Thursday, November 11, 2010

8 Painless Ways to Save Money

1. Get healthy.
As someone who has struggled to stay fit, I realize that eating healthy and staying in shape is easier said than done, but for those who are in good shape, you can save a lot of money on life insurance and individual health insurance plans, and as an added bonus, you’ll feel better and have more energy.

2. Rethink auto insurance.
Every year, reexamine your auto insurance policy for savings opportunities, like for example: consider raising your deductible which lowers premiums, that for older vehicles, evaluate whether you really need collision coverage, which covers damage to your car when your car hits or is hit by another vehicle or object, and make it a habit to compare auto insurance quotes annually, which can be done online in minutes.

3. Improve your credit score.
Of all the painless ways to save money, improving your credit score is arguably the most important, from home loans and car loans to credit cards and auto insurance, a good credit score can save you a small fortune, and over a lifetime, the savings can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars.

4. Invest on the cheap.
For mutual fund investors, stick with funds that have low expense ratios, and my rule of thumb is to keep the weighted average expense ratio for all mutual funds under 50 basis points (0.50 percent), compared with funds that charge well over 1 percent in fees annually, the savings over a lifetime of investing can be substantial.

5. Think triple play.
One of the biggest monthly expenses for some is the cost of Internet service, cable, and phone, the major of providers today offer discounts when you bundle all three of these services together, then called a triple play, you not only save money, but you also get the convenience of a single bill each month.

6. Go prepaid with your cell phone.
While this option won’t be right for everybody, many can save a small fortune with prepaid cell phones, you can find prepaid cell phone plans that charge just $0.10 a minute, and because they are prepaid, you don’t have to commit to long-term contracts.

7. Shop online.
Many retailers offer special discounts to online shoppers, and virtually every company that sells products or services online offers promo codes, discounts, or coupons, particularly if you have a big purchase planned, make sure to search the internet for deals before buying.

8. Get cash back.
If you have good credit, there are a number of cash-back credit cards that pay up to 5 percent on purchases, and the key is to use the card for monthly bills and everyday expenses, not to charge things you don’t need, put monthly bills that accept credit cards on automatic payment, and use the card for everyday purchases such as groceries and gas.

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