10 Ways to Keep More of Your Money
Every month, I see myself trying to find how I can keep just a little bit more of our paychecks.
One summer, to save money, we decided to turn off our gas service. For cooking, we used our BBQ grill and occasionally an electric skillet. We saved an extra $30 a month for several months.
We all want to save more money. See if these are 10 ways you can keep more for yourself.
10. Extended Warranties. Buy any electronic device or appliance today and the salesperson will surely ask, “Would you like the extended warranty?” The truth is, a majority of the time you don’t need it. According to Consumer Reports, most products are reliable these days and if there’s an issue it usually happens early when the manufacturer’s warranty is in effect or much later after the extended warranty would have expired.
9. Gym Membership. A recent CreditDonkey.com survey revealed, 80% of those who join a gym in January, quit after 5 months and only 50% of those who remain go on a regular basis. If you are part of the “other” 50%, consider canceling your membership and try running or hiking in a local park, look for workout videos online, or check with your community rec center for free exercise classes.
8. Smartphone plan. Service plans can get expensive, costing as much as, if not more than a small car payment in some cases. With free Wi-Fi popping up at more public locations and in more homes, consider cutting your data plan to save more. Or, if you use the same provider for other services, bundle them to get a lower rate.
7. Electricity. Turning lights off in unoccupied rooms. Check. Using ceiling or box fans instead of the air conditioner after sunset. Check. Unplugging unused electronics, appliances and chargers. Wait, what? Why? Even though turned off, these vampire electronics (TV, computer, printer, DVD player, microwave, cell phone charger, etc.) still consume power and add to your electric bill each month. Check unplugging idle electronics off your list and you’ll save a little more each month.
6. DVDs, books and music. Want to watch a new release or read a best seller? Skip the Redbox or the trip (in your car or online) to Barnes & Noble, and head to your local library. You can rent DVDs, CDs and books (of course) for free. In some cases, you can even borrow movies, books and music electronically thanks to a partnership between Amazon, Hoopladigital.com and your local library.
5. Brand-name medications. I understand, the brand is a familiar, trusted name and when it comes to your health and well-being that’s important. However, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about generic alternatives to your medications. According to WebMD, almost 80% of FDA-approved drugs have generic alternatives that cost an average of four times less and are as effective as the brand-name versions.
4. Cable TV. I have to admit, we’re guilty of wasting money here. We’re hesitant to drop to a cheaper package simply to hold on to 4 channels (I have to see my St. Louis Cardinals baseball). Stronger than us and ready to cut the cord to your cable? You can combine a variety of services and pay less than what you are now for cable. Services such as Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Hulu Plus, Netflix and Roku make it easy. With a combination of these services you can still catch your favorite movies and TV shows, but for less each month.
3. Credit cards. With high rate credit cards you’re likely paying even more for the items you purchase if you don’t pay off the balance each month. Compare credit cards and transfer your balances to a card with a lower rate and no annual fee. American Eagle Credit Union offers credit cards with competitively low rates. You could save a bundle by paying less in finance charges.
2. Getting a big tax refund. Why wait for a big payout when you can increase how much you take home throughout the year and save it? By having more withheld and paying more taxes, you’re basically giving the IRS your money, interest-free for the year. Simply update your W-4 Withholding Form so you’re paying the right amount of tax throughout the year by having the correct amount withheld. The goal is to get your refund or tax bill as close as you can to zero. Be sure to contact your tax preparer to ensure this is the best option for you.
1. Bank fees. According to Go Banking Rates’s list of the 31 Worst Fees in America, 11 are bank fees. Teller fee. Minimum balance fee. Debit card replacement fee. Checking fee. Don’t pay to access your money or simply save it. Move your account to a Credit Union and keep your money. American Eagle Credit Union offers fee-free checking with no teller fee, no minimum balance fee, free debit card, and free access to more than 30,000 CO-OP ATMs nationwide.
Can you think of other ways you or others may be wasting money? Share them below or on Twitter @AmEagleCU.