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How to Save $150,000 (And Still Have a Life)

Contributed by mm | October 12, 2004 7:31 AM PST

Finally, SmartMoney brought online this cover story of the August issue. I have always been eager to recommend this (long) article since the moment I read it. It is, indeed, a very good reference on how to save big, and -- as the title mentioned -- still have a life. You will not regret spending 15 minutes reading it.

Here is how SmartMoney thinks an average family can save $150,000 over 10 years by focusing on four areas:

House and Home: Baseline Savings: $30,000 over 10 years

Compared to 30-year fixed rate mortgage, a hybrid adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) makes more sense. Even a 7/1 ARM or 10/1 ARM is considerably cheaper than fixed rate mortgage, and most people will move in 7-10 years.

Hot Wheels: Baseline Savings: $40,000 over 10 years

In order to cut cost, buy used car. A 3-year used car from a reputable brand is as dependable as a new car with a much lower price tag.

Investing Paying Less to Play: Baseline Savings: $25,500 over 10 years

For mutual funds, hunt for low-cost index funds and avoid front-load funds. It does not make sense to pay 2% annually to get mediocre returns -- majority of the mutual funds trails the market performance. For stocks, go with discount brokerage firms.

The Insurance Safety Net: Baseline Savings: $42,000 over 10 years

Avoid whole life insurance; buy term life insurance and invest your money elsewhere -- whole life insurance is never a good investment tool. Comparison shopping for health, auto and home insurance can mean big savings too.

If you like me, you probably already exhausted the above means after getting or refinancing your ARM loan, sticking to used cars, using discount brokerage and acquiring the best value insurance. Now what?

Don't miss the list of additional 14 channels to further improve your cost structure without affecting your lifestyle (bottom of this page), including, among others, cheap credit card rate, no-fee credit card, satellite TV, VOIP phone and discount air carriers.

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