Trimming your tech bills
If monthly home-technology bills are putting a dent in your wallet, "there are ways to tame your budget without missing out on all the fun," said Karen Blumenthal in The Wall Street Journal. Service providers often bundle telephone, television, and internet services for a lower cost than separate subscriptions. More than a third of U.S. households get along without a landline; maybe you can too. Cell phone bills, which are among "the biggest — and perhaps most essential — expenses" for many households, can also be trimmed. Look into plans that cover everyone in the family; they are often cheaper than individual plans. And since wireless data plans for smartphones can be costly, cut down by keeping track of data use and using Wi-Fi connections whenever possible.
Cheaper car insurance
When shopping for a new car, consider more than miles per gallon and backseat cupholders. Insurance premiums come every year, and they "can vary a fair bit depending on the type of car you buy," said Ann Carrns in The New York Times. The most-expensive list, according to a new study by Insure.com, isn't surprising: Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Jaguar, and BMW. You'll pay the least for the Ford Edge SE, Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, Subaru Outback, Kia Sportage, and Jeep Patriot Sport. Insurance companies rank cars based on the cost of insurance claims filed each year, "so when 'good' drivers gravitate toward different vehicles, the list changes." If you're a "bad" driver with a spotty record, drive down your premiums by seeking a car that costs less to insure.
The storm next time
Preparing for disaster is tough, but you can learn from experience for "the next time Mother Nature throws a curveball," said Amanda Gengler at Money.com. A quarter of water-related claims come from low- or moderate-risk areas, so check out your local flood map to decide whether you should spring for flood insurance. Dangerous trees can cause serious damage to property and utilities; you might consider cutting them down, or at least asking your utility company to trim branches near power lines. You're better off with strong, smaller trees like hickory and dogwood. Make sure you don't store your generator in a basement prone to flooding. And use it sparingly if the power goes out: Finding the gas to refill the tank may not be easy.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
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