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.