Tips for Improving Your Finances in 2013
By Jessica Estremera, graduate student, School for Graduate Studies
June 13, 2013
Reduce Utility Bills: Cutting down on some basic expenses and implementing new savings methods can go a long way toward improving your personal finances and can help you reach your financial goals this year. Here are some helpful tips to get you started.
While the weather is warming up, an easy way to save some extra money each month is to reduce your utility bills. Replacing the light bulbs in your home with fluorescent lights saves energy and cuts utility costs. During the summer months, utilizing natural light can also help lower the utility bill. For more utility bill reduction tips visit US News and World Report.
Join a store membership program: Grocery shopping can be expensive. Joining store membership programs allows you to benefit from “members only“ discounts. Memberships to warehouse clubs like Costco, BJ’s and Sam’s Club can reduce not only grocery costs, but also prescription drug costs. A recent Consumer Reports survey revealed consumers spent 447% more at the higher-priced pharmacies.
Monitor 401(k): Paying high fees or choosing portfolios that are overly conservative or risky are just a few of the common mistakes people make with their retirement accounts. To avoid this, employees often can rely on free services offered through his or her company's human resources department or retirement services provider.
Learn to cook: Replacing takeout and restaurant meals with home-cooked meals can save hundreds of dollars throughout the year. A few hours with the Food Network or browsing food blogs will help give you confidence and learn new easy-to-prepare recipes.
Upgrade your bank: Bank policies can vary widely, from offering above-average interest rates on savings accounts to making it easy to budget online with extra tools. If you're trying to save more, then you might want to focus on the savings rates. Bankrate.com offers users a listing of the top trusted banks with a listing of the highest APY rates in the country.
Ask for a better cable/Internet deal: Cable companies are notorious for raising rates after promotional periods have ended. By calling and asking for the rate to extend another year or inquiring about other discounts you may qualify for, can save you $10-$20 a month. For more tips on negotiating a better Internet and cable deal, visit this useful article on Gizmodo.
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