WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION NEXT YEAR? ELIMINATE THESE TEN THINGS

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC SP98364271

Here are ten things you can do to improve your financial situation. Each one can easily be done in fifteen minutes and then forgotten about, but over time, these moves will slowly put significant money in your pocket. Think of it as an investment of time that continually pays dividends to your wallet.

1. Request a reduction in your credit card interest rate. Take your credit card. Flip it over. Call the phone number on the back. Ask to speak to a supervisor (when you finally get to a real person). Say that you're considering switching credit cards with a 0% balance transfer and ask if they can reduce your rate to keep you as a customer. It won't always work, but it'll work often enough to make it well worth your while.

2. Review your health insurance and other benefit choices at work. Take a look at what kind of health insurance you chose at work. Do you use it regularly? Would a less expensive option cover you just as well in an emergency? Do the same for your other benefits as well. This is a good time to bump up your 401(k) contribution a bit, too.

3. Sign up for a customer rewards program. If you shop regularly at a particular store (for me, the weakness is Borders), sign up for their customer rewards program, especially if it's free. I constantly get 20% and 30% off coupons from Borders, and somewhat regularly I get $5 in credit there as well. The program costs nothing, I get the coupons in my email, and it took me just a few minutes to sign up. Concerned about spam? Just use a Gmail address for this purpose - it's free and the spam filtering is impressive.

4. Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat lets you define a program for temperature change in your house throughout the day, which basically means your air conditioner and/or furnace won't run during the day when you're away from home or during the night when you're asleep. This will save drastically on your energy bills. Even better, they're easy to install if you're a bit familiar with home electricity - but don't hesitate to get an electrician to install it for you if you don't know what you're doing.

5. Optimize your auto insurance. Consider raising your deductible on your comprehensive insurance - or consider entirely eliminating it if you're thinking about buying a new car. Call your agent to get quotes on these changes. It might also be worthwhile to shop around a little.

6. Visit your local library. You'll find out exactly what's available there - and the quantity and quality of the free stuff is usually surprising, from books to CDs and DVDs. You might just find yourself using their DVDs for your DVD rental needs for free instead of buying them or using Netflix. For me, I get the majority of my books from the library, saving quite a lot on book costs.

7. Air up your car tires. Look in your car's manual and see what the recommended maximum tire pressure should be on your car - that's what the pressure for your tires should be. Get an air gauge, then the next time you're at a gas station, head over to the free air pump. Check the pressure in each tire, then air up to the maximum. For every 8 PSI you add to any tire, you improve your gas mileage by 1%, and the average tire is 10-12 PSI below the recommended maximum. Thus, airing up your tires can save 6% on your gas mileage. If gas costs $3 a gallon and your car currently gets 20 miles per gallon, over your next 10,000 miles (a typical year), this tip will save you $85.

8. Eliminate any monthly bills for items you don't use. Still paying for Netflix but haven't received a new movie in months? Paying for unlimited text messages but only use four or five each month? What about premium movie channels on your cable bill that you maybe watch once every few weeks? These are pure money wasters, and they're well worth getting rid of. All you have to do is look at your last month's worth of checking account statements to identify your regular bills, then eliminate the ones that you're not using. Then, look at a few specific bills, like your cell phone bill, and eliminate any optional services you're not using. The first time I did this, I came up with an extra $30 a month quite quickly.

9. Replace your light bulbs with CFLs. Even if they're not burnt out, replace them. Let's say you use a bulb four hours in an average day. Over one year, at $0.10 per kilowatt hour, replacing a 75 watt bulb with a 26 watt equivalent CFL will save you $7.15 over a year. The bulb has paid for itself in four months. Even better, consider replacing every bulb in your home - replacing just fourteen of the old incandescents will put $100 a year directly in your pocket.

10. Sign up for an online savings account and set up an automatic savings plan. There are a lot of reputable online-only savings accounts out there offering interest rates above 4%. Sign up for one, then set up an automatic savings plan within the account to pull out a small amount from your checking account each week. How much? Why not just save the amount you've saved from these other tips? Let's say all together, you figure that you're saving $60 a month from these tips. Set up a plan to save $15 a week into the account. You won't notice any difference at all in your day-to-day spending, and at the end of the year, you'll have about $750 in the account without lifting a finger!

Hope these ten savings tips help put more money into your pocket instead of into somebody'e else pocket.

To receive your free list of "Houses for sale in Washington DC",please give me a call at your earliest convenience. I can be reached at (202) 378-0283 (Direct) or (301) 560-6700 x1154 (Office). I can also be reached online on my websites www.buyandsellnewhomes.com and www.freelistofhomesforsale.com. And check out my Outside Real Estate blog on DC news, area events and real estate infomation on www.GetDCSold.com. Thank you very much. Looking forward to helping you make your home purchase a stress free and very happy one. Have a great day. Lanre Folayan - Real Estate Professional with Exit Premier Realty. "Buy and sell a home in Washington DC"

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Rainmaker
339,098
Chris and Berna Sloan
Group 1 Real Estate - Tooele, UT
Tooele UT
Lanre... Thanks for the tips. I have added one more for this year. With gas prices the way they are, I am setting one day aside to run errands. In the past I have just jumped in the car whenever I remembered something I wanted to do. Now I plan to get them all done in one trip.
Jan 02, 2008 08:26 PM #1
Rainmaker
212,200
Dennis Swartz
Full Circle Property Management - Columbus, OH
MBA, GRI...experience counts!

Lanre,

Very good tips. I think I can do a few of them right away and save some money, and lord knows as bad as real estate market was last year I need to save some money!

BTW, after your last blog, did you come up with those? Very good work!

Jan 02, 2008 09:45 PM #2
Ambassador
589,365
Julie Chapman
DR Horton - Lakeland, FL
New Homes Sales Lakeland Florida

Lanre,

Thanks for these tips....the New Year is a good time to review where and how we spend our money......

Jan 02, 2008 10:04 PM #3
Rainmaker
806,664
Lanre-"THE REAL ESTATE FARMER" Folayan
Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC - Bowie, MD
I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES

Update to Chris,Dennis and Julie - If you have CFL's light,you need to check them. It is said to have Mercury which contains potentially potent toxic. Check out my recent blog. Thanks for your comments.

Mar 20, 2008 11:27 AM #4
Rainmaker
51,675
D. Bass
Ask The Underwriter - Atlanta, GA
Blog: Ask The Underwriter

This is a very good post, I'm going with Chris: Once a week to run errands!  I wish I had read this 2 months ago!

Mar 20, 2008 12:36 PM #5
Rainer
141,784
Karen Luke
South Metro Property Management, LLC - McDonough, GA
Henry County Real Estate
I really like the one about the Library. We tend to forget about the local library and buy from Amazon.
Mar 20, 2008 12:39 PM #6
Anonymous
Annie Masias

Hi Lanre, there are absolutely great tips..it is always important to think of things that would help our financial situation.

Sep 23, 2009 12:15 AM #7
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Rainmaker
806,664

Lanre-"THE REAL ESTATE FARMER" Folayan

I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES
Are you in the market to buy or sell your house? Call me now.
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