The Three Biggest Opportunities to Save Money

13 May, 2009  |  Written by  |  under Personal Finance Articles

A lot of personal finance articles these days can be summed up as follows: cut out everything nice or fun in your life to save money.  Here at Spending It we have a slightly different view.  Sure, if you have a $4 a weekday premium coffee habit, you can save hundreds of dollars by brewing your own coffee at home.  That kind of personal finance advice to save small amounts here and there seems to be everywhere these days, yet many people seem to overlook opportunities to save much more money than that.

The three biggest opportunities that the average consumer has to save a substantial amount of money are when (1) buying a house, (2) selling a house,  (3) buying a car.

When buying a house many people make the mistake of not truly understanding the market.  This could cause them to pay too much or it could cause them to pass up a good deal because they don’t realize how good of a deal it is.  If you are buying a house, be sure to stay on top of the market by looking at multiple sites on the internet to see what prices houses are being listed for in your area.  Also, be sure to ask your realtor (if you have one) for a good list of comparable house sales in the area, and you can research sale prices for yourself using sites like Zillow.com or the web site of local government office responsible for filing deeds and other information about home sales.  But don’t just rely on the internet — scan the local newspaper or housing booklets for open houses and go see the full picture of what your money is really buying (they never show the worst bathroom or the industrial park next door on internet listings).

When selling a house many people get in too big of a rush to sell their house and end up losing money because of that.  While there are plenty of good realtors out there, there are also many realtors who really push homeowners to take the first offer that comes up.  After all, a quick sale is quick money for a realtor, while taking longer to sell requires more work showing the house and perhaps investment of money to advertise the property.  Research shows that when realtors are selling their own houses, they leave them on the market longer and get better deals.

The third opportunity to save a lot of money is when buying a car.  People simply get lazy and/or get worn down by the car dealers and make bad deals.  You can save a lot of money by remembering that cars are a commodity (there are lots of the same type of car at many dealerships), doing research on proper prices on the internet, and using email to negotiate with several car dealers at a time.  You can find more a more detailed car negotiation strategy in this article: Negotiating Car Purchases.

So, be sure to take the time to prepare yourself for these big opportunities that you have to save a lot of money.  Then, you can go ahead and treat yourself to that delicious premium coffee every now and then.

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