1. Pay off your credit card balances. Trim a little from your monthly expenses so you can pay more than your monthly minimum on each card. Paying off your credit card balance can be one of the highest yielding investments you can make.
2. If you can't pay off your balance, transfer your credit card debt to a card that charges a lower interest rate. If you have a good history of timely payments with your own credit card company, call and ask them to lower your interest rate in return for your continued use of their card. Many companies are willing to do so.
3. Pay bills on time and avoid costly late payment fees.
4. Check your utility bills. Taking even a few simple steps can add up to hundreds of dollars in savings. For example, lower your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and you can save 10 to 15 percent.
5. Review your phone bill to see how much you're paying for services that you don't really need. Your phone company can help you choose a calling plan that may give you better rates for the calls you typically make. Check out what you're paying for long-distance fees.
6. Make one extra mortgage payment per year. By lowering your principal, you're also lowering the amount of interest you owe on your mortgage, which can lead to substantial savings and can cut years off your mortgage.
7. Review your insurance policies. Are you paying for more coverage than you need? Comparison shop for rates on the Internet. It's worth a few minutes of research to see if you can lower your premiums and still receive the coverage you and your family need.
Did you know?
You are probably paying more than you should for your day-to-day banking needs.
Leasing a car is not necessarily cheaper. Buying and financing is always a better way to go. If you do lease your vehicle, make sure you don't get hit with costly leasing penalties.
RRSPs are oversold. Not everyone has to get started early. If you're carrying big debt, you're better off dealing with that first.
Free investment seminars can be dangerous to your wealth. The speakers aren't always licensed financial advisers and may have interests in the investments they're promoting.
You should put your investments on autopilot. This means you won't have to watch the economic indicators carefully and won't worry about where markets are heading.
You can save money when buying mutual funds. Watch those hidden charges and consider buying index products.
Wrap accounts are costly, and financial advisers who want to boost their income in a slow market push them. Ask questions if someone urges you to buy one.
You can get a guaranteed 20 per cent return on your child's education savings plan without taking any risk.
It is possible to draft a will and power of attorney without using a lawyer.
About the Author
Source: Money 101 by Ellen Roseman. Published by John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd. January 2003. Click here for purchasing information.
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