Everyone likes to save money, and these days it is more important than ever to get the most bang for your buck. Here are some simple, yet effective ways to save hundreds of dollars this upcoming year.
- Visit your local thrift and consignment stores - Not only can you save money on name brand clothes, baby items and toys, but you can also make a little dough while your at it. Have growing children? This is the perfect place to get a little money back of their lightly used kids things.
- Re-quote your Auto and Homeowner's Insurance policies - There are several websites that allow you to get comparative quotes for auto insurance in a matter of minutes. Sites like Esurance, 21st Century Insurance, Liberty Mutual and InsureMe, offer instant online quotes. With competitive quote in hand, call your carrier and see what they can do. If they cannot at least match their competition, it may be time to move on.
- Request interest rate/fee reductions - Call your credit card companies and ask if they have any promotions or if you qualify for a rate reduction. Depending on your credit card company, card balances and payment record, you could save hundreds of dollars a year with a few simple phone calls.
- Don't get caught without health insurance - Getting caught with out health care coverage can cost you up to 2% of your annual salary in IRS penalties. There are several websites, such as eHealthInsurance and InsureMe, that offer instant online quotes! Been turned down for coverage? Keep that letter of denial and go to www.PCIP.gov. The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) covers a broad range of health benefits, and won’t charge you a higher premium just because of your medical condition, and you won't be turned down due to pre-existing conditions.
- Lower your monthly utility bills. Use a service like WhiteFence, to compare rates for cable, internet, phone, electric, natural gas, and more, just by entering your street address.
- Review your cell phone bill. Many people over pay for their cell phone. The most common culprit is paying or overpaying for services they do not use. Review your cell phone plan with a company adviser be sure to ask about promotions and upgrades. Don't forget to compare their rates with some of the competition. You may be able to find less expensive service elsewhere. Don't forget about the smaller guys. Companies like Straight Talk offer cell service without a contract and Great Call offers the simpler Jitterbug phones.
- Review your bank fees. Since the big bust, financial institutions have been seeking ways to recoup their losses. New fees on checking accounts, savings accounts and even for debit cards are springing up faster than mushrooms after a summer rain. If your bank has decided to make you pay for their bad business decisions by sneaking in fees it is time to move your account. Smaller community banks and credit unions generally have not forgotten what customer service means and as a rule of thumb have less fees than larger lending institutions. Still want the big name without the fees? Try IngDirect's Electric Orange Checking - no fees or minimum balance required.
- Cancel unused services. Why pay for something you are not using? Cancel subscriptions to magazines or newspapers instead of letting them pile up. If you never use your land line, have it disconnected. Re-evaluate that gym membership. Be sure to check over your credit card bill and debit card usage for automatic billings for services you don't use and may have forgotten about.
- Clip Coupons. Yes, clipping coupons can be a royal pain the you know what. But clipping those little buggers every week can save you 15-20% off your grocery bill. For a family of four this savings can add up to thousands of dollars every year. Don't forget to check out online coupon sites like Coupon Network and Coupon.com where you can click and print coupons from your favorite brand names, no clipping required.
- Turkey, its not just for Thanksgiving - Save money and have awesome turkey sandwich leftovers anytime of the year. Outside of Thanksgiving whole turkeys can be less than a dollar per pound. They make a wonderfully hearty meal, sandwiches for office and school lunches and great soups.
What are some of the creative ways you are cutting back this year?