Cut costs , save more

Home/Car Insurance and Financial Fees Save almost $600 a year Some credit cards sock you with fees of $30-plus, the FDIC reports, if you’re even a day late with your payment. Say you have a bad math week and bounce a check—that’s a fortune right there. Stay on top of these painful fees and save yourself from spending money that does nothing for you.

Set up an overdraft account. “Link your checking account to your savings account, so that if you overdraw, the money comes from savings, says Luke Reynolds, head of the FDIC’s community outreach efforts. Just make sure you always have a $300 cushion in your account.

Set up automatic withdrawal. Avoid late fees on your card by having your card issuer automatically withdraw the minimum amount before your due date. Many issuers also let you pay by phone. This helps during those months when you realize the due date is…today.

Don’t pay for credit reports. You know those ads promising free credit reports? Despite the catchy tune, the reports really aren’t free, notes Reynolds—they can cost about $15 per month. For a truly free report, head to You can get one free credit report each year; for most people, that’s plenty, he adds.

Cut ATM fees. Sure, having an ATM on every corner is convenient. But it’s also pricey, if you go outside your own bank’s network. Some ATMs charge $2-to-$3 per transaction. Your own bank may take on another couple bucks. If you use these once a month, that’s $60 out the window by next year. To avoid the fees, head to your bank’s website, and find the branches and ATMs near your usual stomping grounds. Make a point of using these whenever possible. What if you’re away from home and need cash? Use stores as your ATM—pay with your debit card and then ask for extra cash back when you check out, Reynolds suggests. Many times they do this without changing any fees.

Raise your deductible. The average annual bill for homeowner’s insurance was $804 in 2006, according to the Insurance Information Institute. However, by raising your deductible from $500 to $1,000, you could save up to 25 percent on your premium, the Institute says. If your annual tab is about the average, that works out to $200 per year. Same with car insurance: Kick it up from $250 to $500 and you’ll save between $171 and $257 per year, says Sam Belden, vice president with

Revisit your policy. If you’ve changed jobs, for instance, and drive less to work, you may be able to reduce your car insurance rate.  Low mileage rates, which can save you five to 15 percent, typically come into play if you drive less than about 7,500 miles each year, Belden says.

Recession proof your money

Is there a simple (and painless) way to create a budget? Most people are unreasonably afraid of the B-word. But knowing where your money goes can show you where you have room to spend, as well as where you need to cut back. It’s as easy as remembering these two numbers: 60 and 40. Sixty percent of your monthly income should go to fixed expenses such as food, mortgage or rent, utilities, transportation, and health care. Divide the remaining 40 percent as follows:

10% for a retirement fund. Yes, even if you have debt. At the very least, contribute the maximum amount to your 401(k) that your company will match–never pass up dough. 10% for paying off debt or building an emergency fund 10% for short-term savings to be spent on nonrecurring expenses like vacations or unexpected home repairs 10% for fun stuff that will improve your quality of life.


Protect your assets with an index universal life insurance with full living benefits that grows to 13% tax free, contact Connie Dello Buono, CA Life Lic 0G60621, Retirement Planner

1708 Hallmark Lane, San Jose, CA 95124