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Top 10 Ways to Save

September 17th, 2006 at 10:28 am

1. Get a FREE checking account! Most national and local banks now offer free checking products. If you already have a checking account make sure itís all free, and if itís not; make it free or change banks. A lot of people donít understand the real power that banks have over your money. They insure it up to $100,000.00 so that you donít have to walk around with all those bills in your pockets.

2. No more NSFís for you! Pretend that $100.00 is really $0.00. Meaning if you go under $100.00 you have to bring it back up to $100.00. This very useful trick makes you NEVER have to pay an insufficient funds penalty (NSF fee.) I have known many people that have saved hundreds of dollars and sometimes thousands because they have implemented this trick.

3.Open a high yield savings account. There are so many online banks such as www.INGDirect.com and Emigrantdirect.com that offer extremely high yield APY (Annual Percentage Yield) usually over 4.5%. Before you go online for savings account shopping, make sure your local bank isnít offering a product that will compare. All real online banks offer insurance up to $100,000.00 just like your regular brick and mortar branch. If you are looking for the highest rates possible www.bankrate.com will be able to help you out a ton. Just remember that sometimes an online bank such as INGDirect might not have the highest APY but they have some of the best customer service in the industry, and also offer other savings tools that you can only get with an INGDirect savings account. So do your research!

4. Pay bills online. You might not think that saving a few dollars a month on stamps is worth it, but have you also thought of the fact that your bank INSURES the check? If you were to send it through regular mail and it is lost your out of luck. With eBanking, which is usually FREE with your checking account, you no longer have to worry about late charges, stamps, and lost mail.

5. Direct Deposit it! Does your job offer direct deposit? Ask your financial or human resource department if itís available. This not only saves you a ton of time by not having to go to the bank and wait in line, but saves you money. How? Well it is proven that if you cash your check you are more likely to spend money on stupid stuff. Less anxiety. More time. More money. Direct Deposit. Itís a beautiful thing.

6. 401(k) is the 1st step to riches. This is one of those things I canít stress more about. Ask your HR department if you have an active 401(k) or 403(b) programs. Itís like having a free raise at work if they have a matching program. Hereís an example: lets just say that you put in 5% of your pay into a 401(k) (sponsored by your company) your company can sometimes match up to that 5%. Thatís a 5% raise without doing anything at all! This is also pretax money, *UNLESS your in a Roth 401(k)* which usually also lowers your taxes.

7. Shop around. It still confuses me to this day that some people still donít shop around when purchasing items such as a computer. They will complain about wanting a raise, yet they go to the first place they find and spend too much on a product or service. Did you know that getting a raise by two dollars usually puts only one dollar after Uncle Sam gets his part? Did you also know that saving $50-$100 for a computer pretty much just gave you a raise of $100-$200 dollars? Think about it. You have the internet now, so you donít have any excuses paying too much for big ticket items. This also applies to insurance. So shop around and have fun doing it.

8. Getting a productive and cheap hobby. Something as simple as working out or reading can have serious effects on your spending habits. Finding something that occupies your time and gives you a sense of accomplishment will not only save you money but it promotes a healthy lifestyle.

9. Stop smoking! This is not only for smokers but also to the non-smokers. Do you have something in your life that you use on daily basis that costs a ton of money that you could seriously live without? Something like going to get coffee in the morning, buying a Twix bar at lunch, buying a pack of cigarettes, or buying a Fuji water for $2.00!! Seriously people its waterÖ. Cutting out some items that you usually purchase on a daily basis can give you a ton of money at the end of the month. Seriously try this for one month and tell me you donít see your savings account balance going straight up.

10. 10-15% Factor. Pay yourself first and save10-15% of your income before you spend it. If you make this automatic using your online savings account or direct depositing a portion of your check into your savings account you wonít even miss that money. Another great thing about this savings tip is you can realistically blow all your money on anything you want if you are at least saving 10%. If you are paid on a bi-weekly basis try saving 10% on your first check, and then doing 15% on the last. Most of the time commissions, bonuses, and overtime are tied to the final check of the month and by saving that extra money you will definitely see your savings go up and up.