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10 Ways to Save on Financial Transactions

Make sure you're not spending too much money on your money

99 ways to save, Farnoosh Torabi

Poon Watchara-Amphaiwan

Our financial experts (including Farnoosh Torabi, pictured) show how to curb costs on auto insurance, life insurance, credit cards and more.

Farnoosh Torabi, So Money Podcast Host

En español |

1. Reduce your auto insurance.

As your car ages, the maximum payout for an accident (calculated by subtracting your deductible from the car's value) steadily decreases. Crunch the numbers to see if the price of collision and comprehensive coverage is still worth it.

Get money savings tips in the AARP Money Newsletter

2. Buy more to spend less on life insurance.

Life insurers have price breaks at certain amounts, called price bands. When you move up a band, the cost per thousand dollars of coverage goes down. For example, if you're looking at a $450,000 policy, also get a price quote for $500,000. You might find you can pay less for more coverage.  

3. Ask for discounts from monthly billers.

Want lower cable TV, phone, utility or even gym rates? Call up the customer-retention department and tell them you are considering switching to a new provider to save money. Often, they'll offer a deal rather than lose a customer.

Jane Bryant Quinn, AARP Financial Expert

4. Take advantage of credit card perks.

You might have a right to free credit scores, free checked airline luggage or "price protection," meaning that if you charge an item and soon find it offered for less, the card will pay you the difference. Call them.

More Ways to Save: 9 Ways to Save on Fun and Fitness

5. Say yes when a store you patronize asks to send email promotions.

You'll get discounts that other shoppers don't see. Create an email account just for purchases made online so sales offers don't clutter your personal email.

6. Don't put college tuition on a credit card.

Many colleges charge a fee averaging 2.62 percent—or $262 for every $10,000 in tuition, according to a survey by CreditCards.com. Check whether your college charges a fee before saying "Charge it."

7. Buy like a man.

A study by New York City's Department of Consumer Affairs found that women pay more than men for similar products 42 percent of the time. For instance, women are charged 11 percent more for razors and 48 percent more for shampoo and conditioner, even though the products are essentially the same except for the packaging.

8. Shop every year for a new Medicare Part D drug insurance plan.

Prices change often. You can almost certainly buy Part D for less than you are paying now. Go to Medicare.gov, click on Drug Coverage (Part D), then Find Health and Drug Plans. Enter your zip code and follow the prompts.

More Ways to Save: 8 Ways to Save on Home Improvement

9. Check the unclaimed-property sites for every state where you have lived.

They might be holding a dividend check in your name, money in a savings account that you forgot or an uncashed refund check. To check, go to naupa.org, find your state and enter your name.

10. Don't buy your bank's overdraft-protection plan—or get rid of it if you have it.

You'll never need it, if you don't habitually bounce checks.

Farnoosh Torabi is the host of the podcast So Money. Jane Bryant Quinn is AARP's financial columnist

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