BOSTON (CBS) – Use A Shopping List Whenever You Go Shopping: Often people go shopping for recreation and for something to do so without a list or a plan you will randomly buy stuff. Saving more should become a family project and it should involve the whole family.
Re-Evaluate Your Car Insurance: Get quotes from several different companies and see how much you can save. Do you have towing through your Triple A membership and your insurance company? Are you paying for it twice? Can you bundle your auto and home insurance?
Life Insurance: If you have had your policy for 10 years or more see what you can do to lower the costs. Term life insurance has actually gotten cheaper because the insurance companies discovered that we were living longer.
Grocery Shopping: This does take work on a weekly basis but you can make it challenging and fun. When my children were younger I made it a family project and their job was to clip the coupons. Now you can send your kids to the computer to get the coupons.
Phones: Talk and text less! Or get a plan that includes everything you want. Or combine cable, home phone and cell phone for lower costs. And check out the apps you thought you couldn’t live without. Do you need the GPS on your cell phone and in the car?
Bank Fees: ATM fees are the biggie here. Paying $3 to $6 to withdraw $50 is a lot of money. Actually, it’s costing you 12%. There may be a fee for using your debit card. And if you are overdrawn on your checking account they ding you there also.
Credit Card Fees: If you can’t pay for something don’t buy it! Charging it drags the payments out over years. And you could end up paying twice what the purchase was worth.
- Drive sensibly
- Observe the speed limit, for every 5 miles above 60 it’s like paying an extra 26 cents a gallon.
- Use cruise control
- Remove excess weight like that 50 pound bag of dog food in the trunk. No junk in your trunk!
- Do not idle your car. Consider parking the car and going inside for your cup of coffee. If there are three cars in the drive thru at Dunkin Donuts’ park and go in for your order.
AAA Benefits: I have a membership and I was surprised at all of the benefits, here are some:
- Discounts on hotel rooms (which I use all of the time)
- Discounts for entertainment events
- Discounts for movie tickets & theme parks
- Discounts on travel
- Discounts on prescriptions
- Discounts at restaurants
- Turn off call waiting.
- Make everyone in the family wear white socks.
- Ask for senior discount at theaters (Harrison Ford did).
- Keep the condiment packages when you buy takeout food. Don’t steal them, but save them.
- Go barefoot. You’ll save on shoes.
- Buy the huge popcorn at the movies for $6. A small bag is about $4, so instead of buying four small ones, buy one huge bag, split it and save $10.
Know what benefits your employer offers. Here are some:
- Match for your 401(k) plan
- Reimbursement for gym fees or an in house gym
- Reimbursement for weight loss plans such as Weight Watchers
- Health care incentives e.g. gift certificates if you keep your blood pressure in normal range
- Graduate tuition
- Scholarships for your kids
Cable: One listener negotiates with his cable company every 6 months to lower his bill and he asks what specials they are currently offering. He got free movies for a year and now he has a lower rate because of a promotion. You do have to ask though.
Electronic Equipment: A listener wanted to purchase three flat screen TVs. When they went on sale he told the clerk he wanted to buy three and asked if he did could they offer him a better deal. They offered him an extra 10% off. You do have to ask and you have to be willing to walk away.
Cars: Use Edmunds to compare dealer prices for cars.
Books, CDs, DVDs: Use your local library; a listener, a town librarian showed me how a family of four can save thousands of dollars by taking advantage of the library’s free resources. Books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, story hours for the little ones.
One more thing: Thanks to everyone who sent me their ideas on saving!
More Reader Ideas –
Investments: If you are a do-it-yourselfer when it comes to investing look to Fidelity for cheap rates. Their online fees are about $8 a trade if you have at least $50,000 in assets. Also Schwab and Vanguard offer low costs. Can you get cheaper rates, yup? But even as a do-it-yourselfer you may want the bells and whistles Fidelity has to offer.
Books: If you are not going to use the library and want to buy your books, try www.amazon.com they also have used books. I was disappointed recently to see one of my books selling second hand for $4.
Laundry: Use cold water unless the clothes are very dirty. Wash only full loads of clothes. Your clothes will also get clean with less detergent. I use 2 tablespoons per load. Clean the dryer lint screen after each load. Use a clothesline in the nice weather. Dry clothes indoors in the winter and add moisture to the air.
Carpool: Most cars in the morning rush hour have just the driver. Even if you can only do it a couple of days a week it could save big time.
The warehouse club discounts stores where you need to buy a membership have more than just the giant packages of paper towels.
- Funeral supplies, including caskets and urns
- Amusement park and movie tickets
- Diamond stud ear rings priced at about $3,000
- Health insurance
- Auto insurance
- Small business Loans
- Vacation and cruise packages
- Health Insurance
- Cheap gas
- A kid’s John Deere tractor (that my husband wants to buy)
More from listeners:
- Try WBZ’s half off Friday deals: I got a limo ride coupon worth $100 for Le Limo for $25
- Avoid ATM fees by using your bank’s ATM’s or get cash back when you grocery shop
- Pay your bills on time and avoid late fees
- Always shop with a list
- When running into a grocery store for a few items use the hand basket and not the cart. If you have the cart you will fill it!
- Do not grocery shop when you are hungry
- Move furniture off of heating and air return vents/registers
- Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket
- Replace old appliances
- Clean refrigerator coils at least once a year
- Clean lint from the dryer duct work at least once a year. This is lint in the duct work not the lint trap/screen
- Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs
- Set water temperature on water heaters lower to 120. Many dishwashers heat the water to a higher temperature for washing.
- Install new shower heads. Low-flow, which uses about half the water that a regular shower head uses.
- Pack your lunches
- Cook dinners at home – fore go take out.
- Movies – Get discount tickets from triple A or go to matinees or wait to borrow the DVD from the library
- Insulate everywhere
AARP has a members section with a list of how they are saving.
Also the internet in general is a good place to shop. Check out Craig’s List as well it’s a virtual yard sale. You have to pick up the stuff but we have found good deals on baby furniture and toys. Kids out grow that stuff so quickly!
Discounts: If you belong to a professional organization or a discount club, if you support public radio or TV, or if you’ve reached a certain age, you may be entitled to a discount.