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Scrounging for savings

Times are tough and we're all trying to save more. The financial services company USAA in the latest issue of its magazine has come up with a useful list of ideas on how to round up an extra $100, $500, $1,000 and $5,000. Most of us are aware of the money-saving suggestions, but it's still a good idea to run down a list and see if there is something more you can do.

What I like about these ideas is that they don't require cutting into the quality of everyday life. They'll likely make things better since a number of suggestions involve getting rid of clutter.

Here are the headline thoughts for finding extra money. (The article also includes ideas on what to do with the savings.)

Find an Extra $100

  • Barter, Borrow, Share and Save (sell of books, CDs, DVDs, college textbooks, etc)
  • Pare Down Your Phone Plan (Get rid of the landline)
  • Redeem Your Credit Card Rewards Points (for cash or to pay down balance)

Find an Extra $500

  • Watch TV for Free (Cancel cable and watch TV online)
  • Keep Prescription Costs in Check (Mail-order, but in bulk, flexible spending account)
  • Slash Car Insurance Costs (Raise deductible)

Find an Extra $1,000

  • Find Free Accommodations (swap homes when on vacation)
  • Pool Child Care Resources with Neighbors (set up a baby-sitting exchange)
  • Clear the Cobwebs from Lost Money (look for any unclaimed money
    )

Find an Extra $5,000

  • Purge and get paid (Sell off your accumulated furniture and other stuff for cash)
  • Sell Your Car (public transportation, car sharing, and rent when needed)
  • Stop Overpaying Uncle Sam (average tax refund in 2010 was nearly $3,000
    )

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.

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