Category: Personal Finance
It’s possible to spend a lot less money without making big lifestyle changes.
We all know how to spend less and sacrificing. To eat unless you buy fewer clothes to cut back on vacations, savings through sacrifice can be effective, but painful. So if you are looking for ways to save money, why not start with money saving tips that are relatively painless?
With a little imagination, you’ll find many ways to reduce expenses without making major changes to your lifestyle. To begin, here are eight ways painless to save money.
1. Get healthy: As someone who has struggled to stay healthy, I realize that eating healthily and staying fit is easier said than done. But for those who are in good shape, you can save lots of money on life insurance plans and individual health insurance. As a bonus, you’ll feel better and have more energy.
2. Rethinking Auto Insurance: Each year, a review of your auto insurance policy for potential savings. For example, consider increasing your deductible, which reduces premiums. For older vehicles, to evaluate whether you really need collision coverage, which covers damage to your car when your vehicle hits or is hit by another vehicle or object. And make it a habit to compare quotes car insurance per year, which can be done online in minutes.
3. Improve your credit score: Of all the ways to save money without pain, improve your credit score is probably the most important. From home loans and car loans, credit cards and auto insurance, a good credit score can save you a small fortune. Over a lifetime, the savings can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars.
According to an article in USA Today, Costly College Prerequisite: Decorate Dorm, 17.6 billion dollars is expected to be spent on back to school shopping for students in kindergarten through college this year. That’s $527.08 per family – an 18% rise from last year. Back to school shopping falls right behind holiday shopping for retailer’s most profitable season. Why?
Sure, there are some necessities that need to be bought when going back to school. My sons both have a page long list of items that they are required to have on the first day of school – pencils, composition notebooks, scissors, a box of tissues, etc. When I was a kid, schools supplied those things, but budgets are ever tightening and now families are required to buy them. I certainly won’t be buying $527.08 worth of necessary supplies, though. I don’t think anyone will be buying $527.08 of necessary supplies, unless their definition of necessary is different from mine.
There was an entire section at Target dedicated to the necessities for a college dorm room. This was separate from the traditional back to school section with school supplies. This section had coordinated dorm bedding, rugs, lamps, wall hangings and desk top accessories. Other items that many college kids consider necessities are computers (okay, I’ll give them that), microwaves, TV’s, DVD players, gaming consoles, mp3 players, hand held gaming systems, and stereos.
Kohls, Ikea, JCPenney, and other mid-priced retailers all have back to school collections of “must-have” items. And let’s not forget the new clothes. Having to show up to school in last year’s clothes just might make a child die of embarrasment.
Whether it’s stuff for a college student or a kindergarten student, many of the “must-have’s” simply aren’t. I can tell you from experience they aren’t. When I went to college, I lugged the bedding from my home bed including the pillow and comfortor back and forth to the dorms. Same with my towels (all two of them that my mom let me take from the hall closet). My stereo consisted of a radio alarm clock that played cassettes. If I wanted to watch TV, I could have gone to the common room. There was no big “our baby is going to college” shopping trip. But that was (gulp) 20 years ago.
Could today’s college freshmen do the same? Of course, they could. For most kids all it would take would be for a parent to say, “No.” Or better yet, raise them to be responsible, sustainable consumers from a young age so they won’t expect $1285 worth of new stuff (what the average college freshmen spends) when they go off to college.
A typical back to school shopping trip for a grade schooler or high schooler consists not only of paper and pencils but a new backpack, lunch box, shoes, clothes, and locker accessories (yes, locker accessories, I’m not making this up). When parents shop like this for kids when they are young, it’s no wonder college freshmen expect so much and retailers make it so easy for them to buy it in one shopping trip in one section of the store.
It’s time to curb the back to school shopping for so much stuff. Reuse last year’s backpacks and lunch boxes and sneakers and dorm bedding. When you do need to buy items, buy with long term in mind so things won’t go out of style. No self-respecting fourth grade girl will want to go to school with last spring’s High School Musical 2 backpack when everyone knows that Hannah Montana is where it’s at this month. So skip the pop pictures on the backpacks and buy nuetral.
If your kid doesn’t really need it, don’t buy it. Your child won’t die of embarrasment. I know this from experience, too, because my kids are still alive and well and carrying the same backpacks they’ve had for years.
Credit card rate hikes reviewed, penalty fees crimped
Most penalties credit card will be limited to $ 25 and fees for customers who do not use their cards will be eliminated under rules issued Tuesday by the Federal Reserve. The Fed also has ordered a review of all walks of credit card interest rates charged since January 2009, including most of the record increases which came in the wake of a nationwide reduction in credit.
The rules, which implement a final set of changes that Congress passed in May 2009, will take effect Aug. 22. “The guidelines of the Federal Reserve released today are good news for consumers,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., one of the authors of the laws of a credit card.
The Fed’s rules could result in lower interest rates for consumers. Banks should reconsider the reasons for these increases that began in the last 18 months. They would have to cut rates if the reasons for the increase no longer exist, and regulators to review and implement such reductions.
Consumers will be more immediately notice the new limit penalty fee of $ 25. Reduce the cost penalty is a central provision of the law of credit card, but Congress has allowed the Fed to determine how.
The Fed gives way to a penalty fee to pay more if the consumer has shown a pattern of “repeat” violations, or if a card issuer can show that higher fees reasonably compensates its own costs in processing the violation prompting the penalty.