The latest issue of Money Magazine shares a list of one hundred tips for dealing with your money, from investing in stocks and locating a deal on a house to maintaining sanity on flights and feeling superior to Nicholas Cage. Ignoring the investment-related ideas for the moment, there are a number of good suggestions.
Here are some of the more interesting bits I am taking away from the feature.
The editors of Money Magazine chose Ally Bank as the best savings account. Here are my choices, always updated. Ally offers competitive interest rates. I have an account and have not yet had any problems, but it’s worthwhile to read customer reviews of Ally Bank submitted in the comments.
I buy generic and store brands for certain products. Like me, Money Magazine suggests saving a significant percentage by buying store brand versions of over-the-counter pain relievers, clothes, and batteries. Money Magazine also suggests buying store brand televisions, but I’ve seen major quality differences. Perhaps I’m too picky in this one area.
Based on the price-to-rent ratio, Honolulu is the best place to rent right now. Other cities round out the top five: San Francisco; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle.
Also in real estate, the magazine offers three tips for negotiating lower Realtor commissions while selling your house. Don’t blindly accept six percent. Ask for five percent, offer to work with the agent in the future if he or she offers you a break now, or imply you’re ready to sell your house on your own.
In Money Magazine’s suggestions for teaching children how to manage credit>, they did not mention the best lesson possible: avoid credit whenever possible. But the “abstinence-only” is hardly a full education; we must recognize that kids will eventually “do it” with credit cards and should know how to use them safely and avoid bringing interest fees into this world.
Eliminate cable television and replace it with PlayOn for $40 (plus the cost of a device you may or may not already own). Replace your landline telephone service with Vonage. I’m doing fine without a landline or voice over IP. My cell phone handles all my calls, but as a single guy, I have no need for a “family” contact number.
Several of the 100 tips are reserved for the list of the best locations for retirement for those who don’t like paying taxes. Here are the cities at the top of the list: Lewes, Delaware; Fairhope, Alaska; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Austin, Texas; and Henderson, Nevada. I’m surprised that the editors did not consider retiring abroad.
Three tips are dedicated to helping you negotiate a raise. Unfortunately, these tactics won’t be applicable to everyone. If you are able to quantify cost savings, if you are carrying the work load of two people, or you are getting offers from other companies, you have some leverage.
The editors of Money Magazine want you to buy a Chevrolet Camaro SS V8 if you want to have fun while driving. My Honda Civic is approaching 120,000 miles and I’m starting to plan for having a more exciting ride a few years down the road.
Want to get customer satisfaction? Threaten to create a song about your bad experience and upload it to Youtube. A bad reputation can grow like a virus.
Updated October 19, 2011 and originally published April 19, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.