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Six simple ways not to waste your money

October 26, 2009

Today’s economic distress has given new life to Ben Franklin’s old maxim that a penny saved is a penny earned. Here are some common maxims for you to consider (or reconsider) on how to spend your pennies – and dollars – wisely.

  1. Don’t buy on impulse. Unplanned or spontaneous purchases can help you feel instant gratification – but after the thrill wears off, you may be stuck with paying for something you didn’t really want or need. Think before you buy costly items. If you decide you want a certain item and can afford it, give yourself time to comparison shop for the best price. And don’t buy new when old will do.
  2. Don’t buy brand name all the time. Fancy labels come with a price – a higher price. Think generic whenever it makes sense. For instance, you often save considerable money and don’t lose much – if anything in quality – when you buy generic prescription drugs and groceries.
  3. Don’t buy things simply because they’re discounted. Have you ever been lured by a “60% off” or “buy one, get one free” advertising pitch? Sure, a bargain always sounds smart. But, what if it’s for grocery products or other items you’ll eventually toss out or leave unused on your shelf? Don’t buy things you wouldn’t have bought in the first place, simply because their price is nice.
  4. Don’t pay for unnecessary services. Are you paying for a lot more cable channels or phone features than you need? Do you have a mountainous pile of magazines because you subscribe to publications that you never get around to reading? Or a gym membership you never take advantage of? Consider cutting back on those expenses.
  5. Don’t pay for things you can get for free. Think of the library as your ticket to savings for books, music and movies. And don’t pay for your credit report. Order your report from annualcreditreport.com, the only web site authorized by the U.S. government to provide free credit reports from the three major bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Plus, you can see your credit score for free, simply by visiting Alliant’s Online Banking at www.alliantcreditunion.org 1
  6. Don’t pay to use ATMs. Shelling out $2 here or $3 there to use out-of-network ATMs can really add up. Avoid these surcharges. Take advantage of Alliant’s more than 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs.2 See Alliant’s online ATM Locator at www.alliantcreditunion.org for a list of ATMs that accept deposits or are surcharge-free.

 

1 If you do not wish to have your credit score available through Alliant Online Banking you can disable it by logging in to your account, selecting “credit score” on the left-side navigation menu, then select the "Opt Out" link, or call the Member Contact Center at 800-328-1935 (24/7). Not all members will have a credit score available on Alliant Online Banking. Please refer to the FAQ on the Credit Score page in Alliant Online Banking for more information. 2 Alliant charges a nominal fee after eight transactions have been performed in a month at non-Alliant ATMs, including CO-OP Network, Credit Union 24 CU Here, Bank of the West, Allpoint and Alliance One ATMs. Not every Allpoint ATM is surcharge-free.

 

Sources: Kiplinger.com, bankrate.com and consumerist.comv


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