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ATLANTA — It’s always a good idea to spend money wisely, but during tough economic times, it’s even more important. The Georgia Society of CPAs offers these tips on how to get the most out of every dollar:
Hold on to change
Every night, set aside the change that you collected. After a month, deposit the coins into your savings account. It’s an easy habit to get into and it doesn’t eat too deeply into your budget. Most important, you’ll be amazed at how quickly the savings add up.
Plan when you travel
Airfares shot up during the surge in gas prices last summer, and many have not yet come back down. It is still possible to get a good deal on a flight if you make your plans — and buy your ticket — well in advance. The same is true for hotels. You may be able to get lower rates if you shop around ahead of time.
Avoid unnecessary fees
If you kept track of all the needless fees you pay, you’d probably be amazed at how much money they consume. For example, how often do you pay an extra charge for withdrawing money from an ATM that is not part of your bank’s network? How many times do you pay for directory assistance instead of looking up a number? The next time you find yourself paying one of these “convenience” fees, consider what an inconvenience they are for your wallet.
Brown-bag it
Whether you’re grabbing breakfast on the go, getting lunch at a deli or hitting the vending machine for a mid-afternoon snack, the cost of buying food adds up. If you cut out even one of these indulgences — like a daily $5 latte — you can save at least $100 a month. Carrying your coffee into work and bring a bag lunch and snacks from home.
Clip those coupons
You can save hundreds of dollars a year if you use store or manufacturer’s coupons for purchases. Many restaurants also offer coupons or specials that cut the price of a takeout meal. Make sure you keep your coupons with you so they are ready when you need them. In the same vein, be sure to send in the rebates that you receive for any purchases to ensure you get the lowest price possible.
Head into carpool lane
Even though gas prices have come off their sky-high peaks, it’s still a good idea to carpool with officemates who live near you. You’ll save money on gas, as well as on car maintenance if you use your own vehicle less. And you’re doing something beneficial for the environment.
Turn to your CPA
In a weak economy, people are seeking any advice they can find on how to manage their money wisely. Your CPA can help. He or she can offer advice that will enable you to make smart financial decisions. In addition, the CPA profession’s 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy program provides information on a wide range of money issues importance to you and your family. You can find the Web site at
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