How Not to Waste Money in 2014
Many of us are making resolutions for the new year and I know at the top of many lists is saving money. Here are a few ways to kick off the new year with more money in your pocket.
Don't Carry a Balance
Credit card debt is what is considered "bad debt" that can count against you if you're looking to buy a house, a car or get any other kind of loan. When those bills for your Christmas gifts come due, pay more than the minimum balance until they're paid off and try not to buy anything new on those cards until the old balance is paid off. When you get the card down to a zero balance, then start charging again, but don't charge more than what you can afford to pay off right away. Those interest charges and late fees can really add up and keep you in debt. My credit union actually sends along a sheet with a payment calculator and tells us when we can have the card completely paid off. Adding just $50 on to the minimum payment will have the card paid off in just five years.
Do Buy Generic
I've said this time and again and financial experts agree: Skip the national brand and go with the generic alternative. In many cases, you're not going to notice a difference in quality. In fact, when it comes to prescriptions, many pharmacies automatically substitute the generic brand over the big name brand unless you specify otherwise. Many health care plans only charge $4 for generics. That can save you a bundle if you have a regular monthly prescription.
Don't Pass Up Tax Breaks
I'm not an accountant, but I have a college friend who is, and he says that there are so many people who actually overpay on their taxes is isn't funny. If you have deductions and credits that you qualify for, he says, "Take them. You're entitled to them. It's your money. Don't let the government waste it." If you haven't taken the time to create a file with receipts for your taxes, he says, "Make one for this next year because you'd be amazed at what you can get tax breaks and credits for." He says to talk to a tax professional for your options, but if you can get breaks, take them.
Do Ditch Bad Habits
Smoking costs a lot of money. I quit a year ago and I estimate I've saved about two thousand dollars. Do you know what you could buy with an extra two thousand dollars? That's like 10 Coach purses, 20 iPods, 30 Dior fragrances, 40 silk scarves or 50 mani/pedis. If you buy lunch every day and it costs six bucks, that's $1500 a year. A case of beer costs about $15, if you buy a case every two weeks, that's about $400 over the course of a year.