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Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Monday, April 13, 2020
Five Easy Ways to Save Money – Automatically
By Julia L. Wilkinson
“It’s easy to spend money,” a personal finance professor of mine in college said wisely. Were truer words ever spoken? “The key is to save,” he added. Well, duh, right? But saving money is not so easy for many of us. We may mean well, but by the end of the month, our urges to spend have often gotten the better of us.
Fortunately, there many ways to “set it and forget it” with saving money these days. Here are five of the best ones:
1. Have Your Bank Automatically Transfer Money from Checking to Savings
My bank, Wells Fargo, and many banks these days, have automatic saving services. For example, every time you make a purchase with your debit card, they transfer money from your checking to your savings. After a few months, you may have a tidy little sum in savings, ready for the next big purchase, or a rainy day.
2. Grow Small Change into Big Investments with Acorns
If you’ve ever done well in the stock market, you know how satisfying it can be to watch your money that is invested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or other, grow over time. But what if you don’t have enough money to even open a brokerage account, and don’t know a lot about stocks or the market? Not to worry! There’s an app called “Acorns” which will automatically take small amounts of your money and invest it for you. How does it work? Well, after your initial sign-up, linking it to your bank account, it does things like “round-ups,” where if you make a purchase at a store, and spend $24.50, for example, Acorns will round it up to the nearest dollar and put that 50 cents in your investment account. What companies or investment vehicles does Acorns use? Well, per their app, they invest it for you in “a portfolio of Exchange Traded Funds” (ETFs) with exposure to more than 7000 stocks and bonds. You can get more info by downloading the Acorns app or going to Acorns.com.
3. Start Saving (A Lot of) Money on Expensive Prescriptions with GoodRX
When it comes to health care, it’s hard to believe anything is going to come along to really help us save money on this expensive aspect of our lives. But I was recently shocked to discover how much money I saved on many of my own prescriptions after using an app called “GoodRX.” My own doctor told me about it, so it came well-recommended from a reliable source. GoodRX is an app on your phone (or you can go to their web site at goodrx.com) that can help you get your meds at a discounted price – often significantly discounted. Simply download it and sign up, and the next time you go to refill a prescription, you can search the app for your medicine name. GoodRx will show you the savings you can get at all the different pharmacies close to you. Or, if you always use the same pharmacy, it will show you the savings you can get at that store. For example, I recently paid only $16.00 for a $176.99 retail prescription – a savings of $163.99! And there’s no cost to use the service.
4. Cash All Those Random Coins in with CoinStar
Are you one of those people, like me, who throws your loose change into a big container regularly? After a while, you have quite a big stash of quarters, dimes, nickels, etc. maybe even some collectible coins! Well, after sifting through to see if there are any quarters, say, with real silver in them; a good way to transform that stash into more easily spendable paper money is to trek it over to the grocery store or a store near you where there is a CoinStar machine. Simply pour in the coins, and the machine will add it all up and give you a paper receipt you can take to a checker to get redeemed for paper money. (CoinStar does charge a small fee for the service). A bit easier to spend. Or, deposit that money into your savings!
5. Pay a Quarter, Save Hundreds on Groceries
How could paying a quarter save you hundreds of dollars over time on your grocery shopping?
It can if it’s the quarter you put in a slot to pull a shopping cart out for an Aldi grocery store. Aldi is a discount grocery chain founded by two European brothers. Saving money on not needing employees to round up carts is one of the many ways Aldi is able to charge such low prices for their food. You can buy produce, meat, cereal and other dry goods, desserts, frozen foods, etc. The only thing is you will likely not see the same name brands you see at other, more familiar chains like Safeway or Giant. But this is a small price to pay for…not having to pay high prices! For example, you can buy bread at Aldi for 59 cents, where it is usually over a dollar at traditional grocery stores. Many of Aldi’s products are exclusive generics that can cost up to 50% less than name-brand products. I have shopped there several times myself, and always walk out amazed at how small my bill is at the end. (Oh, and speaking of that, make sure you bring your own bags…not providing free plastic bags is another way Aldi saves its customers money on the food itself). But, if you don’t have any, never fear…they sell their own reusable grocery bags there!