BOSTON (CBS) – What other small lifestyle changes can you make to save big money? Let’s look at your fixed expenses.

Your mortgage: refinancing your home while interest rates are still low. It will take some paper work on your part but the savings will be worthwhile. And when you are doing it consider going for a shorter term. Fifteen years perhaps. And consider going to a credit union. Some are offering a no cost re-finance package.

Home maintenance: take care of the small stuff before they become major stuff. Clean out the gutters, check the roof while you are cleaning the gutters. Fix a leaky toilet or faucet.

Insurance: mark on your calendar renewal dates and about a month before start getting quotes from other companies. Can you bundle your policies? Home, auto and umbrella? Car insurance is very competitive. Is it cheaper thru your employer? Have you checked your employee handbook to see what the company offers?

Utilities: this is almost sacrilegious but how many sports channels do you need? Look at your cable bill. Is there anything you can do without? Call them and tell them you cannot afford it and ask for the retention department. They don’t want to lose you. Consider bundling your cable, internet and phones to one provider. Review the phone bill. Again, is it the best and cheapest deal?

Your electric bill: okay what can you do to use less electricity and not change your lifestyle dramatically? First, consider new light bulbs. LEDs are expensive but can be found on sale and the prices are going down. Forget stockpiling the old light bulbs. What can you unplug when it’s not in use? The beer fridge in the garage? Consider buying a new one.

How much does it cost to heat your home? Can you buy your fuel cheaper? A major way to save here is to use less fuel. Very simple idea. Turn down thermostats at night, get a programmable thermostat. Move furniture from return vents. Use a humidifier to add moisture to air. It will feel warmer. Turn the hot water temperature down. Are you heating rooms you are not using?

Money Conference Alert!!

On October 11th I will be the key note speaker at The Money Conference which is a FREE one-day event presented by The Office of Massachusetts State Treasury. It will be held at UMASS Boston and the first 500 registrants will get a free copy of my newest book, Money, Your Personal Finance Guide.

There will be afternoon classes on everything from budgeting to buying a house. The Financial Planning Association of Boston will have volunteer financial planners there to help answer questions. You can set up a meeting with a Money Mentor when you register. If you have questions about the conference, contact Sheila O’Loughlin of the State Treasury at (617) 367-6900 ext 615.

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