Aug 10, 2011

The BIG picture

ok. So you are going to cut down on eating out. You are going brew your own coffee and have breakfast at home. You are going to subscribe to the Sunday paper and combine valuable coupons with sale on certain products and save a ton of money! The list goes on..and every day Yahoo finance has at least one such article with repetitive advice on how you can save money on a daily basis.

All good, but what about the BIG picture?

Someone once said, you want to make pennies, you think about pennies, you want to make dollars you think about dollars! Rather than micromanage you every day life into saving a few dollars, what if you could ACTUALLY make an impact to your finances?

Consider the following list of big ticket items that will significantly make an impact to your bottom line.

  • Re-negotiate your auto/home insurance policy  - This is a no brainer and irrespective of whether your driving record has improved or gotten worse, you should always shop around for a better rate. Most auto insurance companies will charge you 10% penalty fee for bailing out earlier since the rate they gave you 'assumed' you were going to stick with them through the terms of your current policy. But even with the penalty, you almost always come out ahead and save at least more than $50 if you shop around, agree to pay premium in full. Savings: $50-160
  • Get a cheap Broker - if you are still paying more than $5/trade to your current broker, switch immediately to OptionsHouse and pay just $3.95/trade. Don't buy into "My broker gives me state of the art tools" as OptionsHouse gives you all that and honestly it hardly matters. Savings: $250-600
  • Spend an Extra day buying a car - We all have been there. When we are spending $25,000 whats an extra thousand here and there? That's exactly the problem A thousand dollars saved is still a thousand dollars saved irrespective of how much you are spending. Whenever you have the absolute bottom price on a car, rather than JUST get it, just take that LOW price to another dealer and ask them to beat it. Most dealers will or at least will throw in some freebies along with the rock bottom price you were going to get.Try to at least beat the average price of some well known car buying programs like this one. Savings: $500
  • Find Another job or renegotiate your current salary - ok so its not that easy, but the best way to earn more money is by simply switching companies. Times are tough and I wouldn't quit your current position without getting an offer in writing from another company. However, the fact that you have a job right now gives you an edge compared to the unemployed who are desperate for any kind of work. If you are happy with your current position, ask for more money! Times are tough, and its not like your boss will be paying for your salary from his OWN pocket. Read this link for tips on how to ask your boss for a raise.
  • Avoid impulsive shopping - if you ever watched en episode of Entourage or are a big fan of Entourage ask yourself what you love about the show. Its not the story or the characters or the drama. The biggest reason why people love that show is it shows how ordinary street people can make it big and just buy anything and everything whenever they feel like from designer watches to super expensive cars to getting floor tickets to just about any concert or hot women! Its about getting WHAT you want and WHEN you want it. For most ordinary folks like us, its a dream. That doesn't stop us from pretending that we can also be a big shot every once in a while. Just know WHEN would be a good time to buy certain things and you can save a lot by following the proper time table. Savings: $100-500
  • Use a discounted Gift Card: Sites like PlasticJungle sell you unused gift cards from other people for upto 12% discount and free shipping. All gift cards are verified, and have no expiration date. If you are shop regularly at Macy's or eat regularly at California Pizza Kitchen or Chipotle, check them out to see if they have a gift card for you to buy. Certain gift cards like Gas, Grocery stores or Target are ever green since you always need to shop there. Check to see if your retailer's gift card is available at PlasticJungle.
    Savings: 12-20%
    Save your gift cards wisely because if you lose your gift cards then the savings realized by purchasing them at a discount won't matter any more.

    So go ahead, indulge yourself in that White Chocolate Caramel Latte at Starbucks. After all, isn't one allowed the pure pleasure of good tasting coffee in these difficult times?  Most people were predicting Starbucks stock to fall like crazy, but the exact opposite happened. People cut down on luxury cars and stopped eating out, but they still wanted their morning java.

    Always remember the BIG picture.
Are there any BIG items that I missed out; feel free to add your own.

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