to find ways to reduce your costs:
Credit cards: Ask for a lower interest rate and for the annual fee to be waived.
Utilities: Have an energy audit to determine what updates or fixes will ultimately save money.
Cable TV: See what new programs they are offering and make sure you are on the right plan for your needs.
Phone: Whether it is a land line or cell phone, compare providers and plans for the best price.
Internet service provider: Ask for deals or whether bundling several services such as cable TV, Internet and phone makes sense.
Property and casualty insurance: Ask your agent to review your vehicle, homeowners and umbrella insurance policies. A defensive driver's course usually knocks 10 percent off a portion of your auto insurance.
Mortgage lender: Interest rates are at an all-time low. Compare your rate with those available.
Bank: Give your bank a call to make sure you are situated with the best accounts and lowest fees.
Gym: Be aware of alternatives provided in your town and seek information about their membership costs.
Human resources department: Learn about all the benefits provided by your employer. Some employers provide discounts to local companies.
Susan C. Schneider is a representative of Colgan Capital, a private wealth management firm in Pittsford. She can be reached at (585) 419-2272 or www.colgancapital.com.This column is written by members of the Rochester Women's Network, whose focus is to help women connect, grow and succeed. For more information, go to www.rwn.org.