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    6 Ways to Cut Expenses and Tighten Your Budget

    Many of us have found ourselves in unprecedented situations. Some of us are working full-time from home, homeschooling our school-aged children, and providing full-time childcare for younger children that may be unable to attend daycare in the midst of COVID-19 closures. It’s important to remember during these times that you are not alone in this; neighbors, family, and friends all over the world are right there with you in a similar, if not exact, situation. One thing that I like to focus on in times like these are the things that I can control, and one of those things is my monthly budget. If you find yourself in a similar situation, grasping for anything that you can maintain control of, I encourage you to take this newly found time that we've all acquired to evaluate your expenses and look for ways that you can tighten your budget to help you weather this potential financial storm.

    Here are six areas that you can review to potentially cut expenses:

    1. Review your cable, internet, and cell phone plans

    How long has it been since you’ve evaluated the cost of your cable, internet, and cell phone plans? Now is a good time to check in with your service providers to see if they have any specials running that you can take advantage of.

    2. Cancel your gym membership

    Most, if not all, gyms are closed in light of government orders, and if your gym has not suspended membership fees, now is the time to call them and have this remedied.

    There are a number of free at-home workouts that you can do to stay fit and active while saving money. Go for a run or bike ride outside, find a free yoga video on YouTube, or browse Pinterest for high-intensity workouts that you can do from the comfort of your home—all while saving a bundle on gym membership fees.

    3. Consider refinancing

    Depending on when you purchased your home, refinancing could give you the opportunity to take advantage of historically low mortgage interest rates. A lower interest rate could mean a lower monthly payment, but it's best to speak with a licensed mortgage loan officer to discuss your options and what is best for you and your family.

    4. Evaluate your insurance rates

    When was the last time you compared your insurance rates? Have you looked into bundling your auto with homeowners, or renters policies to take advantage of bundled discounted rates? With many people now driving less, it may also be of interest to look into additional savings programs offered by some insurance companies, such as those that score your driving behavior using technology connected to your vehicle or an app downloaded to your phone.

    This is a great time to have an insurance agent compare insurance rates and bundling options. By enlisting the help of an independent insurance agent, you will receive pricing from many different insurance providers in order to make the best possible decision for you and your family.

    5. Avoid large purchases

    Is that large purchase you were planning on making an immediate need? Can it be put on hold until a later date? Delaying a large expense can help ensure you and your family have funds available in the event an emergency arises.

    6. Limit take-out and delivery

    Do you have a budget set for how much to spend on food? While it's important to support our small and local businesses to keep our communities strong, ordering take-out and delivery food too often can be a real financial drain if you don’t closely watch your spending. Take a moment to budget how much, if any, you can afford to spend on take-out and delivery costs, and be sure to stick to your allocated budget.

    We take pride in doing our part by being an active community partner and helping out others in a time of unprecedented stress and need. If you are interested in taking a closer look at your insurance costs to see if there is room to save money, we would be happy to put you in touch with one of our insurance agents for a comparison quote report.

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    Financial Planning Insurance

    Tyreo Harrison

    As Executive Vice President, B2C Channel Development, Tyreo Harrison enables referral partners and financial institutions to offer personal, commercial and surplus lines insurance products to increase non-interest income, improve borrower retention and add value to their service offering. He maintains his General Lines Agent Licenses for Property and Casualty, Life, Accident, Health, and HMO. He is a graduate of the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Leadership Lab and in 2008 was named as one of the San Antonio Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Rising Stars. Prior to joining SWBC in 2005, Tyreo played professional football for the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers.

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