17 Ways to Spend Less

Only buy what you can carry

“In order to really generate savings at discount stores you have to eliminate the impulse buy,” says Clark Howard, author of Clark’s Big Book of Bargains. “I walk right past the shopping carts. When I see something I want, I have to carry it in my arms. Eventually, I can juggle only so many items and I have to put some stuff back. It works like a charm.”

Find a shopping buddy

To avoid waste and overspending, make a relative or friend your warehouse shopping club buddy, providing s/he has similar tastes. “Make out a list, go once every two weeks and divide it up,” says Ilyce Glink, author of 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Improve Your Personal Finances. “You save and the quality is great.”

Go on a treasure hunt in a dollar store

“Basic stores, like 99-cent stores, have become much more sophisticated,” says Howard, whose web site is www.clarkhoward.com . They know that in order to build up foot traffic they have to offer treasure-hunt items, which are really good deals—say a $10 item for $1—either a result of a manufacturer mistake or goods from a bankrupt retail chain.

Satisfy that shopping urge for less

Instead of a mall, hit thrift shops, a flea market or yard sales. “It’s a much more economical option and satisfies the need to take time for yourself and self-nurture by buying something,” says Eve Eliot, author of Attention Shoppers: The Woman’s Guide to Enlightenment Through Shopping. “It’s not the amount that is spent but the time and attention spent that makes the difference.”\u003cbr\>\u003ch4\>Use credit cards the right way\u003c/h4\> \n\u003cp style\u003d\”font-style:italic\”\>Instead of using them to build debt, use them to help send your kids\nto college. Fidelity Investments will put 2 percent of the money you've\nspent on your Fidelity Investments 529 College Rewards Card into an\naccount for your child's college education, says Howard. Learn more at \u003ca href\u003d\”http://www.fidelity.com/\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>www.fidelity.com\u003c/a\>.\u003c/p\>\u003cp\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/p\>\u003ch4\>Clear up credit card debt faster\u003c/h4\>\n\u003cp style\u003d\”font-style:italic\”\>Prepay every two weeks online. "Unlike mortgage companies, credit\ncard companies are required to credit your payments immediately, so you\nsave on interest and finance charges," says Glink, whose web site is \u003ca href\u003d\”http://www.thinkglink.com/\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>www.thinkglink.com\u003c/a\>.\nUse the Smart Payment method (it comes out of your checking account)\nand your account is credited that day. "It makes a huge difference in\nterms of the interest you pay on the card."\u003c/p\>\u003cbr\>\u003ch4\>Track what you charge\u003c/h4\>\n\u003cp style\u003d\”font-style:italic\”\>"Charging is like a false paycheck; you have to be able to back it up," says Deborah McNaughton, whose web site is \u003ca href\u003d\”http://www.financialvictory.com/\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>www.financialvictory.com\n\u003c/a\>.\n"If you know that you can only afford to spend (and pay off) $300, make\nsure that when the bill comes due you have the cash in your account.\nOtherwise, it becomes a rolling balance and can lead to excessive debt.\nIt can make or break a person financially."\u003c/p\>\u003cbr\>\u003ch4\>Climb down the debt ladder\u003c/h4\>\n\u003cp style\u003d\”font-style:italic\”\>With "laddering" you pay extra on the credit card with the lowest\nbalance to wipe it out and minimums on the others. "Going from five to\nfour cards can give you a sense of progress," says Howard. Or you may\ndecide to pay extra on the card with the highest interest rate and the\nminimum on the others. Once you've paid it off, move that money to the\ncard with the next highest interest rate and so on, until you're debt\nfree.”,1]
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Use credit cards the right way

Instead of using them to build debt, use them to help send your kids to college. Fidelity Investments will put 2 percent of the money you’ve spent on your Fidelity Investments 529 College Rewards Card into an account for your child’s college education, says Howard. Learn more at www.fidelity.com.

Clear up credit card debt faster

Prepay every two weeks online. “Unlike mortgage companies, credit card companies are required to credit your payments immediately, so you save on interest and finance charges,” says Glink, whose web site is www.thinkglink.com. Use the Smart Payment method (it comes out of your checking account) and your account is credited that day. “It makes a huge difference in terms of the interest you pay on the card.”

Track what you charge

“Charging is like a false paycheck; you have to be able to back it up,” says Deborah McNaughton, whose web site is www.financialvictory.com . “If you know that you can only afford to spend (and pay off) $300, make sure that when the bill comes due you have the cash in your account. Otherwise, it becomes a rolling balance and can lead to excessive debt. It can make or break a person financially.”

Climb down the debt ladder

With “laddering” you pay extra on the credit card with the lowest balance to wipe it out and minimums on the others. “Going from five to four cards can give you a sense of progress,” says Howard. Or you may decide to pay extra on the card with the highest interest rate and the minimum on the others. Once you’ve paid it off, move that money to the card with the next highest interest rate and so on, until you’re debt free.\u003cbr\>\u003ch4\>Make your sock drawer an ATM\u003c/h4\>\n\u003cp style\u003d\”font-style:italic\”\>Instead of paying ATM fees every week, figure out your monthly\nexpenses and put that much cash in a drawer or shoebox on the first of\nevery month. "Whenever you need more cash, take out $20 at a time,"\nKnuckey suggests. "By having only $20 in your wallet, you'll be much\nless likely to spend a dollar on a soda here and $3 on a snack there."\nYou'll also tend to be more careful with your money so that it lasts\nall month long.\u003c/p\>\u003cbr\>\u003ch4\>Get the best tax advice\u003c/h4\>\n\u003cp style\u003d\”font-style:italic\”\>"Many people overpay on their taxes every year (on average, $1,000)\nbecause they try to do it themselves," explains Allyson Lewis, author\nof The Million Dollar Car and the $250,000 Pizza. "This means billions\nof dollars more for the IRS." It may be worth it to pay a tax\nprofessional to make sure that you're getting all the proper deductions\nyou're allowed.\u003c/p\>\u003cbr\>\u003ch4\>Refinance your car loan\u003c/h4\>\n\u003cp style\u003d\”font-style:italic\”\>It's common to refinance a mortgage, but you can do it with your\ncar, too. "Dropping your rate by just four percent on a $15,000,\n60-month loan will save you $1,723 in interest over the life of the\nloan, and your monthly payment will drop from $319 a month to $290, or\n$29 less," says Lewis, whose web site is \u003ca href\u003d\”http://www.milliondollarcar.com/\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>www.milliondollarcar.com\u003c/a\>. "If you keep paying the extra $29 as usual, you'll pay off your car six months sooner."\n\u003c/p\>\u003cbr\>\u003ch4\>Don't spend money on biweekly mortgage programs\u003c/h4\>\n\u003cp style\u003d\”font-style:italic\”\>"Mortgage companies can hold your payments until the end of the\nmonth, so it's a waste. Instead, pay one-twelfth extra of the principal\non your mortgage every month, which equals a thirteenth mortgage\npayment every year," suggests Glink. "With a $150,000 mortgage at six\npercent, you can save over $30,000 in interest and cut a thirty-year\nmortgage by almost six years."”,1]
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Make your sock drawer an ATM

Instead of paying ATM fees every week, figure out your monthly expenses and put that much cash in a drawer or shoebox on the first of every month. “Whenever you need more cash, take out $20 at a time,” Knuckey suggests. “By having only $20 in your wallet, you’ll be much less likely to spend a dollar on a soda here and $3 on a snack there.” You’ll also tend to be more careful with your money so that it lasts all month long.

Get the best tax advice

“Many people overpay on their taxes every year (on average, $1,000) because they try to do it themselves,” explains Allyson Lewis, author of The Million Dollar Car and the $250,000 Pizza. “This means billions of dollars more for the IRS.” It may be worth it to pay a tax professional to make sure that you’re getting all the proper deductions you’re allowed.

Refinance your car loan

It’s common to refinance a mortgage, but you can do it with your car, too. “Dropping your rate by just four percent on a $15,000, 60-month loan will save you $1,723 in interest over the life of the loan, and your monthly payment will drop from $319 a month to $290, or $29 less,” says Lewis, whose web site is www.milliondollarcar.com. “If you keep paying the extra $29 as usual, you’ll pay off your car six months sooner.”

Don’t spend money on biweekly mortgage programs

“Mortgage companies can hold your payments until the end of the month, so it’s a waste. Instead, pay one-twelfth extra of the principal on your mortgage every month, which equals a thirteenth mortgage payment every year,” suggests Glink. “With a $150,000 mortgage at six percent, you can save over $30,000 in interest and cut a thirty-year mortgage by almost six years.”\u003cbr\>\u003ch4\>Insure the cost of rebuilding your home\u003c/h4\>\n\u003cp\>"\u003cspan style\u003d\”font-style:italic\”\>Ask your insurance company to send an appraiser to estimate how\nmuch it would cost to rebuild your home in its current condition,\nallowing for increased construction costs," says Glink. "Add in\ncoverage for your possessions. That's the number you go with." This\nway, if the worst-case scenario does happen, you'll have the money to\nreplace your home.\u003c/span\>\u003c/p\>\u003cp\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/p\>\u003ch4\>Take a look at your big money magnets\u003c/h4\>\n\u003cp style\u003d\”font-style:italic\”\>"This is where values don't match up with what you spend," explains\nLewis. Think about the changes you might make to free up money for what\nreally matters to you. Some possible money busters are: a large house\nyou can't afford, hefty car payments, too much personal debt with no\nplan to get out, large cell phone bills, clothes you don't need, dining\nout, and overspending on Christmas and birthday presents.\u003c/p\>\u003cbr\>\u003ch4\>Put a photo of your dream in your wallet\u003c/h4\>\n\u003cp style\u003d\”font-style:italic\”\>"The toughest part of spending less is staying on track day to day,"\nsays Knuckey. "To become a conscious spender, start with a compelling\ngoal, such as putting your kids through college or taking a six-month\nsailing trip when you're 55. Use that goal to help you cut the\nunexpected splurges by keeping a reminder in your wallet, such as a\nphoto of your kids with this year's college fund goal written on it or\nthat sailboat you've been dreaming about. It's much harder to splurge\non a cute pair of shoes or a new pair of earrings when you're looking\nat a picture of your dream."\u003c/p\>\u003cbr\>\u003ch4\>Live within your means\u003c/h4\>\n\u003cp style\u003d\”font-style:italic\”\>If you spend 10 percent above what you earn at $25,000, you'll\nprobably spend 10 percent above what you earn at $50,000, says Knuckey.\n"All that buys you is a lifetime of catching up. Living within your\nmeans is about living in the present, not mortgaging your future."”,1]
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Insure the cost of rebuilding your home

Ask your insurance company to send an appraiser to estimate how much it would cost to rebuild your home in its current condition, allowing for increased construction costs,” says Glink. “Add in coverage for your possessions. That’s the number you go with.” This way, if the worst-case scenario does happen, you’ll have the money to replace your home.

Take a look at your big money magnets

“This is where values don’t match up with what you spend,” explains Lewis. Think about the changes you might make to free up money for what really matters to you. Some possible money busters are: a large house you can’t afford, hefty car payments, too much personal debt with no plan to get out, large cell phone bills, clothes you don’t need, dining out, and overspending on Christmas and birthday presents.

Put a photo of your dream in your wallet

“The toughest part of spending less is staying on track day to day,” says Knuckey. “To become a conscious spender, start with a compelling goal, such as putting your kids through college or taking a six-month sailing trip when you’re 55. Use that goal to help you cut the unexpected splurges by keeping a reminder in your wallet, such as a photo of your kids with this year’s college fund goal written on it or that sailboat you’ve been dreaming about. It’s much harder to splurge on a cute pair of shoes or a new pair of earrings when you’re looking at a picture of your dream.”

Live within your means

If you spend 10 percent above what you earn at $25,000, you’ll probably spend 10 percent above what you earn at $50,000, says Knuckey. “All that buys you is a lifetime of catching up. Living within your means is about living in the present, not mortgaging your future.”\u003cbr\>\u003ch4\>Have fun with your money as much as you can afford\u003c/h4\>\n\u003cp style\u003d\”font-style:italic\”\>First, be clear about what makes you happy and what you value, says\nKnuckey. "For example, list five values you feel you do not fully honor\nin your life today, e.g., not taking time for yourself. Next to each\none, list three ways you could use your money to honor each value, such\nas hiring a cleaning service every two weeks, for example. Then, direct\nyour resources to those things and activities."\u003c/p\>”,1]
);
D([“mb”,”\u003cspan class\u003dsg\>\u003cp\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/p\>\u003cp\>–\u003c/p\>\u003cp\> I got a fortune cookie that said, "To remember is to understand." I have never forgotten it. A good judge remembers what it was like to be a lawyer. A good editor remembers being a writer. A good parent remembers what it was like to be a child.\n\u003cbr\>\u003c/p\>\u003cbr\>- Ann Quindlen\n\u003c/span\>”,0]
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Have fun with your money as much as you can afford

First, be clear about what makes you happy and what you value, says Knuckey. “For example, list five values you feel you do not fully honor in your life today, e.g., not taking time for yourself. Next to each one, list three ways you could use your money to honor each value, such as hiring a cleaning service every two weeks, for example. Then, direct your resources to those things and activities.”

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