Last Updated: March 20, 2009
Everyone is pinching pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters these days. Here are some more ways the nation's top financial planners say you can save a buck or two in these trying times.
FPA members, Michael Snowdon, CFP®, of Snowdon Financial, and his wife Barb Snowdon, offered these tips:
- Take full advantage of employer benefits such as tuition reimbursement and flex (cafeteria plan) accounts.
- Check your payroll withholding to see if you can increase take-home pay (just be careful not to overdo it).
- Shift from a regular phone company service (e.g., Qwest) to a VOIP service or cable phone. Or, drop your land-line altogether and go with your cell phone.
- Re-caulk all windows, doors, etc. to make sure they are sealed against heat loss.
- Ask your utility company to do an energy audit and consider lowering the thermostat a few degrees. If you do not already have a programmable thermostat, see if you can get one.
- Check with your insurer for possible discounts. For example, you might get a discount for having a burglar alarm or smoke detector. Your insurer might also help you coordinate your coverage so that you are neither under- or over-insured.
- Instead of buying costly new software, consider using Open Office (www.openoffice.org) or Google Docs (docs.google.com).
FPA member, Stephen Ahern, CPA/PFS, CFP®, president, Wealth Management Advisors and owner of Sullivan Bille, offered these tips:
- Let your kids pay for a good portion of their education.
- If your company offers disability insurance, pay for it with after-tax dollars to make the benefit tax free.
FPA member, Karin Maloney Stifler, CFP®, of True Wealth Advisors, suggested the following:
- Unplug all unused appliances and electronics. Unplug anything with an ongoing electronic draw such as PCs, coffee pots, radios, DVDs, printers, and the like.
- Enlist the whole family in a competition to cut utilities expenses. Track the savings month to month compared to the past. Use a portion of the savings to fund an inexpensive family reward such as movie rentals. Or, pool the monthly savings for a family prize or experience that you can purchase with cash not credit.