One call saved me $50 -- and other tips

chisueDecember 3, 2005

When my airline-affiliated credit card statement arrived yesterday I was aghast to see my annual membership fee was $125! I called the company and got another card that suits my needs equally well for $50 a year. I still get one mile for every dollar spent, although the new card has a $25K/25K mile limit. I don't put that much on my card anyway. I could have had a no-fee card, but they do not offer the same miles. (We actually use the miles, by making plans six months ahead to get seats!)

I clip coupons only for things I'd buy without the coupons, then wait to use the coupons when those items are on special. Ever notice how many coupons are for *stuff* (cosmetics, dog toys)? If I buy something that offers a rebate, that rebate request goes into the mail the same day I buy the item. (Companies bank on people not getting around to asking for the rebate.)

We've saved by almost never entering the grocery store aisle that offers the soda (and other flavored waters) and junk food.

We do use Costco, but seldom buy any of the "lures". If we are in there to get prime beef and Kleenex, that's all we come out with.

My son and DIL were happy to add Mom to their cell phone plan -- for $8 a month (plus taxes) and free calls between the three phones.

We use our library a lot. There are mighty few books I've ever read twice, and our library will order almost any book we've expressed an interest in. We also get DVDs from the library. I don't understand why would anyone *buy* more than a few DVDs for the kids? We also record from TV programs we want to see at our convenience -- like Mystery Theater and other PBS offerings. We seldom go to a movie theater -- there are few new movies that are not just as interesting on the small HDTV screen.

We keep our cars longer than some people. For example, we just bought a 2005 demo with a 6-year warranty. We'll probably keep it eight years, adding a warranty for the last two years if necessary. The car we sold was nine years old and had 50K miles on it. We are retired, and don't put many miles on a car. We also went from two cars to one when DH retired. I think there have been three times that a conflict in our schedules required me to rent a car -- sure cheaper than buying and insuring a second car.

None of these life-styles are "hardships". We like nice things and spend on those instead of these. We contribute to charities.

It took a while for me to wake up to the fact that The American Way is very consumer-spending driven. We are told over and over that we NEED a lot of stuff we don't need at all, and are likely better off without!

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JamieR

I know what you mean on the credit card savings. My friend got me into it last year and what a difference it has made. i almost have enough miles to fly anywhere in the USA thanks to my AA credit card. to give you an idea of what she does as well see the link below. she is crazy but it saves her a ton of cash!

I need to look into the cellphone idea and see if i can get my parents onto my plan, thanks for that tip!

Here is a link that might be useful: MORE money saving tips

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 1:48PM
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chisue

Oops! What a financial wizard *I* am. I saved $75, not $50. Duh.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 3:46PM
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Cynic

I just have a thing that I refuse to pay for a credit card. Kind of like paying to shop at a store like Costco or Sams. It just bugs me. And for me, there's no savings since I don't go there enough and can't use the gigantic sizes of brand name stuff. Don't want 50 pound packages of boneless skinless chicken breasts. The few savings I saw when I went there were eaten up and more by the fee. I could be going to a high-buck butcher shop and spend less. But that's me. Just be careful to factor in the costs. Plus I hate that you have to check out twice with them and the long lines with too few cashiers... But I digress.

Shopping around and watching prices pays and pays well. Although I don't like changing insurance carriers, a few phone calls cut my insurance rates in half more than once. I got better garbage pickup service at a cheaper price (again, more than once) by making a few phone calls. Some internet research saved me some money on an ISP. When I used to get the paper, they had specials at different times of the year. Watch them though, they want to renew at full rate. These are a few examples.

So check around. It pays. And it can pay well. And you don't waste gas when you're on the internet or phone. Which brings up another point. When you total the gas and time of going out shopping, you can often do as well or better online. I have a deal now with my credit card that I'll get 5% back on all online purchases this month.

A big part is to keep your eyes open and pay attention to sources for items and prices. A price book or at least some notes can help save a lot.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 9:43PM
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JamieR

we shopped our savings and CD interest rates at different banks. the original bank payed 1.25% now we get 3.4%. that was a worth while move. We get completely free banking with a deposit box for free as well. ask your bank, you might qualify

    Bookmark   December 6, 2005 at 12:19AM
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joyfulguy

I had a message on here (or was it "Household Finance" a while ago about why I don't like earning interest.

The size of the pot doesn't increase.

If I buy quality stocks, I expect there to be a good possibility that the price on most of them may rise, given time, and I don't need the money right away.

Something over 35 years ago I bought stocks at $4.00+ (possibly $2.00+) per share and I can sell them now for $75.00 more or less, depending on the day or week. I don't need to answer to the Canada Revenue Agency till I either sell them (or die) - neither of which I plan to do this week or next.

Since the $10,000. I might have loaned to the bank 15 years ago on a 5-year certificate that I later renewed twice will only pay me $10,000. when I redeem it, I have a problem.

That $10,000. would have bought me a decent car, 15 years ago - not now. In 1947 my Dad bought a new Ford Monarch for $1,600.

So I need to add part of my current interest earnings to the pot in order to maintain its purchasing power.

Usually, the amount that dollar-denominated money earns doesn't change much, either - interest rates have stayed fairly stable.

But the dividends that the bank paid on their stock that I bought was about 6 cents or a dime, 37 years ago - but a few years ago advanced from 80 cents to 90 cents, then $1.00, later $1.24, $1.48, $1.64 - and now are $2.40 per share.

In Canada, I've paid a lower tax rate on that type of income for many years - and the government just anounced that they're going to make the tax rate lower.

Plus - I have to pay top rate of tax on interest income.

Also, the only return that I can expect on dollar-denominated asset is earned now - and taxed now, in addition to being taxed at the top rate.

I prefer to let that increase in value develop in solid stocks, and not pay tax on it till I sell it. And then at a lower rate.

Have a great week, everyone.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 6, 2005 at 4:11PM
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