5 Great Ways to Save in 2012

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For the last couple of weeks, we’ve talked about ways to start this year off right when it comes to your money and how to keep your new year’s resolutions. So now that we’ve got the year off to a good start, we need to think a little further down the road. It’s 2012 friends – new year, new attitude, new ways to save.

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So here’s the last of our “New Year’s Series”: 5 great ways that you can hope to save money in 2012. Enjoy!

Make the Most of Your Smartphone, or Get One!

Ok, before you yell at the screen that you don’t need a smartphone and it’s not worth the cost, hear me out. I know that smartphones are not a necessity for everyone, but mine helps me save in countless ways. In fact, it might be my favorite tool, in my possession, for saving money. And evidence points to the fact that smartphones will be even more useful in 2012.

Here’s just one reason why from Ellen Flood, an independent shopping expert who was interviewed by Retail Technology Review:

Stores that are embracing a multi-channel approach across mobile, online and in-store will be best placed to benefit from the latest innovations that include the integration of social media. Smart phones are beginning to function as a platform to get detailed product information on the go, seek out the best deals, take recommendations and actually buy the product with contactless technology.

Here are just some of the many ways that you can use a smartphone this year to save money:

  • Use smartphone apps to help you manage your money.
  • Use apps to help you price merchandise and make sure you’re getting the best deal.
  • Use the built-in GPS to help you get to and from your destinations. Find the quickest routes so that you save on gas.
  • Speaking of saving on gas (and who doesn’t want to do that?) – with gas prices set to rise once again in 2012, it’ll be more important than ever to shop smartly when it comes to gas. Use helpful car-related apps like GasBuddy to help you find the cheapest gas wherever you go.
  • Listen to free music on the go using free applications like Pandora.
  • Stay organized with your busy schedule and keep track of your to-do’s with free mobile organization tools like Remember the Milk and Evernote.
  • Also, don’t forget to use your phone to save money on your actual phone bill:

Looking for cheap ways to secure your own smartphone? You could start by selling your old phone and looking for earlier models of smartphones that are less in demand. For example, Apple is practically giving the iPhone 3GS away for free.

Compare Insurance Rates

Between health insurance, car insurance, home insurance, life insurance and maybe more, you’re dishing out a lot of money each year to stay insured. Even if you got free insurance quotes last year, rates can change when the new year hits, so it’s important to check to make sure you’re getting the best possible for all of your needs.

You could easily end up saving a large amount of money on car insurance like Ray did just by making a few simple phone calls. There are also tons of free resources out there to make sure you’re getting the lowest rates. Don’t make the mistake of just renewing insurance plans in the new year out of habit. Make a point to check up on your rates and do some comparison shopping.

This is something you can do any time in 2012, but the sooner the better!

Switch to Online

These days, you can basically do anything online. You can watch TV, communicate with anyone in the world, find useful (and useless) information in seconds, the list goes on and on. Here are just some of the ways you can save by switching to the “online option” that you may not have immediately thought of:

  • Still have a fax machine? You might want to consider switching to an online fax service like MyFax. From The Globe and Mail:

    This service lets you use your existing fax number to send and receive faxes over the Internet, without paying for an additional phone line. Their basic plan costs $10 per month or $110 per year for 100 pages sent and 200 received.

  • Don’t be a victim of the blue screen of death. Sure, we all know it’s important to back up your computer so you don’t lose important documents and such, but you can also opt to store important items in the cloud. By that, I mean that you can take advantage of Amazon Cloud Drive’s 5 free GB of online storage. Then even if a virus or that dreaded blue screen strikes, your stuff is still safe.
  • Don’t have the ability to make free calls from your phone? Go online and use Gmail to make free voice calls.

Cut the Coffee Pitstops

Yes, you’ve heard this tip before. However, according to many sources (including CNN Money), the price of coffee is expected to rise in 2012. In fact,

This month, Starbucks already started charging more for its coffee drinks in the Northeast and Sunbelt regions, blaming the increase on the rising cost of coffee beans and other ingredients.

This isn’t to say to stop drinking coffee by any means. On the contrary. I know I wouldn’t get very far without my morning cup! You just need to find cheaper ways to get your fix. So if your coffee habits aren’t wonderful, 2012 is the time to get it together. Here are some tips to help you get on the right track:

Take Advantage of Credit Card Deals

With credit card rewards programs abound, and companies competing with each other to try and “out-reward” their competition, it hasn’t been difficult for those with good/excellent credit to take advantage of rewards like airline miles, cash back, gift cards, merchandise discounts and more. And according to MSN Money, you’ll still benefit from signing up for these programs in 2012:

[...]the strain that credit card companies felt as a result of customers defaulting on their financial obligations has led them to drastically increase their recruitment efforts for the 50% of consumers that still have good or excellent credit. The main tools employed in doing so have been credit card offers with 0% APRs for as long as two years and/or hundreds of dollars in bonus rewards.

While initially believed available for only a limited period of time, these credit card deals have persisted and should continue to do so through 2012, which means you will still have an opportunity to take advantage of them if you have yet to do so.

Check out some of the best deals you can score, no matter what your credit situation is, over here at CardHub. Just make sure you practice good credit card habits or earning rewards becomes pointless.

What are some ways that you plan to save in 2012? Are any of them specific to 2012 for any reason? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. Thanks for being a Tip Hero!

Photo credit: alancleaver_2000

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