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 HOW TO SAVE MONEY

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AuteurMessage
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Rang: Administrateur
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Nombre de messages : 8069
Localisation : Washington D.C.
Date d'inscription : 28/05/2005

MessageSujet: HOW TO SAVE MONEY   Mer 16 Avr - 10:37

1. Saving on Retail
2. Groceries
3. Automobiles
4. Giving
5. Commuting & housing
6. Phone services & other necessities
7. Travel

1. Saving on RetailMichele
Carter, a CPA and mother of two in Barrington, N.H., is a hawk about
tracking sales prices on her purchases and asking retailers for the
savings. For example, Carter keeps her Christmas gift receipts and,
after the holiday, checks to see if retailers have slashed prices on
any of the gifts she's already plunked under the tree.Then she
calls the merchant and, without returning the item, asks the store to
refund the difference between her cost and the new sales price. She
then gives the difference to the gift recipient."I once got my mother-in-law $60 back on a gift we purchased for her," she says.Carter also claims the price guarantees offered by stores like Lowe's and Home Depot: If you find the same product for less elsewhere, you get the item for 10 percent off the lowest price."I have seen an ad for something I purchased, after the purchase, and I have been given the lower price," she says.Keeping
an eye on these promotions paid off recently when Carter bought a new
refrigerator. After she saw an ad for the same refrigerator at a
competitor's store, she netted close to $100 in savings with a single
phone call. Her advice: Call, don't visit the store. In Carter's
experience, a local store manager will always find a reason to say no.Carter,
an inveterate comparison shopper, also shops on home repairs. Recently,
she bought a new Pella front door at Lowe's, spending $1,000 less than
Pella's asking price. Then, rather than paying Lowe's $800 installation
fee, she hired a local carpenter for $400 -- and paid that tab with the
$400 tax credit she'll receive for installing the energy-saving door.Stay-at-home
mom Martha Andersen is an avid reader, as are her husband and her two
children. Last year, Andersen, who lives in Durham, N.H., decided to
spend only $4 per person on Christmas gifts.She acquired most of her gifts through Paperbackswap.com,
a site on which members can trade paperback and hardcover books for the
cost of postage, and Daedalus, a discount book catalog that Andersen
says offered "really nice gifts for less than $4." You can also swap
CDs on SwapaCD.com and DVDs at recently launched SwapaDVD.com.
Melissa Ragan, a teacher in an inner-city public school in Lawrence, Mass., also loves Paperbackswap.com. She uses the site to get books for her special-needs classroom.Ragan is also a Freecycle devotee. Freecycle.org,
a membership organization with thousands of local chapters, helps
people give away unwanted goods, such as brand-new baby clothes,
computers and furniture, to other "freecyclers" so that it won't end up
in landfills.Most of the time, it's not worn-out Salvation Army
merchandise. Not long ago, the Boston chapter featured an entire Ethan
Allen living room set free for the taking. You can "ask" for something
specific, and often, you'll get it. People frequently ask for exercise
equipment, like treadmills, and find treasures within a day.Not surprisingly, uber savers are also crazy about Craigslist.org. Chris Grande, a financial planner and managing partner of Heritage Financial Group in Medford, Mass. bought a $5,000 leather living room set for only $200 when he noticed the classified ad on his local Craigslist site.2. GroceriesWhat
does the high price of food mean to the average frugal grocery shopper?
Eat locally. Produce, meat, poultry and eggs grown nearby have always
been better for the environment. Now, because of high fuel prices,
buying local is also the smartest way to shop.Purchase produce
in season and frequent farmer's markets, where you'll find the best
deals on the freshest fruits and vegetables. Invest in a freezer, if
you have the space, and buy your meat locally as well.Uber saver Mike Hegarty, a CPA in Des Moines, Iowa, says he saves $500 a year on meat by purchasing whole animals from local farms.In
case you've never done it and you're having a hard time visualizing it
in your garage, when you buy a quarter of a cow from a local farm, a
butcher cuts it into the familiar hamburger, flank and sirloin steaks
and packages it for you. An extra bonus: Local farms often raise
all-natural or even organic beef, pork and chicken.If you're
really devoted to cutting your grocery bill, try buying through a
co-op. To do this, you'll need to form a "buying club" with friends and
neighbors; forming a group will allow you to order food at wholesale
prices from co-op distributors like Associated Buyers in Barrington,
N.H., or Rainbow Natural Foods in Aurora, Colo.You'll need to
put in some effort, says Erin Fallon, a Strafford, N.H., housewife
who's been purchasing organic groceries through a co-op for years. One
group member gathers orders and collects money; then the women meet at
another member's home to divvy up food once a month. The effort is well
worth it, though. Fallon says she saves $300 to $500 a month.3. AutomobilesNeed
a new car? The good news is that with demand down, automakers are
unlikely to raise their prices this year, says economist Gus Faucher
with Economy.com.When
buying, take a tip from master saver Carter. Michele Carter and her
husband, Richard, negotiate with dealers for each other's cars."Dealers
have to get on the phone and actually negotiate with someone who is not
emotionally invested in the purchase. So far, this has helped us not
get taken," she says.
When Michele Carter fell in love with a 2006 Saab
last year, she could see that the dealer wouldn't reduce the price for
her "because they could see that I was sold on the vehicle." So she
turned to Richard for help. He talked the dealer into reducing the
price of the extended warranty by $1,000 and persuaded him to throw in Bluetooth for free. Carter was thrilled with her new car -- and the price.A ream of information exists on how to get the best price on a new car. But what's the cheapest way to finance it?Wellesley, Mass.,
financial planner Steve Doucette advises that you figure out which car
you want and wait for the manufacturer's year-end zero percent
financing deals.Or consider buying a car at an auto auction.
There are two kinds -- government-run auctions open to the public and
dealer auctions, where used-car dealers get many of the cars they sell
on the lot.Financial planner Chris Grande admires a friend who
bought a used Mercedes at a dealer auction, saving at least $4,000 in
the process. In order to get access to dealer auctions, you'll need to
go with a friend who has a dealer license and is willing to do a favor
for you.In addition to actual car dealers, tow-truck companies, auto body shops and others also have dealer licenses, Grande says.4. GivingSarah Auerbach, a stay-at-home mother in Acton, Mass., and her husband, programmer Laird Nelson, like to donate to charities. But they're saving to buy a larger home.Tired
of reactively contributing in response to mailed solicitations, they
visited their accountant for advice on how much to give annually. Then
they listed several favorite causes and assigned weights to each -- for
instance, 15 percent for women's rights, 10 percent each to several
local hunger-fighting organizations, and so on. Then they did the math
and figured out how much money they'd be giving to each of eight or 10
nonprofits.To spread out the expense, they designated payments to one or two charities monthly.5. Commuting and HousingHegarty, the Des Moines
CPA, saves money in a variety of ways. He and his family clip coupons
and turn off lights. But a self-proclaimed cheapskate, Hegarty believes
the "small stuff" doesn't really pay off. It's the big stuff, like
making wise choices about where to live, that really counts.Hegarty
and his wife, who have four children, chose to buy a $150,000 farmhouse
some miles outside of the suburbs rather than living in "$250,000 to
$350,000 yuppie neighborhoods with my friends," Hegarty says. "That
saves us $1,500 a year in (property) taxes and $6,500 a year in
mortgage interest."Hegarty acknowledges, however, that living
some distance away from town costs him an additional $800 a year in
gasoline and additional wear on his car. The Hegarty family plans trips
to town in order to run several errands at once. He figures this
careful planning saves them $500 a year in gasoline.Their choice
to live in a modest house allows Hegarty's wife to stay home with their
kids, rather than working full time for a $50,000 salary.
On the
other hand, living close to town also can save you money. Uber saver
Martha Andersen spends next to nothing on gasoline. She and her husband
Peter chose to live in downtown Durham, a small New Hampshire college town, rather than buying a house in the suburbs."We
can walk to restaurants and grocery stores, the library, the bank, the
car service, church, friends and to my father-in-law's," she says.Since oil hit $100 a barrel, saving on gas has become as important as getting a cheap mortgage.Living in Exeter, N.H., Melissa Ragan and her husband, Alex, sold Melissa's 2006 Toyota Camry
in January 2008 and became a one-car couple. They carpool together to
work and Alex takes the train home. They're saving $725 a month -- a
$400 car payment, $75 in insurance and $250 in gas and tolls.Rochester,
N.Y., scientist Wilton Alston also forgoes four wheels whenever he can.
He bikes the 15 miles to and from work whenever the weather is good,
saving money -- and burning calories -- along the way.By far the
most ingenious strategy for saving on gas and auto costs comes from
Dean Frisoli, who "slugs" to work. Slugging is a form of legal
hitchhiking available to commuters outside of Washington, D.C., where the traffic is notorious.In
order to take the faster high-occupancy vehicle, or HOV, lane to work,
a car must carry two passengers. At designated parking lots, so-called
"sluggers" like Frisoli, a transportation policy analyst, line up to
catch free rides from drivers eager to use the HOV lane. In the year
since he started slugging, reports Frisoli, the former train commuter
has saved more than $2,000."Other than the ice storm the day of
the Virginia primary, where it took me five hours to get home, it has
been a completely painless experience," he says.Chetan Shah, a vice president at Bank of America in Charlotte, N.C., advocates paying for parking with pretax dollars. Tax law does permit this."Most
of us ... have to pay either for parking or a monthly bus or train
pass," he writes. "You can pay it pretax by asking the company you work
for to deduct it directly from your paycheck."6. Phone Service and Other NecessitiesFinancial planner Grande starts his conversation on saving money this way: "I'm talking to you on Skype right now."Skype
is an Internet-based phone system that lets computer users make calls
for free or for only a few dollars a month. You don't need an actual
phone -- just a computer and, if you wish, a headset, which costs about
$20 at Radio Shack or Best Buy.Download
Skype for free, and you can "call" other Skype users for nothing. Pay
$3 a month and you can make unlimited calls to land line and cell phone
users.Grande started using it last year and says now his office
pays only the minimum local charge for having a land line -- less than
$30 a month.
He uses Skype when he travels, making phone calls from
WiFi hotspots in other states and even in other countries. When he
traveled to Singapore last year, he called friends in the U.S. for only two cents a minute.To
save on utilities, conserve energy. Get an energy audit, says Larry
Chretien, executive director of Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, a
nonprofit home heating company with offices in Jamaica Plain, Mass., and Providence, R.I.When it comes to energy efficiency, Chretien says, "We honestly think every home is different."In
many states, electric and gas utilities offer energy audits at no
charge, and some will even help homeowners pay for their recommended
changes. When this reporter had her home audited, Public Service of New
Hampshire paid $2,000, or more than two-thirds of the total cost of
energy-saving improvements, like insulating and installing programmable
thermostats.Call your electric or gas company or search their Web sites for energy auditing programs.7. TravelTostado,
the uber saver from Dover, N.H., hoards credit card rewards points.
When she turned 50 three years ago, she and her husband set a goal of
running road races in all 50 states within 10 years. So far, they've
managed 19 states. Those plane tickets could add up -- but not for them.Their
strategy? Never, ever use cash when you can use a credit card. They win
multiple free flights a year by paying virtually all of their bills --
including groceries, utilities and their mortgage -- with a Southwest Airlines card.They
even buy Dunkin' Donuts gift cards on credit and use them to buy their
morning coffee rather than "wasting" a couple of dollars' worth of
points every day. The couple sets aside an hour a week to pay bills
together and always pays the full credit card balance so that they
never pay interest.Doucette and his family can afford posh
vacations, but sometimes the tab is just too high. When their
traditional vacation choice, a Beaches resort, priced out at $8,000 to
$12,000, the Doucettes decided to share their vacation. They and some
friends rented a beachfront Jamaican villa, complete with chef and
bartender, and spent less than $5,000 for the week.If you're going to travel overseas, consider vacationing in Mexico, the Caribbean or even in Africa or Asia, where the dollar is stronger than it is in Europe.To get the cheapest fares, use a service like FareCompare.com,
which sends e-mails the instant a cheap fare becomes available for your
destination of choice. Don't procrastinate buying that ticket -- the
cheapest fares go to only about 10 percent of travelers.Copyrighted, Bankrate.com. All rights reserved.

_________________
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