By John Paul Valdez

OK. So you haven’t lost any weight yet, and you have given up on your New Year’s resolution already. Allow me to help you feel better and get empowered.
Everyone is seeking new ways to solve old problems in the new economy. How do we get the same or better services for less money? The answers are closer than you may believe. Be willing to change is probably the best answer overall. Things are changing quickly, and the modern consumer must be willing to jump ship. Here are some examples: (NOTE – I am NOT a paid spokesperson for any firm I may mention here and there are generally many competitors in each of these areas. Look any of them up on the internet and make your independent choice.)

1) UBER is a car sharing system that costs less than a cab ride and uses less of a carbon emission footprint because these cars are already operating on the road. You are enhancing personal economies of individuals living in the valley when you use these services at less cost to you. Why risk a DUI when there’s UBER?

2) TV has become daunting. In the valley, one would think they basically have only the choice of Time Warner Cable or DISH. Not true. Signing up for Hulu and Netflix will result in a 50-60 percent savings and deliver similar or better content to the viewer. TWC’s $15.00 internet service is two-thirds as fast as their $50.00 internet service and costs only a third. Take the lower service level to save money.


3) Cell phones. If you are still signing two year agreements, you may as well buy a rotary phone too. Get a month to month contract. Your overhead is FAR lower, and the dropped call rate very similar. Why spend on this over your electric bill?

4) Get solar if you can. It is particularly useful here in the desert. There are arguments for leasing over owning, but shop around.

5) On your landline service, try getting virtual lines for business and fax and personal use on for very little. This costs a fraction of what Verizon charges…. Even less than the phone company’s “lifeline” service for the disabled. Lily Tomlin has officially won this argument. Join her. You don’t have to pay the phone company as if you don’t have choices. This is America, not Verizonland. They provide a wonderful service at a premium if you like burning money as a hobby. The same is true of other more traditional phone service providers. Get virtual.

6) Get the international dialing plan if you are calling anywhere internationally. You’d be amazed at how many people forget something this simple.
Following these simple steps will save the average valley household over a hundred dollars a month, and possibly much more. This amounts to a Merry Christmas a bit early from your favorite consumer advocate. It’s all about putting yourself in control of your own finances.