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Great Ways to Save

9 Ways to Save on Your Finances

Did you know paying with cash is a saving strategy? Read on for more penny-pinching tips and tricks

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En español | Tax break. Many jurisdictions give property tax relief to older homeowners, based on income. Be prepared to submit documentation on your income and any Social Security benefits you may receive.

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Gave at the office. Charitable donations made via payroll deductions are often overlooked tax deductions. There's no line on most W-2s for them, but pay stubs or receipts from recipients can prove your generosity.

Save with cash. Studies show that people may spend 50 percent more on fast food and other purchases when they pay with a debit or credit card, because parting with cash hurts more. Some retailers, including gas stations, offer discounts to cash customers to avoid paying the card "swipe fee" to a bank.

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Stretch your dollars by taking advantage of tax breaks, donating items and more. — Photo by: Renee Rhyner

Pay yourself. Put an open jar in a conspicuous place in your home. When you do something you might have paid for — ironing, cooking, fixing a good latte — feed the jar with the amount you'd have spent. Do the same if you resist the impulse to buy something. The money will add up, fast.

Cut college costs. Make direct subsidized federal loans your first choice; they're easier to get, tend to be cheaper and there's no interest while you're in school at least half-time. Having loan payments automatically debited from your bank account can knock down your interest rate by a quarter percentage point or more. For a website that channels contributions from friends and family members to lenders, check out Lily's List.

Next: Why you should pay more than the minimum. >>

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