Cut $100 from Your Monthly Budget (Plus More Expert Secrets)
The personal finance pros give their best pieces of advice for flying cheaper, spending less money on food and more.
How to Find an Extra Benjamin Every Month
Ready to play a game I call Want or Need? Here's how: Run through your monthly budget (if you need to, you can use the free Expense Tracker at suzeorman.com
) and highlight all the expenses that are "wants" (anything you do not literally need to survive; please be honest!). Then start cutting those costs by 10 percent—going out for fewer meals—until you're left with $100 extra. To trim even further, check for discounts before you make a purchase. Sites like couponcabin.com
(which offer printable coupons and promo codes on everything from groceries to diapers) and apps like Pic2Shop (scan a bar code with your phone, and the app searches for online or local retailers selling it cheaper) can save you big.
—Suze Orman, host of The Suze Orman Show
How to Fly Cheaper
To find the cheapest day to fly, go to matrix.itasoftware.com
, select "simple search options," then "see calendar of lowest fares," and enter your destination.
Before you buy a ticket, google "coupon code" and the airline name to see what deals turn up.
Upgrades can cost less than you might think. For example, with a full-fare economy ticket from American Airlines, you can request an upgrade on aa.com
before you fly for $30 per 500 miles.
—Stephanie Rosenbloom, the Getaway columist for The New York Times
How to Find Your Own Food
Delicious weeds are probably growing in your yard right now. Look for cardamine, a wild cress with a peppery kick; chickweed, a good spinach substitute; and Japanese barberry, a sweet fruit that tastes like raspberries. For help identifying them, upload pictures to the plant ID forum at meadowsandmore.com
—Tama Matsuoka Wong, coauthor of Foraged Flavor
How to Bank in the Digital Age
My research shows that people who balance their checkbooks are happier—and others have found that people who bank online check their accounts four times more often than those who don't. (You do the math.) Being able to check financial activity in real time helps combat identity theft and lets you cancel incorrect charges before they get costly. Plus, e-statements are hard to misplace. Buy a zipper-compartment wallet, save your receipts, and at the end of each week, reconcile the transactions with your online statements. You can also sign up with a free personal finance management site like Mint
, which will display your records from various accounts in one place. Best of all: Your bank might even give you a break on fees for banking online.
—Jean Chatzky, finance expert
Next: Suze Orman: 5 pieces of financial advice to avoid at all costs