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Conserving money in this economy? Who isn't? Here are easy tips anyone can practice to maximize savings and decrease spontaneous spending:
Skip the drive-through and convenience meals . Buy groceries and prepare a meal that will save you time and money by cooking enough to have leftovers. As an added bonus, watch your weekly newspaper for grocery specials and clip coupons. Don't forget to pack your lunch at least most days of the week. Drink your coffee at home or at work. Skip the costly coffee breaks.
Buy items on sale. And shop on the Internet if it can save you money. There are so many options that offer free shipping and other incentives to buy on-line, particularly in this economy. Most items go on sale. Wait for it.
Make fewer trips . Consolidate errands to one time of the day, or a few times a week. Save on gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, and maintenance fees. Keep your tires properly inflated. Remain current on routine vehicle maintenance. It will save you money in the long haul.
Don't pay interest on credit cards, annual credit card fees or checking fees . There are always options around checking fees and credit card fees, although sometimes it may mean switching institutions. It's worth a phone call to your bank.
Get a rewards card . Say your card earns you airline miles or cash back. Use the card, but be sure to pay it off each month. It's like earning 'free money' as long as you pay off your card and don't owe interest each month. If you do owe on your cards, try negotiating a lower interest rate, and work toward paying off or greatly decreasing the amount you owe to avoid penalties and wasting your money on interest fees.
Pay insurance semi-annually or annually and increase your deductibles .
Avoid missed payments . This can cause fee penalties and also potentially scar your credit rating. Missed payments could mean a more costly penalty and, if repetitive, require you to put deposits down for services in the future.
Cut your home telephone and cable service . Most people have cell phones and don't need both. We've disconnected our cable and are able to find all of our favorite shows and movies on-line for free!
Take advantage of your employer matching 401 (k) benefits . Sometimes as contributing as little as 3% of your salary will earn you a matching employer contribution for a whopping total of 6%! Who doesn't want free cash ?!
Use your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) . Cash contributed from your earnings to your account goes further because it isn't taxed, thus reducing your taxes and making your money go further on eligible expenses. Check your plan for details. The savings can be tremendous.