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10 ways to save in 2006

Some people just know how to save.

Saving on everything from lawn mowers to household appliances to car insurance, some of our thrifty readers have the skills to reduce all their bills.

In the spirit of better financial planning for 2006, we compiled the best of the winning tips from past Frugal U contests to create a top 10 list of green-saving guidelines for the new year.

Here's how to shake a few extra pennies from your piggy bank. Happy savings in 2006!

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Defensive driving discount
Complete a defensive driving course and then ask your insurance company for a discount. The course can be taken online for about $40 and can be completed in one afternoon. I saved $150 per year on my car insurance and the discount stays in effect for three years!

Diane Miller
-- Athens, Ga.

Don't be shy ... ask for a better deal!
I discovered that my cell phone plan was no longer the best offer out there. I called my cellular service provider and asked if they could match the offer that I had seen. They immediately offered to not only beat the rate, but also to increase my minutes and throw in free long-distance. My cell phone bill is now half of what it used to be plus all the extras. It doesn't hurt to shop around and ask your current provider to match competitive offers.

Kristy Wilson
-- Middletown, Ohio

Save money on regular online purchases
Once you find something that you would like to purchase online, complete a quick online coupon search for that store and you will receive instant savings on something you already planned to purchase. A coupon search is easily completed on any search engine by typing the name of the store and the word "coupon."

Jamie Juntunen
-- Kapolei, Hawaii

Shop around for home insurance
With the cost of homeowners insurance skyrocketing, I went to my state's department of insurance Web site, which I found by doing a search on Google. There I found a homeowners insurance-rate guide that listed all the companies doing business in my state by county, name, phone number, financial rating, premium rates, complaint index and type of policy they sell. I switched carriers and reduced my annual premium by several hundred dollars.

Susan Wallace
-- Prosper, Texas

Don't just throw it away!
If something you purchased breaks or is damaged by you, your kids or malfunctions for any other reason -- don't just throw it away! I've found that by writing the manufacturer (or, e-mail to save on postage) you can usually get your money back, or a replacement. Over the past year, all five of my requests for replacements and/or refunds were granted by the manufacturers. They weren't all brand new items, either. Don't worry if you don't have the receipt. Many manufacturers just need a model number or a proof of purchase.

Melinda Egan
-- Riverton, Utah

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17 sneaky, fairly painless ways to save
9 ways to stretch your paycheck
Winners and losers: Certificates of deposit
Winner or loser: Mortgage shopper
Winner or loser: Home equity loans

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