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Archive for the ‘$ tips’ Category

Adapt MoneyClub.com’s Dollar-a-Month Plan.  ” If you have a 30-year fixed rate mortgage for $150,000 at 6% today, just add an extra dollar to your $900 payment each month — $1 the first month, $2 the second month, $3 the third, and so on.”

You’ll end up paying off your 30-year loan in 22 years (just be sure your loan has no prepayment penalty).

Savings: Over 30 years, interest would probably total about $174,000; using the Dollar-A-Month plan, you’d pay approximately $122,000, an impressive savings of $52,000! Now that’s something to be happy about!

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Love free stuff?

We sure do! Check out Kiplinger Magazine’s Fabulous Freebies 2009. The slideshow offers a wealth of goodies, including how to access free movies, videogames, birthday treats (ice cream!), and more. See how many freebie tips you already make use of.

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Sometimes, life gets so busy that we don’t have time to breathe, let alone go to the bathroom. So it’s no wonder that personal finance planning gets shelved for another day. But the truth is that you need to focus on your finances on a regular basis. Schwab’s handy personal finance calendar makes it easy. Just enter Schwab’s advice into your Google Calendar or Outlook.

Get started by taking action and following August’s to-do list:

  • Compare what you actually spent on vacation to the amount you projected for in your annual cash flow plan. Start thinking about your holiday budget.
  • As the kids or grandkids get ready for school, think about establishing or contributing to a Coverdell Education Savings Account and/or 529 College Savings Plan on their behalf.

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The New York Times recently launched a Web page where readers can share their strategies for getting by in the economic downturn? Share your best advice, ask a question, comment on other peoples’ strategies and recommend the most helpful ones.

Some of my favorites:

  • LESS Amazon, Borders & BN and MORE Public Library (@iBelin, via Twitter)
  • Stop going to the movies or Blockbuster and go to your local library. They have a large selection of DVDs you can check out, for free. (Bonnie, Wilmington,DE)
  • Look for freebies on craigslist, it’s fun shopping without spending a dime. (@ziggywiggy, via Twitter)
  • Go talk to your landlord about a rent reduction, especially if you have you a good history! Don’t be afraid to try, it works in this economy (Bill Randle, Big Apple)
  • Volunteer. You’d be amazed… it’s entertaining, it’s free, it eats time that you’d spend doing expensive things, and it opens doors…(Brian, Boston)
  • Ditch sodas and bottled water for regular tap water – improve your health, your pocket and the environment (Michael Donohoe, Brooklyn, NY)
  • Use olive oil. For your hair (as a conditioner), as a moisturizer, on your food. Cheaper than store bought H&B aids, and great for the skin. (JG, Carmel, NY)

What are YOUR favorite tips?

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1164836_coins_5Ruby Herman, a budget and financial consultant with Future Performance Consulting, shared a list he created of 100 ways to save money immediately. Not everything will apply to everyone, but it’s definitely worth reading.

Some highlights:

24. Move money to high yield savings accounts

44. Borrow movies from the library for free

60. Order your prescription medicines via mail order whenever possible

61. Pay your bills on-line

88. Pay your mortgage on the 10th of each month. As much as the banks like it on the 1st, it’s not usually due until the 30th. They have a right to charge you a late fee if it’s after the 10th or the 15th, depending on the bank.

90. Prepay your mortgage by 7-8 years. Adding $100 a month to an average $300,000 mortgage at 6% will lower your payment schedule by 7-8 years. If you can pay semi-monthly ½ the amount due, you could lower a 30 year mortgage to 18 years.

91. Only use doctors in your medical plan (in network). Pay for all out of pocket expenses from a FSA, or HSA. Negotiate all medical bills not covered by insurances.

94. Order a credit report from all three credit bureaus, and clean up your credit report. 90% of credit reports have at least one error, or more. Dispute any errors, or items older than 2 years. Increase your credit score.

To read the entire list, visit Ruby’s Web site and scroll down to the “list of files to download.”

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Pop quiz: How much interest are you earning on the money socked away in your savings account? If you don’t know, you better take a look. According to an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, checking accounts and some money-market mutual funds that invest primarily in Treasurys are yielding as little as 0.01%, or $1 a year for every $10,000 invested.

Why give your bank a free (or almost free) loan? Instead, shop around for the highest rate using bankrate.com. Just be sure that the bank is FDIC-insured. I use DollarSavings Direct, which is currently yielding 2% (but you need to keep a minimum balance of $1,000 the entire month, or else that rate plummets). If it weren’t such a hassle to transfer funds, I’d switch to Ally Bank (formerly GMAC), which is offering 2.25%, with no minimum deposit. Just be sure to check the rate every once in a while — they tend to change without much warning.

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I do. But I can understand why many people don’t. It’s a real hassle and when you’ve finally reached the checkout counter, the last thing you want to do is be that person, the one who holds up the line and spends 15 minutes searching through her coupon wallet.

Utah’s “Grocery Guru” Ken Roesbery says that coupons are one way to save up to 70 percent on groceries. Roesbery advises savvy shoppers to keep the coupon inserts from the Sunday newspaper in a file (for about a month) and clip only those you are going to use that week after seeing what’s on sale. (Read more about Ken in this Salt Lake Tribune article).

What are your tips for saving on groceries?

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