The New Power of "Thrift"

December 20, 2008 12:28:09 AM PST
Adding to last weekend's segments on becoming thriftier at home and work, Joan Jensen from the Central Credit Union of Illinois offers some additional recommendations for making the most of your financial resources.Maximize Benefits

Thrifty people take advantage of ALL their work benefits and realize that these free or low cost benefits are a valuable part of their compensation package.

  • Contribute to your 401K plan and take advantage of any free matching money.
  • Put your savings plan on automatic payroll deduction.
  • Take advantage of flexible spending plans. They enable you to pay childcare, medical, and health insurance premiums on a pre-tax basis. This saves you money on your taxes.
  • Understand how your health insurance works before you need healthcare. Using preferred providers in your network might save you a lot of money. Planning certain treatments and tests in conjunction with the calendar year, your exams, and deductible may save you money.
  • Check into other less expensive treatment options or medications your physician might recommend.
  • Finding out what other benefits your employer offers like; tuition reimbursement, life insurance, legal services and other plans could save you additional money.
Examine Reoccurring Expenses

Take your spending off autopilot. If you can cut your bill on reoccurring charges, you will save money month after month. Comparison-shop and negotiate the fees for these products periodically.

  • Thoroughly review your insurance products. You can realize significant savings if you increase your deductibles and limit the claims you file to losses that are only twice as much as your deductible.
  • Check your cell phone and land phone plans. You may be paying for services that you don't need or use.
  • Examine your cable bill and see if a lower priced package might meet your needs.
  • Consider challenging your property tax assessment. Some people have realized substantial savings on this big-ticket item.
  • Don't pay bills without verifying each charge to be sure that you received any credits due and that the charges are correct? If errors are made, it is important that you dispute the charges timely and in writing following the required procedures.
Additional Savings
  • Look into homeowner insurance discounts for alarm systems, fire extinguishers, non-smokers, good driving records, good grades for students, and carrying multi-line insurance with the same company.
  • Check your credit report for free at www.annualcreditreport.com. While this may not lead to immediate savings, it can help ensure you won't loose money to identity theft or fraud.

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