You’re familiar with the saying money doesn’t grow on trees, it doesn’t. It does, however, seem to have a way of leaving way faster than it arrives, sometimes because of basic survival needs such as food, clothing and shelter.
And, economists have spoken of inflation for quite some time now. With this in mind, there are several ways we can trim our spending and save a lot more, too.
The Long and the Short
1. Cars make our lives easier in the long run. However, figuring out the best way to pay for a vehicle can be a hassle. There is a way to save several thousand dollars in finance charges and this is by paying for your car in cash or by making a sizeable down payment on your vehicle.
Another point to consider is getting the shortest term loan possible because this will lower your interest rate. By getting a rate quote or pre approved loan from your bank or credit union before seeking dealer financing, you can save as much as $1,000 in finance charges.
2. Which brings us to our next topic, gas. For those who still feel pain at the pump, you can literally save hundreds of dollars a year by comparing prices at various stations in your area and opting for gas that is lesser in price. Also, by keeping your engine tuned and tires inflated to the proper pressure you can save up to $100 a year on gas. Other cost-saving measures include pumping gas yourself if it is allowed in your state and using the lowest-octane called for in your car owner’s manual.
3. There are countless individuals who are unsatisfied with their car insurance rates. But, you may save several hundred dollars a year by purchasing auto insurance from a licensed, low price insurer. How do I locate a licensed insurer? You can call your state insurance department for a publication showing typical prices charged by different companies. Then call several of these agencies and inquire about what they would charge for the same coverage.
You also can speak to your current agent or insurer about increasing your deductibles on collision and comprehensive coverage to about $500. If you have an older car, you may be able to drop this coverage altogether because the money spent can add up, resulting in the payment of hundreds of dollars in insurance premiums.
4. Having a checking account is a necessity to pay bills in a timely fashion. This doesn’t mean that you still can’t save more than $100 per year in fees by selecting a free checking account or one with no minimum balance requirement. To stay well-informed and in the loop, you can request a list of fees that are charged on these accounts, which includes ATM and debit card fees. A big thing to be aware of is charges for using an ATM that are not associated with your financial institution.
5. ‘The American Dream’ of owning a home may seem challenging at first glance. But, you may want to ponder refinancing your mortgage to see if you can get a rate that is lower than your current mortgage rate. Plan, too to keep the new mortgage for several years. Time to get out those calculators and determine how much your new mortgage will cost and whether, it will cost less than your current mortgage. Be sure to take into consideration points, fees and closing costs.
6. Whether for work or for play, airline travel sometimes is necessary. To get the most bang for your buck, you can compare low-cost carriers with major carriers that fly to your same destination.
You may save quite a bit by including a Saturday evening stay-over or by purchasing your ticket 14 days’ in advance. Look into which days of the week and times of the day that offer the lowest fare. You may also be satisfied with checking Internet travel sites for special deals.
7. There is no shortage of life insurance commercials on television. You should know that if you only need insurance protection and not a savings and investment product, buying a term life insurance policy is your best bet. In contrast, if you want to buy a whole life, universal life or other cash value policy, plan to hold it for at least 15 years’ because opting out of these policies after a few years can more than double your life insurance costs.
8. The after effects of credit card usage can be quite numbing. Avoiding late payment fees along with interest rate increases on your credit cards is possible, as long as you send in your payment a week to ten days before the statement due date. Be advised that late payments on one card can increase fees and interest rates on other credit cards that you have. Want to avoid interest charges altogether and who doesn’t? Simply pay off your entire bill each month.
If paying off your bill in its entirety is difficult, paying as much as you can for the month is another option. By shifting the remaining balance to a credit card with a lower annual percentage rate (APR), you also can free up some cash.
9. We love shiny and new household appliances. But, before you buy any major appliance, you may want to get Consumer Reports’ take on it. Check, also for the yellow Energy Guide label on products and for products that have ENERGY STAR on them because they can save up to 50 percent in energy use.
10. Having a cell phone has its benefits, the monthly bill not being one of them. How can I save on my cell bill? Ensure that your calling plan matches the pattern of calls you make. If this applies to your account, know termination charges, peak calling periods, area coverage and as much as you can about roaming fees.
A Point to Ponder
Even as the economy is steadily improving, it still doesn’t hurt to know the best ways to effectively tighten your purse strings. At any rate, being financial savvy is key. Wouldn’t you agree?