12 Quick Easy Ways to Find Money
Stop over-paying the IRS. If you are receiving more than $200 for your refund, you've just given Uncle Sam a free loan for the entire year. Change your withholding and use those extra dollars every month to build a retirement account, emergency fund or protect yourself, your loved ones and/or your assets with "cash value" life insurance.
2) Mortgage Refinance
Research your options. Mortgage debt is considered "good debt" because it's secured by real estate, and it's still one of the best deductions to lower your tax burden. In many cases, a refinance can free up hundreds of extra dollars per month. For older planners who can no longer claim dependents, this is a life saver. In most cases, if you are making extra mortgage payments, you should stop. Invest that money safely for yourself and your future.
3) Over-Funding 401k/IRA Plans
Many people contribute more than the matching contribution from their employer into a 401k at work. Take the amount of money over and above the matching contribution and redirect that money to your Personal Pension Plan*. If your employer is not matching your 401(k) or if the funds behind a 401(k) or IRA have performed poorly, it might make sense for you to stop funding them completely. IRA’s and 401k’s become a tax time bomb when you start taking money out, and almost all have exposure to market risks.
4) Savings and CD Accounts
Funding a "Safe Money" retirement plan with savings or money stuck in CD's at less than 4.0% - the average rate of inflation in this country - makes good sense. You still have a certain amount of liquidity, your principal is guaranteed, and the rate of return on these plans beat the pants off passbook savings rates and certificate of deposits over the same period of time, every time.
5) Get Off the Roller Coaster
Disgusted and disillusioned by the stock market roller coaster ride? Want your money to be safe, secure and growing guaranteed each year? Take most - or all - of that stock portfolio and invest in Safe Money Assets for growth, wealth preservation and peace of mind. If you understand the time value of money and don't want to outlive yours, learn about Fixed Indexed Annuities that mirror stock market gains without the risk.
6) Review Your Service Providers
People are often shocked at how much they are paying for utilities and other services. Monitor your expenditures for 3 months, and you will probably find that you are over-paying or spending money on many things that you simply do not need. Raise the deductible on insurance policies, cut back premium cable channels,get an iron and fire your dry-cleaner. Making some minor lifestyle changes, or just doing a little research on reducing current expenses keeps more of your money where it belongs:in your account.
7) Old In Force Insurance Policies
Many people have existing life insurance policies that they have outgrown or that are not structured correctly. You may be able to do a simple 1035 exchange that keeps the cash value and the tax benefits that you currently have, while vastly improving your results and returns.
8) Get Efficient
Many people are able to save a significant amount of money by just slightly changing their daily habits:using less energy and being conscious of your choices can really add up over the course of a year. Do laundry and wash dishes at night, not during "peak energy" hours. Use coupons. Buy in bulk for dry goods and sundries. Wash your own car. Wash your own dog. Limit "treats" to special occasions,not every day indulgences.
9) Rein in Expenses
Credit card charges an annual fee? Get rid of it. Same with your bank accounts. Just $12 a month in checking account fees adds up to $144 a year that should be in your account;over 10 years:$1440. You shouldn't be paying people to use your own money. Have memberships that you really don't need or use? Cancel them now- magazine subscriptions included. Often utility and service providers are open to negotiation - especially if you threaten to cancel and go to the competition.
10) Sell What You Don't Use
No, not on eBay - unless that's your thing. There are many ways to dispose of gently used goods easily and fee-free with no shipping costs or hassle. Websites like Letgo and OfferUp are easy to use and let you post ads locally in minutes, while protecting your identity. So go on - clean out that basement, attic, storage closet or garage. Here's a good rule of thumb: if you haven't used it in a year or more, you never will. It takes less time and effort than you would think,and you can make a lot of extra money for a savings plan or a cash emergency fund. If it's not sell-able, it's still most likely a tax deduction. Storage unit? Weigh the balance between what you're storing and the annual cost, plus what you would gain selling those items. You could be sitting on a gold mine.
11) Go Organic
Start a vegetable garden! No green thumb? You'd be surprised. With just $90 and 4 hours of work, one of our clients in northern California was able to plant lettuce, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, green peppers, chili peppers, blueberries, blackberries and an avocado tree in a 2'x32' strip of land around the patio of his luxury town home. His annual savings? Just over $63 a month - or $756 a year. Every year. No yard? You can still grow a great variety of fruits and veggies in hanging baskets and window gardens. Good for the heart, soul - and wallet!
12) Get Rebates on Almost Everything
Shop online? Learn to use Ebates.com. This incredibly simple money saving machine requires you to do nothing but create an account (user name, password, name and address where you want your check mailed) and shop online through their website, which is merely a portal that tracks your shopping at other sites. Train yourself to click on Ebates first, then simply enter your store or merchant in the "search" box and click away. Every 3 months, you'll receive a check in the mail or a direct deposit of your rebate savings. Save the link on your desktop and get money back every time you make a purchase. Several clients are getting back over $250 every quarter, or $1000 annually.