BOSTON (CBS) – Here is a list that I complied from listeners’ suggestions…
[Audio http://cbsboston.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/february-4-2010-money-matters.mp3|titles=Listeners Weigh In|artists=Dee Lee]
Cell Phones: Are you going over your minutes? Do you need a different plan? Some of the phone companies charge 45 cents a minute for every minute over the plan limit.
Cable: When was the last time you really checked your bill to see what you were paying for.
Expensive Weddings: Save the dollars for your first house.
Expensive Divorces: Some divorces cost more than the wedding. Use a divorce mediator.
Smoking: Give it up. You will save money, be healthier and help the environment. You could save about $2000 a year if you smoke a pack a day.
Vending Machines: Avoid. Expensive and bad for you. Save dollars and calories. Even the ones in hospitals are full of junk food. You would think they would know better! $2 a day for cookies and a soda, 265 work days equal $530. Bring an apple or banana from home and save at least $1.50 a day.
Bottled Water: Bring from home. At $1 or more from a vending machine that’s close to $300 a year if you drink one very day at work!
Frequent Flyer Miles: Miles are like cash. Don’t let your miles expire.
Extended Warranties: These are not a good deal. Especially for small appliances, they often cost more than the appliance you are buying. Pass on them when offered. The stores make more money on those than on the appliance for they rarely get used.
Friendly Banker: Do not lend money to your family or friends, especially someone you are dating…… Many listeners took the time to tell me their horror stories about lending money. And if you do decide to do it, spend the time to do it right and draw up a contract.
Pets: Ah, that free kitten or puppy. They are so cute and cuddly. And they can be very expensive. According to the ASPCA the first year of cat ownership could cost you $700 and for a large dog $1600. If you buy the cat or dog, you need to add in that cost. Be sure you have the time to spend with a pet every day. Many listeners told of falling in love and getting the animal on an impulse and then regretting it.
Savings Bonds That Are Not Earning Interest: E bonds have stopped earning interest. The last reached final maturity last year (2010). After 30 years, EE bonds will stop earning interest also. Check the dates on your bonds.
Not Using The Flex Spending Plan At Work: These plans allow you to use your money pre-tax for childcare and medical expenses. But beware if your job is uncertain be careful about the timing.
Debit Card: Using your debit card when they charge you 50 cents per transaction for a “point of sale terminal”. Ask that the transaction be processed as a credit transaction. It’s free then and if you go to the grocery store 80 times for the year that’s $40 you didn’t spend.
Credit Card Or Mortgage Insurance: Be sure you have adequate life insurance so if you do die with a credit card bill outstanding or the mortgage not paid off your heirs can decide what needs to be paid. Mortgage insurance is usually deceasing term insurance, meaning the value of the insurance goes down as the amount owed decreases.
Life Insurance On Children: It is not a good way to save for college for the kid or to assure that they will be eligible for life insurance as an adult. Be sure there is enough insurance on mom and dad so if something happens to you the kids will be taken care of.
Cancer Or Disease Specific Insurance: Indeed the big “C” scares us even more than having a heart attack but be sure you have adequate life insurance and health insurance to cover your needs.
Rental Car Extra Insurance: You probably are already covered by your current policy or even your credit card company. Check with your auto insurer to be sure you are covered and read the fine print of your credit card contract. (You do have that in the file don’t you.)