Way to Save #32: Do Your Homework
on August 20, 2009

Do your homework. Check the cost of repairs, maintenance, licensing, fuel and insurance before you decide on a make and model. Then arm yourself with the suggested retail and wholesale prices. You can find them at car websites, in used car guides at the library or through your credit union or other lender.

Way to Save #31: Know Your Loan Before You Shop
on August 19, 2009

Always be pre-approved for a loan before you shop. Like with new-car shopping, you want to have all the loan details worked out before you go shopping. That way when you find what you’re looking for you can pounce before it gets away.

Way to Save #30: Always Buy Used
on August 18, 2009

If you’re going to buy a car, always buy used. A two-year-old car may have depreciated in price by 50%, but it’s still got 70% of its useful life left. That’s why used cars are nearly always a better deal than new. Plus, the insurance cost is lower.

Way to Save #29: Get Pre-approved
on August 17, 2009

Always get pre-approved for a loan before you shop. Even if you end up using dealer financing, it’s important to know how much you can borrow and what the rates will be. That makes you a tougher negotiator. You’ll especially need to know this information in order to choose between a rebate and low-interest financing. … Continued

Way to Save #28: Say 'No' To Fees
on August 16, 2009

Just say NO to fees. One of the main ways dealers make money on cars is to pad prices with extra fees like “documentation,” “advertising” and all kinds of others. Eliminate the ones you can, understand the ones you can’t, and check the final contract to make sure that eliminated fees don’t magically reappear.

Way to Save #27: Get The Dealer's Invoice
on August 15, 2009

If you’re going to buy a car, get the dealer’s invoice price before you shop. You can find it at many web sites (like the ones above) or in new-car guides at the library. Your objective is to pay no more than 3% over the invoice amount. Don’t forget to also get the dealers invoice … Continued

Way to Save #26: Research, Research, Research
on August 14, 2009

When buying a car, choose your make and model carefully. You obviously want to buy a car that’s within your price range, but don’t forget to consider other costs, like insurance, gas mileage, maintenance and repair. These numbers are available in new car guides at your library or online at websites like www.kbb.com and www.edmunds.com.

Way to Save #25: Negotiate Price, Not Payment
on August 13, 2009

Always negotiate price, never payments. Payments can be manipulated so that practically anything is affordable. Salespeople will always try to get you to talk payments. Good negotiators always talk price: the payments will take care of themselves.

Way to Save #24: Avoid New Cars
on August 12, 2009

Avoid new cars. Because cars are made better now than they used to be, buying used isn’t as risky as it used to be. Buying a car even two years old can save you from 25% to 40%.

Way to Save #23: Don't Buy Until You Try
on August 11, 2009

Avoid buying sports accessories until you know that the activity is a fixed habit. For example, don’t buy a gym bag until you’ve been to the gym 20 times. Don’t buy good inline skates until you’ve racked up 200 miles on the cheap ones. Reward yourself with a Walkman after you’ve jogged 20 miles with … Continued

Way to Save #22: Trial Memberships
on August 10, 2009

If you insist on joining a health club, try joining for a month or buying a series of single-day passes first to make sure you’re going to have the time and discipline to stick with it. Avoid long-term membership contracts.

Way to Save #21: Home Workouts
on August 9, 2009

Buy inexpensive workout and aerobic videotapes and use them at home with your TV. You could easily get a better workout than you’d get at a health club, and you can own the tapes for $5 to $10 each. Rent them first until you know you like them.

Way to Save #20: Skip The Gym
on August 8, 2009

Walking or jogging in your neighborhood is free and fresh air is better than the air in a health club.

Way to Save #19: Shop At Home
on August 7, 2009

When clothes shopping, start at home. Many of us go to the store and buy clothes when we already have similar items at home that we’ve forgotten. Do a careful inventory of your clothes before you buy anything, including the ones you have tucked away in the back of your closet or attic. Added bonus: … Continued

Way to Save #18: Share The Cost
on August 6, 2009

Share the cost. If you’re going to buy something that is useful to your neighbors and only needed occasionally, start your own “co-op.” Splitting the cost of a ladder, lawn mower, gardening equipment, tools, and many other expensive items will reduce their cost by at least half (depending on how many people are in your … Continued

Way to Save #17: Buy At Yard Sales
on August 5, 2009

Buy at yard and garage sales. This is the smartest shopping you can do, providing you confine your purchases to only what you actually need.

Way to Save #16: Throw A Yard Sale
on August 4, 2009

Open your own temporary store by having a garage/yard sale. You probably have lots of stuff that you don’t want or need, and that’s just money that’s lying around your house. Spend a day going around your home and identifying everything that you haven’t touched in a year. That’s stuff you should probably either sell … Continued

Way to Save #15: Buy Pre-Scratched
on August 3, 2009

Buy your furniture and appliances pre-scratched. Scratch-and-dent can save you plenty, especially when you bargain down the price even more.

Way to Save #14: Don't Get Features You Don't Need
on August 2, 2009

Don’t pay for extra features that you don’t need. Fancy extras on everything from cars to VCRs are often high-profit-margin items for manufacturers and dealers. Even if it only costs “a little more” why buy things you’ll never use? Fewer gadgets can also mean longer product life with less in repair bills.

Way to Save #13: Department Store Credit Cards
on August 1, 2009

Get 10% to 15% off by opening a department store credit account. Stores often offer you substantial discounts to induce you to sign up for (and get hooked on) their high-interest credit cards. Fine. Take them up on their offer and get your discount. But when the statement comes in, pay the bill in full … Continued

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