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Jul 30th

Spend less so you can save more

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Spend less so you can save more

Go green. By switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances, insulating your house and lowering the thermostat, among other things, you can save big bucks - and save the environment. Go to www.energystar.gov for more information.

Go green. By switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances, insulating your house and lowering the thermostat, among other things, you can save big bucks - and save the environment. Go to www.energystar.gov for more information.

Switch to lower-interest and no-annual-fee credit cards. And, before you sign up for a card that offers rebates on purchases, be sure you have the discipline to pay off your bill each month; otherwise you'll negate any savings.

Shop around for no-fee checking accounts. A $5 a month service charge can wipe out any interest you might earn, unless you carry a high balance. And while you're at it, don't settle for a savings account with one percent interest or less when many institutions offer five percent or more. Compare rates at www.bankrate.com.

Overall, the best thing you can do is to make a budget and stick to it. Track exactly what you're spending each month down to the last penny and look for places to trim. Many budgeting tools are available. For example, Money Magazine offers Money 101, a step-by-step guide that can help you set your financial goals, at www.money.cnn.com/pf/101.

Also check out Practical Money Skills for Life
(www.practicalmoneyskills.com/budgeting), a free personal financial management site sponsored by Visa USA, which features interactive tools to help you track expenses, set up a livable budget, calculate retirement income needs and more. As always, consult a financial professional regarding your particular situation.

For very little discomfort, these simple tips can save you thousands of dollars a year. That beats working a second job, doesn't it?

Jason Alderman directs Visa USA's financial education programs. To sign up for a free monthly personal finance e-Newsletter, go to www.practicalmoneyskills.com/newsletter.

 

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