5 frugal tips for 40-somethings

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Likely, you’ll need to adjust your finances at this stage. With the kids heading to college and you getting closer to senior status, making some changes now can save you money in the long run.

1. Adjust your auto coverage. If the kids have left for good, take them off the policy. If they are simply away at college, ask about a distant student credit. Usually, it applies if your child is a full-time student, has gone at least a certain distance to college and hasn’t taken one of the family cars to campus. And it can give you a nice break on the premiums.

2. Conserve energy. Take advantage of tax breaks for home improvements such as energy-efficient upgrades or solar renovations.

3. Spend Junior’s college fund wisely. You’ll want to spend any money in a student’s name before tapping any account in a parent’s name. This simple move can make a difference in a student’s eligibility for future aid. The less money saved in a student’s name, the better your child’s chances of scooping up some financial aid.

4. Get rid of private mortgage insurance. If you have 20 percent equity in your home, you could qualify to start saving that money.

5. Prepare for the unexpected. Statistically, your chance of being disabled at age 40 is much higher than your chance of dying. If disaster strikes, you’ll need protection in place to keep your finances afloat. Look into long-term disability insurance — start by checking with your employer.