Monday, September 17, 2012

Genius Ways to Save Money

Ever vigilant for money saving ideas, Triogenius has foraged the following just for you:

  • Cars and Car Insurance for Students

Do you have a car? Hopefully, that means you have car insurance, right? Are you considering college somewhere other than a big city area? Read on for a tip you might not be aware of.

When you attend a college in a more rural area, that is, away from a large city area such as the Metro-Twin Cities and suburbs, you can get a reduced premium. Why? Because less people living in an area means less accidents, and less risk for your insurance company. If you are going to attend college in St Cloud, Winona, Bemidji, Mankato, Duluth, or any more-rural area, give your insurance agent a call and ask about it. It could mean up to $10 a month less on your insurance premium.

Also consider this: if your car is just going to be parked for the school year and you won't be driving it, you do not need full coverage on it. You only need what's called Comprehensive, which would insure it against someone, let's say, throwing a brick into your windshield or otherwise vandalizing the car, or if it would get hail damage while it's sitting there waiting for your return. You car might be lonely, but you're going to save some money.

Comprehensive coverage costs very little. When you call to ask about it, you can also ask how it would work when you come home for a break and want to drive the car for just a couple of weeks. Call your agent--he or she isn't going to know your plans unless you tell him or her. Be sure to see if they offer any other discounts, such as because you're a student, or for a good driving record, even good grades, non-smoker, etc. You won't know until you ask! Of course you will let your agent know when you are 'home for the summer' so you can have full coverage again.

  • Did you know that now, some well known gas stations are putting a $25.00 hold on your account when you pay at the pump---even if you only put in $12.00 worth of gas? That $25 is held on the account and is reflected as a deduction until your gas purchase is processed with the correct amount. Something to keep in mind when your bank account is running low.

  • And as far as banks go: check to make sure there are no fees if your balance goes below a certain point, say, $100. My bank said that it doesn't have a minimum balance but would charge a fee if I didn't use my check card at least 8 times in a month. Again, ask and you'll know.

Other Simple Ways to Save:

  • Have you ever bought something and then thought, "Why did I get that??" but had thrown the receipt away? Have a 'receipt envelope' and whenever you buy anything, put the receipt in the envelope. Keep it somewhere easy to find. When you have had the item for a month, a week or maybe just a day and you realize you don't want it/can't afford it/it doesn't really fit--you can get out that receipt and return the item. Most stores won't take a return without a receipt. Now you can return it and get your money back.

  • When you buy a piece of clothing, look at the tag and be sure it's washable. Dry cleaning is expensive and a hassle. But be sure not to over-dry clothes: they will shrink, lengthwise and widthwise. Get them damp-dried and then hang over a chair, or hang on a hanger, till they're completely dry.

  • Some local stores will honor coupons up to 30 days past their expiration date. Others honor any similar store's coupons as if they were for the store you are shopping at, or will price match with a printed ad--and some will just take your word for it. Ask your cashier.

  • Try either skipping your fancy coffees or making your own. $4.00 for a latte five days a week adds up to $80 a month. If you get one seven days a week, that's $120 for 30 days worth of coffee. Coffee, for pete's sake!

  • Make sure you aren't buying something just because you have a coupon. In fact, don't even go into a store if you have no money (translated: cash or credit card).

  • If you plan your groceries for as long as possible, you don't need to go back to the grocery store later in the week, where you will probably buy additional things you don't really need, or stop in to pick up something and go for the more expensive convenience food. Before you leave home to get groceries, plan your food day to day and include everything you'll need, then cross out the things you have on hand. It helps to have your list in the same order as the store. Plus, who wants to go back to the grocery store more than necessary? Coupons can be helpful as long as they are for items you would have bought anyway (not only because you have a coupon).. And don't forget: don't shop when you're hungry! 

  • Don't buy food from vending machines. The markup is does not cost $1.75 for a can of soda from a 12 pack, even when it's not on sale. Let's say a 12 pack costs $4.50. One can from that 12 pack would be roughly 38c. A bag of chips does not cost $1.25 when you get it at a grocery store-these items may even be on sale. Let's say you buy a large 'family' size bag of chips that costs $3.00. If you can bag up six servings from that bag, it will cost 50c a serving plus the cost of the plastic bag. If the plastic bags were $2.50 for a box of 50, that means they cost 5c apiece. And so, for 55c you can have a bag of chips that would cost you more than 3 times that out of a machine.

  • You can keep a few things on hand at work or in your backpack if you find you 'need' something while at school or work.. Use a soft sided personal size cooler to keep things cold (these are seen often at garage sales or thrift stores). And how many times has a vending machine eaten your money, never to give it back??

Finally (for now), the old adage of "pay yourself first" is still true. When you get paid, put something aside in savings, even if you start small. Do the math: even $10 a month adds up to $120 a year. $50 a month: $600 a year. Wouldn't it be good to have some money set aside for the next crisis, or in case your car breaks down?

Triogenius hopes some of these tips are helpful to you!

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