Tightening Your Belt

Ten Simple Money-Saving Tips For The New Year

strong odors. Although neither product will allow you to completely cease your dry cleaning visits, they do enable you to get longer wear out of your clothes.

6. STOP EATING OUT–UNLESS YOU CAN EXPENSE IT. Bring your snacks and lunch from home each day–it’s the cheaper, healthier choice. For big price breaks, shop at wholesale grocery outlets and share memberships with friends. “Cut back on buying cigarettes, snacks, and sodas at the office. Go to the store and buy them in bulk. You will save at least $2 per day, and with 260 working days in the year, that’s a savings of $520. With that money, you can put away about $43 per month in mutual funds and start earning a 12% interest rate,” says Matthews.

7. MINIMIZE YOUR PRESCRIPTION COSTS. If you’re a member of an employer-sponsored health plan, you may only have a co-pay of $5 to $10 for your prescriptions. But if you are responsible for covering the costs of your own medications, there are several ways you can reduce these costs. Buying prescription drugs online can save you 20% to 30%. AARP offers discounts on mail orders for people over 50. “Using mail order and generic prescription medications will save you a fortune. Most doctors have no idea what medicines cost. It’s up to you to quiz your doctor when he or she writes a prescription and ask if there is a generic substitute that will work. Also, you can order your medicines online from Canada and save a minimum of 25%,” says Howard.

8. REDUCE YOUR ENTERTAINMENT EXPENSES. Fletcher and her granddaughter, Zaikeyah, are music lovers, so she buys about five classical and five R&B CDs per week at $14.99 each. Instead, you should try trading CDs with your friends or go online at www.kazaa.com and www.audiogalaxy.com. “As African Americans, we spend disproportionately more on CDs and records than other ethnic groups,” says Bill Reynolds, principal in the Institutional Investor Group at The Vanguard Group, an international investment firm based in Malvern, PA. He suggests you check with places that sell used CDs. Borrow CDs, books, videos, magazines, and newspapers from public libraries or access them online. You can also eliminate cable television, particularly if you’re no
t watching it. In addition, tap newspapers and magazines for a list of free cultural and civic-sponsored events, and spend your vacations visiting museums, national parks, government facilities, waterfronts, and other free venues. Cut your entertainment spending by at least $20 a week and you could multiply that $1,040 annual savings into a hefty $26,000 over the next 25 years.

9. DRIVE DOWN THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR CAR. First, you should always keep your car in top condition by getting it checked out by a reputable mechanic at any sign of trouble. A delayed response could cost you. Also, carpool, ride your bike, walk, or take the train or bus whenever possible. “Carpooling is a great idea,” says Matthews. “This can save on gas and car maintenance. The average person spends

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