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Free up More Money Every Month, no Willpower Required

Budgets tend to backfire because we try to eliminate every small splurge. But "budgets don't have to be all grunt work and misery," says Gregory Karp, author of "The 1-2-3 Money Plan." He recommends tackling recurring expenses to free up more money every month, no willpower required:

Cell Phone
Good news: You don't have to switch providers to get a better deal. "Competition has really heated up in recent years, so your provider may now be offering a better package with a lower price tag," says Karp. They won't switch you to the cheaper plan automatically, though, you'll have to check the site or call.

You might think that sticking with the same insurance carrier forever will get you a sweeter rate, but when it comes to insurance, being loyal does not pay," says Karp. Carriers tend to use the best deals to lure new customers, so comparison shopping may save you hundreds this year. Also, asking about home security devices like dead bolts and smoke detectors may earn you a break on your homeowner's insurance. Give our partner, SIS Insurance a call at 518-783-1010 or ask for more information at any Sunmark branch. The team at SIS Insurance will shop the best rates from a variety of carriers to fit your needs. Their focus is on providing the best coverage at the lowest price with the best service. You can even get an instant quote online.

TV and Internet
Once a year, think about your viewing habits: If you only watch network shows, the $20 to buy a rabbit ears-style antenna is the only thing standing between you and free TV. If you like basic cable shows or even premium shows, cutting the cable cord in favor of monthly subscriptions to video streaming services, like HuluNetflix, and HBO Go, may make more financial sense.