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15 Easy Tips for Saving Money

1) Call your insurance agent before filing any kind of a claim to find out how the claim will impact your premiums. Generally, a good rule of thumb is not to submit a claim on a loss that is less than twice your deductible since the payment you'll receive from your insurance company is usually not worth the increased premiums you will likely pay.

2) Pay your life insurance annually since insurance companies charge you more if you pay monthly, quarterly or semi-annually.

3) Pay your car insurance semi-annually rather than monthly or quarterly since most insurance companies charge fees for making payments more often than twice a year.

4) Raise your insurance deductibles to lower your monthly premiums. If you can afford to pay a $500 or higher deductible should the need arise (which it might not), you'll save money every month with lower premiums.

5) Rent your DVDs from RedBox kiosks (often located in McDonald's and Wal-Marts). DVDs are only $1 per night. Go to www.redbox.com to find locations near you.

6) Transfer your credit card balances to credit cards that offer 0% on transfer balances. Select only cards that have no balance transfer fee. Visit www.bankrate.com to find the best offers.

7) Refuse to pay bank fees. If you receive some kind of fee (overdraft, minimum balance, etc.), then call your bank and ask to have it removed or you will take your business to another bank. Often, the bank will refund the fee, at least partially.

8) Multiply your monthly mortgage payment by 12 to determine your yearly mortgage cost. Divide that number by 24 and make that payment to your mortgage company every two weeks rather than once a month. You'll end up making 26 payments a year instead of 24 and will have effortlessly made an extra month's payment at the end of the year. You'll pay down more principal and have more interest to deduct at tax time.

9) Round up to the nearest dollar every time you enter a payment in your checkbook. Instead of entering $23.79 for that stop at the grocery store, enter $24.00. Round down when you make a deposit. Instead of entering $1,869.77 for that paycheck, enter $1,869.00 ($1,865.00 - you get the idea). It makes adding and subtracting easier, and after awhile, you will have extra money in your account, almost by magic.

10) Do not go grocery shopping when you are hungry. Studies show you will spend an extra 10% to 15% on food because you are hungry! You will also buy things you normally would not.

11) Invest in a rooftop solar water heater. Costs start around $1,500, and they last longer and cost less over a lifetime than a traditional hot water heater. Rebates and tax credits are also available at the state and local levels.

12) Only turn off your fluorescent lights if you’re leaving the room for more than 15 minutes. It does use more energy to leave them on, yes, but turning them on and off reduces their useful lifetime. Sticking to the 15-minute rule means that you’ll save money on bulb-replacement costs, which will make up for the extra electricity costs.

13) Stop using paper towels and invest in cheap, plain white dishtowels (flour cloth sack towels). You will save money and save trees, too. Most commercial kitchens do not use paper towels because they know the savings brought by using cloth towels.

14) Grocery coupon websites usually only let you print a coupon once and then make you wait until they say it is okay to print it again. Instead of waiting, print a coupon and then make copies of it. You will be able to use more coupons and save more money.

15) When you are going to be on vacation or are not going to drive a vehicle for a few weeks for some reason call your insurance company and suspend the coverage on the vehicle. An insurance agent friend gave us this tip. Few people do it because few people know they can. Seems to be an insurance industry secret.