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"Save Big": How To Cut Out Big Costs

Posted: 12/29/09 03:06 PM ET

Happy New Year everyone! Did you know that two of the top three New Year's resolutions have to do with money? They are:

#2: Manage debt
#3: Save money

To see the entire top 10 list click here.

The number 1 resolution is to lose weight and if I could tell you how to do that I wouldn't need to save money because I would be rolling in it! So, I won't talk weight loss -- but I will talk debt loss and savings gain.

I just finished writing a book called "Save Big: Cut Your Top 5 Costs and Save Thousands". I'm here to tell you that the guilt trip is over. I'm not going to tell you to give up your daily latte. Or install low-flow showerheads. Or pack your own lunch. I've always been impatient with that tired old advice, because the savings don't add up fast enough and because cutting out life's little pleasures is, well, a drag.

Instead, in my book, every tip has the potential to save you at least a thousand dollars! How? Well, if you can figure out where you spend big, you can SAVE BIG. Don't worry. I figured it out for you. Our top 5 costs are:


1. Houses
2. Cars
3. Credit
4. Groceries
5. Healthcare

These 5 categories are rich with opportunities for you to save more money less often. I'm not a fan of savings strategies that require daily maintenance -- and deprivation. Instead, I like to battle big boring expenses every once in awhile. Here are a few real-life examples from my book:


HOUSE:
• Fight junk closing costs when you buy a home and save $2,530.
• Refinance into a shorter mortgage. Save $103,536.
• Appeal your property taxes and save $2,626.

CAR:
• Buy a "dark horse" car instead of the most popular make and model and save $6,814.
• Pay cash for your car and save $2,608.
• Exercise a "secret warranty" where the dealer fixes flaws for free and save $1,200.

CREDIT:
• Ferociously guard your credit score and save $2,916 a year on your mortgage.
• Undergo rapid rescoring before finalizing a mortgage and save $72,000 over the life of the loan.
• Negotiate for a lower credit card interest rate and save $1,272.

GROCERIES:
• Price match using simple online tools and save $4,628 a year on groceries.
• Stockpile groceries when they're cheapest instead of when you need them and save $5,772 a year.
• Master creative couponing (Click don't clip!) and save $7,956 a year.

HEALTHCARE:
• Raise your health insurance deductible and save $2,700 a year.
• Take the over-the-counter version of a drug instead of the identical prescription version and save $1,763 a year.
• Hire a medical billing advocate to fight hospital billing errors and save $6,858.

In all, I demonstrate $1,176,916 worth of savings in the pages of "Save Big", but I'm still learning! A couple weeks ago I heard for the first time that you can refinance your car loan and save thousands. Who knew! I hope to start a dialogue where we all share secrets for saving BIG. To join me in this juicy conversation, please visit www.elisabethleamy.com.