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5 Simple Tips To Save You Money

By Mark Riddix

Let’s start the week off right and help you start saving money right away. There’s a huge debate about whether or not people should worry about the little purchases in life like the “latte factor” effect, which involves getting rid of the smaller luxury purchases in life. We don’t find anything wrong with indulging in a delicious latte every now and then, but we do believe there are small steps you can take and habits you can form to help save you money on a regular basis. Here’s five tips to help start saving money right away.

Avoid late fees.
Paying on time is not only good for your credit score but it also saves you money. Late fees are hidden fees that eat up your money. Do you want to pay your credit card bill late? No problem. Your credit card company will be glad to take your late payment. That’s because the average credit card company will tack on a $35 late charge! Do you pay your gas and electric bill late every month? Utility companies will tack on fees ranging from $5 to $10 for late payments. Late cable and satellite payments will be another $5 late fee. Late cell phone payments can cost you $5 as well.  All of these little late fees will end up costing you hundreds of dollars a year. Over a long period of time these fees will end up robbing you of thousands of dollars.

Use more generic products.
Ditch the big name brands. You don’t have to get rid of all brand name products but mix in some generics. Many grocery store brand generic products are of similar quality to the brand names. Generic aspirin has been found to work just as effectively as Tylenol, Bayer and other big name brands. Bread is often sold by big name manufacturers in generic labels. Sam’s Club sells generic products under its Member’s Mark brand and Costco sells generics under its Kirkland Signature brand. Your local grocery store has a plethora of generic brands. Why are generics cheaper? Generics are cheaper due to less advertising and marketing costs.

Use regular gas.
Visit your local gas station and you will see owner after owner putting premium fuel in their cars. Owners of different makes and models from Fords to Cadillacs are ponying up for premium. Premium gas can cost anywhere from 20 to 40 cents more per gallon than regular gas. Why are so many people buying premium gasoline? The answer is because people believe that their cars run better on premium gasoline. This is a myth. The Federal Trade Commission and automobile manufacturers have stated that unless you have an automobile that specifically calls for higher octane fuel, there is no benefit to using premium fuel. So pump some regular gas and save yourself some cash.

Brown bag it.
Eating out on a daily basis will eat a huge hole in your budget. You could easily save $8 to $10 a day by bringing your lunch to work. Packing your lunch is less expensive than ordering takeout or dining at a restaurant. Skip the vending machine too! The vending machine is full of sodas, chips, cookies and other snacks that will quickly decrease your spare cash and increase your spare tire. Not only is it healthier to pack your lunch, but you can save a great deal of money!

Turn the thermostat down.
There is a way to fight back against rising utility bills during this cold winter season. Turn the thermostat down. You can save $3 off your heating bill for each degree that you lower your thermostat. By turning your thermostat down just 5 degrees, you will save $15 per month on your heating bill. That puts an extra $180 a year back in your pocket.

So, what are you waiting for? Print this article out as a reference to help you adhere to these 5 tips each day. If you do, you’ll find a few hundred extra dollars in your bank account at the end of the month.

(Photo credit: Newton Free Library)

Mark Riddix
Mark Riddix is the founder and president of an independent investment advisory firm that provides personalized investing and asset management consulting. Mark has written financial columns for Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area newspapers and is the author of the book, Your Financial Playbook.

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  • http://www.insweb.com Robert

    I’ve been trying to “brown bag it” for quite some time now, but I just don’t have the drive. I like to get out of the office during lunch, and whenever I bring my lunch I end up eating at my desk. Maybe I’ll start a little walk during lunchtime to get out.

    • Mark Riddix

      It might be hard to adopt this plan all at once. You may have to try it in phases.

  • http://madsaver.com Mac

    Very basic tips that I’m surprised more people don’t follow. I still have many coworkers that eat out every day. I would love to have fried wings several times a week too, but it costs more & I feel sick afterwards. I don’t eat that healthy myself with a ham sandwich, chips, carrots, etc, but at least it’s less greasy and much cheaper!

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