This is a guest post from Margarette Burnette at CouponsAndKids.com.
We could all use a jump-start in our savings for the new decade. If you’re looking for new ways to plump up your nest egg, try these ten ideas for 2010.
1. To get winter savings, call your heating provider and ask for a lower rate. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average cost of space-heating fuels this winter is expected to decrease by about $84 . If you’re on a fixed rate heating plan—where unit rates won’t decrease at all–call your utility company and ask if it makes sense to go to a variable (or lower fixed) rate plan. Potential 2010 Savings: $84.
2. For summertime savings, call your electric company and enroll in a load management program. You could get a discount if you agree to cut your energy usage during peak periods (when air conditioners are typically going full-speed). In the mid-west, customers who opt for Duke Energy’s Power Manager Program receive a one-time credit of at least $25 just for signing up. Potential 2010 Savings: $25 or more.
3. Adopt a “round up” or “round down” spare change savings plan. Whenever you spend money, round up the total and put the difference between the actual price and the round number in your savings account. If you round up only $5 a week, that’s a 2010 savings of $260.
4. Come in under-budget at the grocery store. Every week, write out your grocery list and try to figure out how much your bill will be. Then, bring the right amount of cash for those purchases. If you come in “under budget”, deposit the difference at the bank (some supermarkets have banks or ATMs on the premises). By making $10 under budget each week, you could deposit 2010 savings of $520.
5. When shopping online, use rebate web sites. Companies such as Upromise.com give a rebate of 1% to 25% of purchases spent through their site, which can go towards a child’s college fund. If you make $4,500 in online purchases over the course of the year, and receive an average a rebate of 5%, that’s a potential 2010 savings of $225.
6. Call your car insurance company and ask for a low-mileage discount. If you commute fewer than 10,000 miles per year (for example, you work from home or recently lost your job), car insurance companies may give you a rate discount of up to ten percent. If your premium is usually $1,750 a year, that’s a potential 2010 savings of $175. (And even if you don’t have a short commute, shop around for new insurance at least once during the year. You may find a lower rate with another insurer).
7. Find a credit card with lower interest rates. Though new credit card rules don’t take effect until February, you may be able to find a lower rate today by comparing credit card companies. One free site, Billshrink.com, will let you anonymously input information about your credit card usage. It will then instantly make recommendations about which cards can save you money. If you have a $7,000 balance and can lower your interest rate by 4.5%, that’s a 2010 savings of $315.
8. Find a better cell-phone plan. Billshrink also lets you compare your cell-phone company against their competitors to find a better deal. The average person spends $63 a month for cell phone use, so if you find a plan that fits your needs for 30% less, your 2010 savings could be $225.
9. Seal your heating ducts. According to the Energy Star web site, doing so can prevent the “open window” cold air effect in the winter and save about $190, or twenty percent of the average heating bill. Potential 2010 Savings: $190
So far, you have a potential savings of more than $2,000. But don’t blow all your money before the end of the year. Instead:
10. Invest in a high yield savings account. Many online and traditional financial institutions offer FDIC-insured savings products that can help you earn more on what you save. This Bargain Babe post has information on how to find a better bank to save money. When you do that, it will be a great way to start the New Year.