Further Ways to Save Money

I’ve recently been providing tips on how to save money. But there are so many ways to do this it’s easy to become overwhelmed—and discouraged. Because we can’t solve all our problems at once we often just give up. My suggestion is–find four or five tips that appeal to you and then make a commitment to apply them—just them–within, say, the next week. Don’t worry about other suggestions at first—just stick to the ones you’ve chosen. I think you’ll find these choices easy to do. At the end of the week, consider what you’ve accomplished. I guarantee you’ll feel great, and motivated to make further commitments. That is the way to make real progress toward getting control of your finances. Here are some “doable” savings strategies you can start today:

My all-time favorite: Open a saving account at a local credit union. I’m a big fan of credit unions since they’re normally locally based and make a habit of building relationships with their customers. Once you’ve got the account open, fund it with a voluntary deduction from your paycheck—it doesn’t have to be a lot, say 30 or 40 dollars—but make it automatic, from every check. In no time you’ll have saved some serious money. This can be that rainy day fund you can use to avoid going into debt in the event of a financial emergency. If you find it too hard not to dip into the savings, another suggestion is to reduce your withholding exemptions to have more taxes deducted from your paycheck. You’ll get the savings back—in full–after tax time the following year.

Second, look around for a truly free checking account. Having the wrong checking account can take hundreds of hard-earned dollars out of your pocket every year. The average interest-bearing checking account charges a monthly service fee of almost $15 and requires maintaining a large minimum balance. Instead, look for an account that charges no monthly service fees or per-transaction fees and doesn’t require a minimum balance. This may take some searching, but those accounts are there. Sometimes they may require signing up for direct deposit of your paycheck, which is not a bad idea. And that free checking just might be with the credit union where you established your savings account.

Third, if you’ve got a fairly large balance on your credit card, call up your credit card company and request a rate reduction. If you pay your bill on time every month, they may be willing to negotiate. If the telephone rep isn’t able to help you, respectfully but firmly ask to speak with a supervisor. If they won’t go for it, investigate a 0% balance transfer onto another card. The key here, though, is to stop buying on credit until your financial situation is healthy.

Fourth, closely inspect your monthly credit card statements to see if you’re paying for any for any unused services—credit protection plans, internet games, on-line magazines, even that unused gym membership. If you are, call and cancel them. Also, be on the lookout for services you’ve subscribed to at a higher level than you’re now using—such as Netflix. I’ll bet you’ll find savings of at least 20 or 30 dollars a month.

A fifth tip for this week: Reevaluate your insurance coverage. Switching to Geico (or any other insurance company) may or may not save you money, but it’s definitely worth looking into. Make an effort to bundle your insurance needs: both your car and your homeowners or renters coverage. Even if you have been with one insurance company for years, use online comparison tools and shop around to find the most competitive rates. If you find a better quote, call your present carrier and see if they can beat it in order to retain you as a customer. If they don’t value you enough to give you a better deal, you have no need to show them any loyalty—saving money is just too important. And while you’re at it, if you’ve got children, consider getting some quotes on term life insurance—even $100,000 of coverage can be very cheap.

Again, just try these five moves within the next week. Don’t just think about it—take action! They are certainly doable. And you’ll see that even these small steps can give you the confidence to try additional savings moves in future weeks. Folks, gaining power over your finances is a series of these small steps. I’m here to encourage you to take those small steps, and to create those good habits, that can make changes in your life.

If you have questions about ways to save or how to avoid common financial traps, or if you’re in trouble financially, visit my website, cypresscoastlaw.com, where you can access my full library of Financial Focus shows, or call me at 424-1764, that’s 424-1764. Initial consultations are always free.

So please join me every Friday on KRML in the 7:00 am and 4:00 pm hours for your Friday Financial Tip. This is Salinas Bankruptcy lawyer Cypress Coast Law saying go have a great day.