Don't let this recession keep you down. Grab the opportunity to build a stronger portfolio, cut the fat from your budget, and give yourself a head-to-toe fiscal makeover.
...or at least threaten to quit.
When families resolve to lower spending, their instinct is to cut back on day-to-day splurges, like lattes or lunches out. Not the greatest idea. You're forced to make a conscious decision to save every day.
An easier way: Take a second look at all the recurring monthly charges that accrue automatically on your credit cards. Those movie channels that you never watch? Drop them. The overseas calling plan on your landline? A phone card is cheaper for those annual calls to Finland. Whatever the silent drain, put a stop to it.
Even if you're eager to keep the service but just want a better price, call and threaten to quit. Telling your provider you want out might get you a price break. If the customer rep can't help you, you may end up with a retention specialist, who can offer even better deals, says Lyn Kramer, managing director of Kramer & Associates, a call-center consulting firm. Remember, in a shrinking economy, businesses can ill afford to lose the paying customers that they already have.
NEXT: Turn off the TV...