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This month seems expensive and I am looking for ways to save. I used $500 from my emergency savings to pay the deductible for my daughter’s December auto accident and that money was to be refunded by now. My insurance company is not returning emails or phone calls. This is a major, highly rated company. I sent my second email of concern to my agent tonight and told him that his company is not meeting my expectations.

I always have my W-2 from my employer by now. For the past thirty-five years, my tax return would have been filed by mid-January. No reasons offered for the delay—only a comment that W-2s are required by the end of the month. I will file the day I get my W-2, and hoping for a modest return which will help reduce debt.

I have met my goal to reduce weekday lunch expenses by eating lunch at work at least 4 days a week in 2012. I have not eaten out any week night, either. I do eat out on the weekends, but eliminating all week-day expenses is beyond my goal. My weekend meals are with my daughter; her new job takes her out of the city during the weekdays so we spend the weekends catching up with one another and running errands. These meals are a connection to her.

I added a new goal: No debit card fees in 2012. I don’t have an excuse for incurring fees. I live in Iowa, one of the first states with ATM machines everywhere. I have two debit cards—one from my bank and one from my credit union. Both have multiple ATM locations I can use without a fee within blocks from my home and office. My credit union has a machine within 100 feet of my desk. Hanging my head in shame!

My daughter has dental insurance available to her at her new job. I canceled her from my dental policy and will save almost $500 this year. She is getting a new cell phone; I will save nearly $1000 a year.

I am sending more money to emergency savings each month, so the small balance in my checking account keeps me alert. It helps me spend conservatively—I actually had enough left in my checking account to pay my bi-annual auto insurance bill from my checking account rather than from my savings account where it had been budgeted. I am not yet comfortable seeing a low balance in my checking account, but we have not starved or failed to pay bills. It is just different; and that difference is going to allow me to retire without worry!

How have you achieved additional savings?

Image: 401K, via Flickr.com

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