Here’s a roundup of links with advice for dropping your monthly cable bill, evaluating diet programs (extra tip: plain old water may be a genuine miracle product in this department), consistently getting discounts at major retailers like Target and Sam’s Club, figuring out ways to pamper your pets on the cheap and the easiest ways to get rich—which, as you’d imagine, aren’t exactly easy, but fun to consider nonetheless.
3 Proven Ways to Save Real Money at Garage Sales. Such as: seeking out items forgotten, overlooked, and not priced by the sale’s hosts. Why?
That box of miscellaneous junk under the table, a shelf of unmarked items, or a few odds and ends that seem like an after-thought are going to be some of the best bargains at a yard sale. Why? In the rush to get everything tagged, many sale holders just don’t know what to do with certain items. Items with price tags are those that they are hoping will bring in a profit. Those that aren’t — they are just kind of there with no realistic expectations.
4 Lessons College Kids Learned During the Great Recession. Such as: Money isn’t just for spending. Wow, it took a historic financial collapse for this lesson to be learned—though we’ll have to see in the coming years if this lesson will be absorbed and taken to heart, or forgotten, just like the verbs you once memorized for French class. For now, young adults …
seem to be adopting more responsible financial habits. Since the economic crisis began, more than half of 18-to 29-year-olds have cut spending, and a quarter of them have beefed up savings, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center; 58% intend to save even more when the economy recovers.
4 Bad Deals. Such as: rent-to-own anything. The link presents an example of a rent-to-own TV, which when finally paid for would cost 162% more than buying the thing straight up. There are at least four more cost-effective alternatives:
A. Don’t get the T.V.
B. Save until you can afford the T.V.
D. Heck, even your credit card has a better interest rate.
5 Steps to Cutting the Cable Cord. Such as: Step 1, Adjust Your Expectations—because without cable or satellite TV, you’re going to have to wait at least a little while to catch your favorite programs. There is almost always a delay when you watch shows online or on DVD. So …
If you need to Facebook your friends the second “True Blood’s” credits roll or you can’t live without the morning-after water cooler discussion of last night’s “Breaking Bad,” then you’ll have to pay the Man for the privilege… So before you walk down this road, ask yourself: How important is morning-after chatter? Is it worth $100 or more to avoid having to screen your Twitter feed for spoilers? If it is, then you’re already right where you belong.
5 Thoughts About Making College Great. Such as: The biggest value you’ll earn in college is the relationship with other people. Students should therefore …
Focus on building friendships with good people – students, staff members, professors, deans, everyone. Look for people who are focused at what they’re doing, have some interest overlap with you, and are also seeming like they’re having fun doing it, because those are the people that are going to be great to spend time with and are also going to be doing something great with their life. They’re the kind of people that will make your path better.
5 Expenses That Pay Off in the Long Run. Such as: regular home maintenance.
Fixing your leaky roof promptly, replacing your water heater as needed, and cleaning your heating system each year will cost you in maintenance fees. But it’s a small fraction of the cost you’ll pay if you let those things slide until they become emergencies.
6 Expenses to Ditch in Retirement. Such as: disability and life insurance.
Retirees can save thousands of dollars a year by getting rid of unnecessary insurance policies. “If you had an individual disability policy and now are retired, there is probably no need for it anymore,” says James Miller, President of Woodward Financial Advisors.
A retiree who no longer has dependents or has a spouse who could easily support him or herself without the partner’s help also should consider cashing out their life insurance policy.
6 Popular Diet Programs, and How They Really Work. (Or not.) Such as: Jenny Craig, which has mixed results.
People who stick with the Jenny Craig plan lose considerable weight, according to Consumer Reports, but a study involving Jenny Craig client histories showed a high dropout rate. A clinical trial that followed program participants had better results.
7 Ways to Pamper Your Pets and Still Save Money. Such as: store loyalty programs.
Pet stores and grocery stores offer customer loyalty programs that guarantee discounts off featured products, print out pet-related coupons at checkout, and send out frequent bonus deals or coupons for a percentage or dollar amount off future purchases. A couple of programs you can sign up for are Petco PALS and PetSmart PetPerks, and you can enjoy those benefits either online or in the store.
7 Strategies for Model-Year-End Car Shopping. Such as: watching for upcoming car redesigns. How does this help the buyer?
When a manufacturer redesigns or significantly changes a new model, it is more likely to offer deals on the older one. [Cars.com senior editor Dave] Thomas says buyers should watch for deals on the following 2010 models because their 2011 counterparts are getting big overhauls: the Chrysler Jeep Grand Cherokee (recent deals have offered $5,500 cash back), the Ford F-150 (recent deals have offered up to $7,500 cash back) and the Kia Sportage.
10 Tips for Getting Discounts at 10 Major Retailers. Such as: Target.
Shoppers using a Target REDcard credit card (the store’s or through Visa) or a REDcard debit card this fall will receive 5 percent off at checkout. Pay for five prescriptions with a REDcard and get a coupon for 5 percent off on a future shopping trip.
10 Things You Can Buy Used in Mint Condition. (And therefore at a significant discount off the retail price.) Such as: bicycles. How come?
People buy them and don’t use them, and real cyclers take very good care of their bikes. So, when you’re buying them used — they’re virtually the same product you get in a store. Seriously, probably half the people that buy one of those fancy road bikes or mountain bikes got it from their significant other with the hope that they would pedal the pounds away. More often than not, it just collected dust.
10 Secrets of College Success. Such as: answering questions exactly as they’re asked. Here’s why you should do so, according to a couple of college professors:
Professors go to great lengths to craft appropriate questions (and sub-questions) and expect head-on answers to exactly what they asked—rather than general surveys of an area, dumps of everything you know about the subject, or rambling garbage.
10 Money Moves That Always Pay Off. People say the best financial decision they ever made was to start saving early in life. Plenty of other money moves are also no-brainers. Such as: play hardball with your insurers.
Call competitors and ask them to quote you prices for your current house and auto policies. You’ll be amazed at the differences. Prices for the same policy can vary as much as 50% between carriers. And there’s little rhyme or reason to it. While you’re about it, ask about raising your deductibles too. This can be a quick win: Raising your deductible by $500 to $1,000 can cut hundreds off your annual premiums.
10 Things You Should Know About Saving. Such as: Spending is never saving.
Many people talk of “saving” when they get a “good deal.” However, you really are not saving in such cases; you are spending money. If you do not need the item, or do not even really want it that much, then the spending aspect is even more pronounced. Do not confuse getting a good bargain with actually saving money.
12 New Rules for Your Money. Such as: Age 66 is the magic number for retirement. Isn’t it possible to retire earlier? Sure, but there’s a big but:
Although you can begin collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62, your benefits will be reduced by 25% or more. Better to hold out for full benefits at your normal retirement age — 66 if you were born between 1943 and 1954; older if you were born later. Once you reach your normal retirement age, you can continue to work while collecting benefits without fear of bumping up against the dreaded earnings cap, which trims $1 in benefits for every $2 you earn over the prescribed limit.
Like employees with a good attitude? Shop at chains that are employee-owned, suggest customer-satisfaction surveys. When employees have a stake in the profits, it shows in their attitude.
This tool will help you find the type of health insurance that is best for you. Put in information about your family and your current situation, as well as your state, and get help finding the best plan for you.
20 Easiest Ways to Get Rich. OK, these are “easy” strictly in terms of actual effort, but often extremely difficult in terms of practicality and likelihood of success. Such as: registering a generic domain name.
What’s your favorite drink? Food? Activity? Make a list and see if any of those words have been used in domain names yet—the idea might be worth millions. One software company owner in Maryland, Chris Clark, auctioned Pizza.com for $2.6 million in 2008, reported the Associated Press. Clark originally registered it in 1994 for $20.
25 Easy College-Student Ramen Recipes. Such as: Ramen breakfast burritos, made by following these instructions:
1 package flavored ramen noodles, uncooked
2 cups water
1/4 cup shredded cheese
Hot sauce (grab the mild but delicious green Tabasco with a coupon for cheap — its a favorite on breakfast burritos)
Flour or corn tortillas
Optional: Green chiles
Boil water in small saucepan on high heat.
Beat egg in separate bowl.
Add ramen to water and slowly pour in beaten egg.
Mix and cook until noodles are soft.
Drain, leaving a small amount of water for seasoning.
Mix seasoning with cheese, hot sauce and green chiles (if desired).
Wrap in warm tortilla.
Marvel at the fact you’re eating ramen for breakfast and, holy Jose, it’s delicious.
46 Tips for Getting a Home Improvement Project Started. (And hopefully finished as well.) Such as: replacing the front door.
As the first thing prospective buyers will see upon entering your home, a new front door will more than recoup your investment. Expect a fat 129% ROI on a steel door, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2009–10 “Cost vs. Value Report.” (Note that fiberglass models, which can cost three times as much, recoup only 65% of their cost.)