Find out if you’re missing these easy ways to save

By Robb Engen, Toronto Star

1. Brand loyal? We all have our brand favourites, but often generic or store brands are similar in quality, if not indistinguishable and can save you at least 25 per cent or more.

2. It doesn’t fit, or the colour is wrong, but who has time to go back to the store? You do. If you still have receipts, try to get a refund. At least get a store credit.

3. Late fees on credit card accounts, mortgages, car loans, and property taxes – even library books are extremely high. Record due dates in your planner and pay on time. If you do incur a late fee, call immediately. Most creditors will waive the fee if you have a good payment record.

4. Overdraft fees: A small slip-up can turn a $5 burger into a $40 overdraft fee. Even if your bank is happy to cover your mistakes you’ll be not only charged a fee, but at least 21 per cent interest until the overdraft fee is covered.

5. Extended warranties are mostly profit for the retailer. Generally, if an item is going to fail, it will do so early on and the manufacturer’s warranty will cover it.

6. Paying for storage: If you have so much stuff that you need to pay to store it, you’ve got too much stuff.

7. Use available discounts. Most banks and insurers offer multi-product discounts for bundling your business. Make a habit of checking for coupons before shopping online.

8. Buying from TV infomercials: TV products are overpriced and hardly ever turn out as depicted, and shipping and handling costs can be expensive.

9. Buying in bulk: It’s easy to get carried away when you shop at a warehouse club like Costco. Determine how much you really need and then consider the price.

10. If you’re eligible for employer-matching RRSP or other savings plans and you’re not signed up, you’re turning down free money. It’s like getting a 50- to 100-per-cent return without any risk.

Robb Engen is half of the Boomer & Echo personal finance blogging team with his mother, a former financial adviser.

First published in the Toronto Star on July 30, 2012.

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