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!
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!
-- Athens, Ga.
Don't be shy ... ask for a better
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.
-- Middletown, Ohio
Save money on regular online
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."
-- 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.
-- 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
-- Riverton, Utah