Money Saving Tips

 

Airline Fares

  1. You may lower the price of a round trip air fare by as much as two-thirds by making certain your trip includes a Saturday evening stay over, and by purchasing the ticket in advance.

  2. To make certain you have a cheap fare, even if you use a travel agent, contact all the airlines that fly where you want to go and ask what the lowest fare to your destination is.

Used Cars

  1. Before buying any used car:

    • Compare the seller's asking price with the average retail price in a "bluebook" or other guide to car prices found at many libraries, banks, and credit unions.

    • Have a mechanic you trust check the car, especially if the car is sold "as is."

Auto Leasing

  1. Don't decide to lease a car just because the payments are lower than on a traditional auto loan. The leasing payments may be lower because you don't own the car at the end of the lease.

Gasoline Expenses

  1. You can save up to $100 a year on gas by keeping your engine tuned and your tires inflated to their proper pressure.

                                                                      

Auto Insurance

  1. Talk to your agent or insurer about raising your deductibles on collision and comprehensive coverage to at least $500 or, if you have an old car, dropping this coverage altogether.

Life Insurance

  1. Check the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website (www.naic.org/servlet/cis.Main) or your local library for information on the financial soundness of insurance companies.

                                                                          

Checking

  1. You can save more than $100 a year in fees by selecting a checking account with a low (or no) minimum balance requirement that you can, and do, meet. Request a list of these and other fees (including ATM and debit card fees) that are charged on these accounts.

  2. Banking institutions often will drop or lower checking fees if paychecks are directly deposited by your employer. Direct deposit offers the additional advantages of convenience, security, and immediate access to your money.

Credit Cards

  1. If you are unable to pay off a large balance, pay as much as you can and switch to a credit card with a low annual percentage rate (APR). You can obtain listings of low-rate credit cards through www.cardlocator.com or www.bankrate.com (click on credit cards), which provide information at no charge to consumers.

  2. You can reduce credit card fees, which may add up to well over $100 a year, by getting rid of all but one or two cards, and by avoiding annual, late payment, and over-the-credit limit fees.

First Mortgage Loans

  1. Although your monthly payment may be higher, you can save tens of thousands of dollars in interest charges by shopping for the shortest-term mortgage you can afford. On a $100,000 fixed-rate loan at 7% annual percentage rate (APR), for example, you will pay over $75,000 less in interest on a 15-year mortgage than on a 30-year mortgage.

  2. You can save thousands of dollars in interest charges by shopping for the lowest-rate mortgage with the fewest points. On a 15-year $100,000 fixed-rate mortgage, just lowering the APR from 7% to 6.5% can save you more than $5,000 in interest charges, and paying two points instead of three would save you an additional $1,000.

  3. If your local newspaper does not periodically run mortgage rate surveys, call at least six lenders for information about their rates (APRs), points, and fees. You may also check www.bankrate.com for mortgage information in your area. Then ask an accountant to compute precisely how much each mortgage option will cost and its tax implications.

Mortgage Refinancing

  1. Consider refinancing your mortgage if you can get a rate that is at least one percentage point lower than your existing mortgage rate and plan to keep the new mortgage for several years or more. Ask an accountant to calculate precisely how much your new mortgage (including points, fees and closing costs) will cost and whether, in the long run, it will cost less than your current mortgage.

                                                                         

Home Purchase

  1. Do not purchase any house until it has been examined by a home inspector that you selected.

Home Improvement

  1. Do not sign any contract that requires full payment before satisfactory completion of the work.

Major Appliances

  1. Consult Consumer Reports, available in most public libraries, for information about specific brands and how to evaluate them, including energy use. There are often great price and quality differences among brands.

  2. Once you've selected a brand, check the phone book to learn what stores carry this brand, then call at least four of these stores for the prices of specific models. After each store has given you a quote, ask if that's the lowest price they can offer you. This comparison shopping can save you as much as $100 or more.

Electricity

  1. To save as much as hundreds of dollars a year on electricity, make certain that any new appliances you purchase, especially air conditioners and furnaces, are energy-efficient. Information on the energy efficiency of major appliances is found on Energy Guide Labels required by federal law.

Home Heating

  1. A home energy audit can identify ways to save up to hundreds of dollars a year on home heating (and air conditioning). Ask your electric or gas utility if they can do this audit for free or for a reasonable charge. If they cannot, ask them to refer you to a qualified professional.

Telephone Service

  1. If you make very few toll or long distance calls, avoid calling plans with monthly fees or minimums.

  2. Check your phone bill to see if you have optional calling services you don't use. Each option you drop could save you $40 or more each year.

                                                                          

Food Purchased at Markets

  1. You will spend less on food if you shop with a list.

  2. You can save hundreds of dollars a year by comparing price-per-ounce or other unit prices on shelf labels. Stock up on those items with low per-unit costs.

Prescription Drugs

  1. Since brand name drugs are usually much more expensive than their generic equivalents, ask your physician and pharmacist for generic drugs whenever appropriate.

  2. Since pharmacies may charge widely different prices for the same medicine, call several. When taking a drug for a long time, also consider calling mail-order pharmacies, which often charge lower prices.

 

see also:

 Realty

Grocery stores

Ethnic markets

Dollar items

Bargains

Car repairs

Financial planning