Smart Ways to Save Money

No matter how wealthy you are, it’s worth a little effort to save money on everyday items. Here’s a few ideas to try:

  • If you carry credit card balances, look for a card that offers 0% APR for balance transfers for as long as possible. Capital One and Discover, who won’t let you borrow much by the way, frequently have offers that extend for longer than one year. Mind the fact that these all charge a ‘balance transfer fee’, usually about 3%. Still, if you are paying more than that to carry a balance, 3% sounds pretty good. When you make the transfer, do not use the card for anything else: usually, if you do, you subject the entire balance to a higher charge. With 0% APR, all of your payment goes to reducing your debt, so make your payments as high as possible.
  • Audit your phone bill and your cable bill regularly. Frequently, services ‘show up’ without your explicit permission; even if that’s not the case, you may find that you’re paying for something you never use. Also, call these companies, to ask about a better deal. My internet provider dropped its requirement that I purchase a data line months before I noticed it; this shaved over $20 a month off its cost, and the company was kind enough to back date my bill! Ditto with cable. Here, you may have to play hardball. I’ve found that when I mention that if I can’t get a better deal, I’ll switch to Sling TV, I am transferred to the ‘customer loyalty team’ where they’ll bend over backwards to get me a better deal. Or, you could just switch to Sling anyway.
  • Ask about bundling your home, auto and other insurance if you don’t already. If you do, shop around for a better deal anyway. (Use a broker if this drives you nuts.) Insurance companies hike your rates slowly over time, and it’s possible that your rate has become higher than if you had a new policy from a different provider who is hungrier for your business.
  • When you want to buy something, enforce a 10 day rule: wait 10 days to see if you still really want the item. Often, purchases are impulses, and 10 days on ice is enough to discourage the purchase altogether.
  • Particularly now that short term interest rates have risen, quit keeping excess money in a checking account and look around for a certificate of deposit or at least a money market fund. Talk to your bank to see what they are willing to offer.

For more ideas, simply run an internet search on ‘ways to save money’ and look for something that resonates. In one case, I saw that a couple ditched their Starbucks habit in lieu of buying an expensive but fun coffee machine, and investing in really good coffee. In a short while, making exotic coffee drinks at home paid for itself.