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Doreen Christensen: Tightwad tips to save thousands in 2020

By Doreen Christensen, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Make saving more money a top priority this year. It's easier than you think.

I asked my community of super savers on Facebook to share their top tips. They came through with large and small ways to trim expenses. I've added a few of my favorite ways to pinch pennies, too. Feel free to share your tips at and join my Freebie and Coupon Crazy group, too.

From simply asking for discounts to comparing prices on auto insurance to going to early birds, these 20 tightwad tricks will help you bank more than pocket change in 2020.

1. Ask and receive: "ALWAYS ask for discounts," says reader Mitch Goldberg. "You would be surprised at the number of businesses and attractions that give substantial discounts to veterans, AAA members, teachers, students, etc. I have saved thousands when traveling by simply asking." Mitch is right! I realize not everyone is comfortable doing this, but politely asking "Is that your best price?" or "Is there a way to save more on this?" usually gets the job done. It truly works, but you won't save a dime if you don't ask.

2. Cut that cord: If you're still paying hefty monthly bills for cable or satellite TV, cut the cord and save at least $1,200 a year. Both Comcast and AT&T recently announced rate increases. You can get 70 channels of YouTube TV for $49.99 a month with a small investment in a streaming stick if you don't already have a smart TV. We cut the cord in 2016 and have never looked back. You can do it!

3. Auto insurance: The best way to save on anything is to shop around, but this is especially true when it comes to auto insurance. Get a quote on a new auto insurance policy and save possibly hundreds of dollars a year on each driver. Here in the Sunshine State we pay some of the highest rates in the nation, according to a 2019 report by, an insurance comparison website. Auto insurers are famous for imposing a so-called loyalty tax on longstanding customers. If you want to keep your current insurance company, shop around, then ask your agent for lower rates based on your research.


4. Get happy: "Want to save money when you dine out without using coupons? So many restaurants now offer happy hour pricing with big discounts on food as well as drinks, so long as you order before 6 or 7 p.m.," says reader Stacey Marantz Stabile. It's true. I love to visit high-end restaurants where you can eat like a king and pay like a pauper.

5. Save on cellphone bills: Check in with your carrier at least twice a year to be sure you're getting the best available deal on wireless service. Ask customer service reps to guide you. There is intense competition between carriers and they are always offering new, cheaper plans with more features, but you must opt-in to take advantage of them. Also, for those over 55, Verizon and T-Mobile senior plans offer up to 50% off service.

6. Dining deals: Reader Lynn Todd has the right idea about eating out. It's expensive. "Take lunch every day, cook at home and freeze leftovers for another time. I eat out once a week as a treat." My husband often will suggest we go out "somewhere cheap" to keep the bill under $50. I suggest we eat in and save $50. Search online for 20-minute meals and surprise everyone with your resourcefulness.

7. Book it: "Get reacquainted with your public library," suggests Margie Kozich. This suggestion was made by many readers. Besides hard cover and e-books, libraries lend everything from free music to museum passes, digital tablets and fitness trackers.


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