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15 Ways to Save on Your Finances

You can lower the costs of managing and protecting your money

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1. Big bills

Convert money into $50 bills. You'll think twice before spending them.

2. Find your pension

See if you or someone you know has an unclaimed pension. Check the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's online directory at

3. Shop for savings rates

Compare savings accounts before making a deposit. Some sites, such as, and, offer online calculators and reviews of accounts with the best interest rates.

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4. Free credit monitoring

You can now get free credit-monitoring services via Other companies typically charge about $10 a month for credit monitoring.

5. Second act

Get your employer to help foot the bill for your education. You may receive up to $5,250 in tax-free education benefits from your employer each year.

6. Catch-up time?

If you are 50 or over, you can contribute an extra $5,500 to your 401(k) plan as a catch-up contribution in 2013.

7. Save on sales tax

See if your state has sales tax holidays. Check the Federation of Tax Administrators website ( and search "sales tax holidays."

8. Youthful drivers

For children under age 25 still living in your home, it's typically cheaper to keep them on your automobile insurance policy. To be on the safe side, have your agent double-check.

9. Homeowners insurance

Don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Make sure you have adequate coverage to rebuild your home in case disaster strikes. Be sure to get replacement coverage on your home and its contents.

10. Index insight

Buying index funds instead of actively managed funds can cut your investing expenses by up to 80 percent annually. What's more, Standard & Poor's research indicates that index funds consistently outperform actively managed accounts.

11. Dump your dogs

If you've got some old dogs — investment losers, that is — sitting in your portfolio, selling them for a loss could provide a tax benefit. Likewise, selling investments when you've held them a year or longer will generate long-term capital gains, which are more tax-friendly than short-term gains.

12. Title trick

When refinancing your home, slash your closing costs by getting a discount of up to 50 percent off your title insurance by asking for a "reissue" rate. It may also be available if you buy from someone who bought the home within the past 10 years.

13. Family ties

Having adult children or grandchildren living with you may mean special tax breaks for you. Ask your tax preparer about claiming dependents for any family members you support — even if they're not your offspring.

14. Save on stamps

Schedule payments for your bills online and you won't need to buy stamps.

15. Free credit report

Don't pay for your credit report. Request a free copy once a year from each of the three credit-reporting companies (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) at

Contributors to 99 Great Ways to Save 2013: Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, Tara Finnegan Coates, Joan Rattner Heilman, Stacy Julien, Megan Lawson, Marlece Lusk, Bob Lyford, Anne Masters, Jeff Yeager and AARP members like you.

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