YOU Magazine - January 2007 - Saving Money in the New Year Simple Steps to Ensure a Bright Financial Future Subscribe to YOU Magazine and other timely market alerts from Linda Winters.

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Linda Winters     Linda Winters
Sr. Mortgage Loan Originator #AK205946
Alaska USA Mortgage Company #AK157293
Phone: (907) 646-6359
Fax: (907) 375-4880
Alaska USA Mortgage Company #AK157293
January 2007

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Saving Money in the New Year
Simple Steps to Ensure a Bright Financial Future

Saving Money in the New Year - Simple Steps to Ensure a Bright Financial Future

If you made it through the holidays without dipping into your savings account, then you should congratulate yourself. You're part of a small, select group who survived the pressures of the season, without blowing the budget.

If you're like most people, however, the winter holidays meant digging into your hard-earned savings, solely for the purpose of memorializing the occasion for those you love. On the one hand, it's a very noble cause. On the other, it makes little financial sense. So, what are we to do?

Here's one answer. By enacting a plan now, just as 2007 gets underway, you can ensure that your family will have a wonderful holiday when the end of the year rolls around. At the same time, you'll have a better chance of keeping your savings intact. If this sounds good to you, then keep reading because it only gets better.

Here at YOU Magazine, we believe a major key to saving money is identifying wasteful spending habits. Once waste is minimized, the difference between what you spend and what you would have spent can now be saved. The first thing you will want to do is open a separate savings account, preferably an account which carries a higher interest rate than your checking or Money Market Account. We recommend a separate savings account for this purpose because it creates autonomy between your "nest egg" savings and the money you're saving for a specific use.

Be sure to examine the savings accounts your current bank offers and compare them to those of other financial institutions. Try to find the highest interest rate available while maintaining easy access to the account and avoiding fees.

Now that a separate savings account has been established, let's start trimming the fat. The following are areas where most of us waste money without realizing it:

Meals at the Workplace
Working Americans spend an average of $6 when they buy their lunch at work. The average cost drops to $2 when we bring our lunch from home. That's a difference of $4 a day, or $20 a week, or over $1,000 a year. On a weekly basis, we suggest that you deposit $4 into your new savings account for every day that you bring your lunch.

Utilize the Public Library
By obtaining a library card, you can save money on books, magazines, and especially DVD rentals. If you average 3 DVD rentals a month, you're spending approximately $144 a year. That's $144 that could be deposited into your account. For every book you check out, find out what it would have cost if you'd bought it. Deposit that amount into your account.

Don't be Afraid to Ask for Discounts
If you're paying bills or buying items such as airline tickets based solely on the price you're quoted, you could be wasting money. Many companies provide discounts on goods and services but only for those customers who request them. It never hurts to ask so start asking. If you're lucky enough to get a discount, apply the savings to your new account.

Save Gas
Consult the owner's manual of your car and learn about the manufacturer's recommendations for optimal gas mileage. Put the suggestions into action and see what happens. After a month, you should be able to see if you're spending less on fuel. Take the savings and stash it away.

Sell your Junk
Come springtime, go through your closets, garage, and CD collection. Figure out which items you no longer use. You can either hold a garage sale or locate stores which buy and sell used merchandise, and sell the items to them. Whatever money you make should go right into that savings account.

Do Away with Disposable
From razors and batteries to paper towels and plastic bags, your home is filled with products which are meant to be thrown away. Most of these disposable items have either a permanent or semi-disposable counterpart. Switching over to these more durable items can yield a savings of $4 a week or $200 a year.

Get the Most Out of Your Utilities
Many of us are overspending on our utility bills for no other reason than our own apathy. If you haven't already switched over to low-flow shower heads and toilets it's probably time to do so. Also, get into the habit of turning off lights when not in use. Did you know that most utility companies offer a free online energy audit? This way you can see exactly where you're wasting money.

Setting Money Aside
Having a separate savings account presents another potential benefit. If the company you work for offers direct deposit, ask if you may have a portion of your paycheck automatically transferred to your savings account before you ever see it. Since you determine the amount, you can start small. Just by transferring $20 a week, you'll save over $1,000 a year.

Now, you're probably thinking that there's no way you're going to accomplish everything on this list. The good news is, you don't have to! By implementing just a few of these suggestions, you'll still set aside money that you wouldn't have otherwise. Besides, these aren't the only ways to cut waste. Take a look around your house and at your daily routine. Figure out other ways you could be saving money. The key is to take action and put the savings aside. You'll be amazed at how much you can accomplish in a relatively short amount of time!

While you're at it, why not review your credit card statements and determine whether now might be a good time to consolidate outstanding debts? If you are carrying balances on your credit cards, then you may be costing yourself thousands each year without even realizing it. Homeowners should turn to their mortgage professional for advice regarding the many loan programs available that could help free them from this financial burden.

Here's to a bright financial future in 2007!

License AK# 157293 Washington Consumer Loan Company license# CL-157293 California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, License# 4131067

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