your one-day financial makeover - one way car alarm
Watching Movies With the girlsKa-ching!
$8 focaccia sandwich for lunch. Ka-ching.
Blood of cats
Late fees, insurance, utilities. Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching.
You can save money, of course. -
It would be nice if you could stop spending.
You can't, of course, but you can use it more slowly, wisely, and purposefully. How?
Set aside a day (
Or a few nights)
Take the time to cut costs according to the schedule for the whole day on these pages.
Along the way, look at Real Simple's solutions to the reader's four major money problems.
Then observe the benefits you gain. -
Savings reached $5,000 this year.
Morning: housing and foodm.
Study the next purchase.
If your dishwasher is close to kaput or your printer is running out of ink, do your sourcing assignment now.
Neil Godfrey, author of the book "money still won't grow in trees", warned: "Waiting until the last moment means paying the full price . ". " Go to www. dealcatcher. com or www. pricegrabber.
Com, two online markets offering coupons, rebates and price comparisons
Jet Cartridges for DVD players to dishwashers.
Enter the type of item you are looking for, and then compare deals from stores such as www. amazon. com, www. Overstock. com, and www. BestBuy. com. Or try www. dealtime. com or www. bizrate.
It also offers free price comparisons.
All of these sites provide reader reviews that remind you of the pros and cons of a product.
Average savings: $10 from print cartridges to $50 for dishwashers (
Buy at local stationery or department stores). 9:30 a. m.
Deduct a little from the cost of the grocery store.
According to the Food Marketing Institute of the supermarket trade association, families of four spend an average of about $450 a month on food.
To save money, join a warehouse club like BJ Wholesale Club ($40 annual fee), Costco ($45)or Sam's Club ($35).
Visit the website of each club to determine which location and product portfolio is best for you and join online.
When it comes to products such as condiments, coffee, bottled water, canned beans and vegetables, the club may be 20 to 50% cheaper than a regular grocery store (
So are they, hands.
Down, appliances, garbage bags, aspirin and the best shopping places-
Selling books, among other things).
A really simple tester found that by buying bottled water from Costco instead of a local store, she could save between $75 and $100 a year. (
Bonus: Sam and Costco sell phone cards for just 1/2 cents per minute on long-distance calls. )
But don't ignore your supermarket completely. -
It will have better deals on commodities such as produce, chips and biscuits.
Average annual savings: $1,850 (
According to the average bill of a family of four, save 35%, minus the average number of members of the club). 10 a. m.
Reduce the cost of heating and utilities. The U. S.
The Department of Energy estimates that households spend an average of $1,400 a year on energy bills.
In the past season, prices have soared to 45% in part due to increased demand.
To lower your bill, surf the USAS.
Department of Energy's website.
Go to the consumer information and click "your home ".
"You will find that the family is saving energy, which is a convenient energy source --audit tool.
By entering information about your house-
The year of construction, the number of windows, the type of heating system-
You will get tips on improving energy efficiency.
The more specific you are, the more detailed the suggestions will be.
You don't have time to fix all of these issues right now, but you can print a list and follow up this weekend.
For example, invest $33 to $100 on a programmable thermostat-
You can reduce the temperature in your home at night and increase the temperature in the morning-
According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling costs can be reduced by 5 to 30%.
Average annual savings: If you live in an extreme climate like Vermont, save $1,000 a year;
If you live in a mild house like San Francisco, it will cost $450. 11 a. m.
Check your wireless network carefully
Distance and Internet bills.
If the cost of keeping in touch makes you want to be a hermit, look for a better price on www. lowermybills. com or www. billsaver.
Com, free comparison-shopping sites. LowerMyBills.
Com allows you to search for 18 service categories, including long-
Remote operator and Internet access.
When you find the price you like, call the supplier directly. (
Both websites conduct background checks on listed companies. )
Real Simple testers save an average of $150 a year on long distances, $100 on cellular services and $80 on Internet access.
Savings will vary depending on the location and whether you want to use the brand or not.
For example, a tester reduced her monthly Internet
Switch from AOL to local service with access charges ranging from $24 to $10.
Average annual savings: $80 per year for Internet services, $150 per year for long distance services and $100 per year for cellular servicesphone bills.
Noon: Entertainment noon.
Convert coins into cash, get a library card, and exchange gift cards.
After lunch break, get ready to take a walk or drive.
Collect all your change and go to one of the free or cheap ones --
Many grocery stores and banks have counting machines (
To be listed nationwide, please visit www. theunderstory. com.
A tester took out $143 and then she was interested in it --
Register a library card when you are out.
Borrowing hardcover books instead of hardcover books can even save average readers an average of four hardcover books a year, about $70.
Once you come back, find all your unused gift cards and go to www. swapagift. com.
For a $4 listing fee, you can buy, sell or trade cards that you don't use for your favorite merchants.
Save an average of $70 a year on library cards.
The money found varies from family to family.
Gift cards, $25 to $50 (
Let's say you will let the card wither in your desk drawer). 1:30 p. m.
Free yourself from the videoand DVD-
Late fee for rent.
You looked at the "ruins of the day" on Blockbuster on Thursday and inserted it into the DVD player on Friday night as planned.
But just as Emma Thompson appeared on the screen, the phone rang. . .
You have never seen the remains of the film.
The next thing you know is that a week has passed and you have forgotten the full content of the film, and the cost of being late exceeds the cost of the new DVD.
Don't feel bad if it sounds familiar;
You are very good (if late)company.
A recent report by market analysis firm Decisive Analytics
The survey company found that 20% of film rental r paid an average of $7.
Rent 60 per late.
So three minutes. -literally --
And register with online movie rental sites such as Netflix, Blockbuster or WalMart.
Then take another five minutes to go through their list and create a rental queue.
$19 to $20 a month (
The cost of renting four new versions in Blockbuster)
, You can rent as many DVDs as you want, and rent as long as you want.
When you return one, the company will send you the next one from your queue.
Each movie has a prepaid envelope that you can reuse to return the DVD.
You won't pay late fees anymore.
Annual average savings: up to $280 per year based on your late arrival record (
Based on the average rent and late fees of 60 rents per year, half of them are late fees). 1:45 p. m.
Analyze your attendance at the gym, theater and art museum.
Let's face it: Sometimes your ambition is not consistent with reality.
You buy an expensive member and then almost don't use it. Take the gym. In a three-
Economists at the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University combed 8,000 gyms in a year's study --
Membership records in the Boston area found that about 80% of members who signed monthly contracts paid far more than they paidper-use basis.
This is because members overestimate their gym usage, with an average of less than five visits per month-
Much less than they originally expected.
The result is: an average of $17 per workout user, even if $10 is paidper-
There are usage options.
That adds up.
Members lost an average of $700 in monthly or annual gym contracts.
A really simple tester realized that she had not been to her local Y for more than a year and wasted $87 a month ($1,044 a year)
She found out she could pay $10 at a time and canceled the plan.
Instead, if you go frequently and don't have a membership, you may be able to pay an extra fee for a visit to a local zoo, art gallery or aquarium.
Another really simple tester living in Philadelphia, for example, found that it would cost her family $4 and 56 to visit the zoo and $7 to park.
But for $79, her family can purchase membership and enjoy unlimited access and free parking for a year.
Average annual savings: $700. 2 p. m.
Donate to charity
Turn over your wardrobe and bookshelf and look for clothes and household items that you can donate. "Have a two-
Michelle Sinclair, a Washington Post columnist and author of seven money spells that enrich life, suggested.
"If you haven't worn or used it in the last two years, give it away.
"If you list your deductions item by item and within the tax rate range of 150, even an item with a face value of $ 28% can reduce taxes by about $42. (
If you are at a tax level of 15% or lower, it may not be worth your trouble.
You can find your tax grade on www. irs. gov (
Search for "tax rate ").
Try to do it at least twice a year and remember to get the receipt from the charity.
Average annual savings: $84 (
If you are within 28%, donate $150 a year).
Later in the afternoon: 2: 30 bank and insurance. m.
Lower insurance rates for cars and homeowners.
The first way to reduce interest rates?
Rick Edelman, a registered financial advisor and author of the book truth about money, said: "Increase your deductible . ".
"A lot of people are minimal, but it's a waste.
"Cover yourself with disaster insurance, not minor accident insurance.
If you meet certain criteria, the insurance company will also reduce your premium.
Call your supplier and ask :--
Auto insurance: increase your deductible from $200 to $500, according to the non-profit organization Insurance Information Institute, and you can reduce collision and comprehensive insurance by 15 to 30%.
Increase your deductible to $1,000 and you can save 40%.
When you call your supplier, "ask for all the discounts they offer," suggested Ellie Kay, author of the women's family financial guide.
"If you carpool or go to work by public transport, you may be eligible for low
If you have a car
Alarm system, over 50 years old, or long term customer, you may reduce your bill further. --
Homeowner insurance: you can save 25% by increasing your deductible from $500 to $1,000.
Under the same company, combined with the policies of your car and homeowner, you can save 5 to 10%.
If these strategies don't work for you, or if you're looking for a better deal, please investigate the new policy on www. insweb.
This is a free comparison market for cars, homeowners and life insurance.
The site has detailed customized offers from dozens of insurance providers across the country.
Average annual savings: home ownership insurance is $155 on average, and collision and integrated car insurance is $360 on average. 3 p. m.
Get better creditcard rate.
If you tend to hold balance and credit
Card companies charge you an average interest rate of more than 12 to 13% and call to negotiate better deals.
According to a study by the citizen's Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, more than half of the complained customers were able to lower interest rates
If your issuer does not give in, go to www. bankrate. Com, consumer
Look for lower interest rates in financial markets.
If you can save $ 1% in an average balance of $9,000, you can save $90 a year.
A tester found a bargain card that paid 2% in cash for purchases up to $1,000, with no annual fee and a rate of only 9. 9 percent.
Cancel your little before you sign up-used cards.
The less cards you have, the less risk you have for lenders, the better interest rates you get.
Average annual savings: $360 (
Let's say you reduce the interest rate from 12% to 8% with a balance of $9,000 and pay £ 10% per month). 3:25 p. m.
Find a smarter checking account.
A recent check
Account statement and add up the fees you pay for ATM withdrawals, monthly maintenance, and penalties that keep your account below the minimum balance.
I can't get back to bankrate. com.
Use the search tools of the website to find better deals.
Just enter the type of account you are interested in (
Free check, for example)
, Then follow the prompts.
In a few seconds, you will get a list of products provided by various banks, as well as interest rates, fees and minimum
"Many banks are super
About the competition for free checks, "said Galia Gichon of Donto-
Earth Finance Consulting & finance companiesplanning firm.
So it's worth hunting around. Bankrate.
Com analysts estimate that most customers can put $100 to $200 back in their pockets by choosing the right checking account.
Test Report: Switch from no-
If her balance is less than $1,000, an interest check account of $8 is charged to the account of 0.
Interest rate 76%, no monthly fee, no minimum interest rate-
Balancing requirements, a RS tester will save up to $96 this year.
Average annual savings: $100 to $200. 4 p. m.
Maximize the interests of the company.
This can be hard to believe, but your employer spends an average of 28% of your compensation on benefits.
For those earning $50,000 a year, this is a $14,000 benefit.
Make sure you're taking advantage of everything you're entitled.
Call your company's welfare office or go to your company's website and work hard on this list: improve your contribution to 401 (k)
The highest 10% of your salary (
Allowed this year.
At the very least, make sure you have enough cash in your account to match the company.
Check your income
Withholding tax for the payroll department.
The average tax refund last year was $2,033, mainly due to excessive withholding taxes.
Of course, it's a good thing to get a mid-year check from the IRS, but that means "you're basically interested in the government --
"It's easy to get a free loan," says Grace Weinstein, author of the Tax Guide for raters . ".
"If you invest your money, you will be rich at 71 dollars by this time next year.
Research on Education reimbursement.
Some big companies will pay up to 100% of their work costs.
Association dues and meetings, and up to 75% of non-work-
Related education programs.
Average annual savings: $71 to $7,000. 4:30 p. m.
Ask a financial planner.
Find a financial advisor, preferably someone who charges you, to prepare you for life ---
That is, every hour or every project--
And will not earn commissions by selling certain products.
A planner can help you figure out if you have saved enough money for retirement, if your investment is reasonable, how much you should save for education, and she can usually adjust your financesup. To find a fee-
Only the planner in your area, go to the website of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, or call 888-333-6659. (
There are strict requirements for NAPFA.
Members must receive 60 hours of continuing education every two years. )
Average annual savings: professional advice on all your financial needs in the future: immeasurable.
Our approach: the nine testers of Real Simple tried all the tricks in this timeline and weighed them with their experience and findings.
Get a really simple free trialCLICK HERE !
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