REAL-TIME QUOTES


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Special section Time to save

Use these frugal tips to squeeze the life out of each and every dollar. If you feel like you're hemorrhaging money find out where the bleeding is and make it stop!

Saving for the holidays

10 ways to save $500 or more
 

6. Don't flush money down the commode.
No-name-brand toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, paper cups, plastic wrap, plastic bags, etc., are all available at half the price of similar name-brand products when you buy them in bulk.

You don't even have to wait for a sale. Such stores as Wal-Mart, Kmart, Costco and Sam's Club offer these items all the time at bulk rates.

For instance, you can buy 15,000 sheets of toilet paper for about $13, compared to the 4,224 sheets of the "squeezably soft" variety that routinely sells for $9 in a 12-pack. Big-name plastic wrap can be 10 times more expensive than the big-box variety.

Of course, bulk buying requires having some cash on hand, transportation to carry large quantities and big enough storage space for these items. If you can manage those basic requirements, buying big can be a tremendous deal and easily cut costs by $500 per year. But remember, putting these purchases on your credit card defeats the purpose.

7. Limit media.
A cost that didn't exist at all for most people a decade ago has morphed into a major expense. The average monthly cable bill, excluding Internet access and other extras, now runs about $52, according to Kagan Research, which monitors the broadcasting industry. Look hard at what you are spending for television, phone and Internet. If you are like the rest of us, cutting $50 a month out of this category is a slam dunk.

Who watches 300 channels anyway? The easiest way to cut costs: Just take a deep breath and cancel everything but the basic plan. Most cable companies have a very limited plan for $10 or $15 per month that offers local channels and a few other networks. If you have satellite, the basic plan, including local channels, will cost you about $30. If you want to watch a movie or an HBO series now and then, rent it -- you'll still come out way ahead.

If you have greater than average do-it-yourself skills, consider installing an antenna and capturing high-definition television signals over the air. An antenna isn't your father's rabbit ears -- you get no snow and reception that's probably clearer than your cable or satellite provides. And best of all, it's free. A page on the National Association of Broadcasters' Web site lists the stations you can expect to receive. In most cities, that's all the networks plus PBS. In rural areas, you might get less, but that's changing quickly. CNET offers a great set of instructions for setting it up and calls it a three-hour project.

-- Updated: June 5, 2008
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