Personal finance tips can come from unlikely sources, and this time, it comes from a government agency.
Today I happene to find out Federal Trade Commission keeps a collection of everyday money-saving tips. In the series of "66 Ways to Save Money," FTE tells you how to save in transportation, insurance, banking/credit, housing, utilities and others. Some of the tips are actually refreshing:
1. Don't decide to lease a car just because the payments are lower than on a traditional auto loan. The leasing payments may be lower because you don't own the car at the end of the lease.
2. Leasing a car is very complicated. When shopping, consider the price of the car (known as the capitalized cost), your trade-in allowance, any down payment, monthly payments, various fees (excess mileage, excess "wear and tear," end-of- lease), and the cost of buying the car at the end of the lease. Keys to Vehicle Leasing: A Consumer Guide, published by the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Trade Commission, is a valuable source of information about auto leasing.
1. If you want insurance protection only, and not a savings and investment product, buy a term life insurance policy.
2. If you want to buy a whole life, universal life, or other cash value policy, plan to hold it for at least 15 years. Canceling these policies after only a few years can more than double your life insurance costs.
1. A home energy audit can identify ways to save up to hundreds of dollars a year on home heating (and air conditioning). Ask your electric or gas utility if they can do this audit for free or for a reasonable charge. If they cannot, ask them to refer you to a qualified professional.
1. Since brand name drugs are usually much more expensive than their generic equivalents, ask your physician and pharmacist for generic drugs whenever appropriate.
2. Since pharmacies may charge widely different prices for the same medicine, call several. When taking a drug for a long time, also consider calling mail-order pharmacies, which often charge lower prices.
It's also incredibly helpful that following each section, FTC gave out a link to web resources with more details.
If you want to get more tips, visit the full spectrum of FTC everyday tips here. Very good resource indeed.