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How to Save Money

Save money like the pros and really plump up your wallet.

By
Laura Adams, MBA,
Episode #123

Manage Fixed Costs to Save Money

The next tactic that businesses always use to save money is to manage their fixed costs. Fixed costs are expenses that don’t change much, or at all, from month to month. They might include your housing, utilities, insurance, groceries, or car payments, for example. These are the toughest expenses to eliminate, but watch them like a hawk to ensure that they don’t increase. Buy select groceries in bulk when it saves you money and keep your eyes peeled for sales and coupons. Shop insurance companies each year for more competitive rates—insurance.com is a great resource for this. Determine if you can bundle services such as phone, cable, or Internet for a lower bill. Or consider going totally cellular and eliminating a telephone land line altogether. Billshrink.com is a free savings tool that finds the best deals on expenses such as cell phone plans and credit cards.

Make More Interest

Smart companies and people know that savings and investments, large or small, are precious resources. Be sure that money you’ve accumulated is parked in the best spot. If it’s not earning interest (or is earning very little) move it, pronto! Look for a high-yield savings account or money market deposit account at an FDIC-insured institution. Online banks have very competitive interest rates and may even offer a new account bonus.

Pay Less Interest & Fewer Fees

And on the flip side, eliminate all interest payments or service fees that you can by paying bills on time and declaring war against the accumulation of credit card debt. Interest saved is interest earned. If you’re getting a tax refund, a wise way to use it is to pay down high-interest debt. You can also pay less interest by maintaining a high credit rating. An impressive credit score qualifies you for lower interest rates on credit cards and many types of loans.

Also, take a look at any bank fees you’re paying. Here are five banking expenses that you should be able to eliminate:

  1. ATM Fees. I recommend never using ATMs unless you can do it for free. Often there’s no charge to use your own bank’s ATM. There are premium checking accounts that credit you back all or a certain number of ATM charges per month as an extra benefit.

  2. Checks. Many banks give you free checks. And even better, most offer free online bill pay service, so you can reduce other expenses associated with paying bills such as printer ink, envelopes, and stamps. For more about online bill pay and banking you can read or listen to my episode 120.

  3. Overdraft Fees. Many banks offer overdraft protection for your checking account if you also have a second account, such as a savings, credit card, or line of credit.  I don't really recommend opting in for overdraft protection instead of setting up a linked account, and you can read more about that in my Quick Tip on overdrafts.

  4. Statement Fees. If your bank charges for paper statements, opt for an e-statement that’s free of charge and more earth friendly.

  5. Transaction Fees. If your bank charges fees when you exceed a certain number of checks, withdrawals, or deposits for your checking account, consider changing banks.

For more tips on saving money please see my episode on shrinking your bills.

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Hundred Dollar Bill image courtesy of Shutterstock

 

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