Feb 3, 2011

5 More Savings Tips for the New Year

We've given you 5 Tips for Saving Money, but we have even more ideas to save some cash:

Automatic savings — You know you want to save money, but you just can’t seem to get started. That’s where an automated savings plan can work wonders, siphoning money from your paycheck or checkbook on a regular basis and depositing those monies in a bank savings account. Tip: link your checking account with a savings account at an online institution to avoid the temptation of making a withdrawal when you know you really shouldn’t.

Buy a home — If you’re in the market for a new home, 2011 may be the best year to buy one for two reasons: 1) mortgage rates are still low, near historically low levels, and 2) home values are low with bargains available in many areas. Avoid the foreclosure unless you’re handy — there should be plenty of other homes available at prices not seen in the past 5 to 10 years.

Pay down debt — Skip the second step if you’re deeply in debt. Instead, work diligently over the next 12 months to pay off or reduce credit card debt and loans. Bring your balances to below 30 percent of your available credit line, a move that will improve your credit score. You won’t be offered one of the current low and attractive interest rates on a home loan if your debt problems loom.

Use your rewards — If you have accumulated credit card rewards, consider using those points this year. Some card issuers have reduced rewards or are scaling back on programs, a move that could mean last year’s catalog favorites are no longer available.

Start a garden — Gas prices are through the roof and that means everything else is going up in price. Remember 2008? That is when gas prices jumped above $4 per gallon and the economy soon collapsed. Food prices went through the roof, with many people deciding that home grown foods were a great way to eat right and for less. Start a garden this spring; consider sharing produce with neighbors who have gardens of their own, but grow different vegetables.

One money tip may not make much of a difference, but several can. Consider doing two or more and adding a few of your own. This time next year you’ll look back and be glad that you didn’t make rash resolutions -- or at least you made a decision you knew would work out.

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