If you haven’t noticed, Twitter is a breeding ground for bargain hunters who want to share their steal-finding prowess with the world. I have no problem with this. In fact, I embrace it. You’d like to share the latest Gap discount code with me? Great. You found out that a website is offering free shipping? Beautiful. Last week I ordered a magazine subscription for $5 because I caught the special on Twitter (and it was a magazine I was thinking about anyway). I felt so new-age.
more about: saving
Have you ever bought aspirin? Filled a prescription? Written a check for a co-pay at the doctor’s office? Sure you have. People spend hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars every year on medical expenses. That’s why Flexible Spending Accounts, or FSAs, are so fantastic: If you use them correctly, they can save you serious cash on expenses you’re incurring anyway.
It’s a common money-saving mantra: “Try generic,” the experts say. “You might like it.” If you avert your gaze from the more-expensive eye-level shelves at the grocery store, you’ll notice these products hanging out meekly above and below—store brand, not nearly as pretty, but definitely cheaper. At the drugstore, I find them sitting right next to the name-brand products they’re competing against. “Pick me!” they seem to say. “I’ve got the exact same active ingredients!”
Every year I think about having a simpler holiday season: Fewer gifts, more meaningful traditions, less stress. My family has even talked about taking a great trip together instead of exchanging presents—making memories instead of making purchases. And yet (almost) every year, I still end up spending more than I intended, rushing-rushing-rushing through my hectic holiday calendar, and breathing a huge sigh of relief on January 1st when my life can finally return to normal.
Your 401(k), that is. I have some 401(k) money sitting in an old employer plan right now, and to be honest, I don’t look at it all that much. I subscribe to the idea that I don’t need those funds for a few decades, and checking the balances every day is only going to needlessly stress me out. However, given all the zigging and zagging of the stock market last year, it’s fair to assume that my money isn’t necessarily where I left it.
If you have $50 left in your checking account, and you try to use your debit card for a $75 grocery tab, will your bank let it go through? If you said yes, you’re in good company. And you’re also in the majority if your bank charges for the privilege—often to the tune of $30 or more per transaction. It’s called an overdraft fee, and it can add up quickly.
But did you know you may be able to decline it?