Money

6 Ways to Save $50 a Day

05.17.11 Money_Falling

Are you looking to save a little cash? In order to find cash, you’ve got to look in all of the right places.

Surprisingly finding a few more dollar bills may not be as hard as you might think. Cotton Candy contributor Ornella Grosz challenges us to try all of her suggestions below. Doing them can save you nearly $50 each day, adding up to one sweet year.

Cha ching!

No. 1 Manage your debt

On average, Americans households owe on credit cards $14,750 with 13.67 percent average APR. By transferring a balance of $5,000 to a 0% credit card and paying it off within the 12 month introductory term you are saving almost $728 a year, less $150 balance transfer fee.

Annual savings:  $578

Refinance the mortgage. According to Bankrate.com, a 30 year fixed refi is 4.62 percent, but let’s assume it rises to 4.80 percent. Reducing your rate on a $200,000 mortgage with 6.0 percent interest to 4.80 percent is almost a 13 percent savings on your monthly payment, or $151 per month. Hold on to your home long enough to recoup the closing costs associated with refinancing.

Annual savings: $1,812

Total annual savings: $2,390

No. 2 Increase your tax cut

Money you contribute to your tax deductible health savings account (HAS) can be used for medical expenses in any year. For single ladies the max contribution is $ 3,050, saving you $854 per year (assuming you are in a 28 percent tax bracket.)

Annual Savings: $854

The 2011 temporary Social Security tax cut decreased  6.2 percent to 4.2 percent leaving you room to contribute more towards your 401(k). If you earn $55,000, you’ll have almost $92 extra a month towards your 401(k), plus $275 in tax savings.

Annual savings: $275

Total Annual Savings:  $1,129

No. 3 Pay less for investing

Investing in index funds with expense ratios of less than .1 percent and using a discount broker, such as Wells Fargo, Zecco or ING, you will increase your savings.

Total Annual Savings: $1,400

No. 4 Practical Efficiency

Sealing air leakage, upgrading insulation, replacing an older refrigerator and laundry washer can cut electric bill by 20 percent.
Annual savings: $900

Hold on to your paid-off car.  The average new car payment is $370. The value of a new car depreciates at least 20 percent in the first two years.

Annual Savings:  $4,440

Total Annual Savings: $5,340

No. 5 Transportation

Downsizing your gas guzzling SUV might offer some relief if you are in the market to buy a car. Trading down your SUV for a pre-owned vehicle with favorable gas mileage is a better choice than a new vehicle.

Annual Savings: $1,000

Alter your driving behavior to save money. Assuming it takes 20 gallons to fill up your gas tank, you can save up to 33 percent by slowing down on the aggressive driving.  Remove the junk in your trunk. An additional 100 pounds can reduce your MPG by 2 percent.

Annual Savings: $1,102

Keep your car in shape with proper engine tune-up, proper tire pressure for your vehicle, and using recommended grade of motor oil will help to improve your gas mileage.

Annual Savings: $172

By increasing the deductibles on your auto insurance coverage from $100 to $1,000 you can reduce your premiums by at least 20 percent.

Annual Savings: $300

Total Annual Savings: $2574

No. 6 Reduce excess spending

The average household spends $6,372 per year on food and $5,127 per year on everything else outside of the essentials, such as transportation, housing, insurance, etc. Cooking your meals and bringing your brown bag to work for lunch can save you almost $200 per month.  Cutting back on premium coffee, unwatched cable TV, impulse buys,and other excessive spending habits could save you an additional $255 per month.

Total Annual Savings: $4,855


Written by: Ornella Grosz

Grosz is the author of Moneylicious: A Financial Clue for Generation Y

Cotton Candy Magazine®