9 Money Saving Tips for Savvy Consumers
Putting money in a saving account is a smart move, but with interest rates below 1 percent, you’ll accumulate wealth at a snail’s pace. One way to counter the decreased interest rate is to find other ways to save. To help you with this endeavor, we’ll look at money saving tips for savvy consumers.
1. Bundle your connectivity. These days, consumers have multiple ways to connect. Telephones, televisions, computers, iPads, cell phones and other devices allow you to reach out to others and enjoy your top shows and favorite games on demand. Paying for these services separately can add up, therefore talk to your cable provider or your phone company to bundle your Internet access, your television and your phone service to enjoy significant savings. If possible, dump your land line and use your cell phone only. Yes, shop for a new cell phone contract too.
2. Use generic products. You may be fond of name brand products, but these goods will cost you more than store or generic equivalent goods. You’re paying the advertising costs associated with name brands, a cost that is stripped out of generic products. Sample various store or generic products and replace those that offer you equivalent quality for a lower cost.
3. Install an electronic thermostat. Your old hand-dial thermostat may work well, but it isn’t as efficient as an electronic thermostat. With an electronic thermostat, you can regulate your home’s heating, air-conditioning and ventilation system by setting it to kick on at certain times of the day and turn down automatically when you are not home. For instance, if you are on your way home from work, a half hour before your arrival, the a/c can turn on and have your home cooled before you cross the threshold. For a $60 investment you can reduce your utility bills and save all year long.
4. Use coupons. Yes, coupons. They’re a pain to use, but the savings can be great. Moreover, if you have a smart phone you can scan coupons and save money that way. One of the most significant savings opportunities these days can be found in your local entertainment book, offering coupons to restaurants, sporting events, movies, theater and much more. Typically sold by your local youth group to raise money, these guides can be had for $40 or less and give you hundreds of dollars in savings. Clip coupons from newspapers and magazines too to reduce the cost you pay for all of your favorite items.
5. Fill up with regular grade gasoline. You’ve been filling your car up with premium grade gasoline, thinking that your car will run better. For most drivers, premium fuel is an unnecessary expense, one that can cost 25 to 50 cents more than regular grade gasoline. Check your owner’s manual to see what grade of gasoline you should use. If it says that premium gasoline is required, then continue to use this fuel. If it says that premium grade is recommended, then you have the option to use regular or a mid-grade fuel.
6. Buy used, not new. Buying new means you get something that is fresh, unused and expensive. Get in the habit of considering your purchase decisions and determine what items you can buy used that will save you money. For example, you may have your eye on a new car, but a vehicle that is one or two years old can be just as useful, but save you thousands of dollars. Moreover, if you buy a certified used vehicle through a car dealer, then that car is backed by the manufacturer. You’ll get the balance of the new car warranty and each vehicle will have passed a multi-point inspection to ensure that the car you get is as close to new as possible. Consider buying used for a number of household items including furniture, clothing, sporting equipment, yard equipment and more.
7. Bundle your insurance. Just as you can bundle your communication services, you can also bundle your insurance. If you own a home and a car, the same company that provides service to one, may be interested in providing service to both. Ask your insurance agent about her plans — you can achieve a 10 percent discount on your premiums when you bundle home and car to one company. If your insurer provides life, health and dental insurance, additional savings may be available as well.
8. Shop for a new credit card. How has your credit card provider been treating you? Chances are you can find a better deal elsewhere, especially if you have very good or excellent credit. Review your latest credit card statement to see what it offers to you. If you’re running a balance and are paying a double-digit interest rate, find a card that offers a balance transfer agreement and will give you a 0 percent interest rate for up to 12 months. You will pay a transfer fee, typically pegged at 3 percent of your balance, but it cost you significantly more to stay with your current credit card provider.
9. Fire your banker. Better yet, why not get rid of your banker completely? After all, you can open up a credit card account, a new checking account, savings, retirement and other investment vehicles with a credit union. Why a credit union? Because, these financial institutions are member-owned institutions. Unlike banks, especially national banks, credit unions did not get into hanky-panky with investors, a move that helped to trigger the global financial collapse of 2008. Banks also got bailed out, on the taxpayer dollar, and for some reason they still charge more for their services than credit unions. Stop contributing to a national problem by finding a local solution with a credit union.
There are other ways for you to save including cutting back on your purchases, negotiating with retailers and deferring big ticket item buys until you have the cash in hand. Empower yourself by employing one or more money saving tips today and you’ll be known as a savvy consumer before you know it.
U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Savers — http://www.energysavers.gov/tips/save_energy.cfm
U.S. News: 7 Ways Credit Unions Are Better Than Banks — http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2011/11/14/7-ways-credit-unions-are-better-than-banks
Jenny Willis is a professional blogger that enjoys providing consumers with personal finance advice. She writes for Purechecks.com, a leading check printing company of designer personal and business checks.