Stretch Your Dollars, Save for Your Future

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine recently published an online story titled “91 Ways to Save on Almost Anything.” Research for the article included a review of eight primary spending categories and ways consumers can pinch pennies in those categories:  investing; food; transportation; travel; utilities; entertainment; credit, debt and banking; and phone service, TV and Internet. Here are just a few examples of key ways you can stretch your money now:

1)  Invest in a Roth 401(k). You won’t enjoy tax savings now, but you can take the money out at retirement tax-free when presumably the government will have raised tax rates above current levels.

2)  Comparison shop for insurance.  Insurance companies are competing hard for your dollars right now, so contact an independent agent for different price quotes or shop online at a site like e-surance to see what deals are out there. You can also lower your insurance costs by raising your deductible, changing coverages or buying a used vehicle instead of a new one. Check with your agent or ask any prospective carrier what risks are involved with coverage changes though, so you are sure you understand them.

3)  Scale back food spending by cooking at home, buying generic staples like sugar and flour, using manufactur’ers coupons and store incentives and taking your lunch to work or school.

4)  Lower your utility bills by using compact fluorescent light bulbs, insulating your hot water heater, calking around your windows and having your furnace serviced before winter. Try one idea to save a little money now, or try them all to watch your savings add up.

5)  Negotiate with your credit card company. Right now credit card issuers are raising interest rates and maximizing on allowable feese like annual fees, overlimit and late fees. If you have good credit and pay your bill on time each month, ask your credit card issuer to lower your interest rate or wipe out you annual fee. If they value your business as a paying customer, they’ll comply. If not, consider switching to a company that offers more favorable terms.

For more tips like these, see the original article on MSN Money.

Now what do you do with that money you’ve saved? It depends on how close you are to retirement, what you have set aside so far and your risk tolerance. Most likely, given the economy, you want to invest conservatively in guaranteed investments. Call me and I can help you choose smart investments and savings strategies that will help you reach your financial goals. No obligation.

To your long-term financial success,

Scott K. Warner
Life Design Financial

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