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Credit Reports

Your credit score can affect many aspects of your life, from insurance rates, credit card rates, mortgage rates, job prospects, finding an apartment and more. Make sure your credit report is accurate by reviewing it every year.

Use the Official Governent Website. The government allows you to get a free credit report every year. There is only one site for this. It is https://www.annualcreditreport.com. Other “free” credit reporting sites aren’t really fee and make you sign up for a $15/month payment.

Get Errors Fixed! Once you get your annual credit report, check it for errors. If you see any inaccuracies, get them fixed! See this article by the Federal Trade Commission for information on how to do this.

Big Ticket Items

When making a big purchase, get the best price by following these tips:

Don’t Get the Extended Service Plan. Extended service plans are a rip-off, plain and simple. Here’s what the Washington Post has to say:

“The vast majority of extended warranties are never used, simply because most products do not need a repair or, worse, the extended-warranty provider refuses to cover the repair or makes it such a hassle that it makes more sense to pay for it on your own.”

Negotiate. The price on a large appliance is rarely final. Nowadays, even big box stores are sometimes willing to negotiate.

Shop Around. Never make a big purchase without going to at least two stores.

Do Internet Research. Do your research by reading online product reviews. The salesman at the store won’t be an objective source of information.

Ask for a Cash Discount. Merchants have to pay fees of at least 3% for credit card processing. Pay in cash and ask them to pass the savings on to you.

Buy Used. Of course, the best way to save is to buy used. Try searching Craig’s List.

Bank Fees – Don’t Pay Them!

Banks love to charge you random fees.

Every month, remember to carefully check your bank statement. If you find any hidden fees, call your bank and ask that the fees be waived. They will often oblige.

Better yet, switch to a credit union. They are less likely to try any shenanigans.

Gym Memberships

Work Out at Home. Try working out at home for free. It’s amazing what some people can accomplish with only body-weight exercises and light weights.

Negotiate. The rates at most gyms are negotiable. Don’t pay the asking price.

Don’t Commit! Don’t pay for a whole year until you’ve proven that you’ll use it. And like the prices, initiation fees are negotiable. Ask for a month-to-month membership with no initiation fee.

YMCA. The YMCA will often give discounts or free services to people who cannot afford it. The YMCA is especially useful for people with children.

Insurance Rebate. Some insurance companies give rebates on gym memberships. Worth asking about.

The European Way. Americans spend more time in gyms than almost any other country. Unfortunately, we are also one of the fattest
countries. So what gives? Outside of the US, more people stay healthy by walking instead of driving and eating moderate portions of healthy food. If you have a healthy lifestyle, you won’t need a gym.

Save on Textbooks

College textbooks are expensive and it’s tough to avoid paying for them. Your professor writes the book, forces you to buy it for $100, and then changes the edition every year so you can’t sell it back.

With that in mind, remember that the book itself is worthless. It only has value because they force you to use it. Once they make a newer edition, your copy will be worth $0. Here are some tips to limit the damage.

Buy Used. This is kind of a no-brainer. If you can’t find used books locally, try Amazon.com. Just make sure you get the correct edition.

Use the Library. Don’t buy the book – just use the reserve copy at the school library. If you have to read a novel for an English class, check it out from the school or town library.

Always Sell Back. Once the class is over, most people never look at their textbook again. So sell it now while it still has value. If you change your mind, you’ll be able to buy it back later for cheap.

Returns. Understand the return policy for your books. Opening a DVD can make the item unreturnable. The worst thing is buying a textbook for a class you never take!

Borrow From a Friend. Find a friend who took the class last semester and foolishly decided to keep the book. Borrow it.

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