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FINANCE TIPS

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					               FAST     20 Small Ways to Save Big
           CONVENIENT
                        You’ve heard of the savings crisis in          ing by filing a new W-4 form with your
                        America. You’ve probably even thought,         employer can create an instant pay raise.
                        “yeah, I should probably save more.’” But

                EASY
                        eking out an existence is tough on a start-    2. Enroll in a 401(k). If your employer
                        ing salary, and sometimes comfort takes        offers a 50-cent match for every dollar
                        precedence over cutting corners. Besides,      you contribute, even adding $60 a month
                        if you can only save $50 or $100 a             will net you over a grand a year. And
                        month, is it really worth it? The answer:      remember, boosting your 401(k) contribu-
                        absolutely.                                    tion by $60 a month won’t cut your pay
                                                                       by that much, since pre-tax dollars go into
                        By starting to save now, you’re giving your    the account. If you’re in the 25 percent
                        money—however little it is—time to grow        tax bracket, a $60 contribution cuts your
                        on its own. The magic of compound inter-       paycheck by just $45. The other $15
                        est means that you can contribute less         comes from Uncle Sam.
                        money for fewer years if you start when
                        you’re young and still end up with more        3. Raise your car insurance deductible.
                        cash than someone who waits.                   Upping your potential out-of-pocket outlay
                                                                       from $250 to $1,000 can save you 15
                        For example, if Natasha starts saving or       percent or more off your premium.
                        investing when she’s 25, and saves $100
                        a month for ten years, then lets the money     4. Pay off your credit card. Carrying a
                        sit, her stash will grow to $174,928 by the    $1,000 balance at 18 percent blows
                        time she turns 65 (assuming an 8 percent       $180 every year on interest that you could
                        annual return). If Anna waits until age 35     put to better use elsewhere.
                        to start saving, and socks away the same
FINANCE TIPS




                        $100 a month for the next 30 years,            5. Go green. Control energy costs with
                        she’ll have only $135,940 by 65. Anna          a programmable thermostat. Prices start
                        will have contributed three times as much      around $50, but you’ll cut your heating-
                        as Natasha, but will end up with nearly        and-cooling bill by 10-20 percent.
                        $39,000 less.
                                                                       6. Bundle up. Getting a package of phone,
                        Think you don’t have enough money to           Internet and cable from one provider can
                        save? We’ve compiled a list of our best        save you about $50 a month.
                        tips to find extra money in your budget to
                        sock away. These strategies won’t require      7. Use your employer’s FSA. Flexible
                        you to take a vow of poverty—we know           spending accounts let you pay health care
                        money’s tight already. Rather, they’re small   and child care costs with pre-tax dollars.
                        and simple cost-cutters that’ll help you get   If your company offers them, take advan-
                        started saving as soon as possible.            tage and save 33 percent or more.

                        1. Give yourself a raise and bank it. Boost    8. Get a credit card with rewards. Spend-
                        your take-home pay by adjusting your tax-      ing $80 a week on gas and groceries?
                        withholding and have the difference in         Putting it on a card with 5 percent cash
                        pay automatically transferred to an online     rebates will earn you nearly $200 a year.
                        savings account. Most Americans have too
                        much withheld from their paychecks every
                        payday. Correcting that overwithhold-
9. Kick the habit. Smoking is hard on your     14. Make media free. Dust off your library   19. Learn to cook. Cooking at home saves
health and the wallet. Three packs a week      card and enjoy DVDs and books for free.      on your food budget and it could even
averages $50 a month or more.                  If you’d normally rent a movie a week and    improve your dating prospects—who isn’t
                                               buy a book a month, you can cut costs by     impressed by someone who can prepare
10. Brown-bag it. Instead of spending          $30 a month.                                 a great meal?
$8 on takeout every day at work, bring
a bagged lunch for $5. You’ll save $60         15. Change your calling plan. The aver-      20. Keep track of your money. The best
a month and $720 a year. Do your own           age wireless phone user spends about         way to save is to know what you spend.
calculation at Feed the Pig.org.               $60 a month, including taxes and fees.       It might not be pretty, but detail every
                                               If you talk for 200 or fewer minutes per     expense for a month to get an idea of
11. Negotiate your rate. Instead of paying     month, switching to a prepaid plan where     where you can cut back. Nearly every-
an APR of 18 percent on your credit card,      minutes cost 25 cents a minute could save    one has some fat they can trim from their
call your issuer and ask for a lower rate.     you $10 a month. Compare plans at            spending to put toward a savings goal.
If you have good credit, your lender might     MyRatePlan.com.
consider it, particularly if you can cite a
better offer you’ve received from another      16. Park your car. Why pay $25 a week
card company.                                  in gas when you could pay half that to use
                                               public transit? Or check out carpooling at
12. Travel on the cheap. Bypass the old        eRideShare.com and CarpoolConnect.com.
trifecta of travel search engines (Traveloc-
ity, Expedia and Orbitz) and head straight     17. Ditch your gym. Forget the $40 a month
for SideStep.com, which will search them       gym membership that’ll cost you almost
all—saving you money and time.                 $500 a year, and check out community
                                               centers in your area. Some may be free
13. Insure yourself. Even if your company      or charge a minimal fee, such as $100 a
has a health plan, you may be able to do       year. Or buy a good pair of running shoes
better for yourself. Pairing a high-deduct-    and work out the old-fashioned way.
ible medical policy with a health savings
account—which lets you put away pre-           18. Reshop your auto insurance. Using a
tax dollars for out-of-pocket medical          comparison site like InsWeb.com can help
expenses—can save money on premiums.           you determine if you’ve got the best deal.
Shop around at eHealthInsurance.com.           Reshop at least once a year to make sure
                                               you have the best deal.

				
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