"Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast recently asked its clients to submit tips on how to save money in 2008. Brought to you by our clients, CCCS presents:
The Top 10 ways to save money in the new year:
#10: Eliminate long distance home phone service—One client eliminated long distance service on her home phone, which reduces taxes and other fees added to monthly land line charges. Instead, she purchases a calling card with 700 minutes for $19.97 which can be used from her home or cell phone. There are no taxes and she estimates her long distance now costs about three cents per minute.
#9: Use banks to your advantage—Some banks offer high-yield savings accounts or special programs that allow consumers to earn interest on leftover change from credit card purchases. These are great ways to earn free money while being fiscally responsible.
#8: Purchase items in bulk—One woman and her daughter purchase potatoes, toilet paper and other items in bulk. "We take advantage of the best prices and divide it among our families," she says. "For example, potatoes are $3.69 for 10 pounds at the Farmer’s Market vs. $3.99 for five pounds at the supermarket. We save $2.14 each on that one item."
#7: Pay your bills online—One client used to pay his bills with money orders, which meant buying stamps and envelopes and driving to the post office every month – not to mention any late fees. With online bill payment, offered free by his financial institution, he saves time and money.
#6: Try to negotiate lower interest rates on credit cards – Pay your creditors on time and contact creditors to see if you can get a lower interest rate. The Federal Reserve is expected to continue lowering interest rates into early 2008, which may increase competition among banks and other lenders.
#5: Buy low, sell high—Purchasing clothing or other items from a thrift store makes sense economically. You can also sell these items through online auction websites and turn those small purchases into substantial profits.
#4: Save at least $1 a day—Each day, deposit your leftover change or dollar bills in a jar. Over one year, this money will add up. You may have enough savings to purchase next year’s holiday gifts without using credit cards.
#3: Deposit extra money into a "goal account"—At the end of each month, deposit any extra cash into a savings account to be used towards a special purchase. A goal account can help teach responsible money management skills. One client deposited the extra money out of each paycheck from her husband’s raise into a savings account towards the purchase of a "new" used car for him.
#2: Eliminate unnecessary purchases— One client saved $8 a week by not purchasing expensive cups of coffee each day. Before buying anything, think about whether the item is a "need" or a "want." Over time, unnecessary purchases can quickly add up.
#1: Create a budget and stick to it—Organizing a budget is essential to saving money. One CCCS client used a calendar to write down each bill that was due and how much money she earned each month. Next, she made a list of her monthly expenses and deposited the leftover amount into a savings account. Determine your monthly living costs and use any extra money to pay off your credit cards and bills. It’s okay to set aside spending money, as long as you are depositing a larger portion of your paycheck into a savings account."