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REFERENCE: AARP Smart Guides: Money

19 simple ways to save more money and secure your finances

Earn more when saving

Steer clear of standard savings accounts where interest rates can be as low as .01 percent. Some high-yield accounts offer interest rates of 2.15 percent, which adds up to an extra $214 per year on a $10,000 balance. “Most people aren’t even aware these kinds of accounts exist,” Mhatre says. Transferring cash to a high-interest account helps you maximize your returns.

Find unclaimed cash

By law, unclaimed property such as uncashed dividends and utility security deposits must be handed over to state treasuries. Check the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators’ database at to see whether you are entitled to unclaimed cash. On average, the association helps consumers reclaim more than $3 billion annually.

Clean out your closet

Your gently (or never) worn clothes, shoes and accessories can be sold on sites like Poshmark, Mercari and ThredUp. In addition to selling her own name-brand clothes online, Ingram scours Goodwill for designer duds to resell. Her most profitable find: a new Alice and Olivia dress with the tags attached for 99 cents; she sold it for $90.


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Renegotiate the basics

Lowering your monthly expenses might be as easy as calling your cellphone, cable and streaming services and asking for a better rate. A Consumer Reports survey found that 76 percent of consumers who asked got better deals on cable. Not sure what to say? Michelle Singletary, author of the syndicated column “The Color of Money,” suggests you ask: “Is there something you can do to help cut my bill?”

Pay now, pay less

Insurers, doctors’ offices and other companies that bill in installments will often give a discount if you pay the entire bill up front. So get in the habit of asking for the break. Even if the discount is small, Harzog says, “the savings add up.” If there’s no price break, pay in installments. (Put the dates into your calendar so you don’t pay late fees.) It’s like getting a no-interest loan — and it’s best to have your money earning interest (in a high-interest online savings account; see above) until payment time.

Scan before you buy

Apps like ShopSavvy, BuyVia and ScanLife let you scan the bar codes of items you want to buy so you can compare prices at multiple stores. These simple tools can add up to big savings, especially on large purchases such as smartphones and laptops.

Pick your best cash-back card

Cash-back credit cards reward you by refunding between 1 and 6 percent of your spending. Choose from three different types. Flat-rate cards give you the same percentage on each transaction; bonus cards give a higher rate based on periodically changing categories, like gas stations and grocery stores; tiered-rate cards pay a low base rate on most purchases and a higher rate on specific types, such as items bought from a particular retailer. If you charge, say, $2,000 per year on a card that offers an average of 3 percent cash back, you’ll get about $72. (But remember: None of these deals are worth it if you are carrying a balance from month to month.)

Pay down debt

Make a list of your debts and the interest rates on each. “Tackle [your debt] from highest interest to lowest interest,” advises Laura D. Adams, author of Debt-Free Blueprint. Lower-interest debts like a mortgage or student loan cost less and come with tax deductions, so pay those off last.

Consolidate your debt

Options for low-interest personal loans or zero APR balance transfer cards abound. Before consolidating your loans, use the calculator at sites like or to compare interest rates and calculate repayment amounts. “There’s no risk in doing the homework to see if the math makes sense,” Adams says.

Shop around for medications

The average American spends about $1,200 on medication each year. To keep costs in check, look for coupons on sites like GoodRx or WellRx and fill prescriptions at independent or smaller pharmacies. (Research done by the public interest group U.S. PIRG found that 8 out of 12 drugs surveyed were between 8 percent and 840 percent more expensive at large pharmacies.

AARP Smart Guide: Money
The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators helps consumers reclaim funds.

Incorrect. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators helps consumers find unclaimed cash.

Correct! The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators helps consumers find unclaimed cash.