Fix your Budget(and save your credit rating)

New concept: Read your bills.  Do you truly understand your cellphone plan?  Most people don’t take the time to analize what they’re spending their money on. 

1. Cellphone: Analyze how your plan compares to your usage.  Not using all your minutes?  Opt for a different plan.  an remember: If you use fewer than 400 minutes a year, a prepaid plan may be cheaper.

2. Utilities: Do a year-over-year analysis of your bills with Quicken or Microsoft Money.  Unexplained jumps?  Make sure your meter’s not being misread.  J.J. Burns, founder of the wealth management firm J.J. Burns and Co., did this and his water company cut him a $380 cheque.

3. Mortgage: Make one extra payment toward your principal every year to save thousands of dollars of interest and pay off your motgage earlier.

4. Stuff you buy: Anytime you buy something from a company that offers a refund if they lower the price within 30 days, take them up on it.  Set your calendar to remind you to call them 28 days later.