66 Ways to Save Money When Dealing with BiPolar Disorder
Here are 66 ways to save money. Since so many people write telling me that they are having financial challenges, I got to thinking that there are two ways to increase your income: Either lowering your expenses or by raising your income. In many cases, it's easier for people to lower their expenses or to save money and take the excess money to pay down their debts and use the money saved for better treatment for bipolar disorder.
Below please find a list of 66 ways to save money. Just make sure you take the savings and use it sensibly!Transportation
- Web Resource: http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/publications/bestfare.htm
Web Resource: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/autos/carrent.htm
- Web Resource: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/autos/newcar.htm
Compare the seller's asking price with the average retail price in a "bluebook" or other guide to car prices found at many libraries, banks, and credit unions.
Have a mechanic you trust check the car, especially if the car is sold "as is."
- Web Resource: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/autos/usedcar.htm
- Web Resource: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/leasing
- Web Resource: http://www.fueleconomy.gov
is certified and well established;
has done good work for someone you know; and
communicates well about repair options and costs.
- Web Resource: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/autos/autorpr.htm
You can save several hundred dollars a year by purchasing auto insurance from a licensed, low-price insurer. Call your state insurance department for a publication showing typical prices charged by different companies. Then call at least four of the lowest-priced, licensed insurers to learn what they would charge you for the same coverage.
Talk to your agent or insurer about raising your deductibles on collision and comprehensive coverage to at least $500 or, if you have an old car, dropping this coverage altogether. Taking these steps can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Make certain that your new policy is in effect before dropping your old one.
- Web Resources: http://www.naic.org/cis, http://www.consumeraction.gov/insurance.htm or http://www.consumer.gov
You can save several hundred dollars a year on homeowner insurance and up to $50 a year on renter insurance by purchasing insurance from a low-price, licensed insurer. Ask your state insurance department for a publication showing typical prices charged by different licensed companies. Then call at least four of the lowest priced insurers to learn what they would charge you. If such a publication is not available, it is even more important to call at least four insurers for price quotes.
If you want to buy a whole life, universal life, or other cash value policy, plan to hold it for at least 15 years. Canceling these policies after only a few years can more than double your life insurance costs.
Check the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website (www.naic.org/servlet/cis.Main) or your local library for information on the financial soundness of insurance companies.
Web Resource: http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/acli/index.htm
You can save more than $100 a year in fees by selecting a checking account with a low (or no) minimum balance requirement that you can, and do, meet. Request a list of these and other fees (including ATM and debit card fees) that are charged on these accounts.
Web Resource: http://www.frbatlanta.org/invoke_brochure.cfm
Savings and Investment Products
Before opening a savings or investment account with a bank or other financial institution, find out whether the account is insured by the federal government (FDIC or NCUA). An increasing number of products offered by these institutions, including mutual stock funds and annuities, are not insured.
Once you select a type of savings or investment product, compare rates and fees offered by different institutions. These rates can vary a lot and, over time, can significantly affect interest earnings.
You can save as much as a thousand dollars or more each year in lower credit card interest charges by paying off your entire bill each month or by using a check, cash or debit card for purchases.
You can reduce credit card fees, which may add up to well over $100 a year, by getting rid of all but one or two cards, and by avoiding annual, late payment, and over-the-credit limit fees.
- Web Resource: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/shop
- Web Resource: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/autos/newcar.htm
First Mortgage Loans
Although your monthly payment may be higher, you can save tens of thousands of dollars in interest charges by shopping for the shortest-term mortgage you can afford. On a $100,000 fixed-rate loan at 7% annual percentage rate (APR), for example, you will pay over $75,000 less in interest on a 15-year mortgage than on a 30-year mortgage.
If your local newspaper does not periodically run mortgage rate surveys, call at least six lenders for information about their rates (APRs), points, and fees. You may also check www.bankrate.com for mortgage information in your area. Then ask an accountant to compute precisely how much each mortgage option will cost and its tax implications.
Web Resource: http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/looking/index.html
Consider refinancing your mortgage if you can get a rate that is at least one percentage point lower than your existing mortgage rate and plan to keep the new mortgage for several years or more. Ask an accountant to calculate precisely how much your new mortgage (including points, fees and closing costs) will cost and whether, in the long run, it will cost less than your current mortgage.
Home Equity Loans
Do not purchase any house until it has been examined by a home inspector that you selected.
Web Resource: http://www.hud.gov/buying
Renting a Place to Live
Remember that signing a lease probably obligates you to make all monthly payments for the term of the agreement.
- Web Resource: http://www.hud.gov/renting/index.cfm
Home repairs often cost thousands of dollars and are the subject of frequent complaints. Select from among several well established, licensed contractors who have submitted written, fixed-price bids for the work.
Once you've selected a brand, check the phone book to learn what stores carry this brand, then call at least four of these stores for the prices of specific models. After each store has given you a quote, ask if that's the lowest price they can offer you. This comparison shopping can save you as much as $100 or more.
To save as much as hundreds of dollars a year on electricity, make certain that any new appliances you purchase, especially air conditioners and furnaces, are energy-efficient. Information on the energy efficiency of major appliances is found on Energy Guide Labels required by federal law.
A home energy audit can identify ways to save up to hundreds of dollars a year on home heating (and air conditioning). Ask your electric or gas utility if they can do this audit for free or for a reasonable charge. If they cannot, ask them to refer you to a qualified professional.
- Web Resource: http://hes.lbl.gov/hes
At least once a year review your phone bills for the previous three months to see what local, local toll, long distance, and international calls you normally make. Call several phone companies, including wireless companies, to find an inexpensive calling plan that meets your needs.
If you use a wireless phone, make sure your wireless calling plan covers the calls you typically make. Understand promotions, peak calling periods, area coverage and roaming, and long distance requirements to avoid paying too much.
Food Purchased at Markets
You can save hundreds of dollars a year by shopping at the lower-priced food stores. Convenience stores often charge the highest prices.
You will spend less on food if you shop with a list.
You can save hundreds of dollars a year by comparing price-per-ounce or other unit prices on shelf labels. Stock up on those items with low per-unit costs.
Since pharmacies may charge widely different prices for the same medicine, call several. When taking a drug for a long time, also consider calling mail-order pharmacies, which often charge lower prices.
Make your wishes known about your funeral, memorial, or burial arrangements in writing. Be cautious about prepaying because there may be risks involved.
For information about the least costly options, which could save you several thousand dollars, contact a local memorial society, which is usually listed in the Yellow Pages under funeral services.
Before selecting a funeral home, call several and ask for prices of specific goods and services, or visit them to obtain an itemized price list. You are entitled to this information by law and, by using it to comparison shop, you can save hundreds of dollars.
Web Resource: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/services/funeral.htm
David Oliver is the nation's leading experts on helping and supporting a loved one with bipolar disorder. You can get learn about many of David's little known, yet effective strategies to cope and deal with your loved one's bipolar by clicking here right now. View all articles by David Oliver