Financial expert Vera Gibbon's stops by and offers tips on how to save $1000 by the first day of summer!
If you're looking for some extra money for the summer, now is a great time to ADJUST YOUR TAX WITHHOLDINGS. The average person can save $459 between now and summertime with this one tip. Here's how I got that number: the IRS reports that the average tax refund this year was about $2755. If you were among those who got a refund, stop paying Uncle Sam too much throughout the year and keep that money for yourself! It's so much better to get that money as you earn it. To find out how many withholdings you should be claiming, use the withholding calculator on the web, then file a new W-4 form with your employer's Human Resources department. The changes will go into effect on your very next paycheck.
Ditch your gym membership
If you do – you're looking at an average savings of $86 between now and summer. That's because the average gym membership nationwide costs about $43 per month. And if you live in a major city, you could be paying upwards of $80 a month, so quitting the gym would really help you boost your savings considerably. It's something to consider particularly if you're NOT GOING to the gym! Pocket the savings and lose the guilty conscience!
Sell unwanted gift cards
It's time to SELL YOUR UNWANTED GIFT CARDS. It's so easy and it could mean finding yourself upwards of $240. The average household has about $300 in unspent gift cards. You can actually turn those cards into cash on designated websites that are all about buying, selling and swapping gift cards. You won't get the full value of the card – you'll get up to 92% at best. But even if you get an 80% return on $300 worth of cards, that's $240 cash that you didn't have before!
Use price matching policies
In two months' time, the average household can save about $30 by utilizing price adjustments. These policies, which offer a refund for the difference to shoppers who find a better price at the retailer or a competitor after buying, have not only gotten more generous, but more expansive. Some of your favorite big box stores are now matching local competitor store prices and online prices as well. The easiest way to get a lower price is to either go in with a circular from a competitor, or you can even use your smart phone to show them a better price elsewhere.
Use the self-checkout line
Start USING THE SELF-CHECKOUT AISLE. Using the self-checkout can save you about $80 over the next two months. Here's why: Studies have shown that using the self-checkout lines – as opposed to having a clerk help you check out -- lowers those impulse buys at the checkout counter by 32% among women! Cut out those purchases altogether and you can save yourself $80 between now and summer time.
Automate your savings
I want everyone to AUTOMATE YOUR SAVINGS. You can add another $105 bucks to our piggy bank just by having a small amount of money automatically deducted from our paycheck and deposited automatically into a savings account. Assuming you get paid twice a month, that's a little over $26 taken from each check. It's money you won't miss because you never saw it! And paying yourself first is a surefire way to accumulate savings between now and summer!
Check out extra money saving tips Vera offers as a web exclusive!
Challenge your property taxes
Estimates vary, but according to the National Taxpayers Union between 30 and 60 percent of homeowners may be getting over accessed on their property tax. It's important to first study your property card for errors in your home's specs. Compare your home's value and taxes with other nearby homes. www.Valueappeal.com is a website you can use. Third, go to ntu.org/tax-basics to learn how to build your case before the tax assessor. Challenge the amount in question, keeping your eye on the prize: one in three challenges results in a tax reduction! According to the national Taxpayers Union, the average tax savings are between $200 and $5000 a year!
Drive less often
There is no question that gas is more expensive than ever. The typical household spends nearly $350 per month on gasoline. Over the course of a year, that's about $4,200 that goes to keeping your cars fueled up! While the average person can't afford to get rid of their vehicles altogether, you probably can find ways to at least drive less. Carpool with co-workers to work or take the bus. Get a bike and ride or walk when you're going somewhere that's within a few miles from your house. As for your car, make sure you're doing everything you can to get the best gas mileage out of it.
According to a report by the Internet Innovation Alliance, the average consumer saves about $47 a year by paying bills online! Sign up through online bill pay through your banking service. This eliminates the cost of postage, check reorder fees and additional charges for paying by phone!