Luxury Lifestyle

Five Small Steps That Make Lots of Cents

In yesterday’s post, we talked about how increasing your buying power can significantly increase your take home earnings and help you better prepare for retirement without sacrificing your quality of life.

I wanted to follow-up with some ideas that you could act on or keep in mind in your day-to-day.  I wanted to focus on ideas that allow you to still buy or experience the things you want out of life, but can save you tons of cents.

Please let me know if you have any questions.  I hope to build out this list and include deeper dives into each of these ideas in future posts.

#1. Maximize Discounts and Shop Around.

A) Focus your buying around holidays or events where discounts are deepest.  Try to anticipate your needs in the upcoming year.

  • Example: A $300 headphone bought in advance during Black Friday for $150 is a 100% return on your cash payment!  Professional investment managers would kill for a 100% return…

B) Use best rate guarantees to significantly reduce your cost of travel or other goods and services.

  • Example:  Hotel best rate guarantee programs are among the most lucrative, and many times will provide an additional discount on top of the lowest quoted price!
  • Read more on how to take advantage here and for an example that saved an extra $110 per night on a hotel rate.  That post also summarizes the benefits they offer, and has helpful links to reach most of the major hotel players and their best rate guarantee programs directly. (Bottom Line: Bookmark it for next time you travel!)

C) Get a second quote on big ticket items and purchases (vehicles, accounting, house maintenance) — at the very least, a second quote might help you avoid getting ripped off.

  • Example: A recent NYTimes article included an anecdote on how we scrutinize the prices on relatively inexpensive goods, but forget to price-shop the big ticket items.  For example, car purchases.   A majority of people may only go to one dealer before landing on a deal.  However, going to a second dealer can save you on hundreds if not thousands of dollars during the life of the contract.  That’s significant cents.

D) Maximize your tax benefits.  There’s no reason that you should pay more of your income proportionally in taxes than someone like Donald Trump, who likely makes more than you.  If anything, if we all maximize our tax benefits it might force change to make the system fairer.  A good accountant can be worth hundreds of dollars if they save you thousands!

#2. Be Flexible.

A) With Food and Groceries.  Even Whole Foods has some killer sales on their fresh and premium foods.  If you’re flexible with what you are willing to buy from your local grocer, you can find items like lobster or prime steak for 50% off pretty frequently.

B) With Travel.  Almost every week, I receive a fare alert showing sub-$500 roundtrip fares from Miami to Southeast Asia, or Europe, or almost anywhere in the world.  I can’t choose what routes go on sale, but I can take advantage of some pretty cool places when they do go on sale.  This applies to plane tickets and hotel rooms!  In many cases, the fares I look at are normally $1,000 to $2,000 roundtrip!

C) Visiting Restaurants and Bars. Visiting restaurants during special promotions or happy hours can reduce your overall bill significantly while giving you the same level of service, quality and experience as a non-promotional or happy hour time.  This is a no-brainer if you have a flexible schedule and especially if you are flexible with what you order!

#3. Live Closer to Where You Work. Potentially get rid of your car, definitely reduce your cost to commute, and save time that you can invest on improving your quality of life!

Being able to nix a car payment, insurance, maintenance, gas, and parking could add up to $10,000 or more a year alone.  No joke.

#4. Reduce Fees. Recurring payments add up — and are you sure you still take advantage of what you’re paying for?  Try auditing your recurring payments 3 to 4x a year realizing that each monthly payment you get rid of is 12x the savings on an annual basis.

  • Example: That freaking monthly Experian charge is so stupid — my credit doesn’t change that much and by law I get free comprehensive credit reports once a year from the three major bureaus.  If I time it right, I can check my credit report once every 4 months — for free!  I feel so stupid for even starting it and I don’t even want to tell you how much I’ve paid over the years on this silly service… (>$400). (facepalm)

#5. Simplify Life.  What matters to you most? Maybe spending more time at your park, pool, beach or even home with the people you care most about will make you happier — and is generally free!

What steps do you take that make big cents?

Read more about why you should save for retirement now, here.  Once you’re convinced you need to start preparing for your future, now, visit this page to learn more about Roth versus Traditional retirement accounts to pick an option that makes you more cents.  

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