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Trick yourself into saving

Follow these simple steps and you won’t feel any pain.
You don’t have to strike it rich on Wall Street, win the lottery or even earn a six-figure salary to build a comfortable savings cushion. You just have to play a few mental tricks on yourself to stay focused on spending less and keeping more cash. Small steps yield big results, and the best savings tips are the simplest. In fact, each of them could fit in a 140-character tweet.

Build an emergency fund
Upper Marlboro, Md., first appeared in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance in November 2007, when she shared her strategies for getting out of $7,000 in credit card debt. We recently checked back with Campbell, now 31, who has since discovered the value of a rainyday fund. Campbell was laid off from her job of five years in November 2009 and was out of work until April 2010. “But thanks to my savings and keeping my bills to a manageable amount, I was not worried or drastically affected,” she says. “I found out how important it is to keep money in an emergency fund.” Campbell kept six months’ worth of expenses in her rainyday stash and reduced her monthly bills by paying off her car loan, having zero credit card debt, eliminating cable TV for a year and finding a very low-cost phone plan. As soon as she found a new job, she focused on rebuilding her reserve fund, which paid off when she had a baby last year and took 16 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. Campbell is now back at work and rebuilding her savings for future needs. “Thanks to my financial discipline, any life changes and/or setbacks do not hit me hard financially, and that’s a great thing,” she says.



©2012 by the Kiplinger Washington Editors Inc., 1100 13th St., N.W., Suite 750, Washington, DC 20005 BUDGETING/SAVINGS CREDIT INVESTING FAMILY FINANCES

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Start now. Don’t wait till you make more money. The more you make, the more you spend.
Start small. Even $100 per paycheck will add up over time (to see how much, go to www.bankrate .com/calculators.aspx). Keep your budget and your goals simple. Zeroing in on your main objective will help you stay on course. Write down specific goals. That makes them more real. Pledging to save $2,000 for a beach vacation is likely to get you there. Set up an account for each goal—education, vacation, car, computer—or for large, recurring expenses, such as insurance premiums. Have your boss (or your bank) take money off the top of your salary for retirement or some other goal. You’ll never miss it. Toss spare change into a bank or glass jar and watch your money grow into enough to pay for holiday gifts or even a vacation. Toss yourself spare change into a bank or glass and Give an instant reward. Eachjar time you watch your money grow into enough to pay brown-bag your lunch instead of eating out,for toss holiday gifts or even vacation. the savings into your a cash jar. Keep writing the check after you pay off a loan or a bill, and send it to a savings or investment account.


org. or if your online ID. if a transaction has occurred in your checking. and the cost of prescription drugs. if a payment is due. BUDGETING/SAVINGS 11 HEALTH CARE SPENDING ACCOUNTS let you desig- let you set aside up to $5. For now. if you don’t use all the money by the end of the plan year. and you will avoid any fees. your bank will move the necessary funds and generally charge a $10 transfer fee per check. Another option is to have your account at a bank or credit union that belongs to the Allpoint network. and a high-yield checking account at www. with its 43.checking finder. Schwab or USAA. if you don’t give a bank permission to enroll you in an overdraft-protection plan. In most cases. To avoid annoying ATM fees. The money can be withdrawn as reimbursement for qualified health you lose the remaining amount. by March 15 of the following year. looking for work or a full-time student.500).com in 2011 offered free accounts. starting at the beginning of the year. you must be employed. you can no longer use money in the account for nonprescription drugs. this doesn’t apply to checks and automatic payments. In addition. password or mailing address has been changed. chances are you’ll always be close to a free ATM. with some employers. your contributions avoid federal. 14 KIPTIP MORE IN OUR iPAD APP: KIPTIP Let Uncle Sam help you pay for it Put short-term cash to work Be sure all your bank deposits are insured Use flexible spending accounts to escape taxes on essential expenses.asmarterchoice.000 ATMs. you lose whatever’s left in the account. branches and 29. most credit unions have no minimum balance requirement. eyeglasses and contact lenses. which has more than 1. such as copayments. With an account at Citibank. such as bus fare. However. CREDIT 13 TRANSPORTATION SPENDING ACCOUNTS allow you to set ISTOCKPHOTO. open an account with an online bank such as Ally. for other commuting expenses.000 a year in pretax dollars to cover child care expenses for children under age 13. To qualify for this benefit. Signing up for free alerts on your phone or by e-mail can cut down on bank fees and thwart or www . You can circumvent the typical $35 overdraft fee on these transactions by linking your account to a savings account or line of credit. the maximum for all plans will be $2.S. and they don’t have the “use it or lose it” rule.000 U.culookup. 12 DEPENDENT CARE ACCOUNTS aside pretax contributions for commuting expenses.Beat pesky bank fees Credit unions are a good source for free checking accounts. Community banks are another good option. Your bank will notify you if your balance dips below the amount you specify. the monthly maximum you can contribute for parking is $240. In 2012. your employer sets the maximum amount you can contribute (in 2013. As with the health spending account. your ATM withdrawals and debit card transactions will be declined if your balance is too low.COM (2) . If your balance dips below the total of the checks being processed that day. nate the amount to be deducted from your salary each payday.000 surcharge-free ATMs. Find a credit union at www. or day care for a disabled spouse or dependent. all of which rebate customers’ ATM fees. train fare or parking. savings or credit card account. 78% of the credit unions surveyed by Bankrate . These plans typically let you adjust your contribution amount during the plan year. (As of 2011. state and local income tax as well as Social Security and Medicare taxes. compared with only 45% of the banks surveyed. the max is $125.) If you don’t use the money by the end of the plan year or.

KIPTIP REWARDS POINTS AND CASH BACK AREN’T THE Pick the right rewards card Deciding between a cash-back card and a travel rewards card? Cash-back cards. RENTAL-CAR COVERAGE. You may decline collision damage waiver (CDW) insurance if you paid with most Visa.| 50 KipTips | 15 KIPTIP Take advantage of perks from your plastic CONCIERGE SERVICES. Visa Signature cards. note that the extra cost of paying interest would probably offset any rewards you’d earn on your purchases. MasterCard and American Express will provide referrals to medical care. MasterCard and American Express will reimburse you if you paid for the room with a gold or platinum card. gas or merchandise. They’re available 24 hours a day for Visa Signature. such as the Simmons First Visa Platinum Rewards card and the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express card. Was your luggage lost or damaged by the airline on your last flight? If you paid for your ticket with a Visa Signature card. book travel. as well as American Express platinum cardholders. such as Chase’s Freedom card. Your card may also offer valuable perks that are less well known. PURCHASE PROTECTION. and American Express cards all extend the manufacturer’s warranty by up to one year when you purchase an item with your card—even for products you buy overseas. legal aid and help replacing your passport (you pay the costs of the services you receive).000. If you become ill while traveling or your passport is lost or stolen.000 points for a roundtrip ticket to fly anywhere within the contiguous 48 states.000. And if you tend to carry a balance on your card. you can be reimbursed for up to $3. make dinner reservations and find unusual gifts. Citibank and American Express offer protection up to $1. WARRANTIES. If. Drop that new iPad and Visa Signature cardholders can have it repaired or replaced at a cost of up to $500 within 90 days from the date of purchase. ■ CONCIERGE SERVICES FOR SOME CARDS CAN HELP YOU GET TICKETS TO SOLD-OUT EVENTS. American Express or Discover cards. TRAVEL ASSISTANCE. RETIREMENT HOME COLLEGE 04/2012 SPENDING KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE . your iPad is stolen from your hotel room. may let you redeem your points periodically for cash. travel. or post a credit to your account. generally require at least 22. A cash-rebate card is probably a better option if the travel card has an annual fee and you don’t spend enough to accumulate the points you need for a flight within a year or two. Or you could select the Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express card. Gold and platinum 16 MasterCards. which automatically deposits the cash in your brokerage account. for example. World and World Elite MasterCard customers. Visa. only goodies that come with credit cards. MasterCard. to help you get tickets to soldout events. Travel rewards cards. LUGGAGE PROTECTION.

Checking your report is especially important before you apply for a loan. and include evidence. check the report for errors. You should get a response from the agency within 30 you may have to contact the lender involved. In addition to surveying your credit health. To resolve the issue. File a dispute with each bureau at which the error shows up. PHOTOGRAPH BY POON WATCHARA-AMPHAIWAN BUDGETING/SAVINGS KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE CREDIT INVESTING FAMILY FINANCES . which could be giving inaccurate information to the reporting agencies. At Annual CreditReport. you can get a free report from each of the three major credit bureaus—Equifax.17 KIPTIP Check your credit report It’s smart to regularly review your credit report. get reports from the other two bureaus to see if they’re also in error. to support your claim. If you find a mistake on one report. Experian and TransUnion—once a year. such as a letter from the lender. 32 ■ SAM MARCUS DISCOVERED THAT A SKIMPY CREDIT HISTORY CAN PUT A LOW-RATE CREDIT CARD OUT OF REACH. which includes such information as loan and credit card balances and payment history.

Marcus’s APR for the Blue Card will jump to 20. But any card issuer involved in your bankruptcy is unlikely to extend credit to you again. from being approved for a PenFed American Express Card last winter. And you’ll have to wait three to seven years after a foreclosure to get a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (two to seven years after a deed in lieu of foreclosure or short sale). For example. You can pay it off monthly and still revive your Twentysomethings with thin credit records often have trouble getting the most desirable rates. depending on the reason for the problem and how much money you can put down on a new home. To ensure that you have an active account that’s reported to the credit bureaus. open a secured card. it was a lack of action in his credit file. Try applying for a credit card through your bank or credit union. the lender told him. were a student loan and his history as an authorized user on his parents’ credit card. Perhaps you’ve paid off your mortgage and other loans and now use your debit card for purchases instead of a credit card. Marcus says. keep the balance low and pay it off monthly. it will stay with you forever. Credit cards from retailers are often easier to get than standard cards. FACT FICTION FICTION As a retiree. But there are ways to beef up your profile and boost your credit score. You should be aware that your credit score could disappear along with the debt. He also suggests adding positive credit information to your file to counteract the negative. After a 12-month period featuring a 0% rate. your transactions will be reported to the credit bureaus. use at least one credit card— just a charge or two per month is all it takes. says Barry Paperno. your score could bounce back to decent standing in a few years if you return to good habits and start paying your bills on time. unsecured credit card. A bad credit history—late payments and mounting debt—is the biggest roadblock to getting the best rates. To have a FICO score. open a rewards credit card or cosign a loan for a family member. but after a year he can apply for a lower rate. you may have late payments that kept Sam Marcus. Even if you can’t think of any compelling reason to have a credit score now. income and assets—possibly a factor in his application’s approval. and the account must have been reported to the credit bureaus in the past six months. which considers. take out a home-equity line of credit. Rather. banished credit from your life. All that appeared on his credit report at the time. Some lenders require that a set period pass before they will offer credit to a customer who has declared bankruptcy. Within three to five years after filing for bankruptcy.| 50 KipTips | 18 KIPTIP Polish your credit at every life stage STARTING OUT MIDLIFE Your credit score could recover from a bankruptcy. RETIREMENT Once you’ve built a solid credit history. FACT FICTION FICTION It wasn’t mounting debt or FACT FACT FICTION If you have a long credit history and you previously managed your credit well. your score could rise enough to get a standard. foreclosure or loan default in a few years. among other criteria. MORE IN OUR iPAD APP: M C credit card fees abroad Cut T Three essential rules to raise y your score RETIREMENT HOME COLLEGE 04/2012 SPENDING KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE 33 . Marcus eventually qualified for a Blue Card from Amex. you must have an account that has been open for at least six months. apply for another secured card. consumer affairs manager for MyFico. 25. Take our quiz to test your credit IQ—and see how to boost your score. it will be crucial if you eventually decide to. Or get a secured credit card. say.24%. Six months later.

Should you be worried about inflation? Near term. you can use them to offset any capital gains you pocketed that year. If you still have leftover losses. He may be smart. either. but our 60-40 stock portfolio returned 3. For long-term investors. and the assets must not have been held in a tax-deferred account. Do you really want to jeopardize your relationship with him—and your sister—over a few bucks? When was the last time following the herd helped you score decent money? Internet stocks? Real estate? Adhering to groupthink is always baaaaaa-d news for your investments. Cold callers care little about you and care mostly about their commissions. You’ll need to match up your long-term capital gains—on investments held for more than one year—with long-term losses. we expect inflation to clock in at 2% in 2012 and possibly into 2013.4% annualized.000 of ordinary income in future years. 19 THE BEST DEFENSE AGAINST the 21 20 KIPTIP Turn a deaf ear to these dubious tipsters A friend tells you the company he works for is about to get a takeover bid. the CPI climbed 2.KIPTIP Don’t get soaked by rising inflation threat of inflation isn’t Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS). many experts see the inflation rate rising. Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index climbed about 80-fold.000 of ordinary income. such as an IRA. Often found in boiler rooms. KIPTIP Pay less tax Turn your investment losers into winners by using them to cut your tax bill.6% a year (and that includes the wipeout year of 2008). If you’ve got losses that qualify. 34 BUDGETING/SAVINGS KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE 04/2012 CREDIT INVESTING FAMILY FINANCES ILLUSTRATIONS BY DAVE URBAN INSIDERS BROTHER-IN-LAW THE HERD COLD CALLERS ISTOCKPHOTO.COM (2) . they ring you up out of the blue and try to sell you whatever it is they’re promoting that day. There’s a good chance you could be accused of insider trading. But longer term. Over the same period. Over the ten-year period from 2002 through 2011. no. To give things a more recent spin. Consider this: The consumer price index has risen tenfold since January 1947. Don’t rush out to buy the stock. Like most analysts. You’ll have to sell your investment to do so. but that doesn’t necessarily mean his advice is going to pan out. you can carry them forward to offset capital gains and up to $3. It’s not gold. and match up short-term gains (held for one year or less) with shortterm losses. the ultimate hedge is stocks. Do your losses exceed your gains? Use the excess to write off up to $3. we pitted the CPI against a portfolio of 60% domestic stocks and 40% international stocks.

and which lagged? TALKING HEADS Of course the potash analyst appearing on CNBC thinks potash stocks are a steal now. 22 KIPTIP MORE IN OUR iPAD APP: Get a dividend every month Investing rules of thumb 23 KIPTIP Give your portfolio an annual checkup horizon. Invest for longterm goals—ten or more years away—in a diversified basket of stocks or stock funds.| 50 KipTips | Make the most of low-cost ETFs Exchange-traded funds. be it one that follows. Which investments beat their benchmarks. Cut costs by moving to cheaper funds. TAKE ITS PULSE. Calculate what you paid in fees the previous year. The market had a rough ride in 2011—how did your portfolio do? Compare the returns of your stocks. CHECK THE BILL. SCREEN FOR SERIOUS ILLNESSES. ETFs can be volatile. If two or more funds track the same index. Use limit orders when buying and selling. Use an online broker that lets you trade certain ETFs without charging commissions. using a discount broker or negotiating a better rate with your adviser. such as Treasury bills and moneymarket deposit accounts. Keep costs low. miscellaneous charges and mutual fund expenses (estimate by multiplying each fund’s expense ratio by the amount you have in it).S. stocks. part II. part I. It’s best to place an order establishing the price at which you’re willing to buy or sell. the health care sector or foreign bonds. Does the fund have a new manager? Or did the fund’s investment strategy change? Likewise. such as brokerage commissions. Just as real estate agents always say it’s a good time to buy a house. Here are four rules for making the most of ETFs: Pick the right index. Make sure your allocation matches your goals and your time RETIREMENT HOME COLLEGE . bonds and funds with an appropriate benchmark. so your first call is to pick the index you want to replicate. say. created to let investors easily track a market index. The sum may shock you. Most ETFs track an index. Examine the laggards to figure out why they’ve underperformed and whether it’s time to sell. asset-based money-management fees. for a declining stock: Has the outlook for its sector deteriorated? Have you lost confidence in the company’s managers? PRACTICE PREVENTIVE MEDICINE. Put your emergency money in cash-type investments. have become increasingly complex. SPENDING 04/2012 KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE FIRST. use the ETF with the lowest expense ratio. Stash your mediumterm money—cash you’ll need in three to five years—in bonds and fixed-income instruments that mature when you need it. big U. Keep costs low. Don’t invest on the basis of a sound bite. such as Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index or a general bond index.

The Vanguard fund charges 0. Over the course of a single year. HewlettPackard) The company’s earnings outlook has been chopped for several consecutive quarters. The less you pay. so they say). the more you pocket. and that’s all over the map. (Examples: Eastman Kodak and its camera film. If the S&P 500 earns a total return of 8%. (Examples: Olympus. or you’ve lost confidence in it. Research in Motion and the BlackBerry) The outlook for the company or its industry has deteriorated significantly. Remember. Take your time screening financial pros and conducting introductory interviews. what will be the consequences if it doesn’t work out right away and you need more capital? Can the adviser help you with a business plan? Do you want to begin making donations to schools and charities from your estate? You’re looking for an adviser with the skills and resources to add value. The more you invest and the longer your money is working. CREDIT 04/2012 WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR ME? Financial advisers are not miracle workers. KNOWING WHEN TO SELL IT IS another.COM (4) . that’s not a big deal. Dreyfus BUDGETING/SAVINGS KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE ARE YOU CONSERVATIVE OR AGGRESSIVE? Some advisers think anything INVESTING FAMILY FINANCES ISTOCKPHOTO. The pros sometimes set target “sell” prices for the stocks they buy. DO YOU HAVE CLIENTS LIKE ME? Ask every potential adviser how he or she handles cases that are similar to yours. (Examples: Barnes & Noble.94%. no matter how good his credentials and testimonials. Avon.06% a year. Are you juggling saving for your kids’ college and your retirement? If you need more monthly income. the more the fee differential matters.24 KIPTIP Know when to sell a stock PICKING A WINNER IS ONE THING. A good adviser will list fees on his or her Web site.50%. insurance and investment risk. when the share price hits the target. Choose an arrangement you feel comfortable with and an adviser who’s upfront about billing. The more acute your needs. but they can control the amount they pay in fees.907 in the Dreyfus product. some have an annual retainer plus occasional hourly fees. they unload their shares (doing so takes the emotion out of selling. the other by Dreyfus (PEOPX). Good advisers will spend time evaluating your situation before they make a proposal. They are trained to be problem-solvers. so be specific about what you’re looking for. fundamental problems are cause for pulling the trigger. too. Use the following checklist as a starting point to figure out whether it’s time to bail on your shares in a particular company: Find a financial adviser who matches your needs EVERYONE WHO NEEDS HELP WITH HIS OR HER MONEY 26 KIPTIP The company’s got a major product with strong head winds. you’d have $117. But if your $10. and still others have opaque multiple pricing arrangements. Ask plenty of questions. You can’t afford to retain someone who rarely deals with your concerns. Vanguard clients take home 7. Of course. Consider two otherwise identical index funds that track Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index— one offered by Vanguard (symbol VFIAX). the more specific knowledge you’ll require about such things as taxes. Best Buy) wants to know how much it’s going to cost. and Dreyfus investors get 7.304 in the Vanguard fund but only $101. others work for a percentage of the investments you ask them to manage. how would he or she (or the team) restructure your investments? If you want to buy a business.5%. Some pros charge by the hour. though. Even small differences can have a huge impact over time. Investors can’t control the markets. that what you pay isn’t as important as who you pay.000 is left invested for 30 years at that return. (Examples: bank stocks. newspaper stocks) Management has left. and be sure you cover these five critical points: 25 KIPTIP Keep mutual fund fees low charges 0.

Others insist that stocks will beat everything else in the long run and aren’t afraid of edgy ideas. An independent planner or a small group practice isn’t necessarily the best option. JIM BASTARDO RETIREMENT HOME COLLEGE 04/2012 SPENDING KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE . Are assistants qualified to do more than ARE YOU AVAILABLE? You don’t need a celebrity who’s in the profession more to promote himself than to help his clients. look elsewhere. you should be able to call without getting dinged for $150 every time. That may not be in your best interests. be sure the adviser not only asks you for initial input but is also in sync with your temperament. If an adviser already manages hundreds of accounts. but advisers affiliated with national financial firms are more likely to have bosses up the line who are watching the volume of business they produce.| 50 KipTips | other than a certificate of deposit or a Treasury bond is risky. If you want a portfolio redo. open the mail? What services and financial information will you get as a client online behind a firewall? WHAT IF I HAVE A QUESTION? It’s okay to agree on formal sit-downs with your adviser twice a year. but if you want more frequent consultations.

People who operate a business from home have access to a number of potentially lucrative tax breaks. That’s because homeowners who itemize deductions can already write off their biggest expenses: home mortgage interest and property taxes. partner at the Los Angeles tax-accounting firm Holthouse. a court reporter.” says Ostrom. 38 BUDGETING/SAVINGS KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE 04/2012 CREDIT INVESTING FAMILY FINANCES . Establishing your home as your office can also allow for higher mileage deductions. But honest taxpayers who are organized should not have a problem supporting their deductions. Taking a home-office deduction is widely believed to be a red flag that triggers an IRS audit. For Ostrom. The depreciation may need to be “recaptured” when the home is sold—meaning Uncle Sam wants you to give back some of the depreciation benefits you claimed. 27 ■ KAREN OSTROM CAN CLAIM A HOST OF TAX BREAKS RELATED TO HER HOME OFFICE.” MacMillan advises. says Jennifer MacMillan. her round-trip from home is deductible at 55. as well as depreciation on the presumably small portion of the house that’s used exclusively as an office.KIPTIP Take home-office tax breaks Karen Baca Ostrom has been running a business from her Los Angeles–area home for years. she is having second thoughts.5 cents per mile. Holthouse. a Santa Barbara–based tax specialist. but she never claimed home-office deductions because they appeared to be more trouble than they were worth. Home-office writeoffs are simpler and far more compelling for renters than for homeowners. says Philip J. is living in a rental following her 2011 divorce. it would mean that every time she drives to court or meets a client. You simply figure out what portion of the apartment or house is used solely as office space and multiply that by the rent. Home-office deductions simply allow you to claim a portion of your utility and repair bills. but the home-office deduction can be a mixed bag. Carlin & Van Trigt. a home-office deduction is far simpler. But for a renter. Now that Ostrom. because small-business owners are more likely to be audited than wage earners. “Log your mileage. That can add up to a relatively small tax break—and it comes with strings. “It seems like it’s at least worth considering.

SECURE GOVERNMENT and use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool. To avoid hightech identity thieves. and jumbled for links to state databases of unclaimed or abandoned property. Stagger your requests and you can check your report every four months. Start your treasure hunt by checking and www .fdic. If you’ve been a victim of ID theft. That means the site is secure. never carry your Social Security card in your wallet. go to or Trans Union. ask why it’s to file a fraud uppercase and lowercase letters. OTHER TAX BREAKS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS: 100% of health insurance premiums for the business owner and his or her family Expenses for office equipment and supplies Business meals and travel Small-business retirement plan contributions up to 25% of income. languishing in dormant bank accounts and elsewhere.missingmoney. HIDE THE PAPER (AND ONLINE) TRAIL. or $50. look for “https” at the beginning of the URL. And at www. You’re entitled to receive one free copy from each of the three major credit bureaus every year. 29 PHOTOGRAPH BY STEPHANIE DIANI RETIREMENT HOME COLLEGE 04/2012 SPENDING KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE . Caveat: Only series E bonds issued in 1974 and after are listed on the Don’t reveal personal details over the phone or enter them online unless it’s absolutely necessary. Also pay close attention to credit card bills so you can spot any unauthorized never bank online using a public computer or public Wi-Fi over an unsecured network. which will require lenders to attempt to verify your identity before issuing any new credit in your name. MONITOR YOUR CREDIT REPORT. Before you divulge information.unclaimed. Equifax .| 50 KipTips | 28 KIPTIP Protect your identity How to keep sensitive information out of the clutches of ID thieves. Make your passwords hard to Look for bogus transactions or errors in your credit report by routinely checking your report at Annual CreditReport.000 in 2012 tions. Keep your passport. contact one of the credit bureaus (Experian. Be sure to search records in any states where you lived and worked in the past.) Think you’re missing a tax refund? Visit www. bank statements and insurance forms before you toss birth certificate and Social Security card in a safe-deposit box or other secure place. see whether you have any unredeemed savings bonds. KIPTIP Track down lost loot Billions of dollars in cash is forgotten but not gone. Shred loan applica- crack by using symbols. (To look for unclaimed funds from accounts at banks that closed between 1989 and 1993. When you are entering information online.

com or www. Today. Raising your deductibles can lower your premiums and keep you from filing small claims that could cost you a claims-free discount. or if you add storm-proof shutters or make other weather-related . add a teenage driver. Boost your home insurance deductible from Reshop auto coverage whenever you have a life change —say. for example. when you and www .insurance. but tell the company if your teenager maintains a B 40 BUDGETING/SAVINGS KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE 04/2012 ator. or go to insurers’ Web Also let the insurer know if you switch jobs and have a shorter commute. get married or divorced. Take advantage of discounts: Let your home insurer know if you install an alarm system or an automatic backup generCREDIT INVESTING TOM MERTON/GETTY IMAGES .statefarm. or takes a defensive-driving You can get term insurance rates from dozens of companies at www. FAMILY FINANCES $500 to $1. at age 50. he could buy a ten-year term policy for just $485.geico. Those could trim your premiums by 5% to 10% each. boosting your deductible from $200 to $500 can reduce your collision and comprehensive auto insurance premiums by 15% to 30%. moves away for college without the car.iiaba.000 can save you 40% or more. it wasn’t unusual for a 40-year-old man to pay $670 per year for a $500.lifequotes. or buy a new car. go to www.000 and you could reduce your premiums by up to 25%. may not offer the best rate when you add a teenage driver. either. Auto insurers have different underwriting sweet spots. if he’s healthy. Life insurance rates have plummeted over the past decade. Ten years ago. The company that offers the best deal for a couple. For example. or you retire and no longer commute at all. And don’t overlook the price break—typically 10% on each policy—if you have auto and homeowners policies with the same insurer. Each insurer is different. To get price quotes for auto insurance. raising it to $1. And you can find an independent agent at such as www .accuquote. home and life insurance average in high school or college. Don’t overlook discounts.MO MORE ORE IN IN OUR OU iPAD APP: Give wisely to charity Make your kid a millionaire Get an early tax refund 30 KIPTIP Reshop your www.000 20-year term-insurance and you may now find a lower-cost policy even if you’re and www.

Access your files from any computer with free. and hang on to the supporting documents for three years after a return’s filing due date—six years if you have self-employment income (some states require records from earlier years in an audit). paycheck stubs after you check them against your RE ETIREMENT NICHOLAS EVELEIGH SPENDING KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE .) Keep records related to your current home. DIGITIZE your records to keep paper clutter to a minimum. HOM ME CO LEGE COL CO 04/2012 TRASH bank withdrawal and deposit slips. Extra storage is available on all three for a fee. such as Manilla. credit card receipts and ATM receipts once you’ve compared them with your monthly statement. Other options include the Amazon Cloud Drive and Apple iCloud (each with 5GB of free storage) and Dropbox. KEEP Form (which organizes your bills and saves unlimited documents in the site’s secure database as long as you have an active account) or Windows Live SkyDrive (with 25 gigabytes of free space). see IRS Publication 552.| 50 KipTips | 31 KIPTIP Toss paper files you don’t need Reclaim your desk! We tell you which files to trash and which to stash— and the best ways to turn the keepers into digital records. to avoid paying too much tax on withdrawals. Save PDFs or scanned images of files on your computer and back them up on a flash drive or external hard drive. account numbers or other information you wouldn’t want in the hands of an identity thief. all of your old tax returns. including proof of the purchase price and receipts showing what you’ve spent on improvements. Shred any documents that include your Social Security number. such as copies of IRS Form 8606. Recordkeeping for Individuals. or snap pictures of receipts with your smart phone— the Shoeboxed app (for iPhone and Android) will organize them as IRS-accepted images in a secure and searchable archive. (You can toss those documents three years after you sell the house. (For more on tax-related recordkeeping. and monthly bills for utilities. Hold year-end investment statements and records of stock and mutual fund purchases as long as you own them.) Also keep files with information on contributions and withdrawals from IRAs and 401(k) plans—especially documents regarding nondeductible contributions. cable and credit cards. secure online storage (2GB of free space). unless you need them for tax purposes.

Or you may be able to get free advice from your insurer’s 24-hour nurse hotline. Some brand-name drugs don’t have a generic clone but do have a therapeutic equivalent. Plus. 32 33 34 35 36 BUDGETING/SAVINGS KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE 04/2012 CREDIT INVESTING FAMILY FINANCES ISTOCKPHOTO. routine vaccines and well-baby visits— without copays or deductibles (see www. mammograms and colonoscopies. Some insurers boost the coinsurance rate for non-emergency visits to the ER and waive the coinsurance payment entirely for conveniencecare centers.drx. The average in-network cost of an MRI at a hospital tends to be twice the cost at an independent radiology facility. Many insurers offer Web tools that show costs for various facilities under your plan.| 50 KipTips | KIPTIP Spend hundreds less on health care without sacrificing quality Many people are shouldering a larger portion of their health care expenses. flu shots. PREVENTIVE CARE Make the most of new laws that require insurers and Medicare to provide certain preventive procedures. EMERGENCY CARE If you don’t need to go to an emergency room. DRUGS Switching to generic drugs is one of the easiest ways to save— especially now that some big-name . Before scheduling a procedure. such as blood-pressure and cholesterol they write a requisition for the list). But using a few key strategies can cut your costs. you’re free to fill it at any facility. TESTS AND X-RAYS Different facilities charge vastly different prices for x-rays and tests. have gone generic. you can save hundreds of dollars by getting treatment at an urgentcare center or conveniencecare clinic (such as Minute Clinic at CVS). Ask your doctor about lower-cost bluebook. and you can look up fair prices for medical tests at www. a discount on health premiums if you enroll in a tobacco-cessation program. HOSPITAL BILLS Physicians often work at outpatient surgery centers as well as hospitals. and the cost of treatment can vary widely by location even though you’re getting care from the same (or through your insurer’s Web site) and also see how much you can save by using mail order.COM (5) . which is in the same class of drugs but is a little different chemically. You can look up generics and therapeutic equivalents at www . ask whether the doctor works at any other facilities. Fees for the doctor and the anesthesiologist might be the same. such as Lipitor. many employers offer incentives to participate in a healthy-living program— for example. and just like a prescription. but you’re likely to save on the facility fee. Then call the hospitals or outpatient centers to compare costs. When doctors order a lab test or an x-ray.

COM If you’ve saved $0: Save $5.50.000. a $150 contribution to your 401(k) will reduce your paycheck by just $112. You’ve saved $200.| 50 KipTips | 37 KIPTIP Save for retirement early (and often) paying job.376 per month. Naturally. that’s also when you’re likely to think that you can least afford to save.636 per month. Save $459 per month. You’ve saved $100. the prospect of saving that much can be daunting. offered by the vast majority of large companies.917 per month. particularly if you’re in a relatively low- WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE A MILLION How much you need to save each month to accumulate $1 million by age 67. Unfortunately. Within ten years. Save $780 per month. MORE IN OUR iPAD APP: Estimate Social Security benefits Create your own pension Get free money from your boss IF YOU WANT TO BE RICH WHEN YOU’RE old.3 million at retirement. Save $254 per month. Better yet. most employers match worker contributions.000. You’ve saved $400. assuming an 8% annual return. either you could be very rich at retirement or you could stop saving when your budget gets really tight later in life. you boost your savings rate as your salary increases. thanks to the $75 “match.) What happens if you don’t start saving until you start earning more.000. there’s no better way than to start saving when you’re young.000. If. waiting one decade cost you about $700.000 at age 67. in 20 years. Do no more and you should have $1.50—less than $30 a week—you’ve exceeded the goal of saving $200 a month. perhaps at age 32? Assuming you save the same amount and get the same return. In other words. But it’s a lot easier if you participate in your employer’s 401(k) plan. You’ve saved $50. That means your $150 contribution gets boosted to $225. you’ll have just $494. you’ll have more than $122.000. you’ll have amassed a nest egg of more than $37. Save $0 per month. AGE ISTOCKPHOTO. The bottom line: If you’re paying 25% of your income in state and federal taxes. Keep it up and you’ll have a tidy $1. Save $2. These workplace retirement programs. with an out-of-pocket cost of just $112. so you pay less income tax. a reasonable assumption for a long-term return on a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds.000. such as when you’re putting the kids through college. however. AGE If you’ve saved $0: Save $1. (The numbers assume you earn an average of 8% annually on your investments. typically at a rate of 50 cents on the dollar. 44 BUDGETING/SAVINGS RETIREMENT KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE 04/2012 HOME CREDIT COLLEGE INVESTING FAMILY FINANCES .000.000. But consider what happens if you start socking away $200 a month in a retirement account from the moment you land your first full-time job at age 22.2 million when you retire at age 67.” Now. You’ve saved $200. AGE If you’ve saved $0: Save $631 per month. allow you to set aside money before taxes are computed. The IRS acts as if you didn’t earn the contributed money. AGE If you’ve saved $0: Save $263 per month.

) 39 THESE FOUR PROJECTS FIX UP THE FRONT ENTRANCE. Replace your mailbox and house numbers. you may have a good case. according to www. If you suspect that your tax assessment is too high. PAINT A ROOM. to determine the taxable value. Cost: $250 to $300 for materials. according to the National Taxpayers Union. you need to know how your local government assesses properties. such as incorrect figures for square footage or number of rooms. if it has an online database. you can file an appeal. including paint and equipment) or $800 (pro. replace ugly vinyl flooring with easyto-install. The homes should be of about the same age and style. Finish with a new doormat for a cheery In the kitchen or bathroom.diyornot. Before you can determine if the assessed value of your home is accurate. properties are assessed at higher values than their actual worth. and they’ll make your home more enjoyable and enhance its appeal when you sell. Cost: $240 for 180 square feet. known as an assessment ratio. 12-inch square tiles. That figure may be multiplied by a set fraction. BUDGETING/SAVINGS KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE 04/2012 CREDIT INVESTING FAMILY FINANCES ISTOCKPHOTO. Cost to cover 900 square feet with one coat of latex paint: $150 (DIY. 38 KIPTIP Get more for your remodeling dollars won’t break the bank. Or hire a pro to install new sheet vinyl. Cost: $418 for 120 square feet. get your property’s record card from your local tax assessor’s office and check for errors. Lighten. (Costs are national averages. including labor). ditch the rug and hire a pro to sand and refinish the floor. UPDATE FLOORING. Then pull the record cards of those homes at the assessor’s office or on its site. you may be able to get a reduction in your assessment on the spot. bypassing the appeal process.KIPTIP Fight an unfair property assessment About 30% of U. Paint it with an accent color and replace an old lockset.S. Cost: $560 for 300 square to see estimated values and sale prices of similar homes to get an idea of whether your assessment is accurate. If you can find five or more properties at considerably lower values. If a carpet is worn or outdated and a hardwood floor lies beneath. You can search Zillow. an appraiser will compare a home with similar recently sold properties to settle on a market value. brighten and make the old look new again. have the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Next. Commonly. If you can prove that any of the information is incorrect.COM (4) . and preferably be in your neighborhood.

Each lender with whom you apply must give you a COLLEGE RETIREMENT HOME . you can typically save at least onethird of the cost of title insurance. and carlease payments.| 50 KipTips | MORE IN OUR iPAD APP: Do seasonal maintenance Sell your home—fast Save on energy bills Know how much home you can afford before you shop Lenders use two crucial benchmarks to figure out how much house you can buy. try Prorate any annual costs over 12 months. and payments for a home-equity loan or line of credit. MAXIMUM MONTHLY DEBT REPAYMENT YOUR GROSS INCOME x 36% = That includes your mortgage. priming and painting with an oil-based or 100% acrylic paint—is key to a (click on “Banking”). You may also cut your closing costs by shopping for settlement services (a closing or escrow agent) and title insurance. property taxes. If you don’t mind lenders contacting you directly. Start by calling your current mortgage lender and your bank or credit union. try www.) If the lender offering the best rate has higher fees than other lenders. Ask for the best rate for which you qualify without any discount points (interest you pay upfront to reduce the rate).mortgage marvel. private mortgage insurance (if you’ll make a down payment of less than 20%). car loans or student loans) with more than ten months of payments remaining. Proper preparation—cleaning. alimony. (You might have to pay about $50 for the lender to pull your credit report. To shop anonymously. lenders may allow debt payments to go as high as 45% of gross income for strong borrowers. homeowners association dues. 41 KIPTIP Score the cheapest mortgage good-faith estimate (GFE). Cost for one coat of paint on 150 square feet of base plus wallhung wood cabinets: $110 (DIY) or $547 (pro). At Entitle Direct. for credit cards. available in 40 states. In some areas with high housing costs. installment debt (say. as well as any other payments on home-equity borrowing. To play it safe. www . Do a quick calculation before you or direct. homeowners insurance. which provides guaranteed rates and costs.lendingtree. SPENDING 04/2012 KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE GIVE CABINETS A also budget for 1/12 of 1% of the home’s value for monthly upkeep. which provides realtime quotes offered by participating lenders who do business in your area. child support or maintenance payments with more than ten months remaining. 40 KIPTIP MAXIMUM MONTHLY HOUSING EXPENSE YOUR GROSS INCOME x 28% = That includes monthly payments for loan principal and interest. try to negotiate the fees down (excluding escrowed amounts for taxes and insurance). long-lasting result.

you have six plans to choose from. Missouri and Pennsylvania give a tax break to residents for contributing to any state’s plan.myedaccount . go to www. Consolidating gives you a single monthly payment and.studentaid. available through June 2012. fees. each of which offers a respite on repayment of federal loans for up to three years. in which case you’ll owe income tax and a 10% penalty on earnings. Two-thirds of the states give residents a tax break for contributions to their state plan.25 percentage point off your interest rate on federal loans by setting up automatic loan payments.500 for each qualifying student. If your kid doesn’t go to college.COM . These accounts let your contributions grow tax-free. Kansas. (If you’re visiting the site for the first and click on “Repayment Plans and Log in and click on “KwikPay” to enter your bank-account information. See the Direct Loan consolidation Web site for it lowers your monthly bill. however. you’ll need to select a password and take other security mea48 BUDGETING/SAVINGS KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE 04/2012 forbearance. the earnings on withdrawals escape taxes as well. This credit disappears at a modified adjusted gross income of $61. Apply for deferment or Choosing the right payment plan is critical.000 or less (married couples). You can set up a 529 plan anywhere.000 (couples filing jointly). Consolidate. CREDIT INVESTING FAMILY FINANCES ISTOCKPHOTO. Shave 0. (A longer period means you pay more interest overall. such as tuition.000 or less (single filers) or $180. but look to your own state first.ed. and room and board. you can name another beneficiary or cash out the account.) You may be eligible for a special consolidation program.000 (single filers) and $122. To sign up. Once you start paying for college. which lets you claim up to $2. go with the Lifetime Learning Credit. which returns up to $ consolidation. Find the right repayment plan. because it typically extends the payment period. take advantage of the American Opportunity Credit. that has some advantages over the traditional program. (For details. including the standard plan—120 equal payments over ten years—and several income-based plans. Maine.”) Ask for help. You must agree to the terms and conditions and provide your electronic signature. which set the monthly payments according to your ability to pay and forgive any remaining amount after 25 years.KIPTIP Use tax breaks to subsidize college Set up a 529 savings plan and name your child as the beneficiary. at 877-557-2575. With federal loans. Refinance your federal loans through the federal Direct Loan consolidation program (www. 43 MORE MO ORE IN IN OUR OUR iPAD APP: Earn a degree for less Get money for grad school 42 KIPTIP Pick the best ways to pay off student debt sures. Arizona. Still have a problem? Call the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman. Get a discount. You must have a modified adjusted gross income of $90. Beyond that. If you use the money for qualified education expenses. The American Opportunity Credit applies to the first four years of undergraduate education. first access your loans through www.000 in qualified expenses per family each year.

Searching the business’s name on Twitter may turn up phone numbers of helpful representatives or other useful information. DON’T SEND sensitive information. e-mail or on Scoutmob’s app) at checkout. such as dates and times. little twist to daily-deal sites. THROW YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA weight around. They offer about 50% off everything from pizza to Pilates classes. 45 KIPTIP Go online for discounts on what you want Sign up for daily deals at Google Deals. NEWSPAPER FLIERS ARE FINE. says Coupon Sherpa CEO Luke Knowles. on Twitter and in your e-mail in-box. Using online coupon sites can easily slash $10 off each drugstore bill and $20 off clothing purchases. preferably a customer-service account. Coupon Sherpa and RetailMeNot. SEARCH TWITTER to find out whether the company has a Twitter presence. such as credit card account numbers. some businesses check customers’ Klout scores. for example).com).| 50 KipTips | Have a beef with a business? A public conversation about your complaint on Twitter may yield more satisfying results than a phone call to the company. and direct your tweets to its account. on Twitter. Switch to a phone call. Find the best deals by following those sites on Twitter or signing up for their e-mail alerts. and have a clear goal in mind (a full refund. Use these tips to make the most of the exchange. Tweet your beef Use Twitter and other social media to complain and get results—fast. GET IDEAS from other customers. High scorers can try to get perks— say. BUT YOU can customize your coupons online. Check out Scoutmob. Register for e-mail or Twitter alerts at your favorite stores to receive insider-only promotions. which measure online influence (see yours at Klout. RETIREMENT HOME COLLEGE ISTOCKPHOTO. No payment is necessary until you present the coupon (displayed on your phone as a text. Employ many of the same tactics you’d use in a phone call—include specific information.COM SPENDING 49 . which adds a Groupon and LivingSocial. a free hotel-room upgrade—just by asking. For example. so there’s no risk that you will buy a coupon and never cash it in. 44 KIPTIP BE FIRM but not combative. Get coupon codes at CouponCabin.

” Back in 2008. If you rushed out to buy a big-screen TV. MORTON’S THE STEAKHOUSE. And you can snag a third-generation iPhone for as little as $50 (down from $600 at its 2007 introduction). the average 50 BUDGETING/SAVINGS KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE 04/2012 CREDIT INVESTING FAMILY FINANCES COURTESY MANUFACTURERS 46 MANY GADGET-LOVERS HAVE price of a 32-inch LCD TV was $867. cost $400. CHILI’S GRILL AND BAR. the latest version sells for as little as $110 without ads. your wallet certainly suffered from “early-adopter syndrome. which often come with warranties. The first Kindle. look for refurbished tech products. a market-research firm. Prices don’t always fall. introduced in 2007. and the early kinks will be ironed out. cheaper version come down the pipeline. by last year. STEVE BROWN/GETTY IMAGES KIPTIP Spend less on tech by avoiding “early-adopter syndrome” plunked down big bucks on a first-generation—or next-gen—product only to see a better. is lighter and has way more memory and battery life. For even better deals. according to iSuppli. the price had dropped by $330. .COURTESY (CLOCKWISE): VAPIANO INTERNATIONAL. but even newer models that cost the same will have enhancements.

for about two-thirds the price. potato chips instead of fingerling potatoes). full-service restaurants while saving on price and tip. At Manhattan’s Gotham Bar and Grill. to find the happy-hour specials— usually offered between 4 P. FREE KIDS’ MEALS: CHILI’S GRILL & BAR FAST-CASUAL: VAPIANO’S LOCAL DEALS: DAILYHAPPYHOUR. it’s Mamma Lucia’s. you’ll pay $15 for four petite filet mignon sandwiches as opposed to $49 for the New York strip steak off the dinner menu. Choose from the a la carte menu and a comparable selection—a green salad and the panseared skate entree—runs $34. Stand in line to order at upscale chains such as Vapiano’s (Italian) and La Madeleine (French). cocktails for $4. Land a deal on the fixed-price menu even at high-end restaurants. but so are the prices. Eat off the same basic menu minus the extra-large portions (a 10-ounce meat entree rather than a 14-ouncer) and fancy side dishes (say. Typical deals: beer for a buck.100 $800 Brand-new Refurbished $172 $152 RETIREMENT HOME COLLEGE SPENDING . The portions are smaller. where the freebies flow all day Sunday.dailyhappyhour. and half-price appetizers.COM Nook Color Brand-new Refurbished Droid Bionic Apple MacBook Air * Western Digital My Passport 1TB Hard Drive Brand-new Refurbished $199 $145 $200 * Brand-new Refurbished *with two-year contract $150 $1.M. Visit www.mykidseatfree. FIND THE BEST HAPPY HOUR.. you can get a roasted-beet salad and the Scottish salmon entree for a fixed price of $25.M. In Evanston. at Morton’s the Steakhouse. on Tuesday nights. Go to www. 47 BAR BITES: MORTON’S THE STEAKHOUSE OPT FOR THE BAR MENU. You’ll get the food and atmosphere of fancier.—at bars near you. and 7 to find the restaurants near you where the kids score a freebie (usually on a particular night of the week and with the purchase of an adult entree).. that would be Chili’s Grill & Bar. LET THE KIDS EAT FOR FREE. Ill. BUY LUNCH. For instance. in Elkridge. we also mean where in the restaurant you happen to sit down).| 50 KipTips | KIPTIP Eat out in style for less It’s all in the timing and location (and by location. NOT DINNER. CHOOSE FAST-CASUAL. PICK THE PRIX-FIXE.

CREDIT INVESTING Jeep Grand Cherokee $29.050 (SV) The first mass-market electric vehicle to hit the streets.5i automatic) Kiplinger’s named the Outback Best in Class Wagon for the third year in a row. based on its fuel economy. The Sorento rates a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. COURTESY MANUFACTURERS . The third row of seats (optional on four-cylinder models and standard on V6 models) is perfect for little ones. KIA SORENTO NISSAN LEAF SUBARU OUTBACK RUNNERS-UP: Hyundai Sonata $21. RUNNERS-UP: Ford Focus $19. Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive comes in three different versions (all standard) on Outback models. lots of interior space and highway fuel economy of 23 mpg. A full charge takes about eight hours on a 220-volt dock and will carry you 73 miles. Second-row legroom is a roomy 38 inches. but a $7. and cargo space behind the second row is 37 cubic feet—enough to fit the family and all your gear.4L GLS) It’s elegant as well as utilitarian. RUNNERS-UP: Ford Explorer $34. improved driving dynamics and functional interior set it apart from its minivan peers. as is a 7-inch information display with navigation (to help you find the nearest charging station).035 (LX) The bold exterior. but not unbearable for adults. A heated steering wheel and heated seats and mirrors are standard features for 2012. versus 26 mpg for the V6. high resale value and gets 36 miles per gallon on the highway. 52 BUDGETING/SAVINGS KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE 04/2012 Hyundai Elantra $15. but it’s still rugged enough for adventure. Honda Odyssey $29. On the 2.070 (2.COM(6). according to the Environmental Protection Agency. it has plenty of legroom. It has an ample 15 cubic feet of cargo room. deceleration and available traction. the Leaf boasts serious amenities in addition to zero tailpipe emissions and a “fueling” cost of less than $700 a year. Subaru S ba O Outback tback Sticker price: $25. with generous legroom and cargo space. and a thrifty four-cylinder engine. depending on the transmission and engine. power is distributed to the wheels depending on acceleration.820 (Laredo 4WD) This Jeep has off-road cred. and a USB connection for music.5i automatic.455 (2.920 (XLT AWD) Explorer is now a crossover.955 (GLS) A nice price and 40 mpg on the highway make it easy on your budget. The price tag is steep. Nissan Leaf Sticker price: $36.750 (LX V6) Kia’s midsize SUV switched from truck to crossover construction last year and now features more agile. FAMILY FINANCES FROM TOP: ISTOCKPHOTO.48 KIPTIP Drive the car that suits your lifestyle FAMILIES URBAN COMMUTERS OUTDOORSY OUTD TDOO OORS OO OORS RSY SY Kia Sorento Sticker price: $25.500 federal tax credit helps.095 (SE hatchback) Redesigned for 2012. A four-cylinder engine graces the lineup and gets 29 miles per gallon on the highway. Bluetooth. carlike handling. with carlike handling and better fuel economy. For trailrated accessories such as splash guards and all-weather floor mats. check out the Popular Package ($772). stellar resale values and bragging rights as an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

Its 1. easy-to-use controls. the Miata is stripped to the essentials so you feel connected to the road. PORSCHE BOXSTER CHRYSLER 300C 2009 HONDA CIVIC RUNNERS-UP: Chevrolet Corvette $50. easy-to-use dash controls and standard backup monitor. and the pedals and steering wheel adjust at the touch of a button. RUNNERS-UP: Mazda5 $20.000 less. four-cylinder engine produces 140 horsepower and gets 36 mpg on the highway. Add the Safetytec package ($2. but few were cooler than 1950s film star James Dean—whose love of Porsches became legendary after his death at the age of 24 while driving a 550 Spyder. plus it comes with a slew of standard safety features and a wallet-friendly price.500 (base) The 6. and the engine is placed mid car. But there’s more to the C than nostalgia. HOME COLLEGE 2009 Scion xB $12. The Spyder has a larger engine and more horsepower. with big.955 (base) Check out the eight-way power driver’s seat. as a Toyota product. It corners and brakes like a dream. if you desire two seats and the feel of the wind tousling your hair. and the dashboard is clean. so there’s storage fore and aft.2-liter V8 packs 430 horsepower and propels the ’Vette (which turns 60 next year) from 0 to 60 in 4. seating for six and easy-stow seats for when you need more space. Mazda Miata $26. Other standard perks include heated leather seats.708 (EX-L sedan) If you’d rather spring for a new car for your teen. If money is tight and you can sacrifice some speed. consider a three-year-old Civic. RUNNERS-UP: 2008 Chevy Malibu $11.831 (LT) The Malibu drives well. USB connectivity and a 60/40 split folding rear seat to expand the car’s 12 cubic feet of cargo space. RETIREMENT Toyota Avalon $33.145 Chrysler’s restyled 300C is evocative of the 1957 model. Chrysler 300C Sticker price: $41. The EX-L model has safety features not available on lower trims—standard stability and traction control plus brake assist (to apply maximum braking force in an emergency). But if you’re looking to spend less.420) for adaptive cruise control. consider the base Boxster.245 (Sport) Inspired by roadsters such as the MGB. then the Porsche Boxster is a good choice. The package includes forward-collision and blind-spot warning and cross-path detection. SPENDING 53 .8-liter. for $15.750 (Spyder) Many celebrities have driven Porsches over the years. with a wide front grille and fins. Questions of your demise aside. which uses radar to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you on the highway. The doors open wide for easy entry. 2009 Honda Civic Sticker price: $16. a history of reliability.2 seconds. Heated seats (front and rear) and a rearview camera are standard.323 (base) The xB has a capacious 22 cubic feet of cargo space and.140 (Sport) This mini minivan offers easy access.| 50 KipTips | MIDLIFE CRISIS OLDER DRIVERS TEENS EN NS Porsche Boxster Sticker price: $62. consider the Kia Soul or Ford Focus.

book during “wave season. ROOMORAMA. says Mark Murphy. We like Airfarewatchdog and Farecompare to get the scoop on sales and promotions. MORE IN OUR iPAD APP: Avoid airline luggage fees Skip these four menu items Buy luxury goods—cheap Save money at the pump 49 Airfare. such as Hotwire and or Zagat. CAL. VRBO. Scout out fares on major travel sites. then plug a few itineraries into Bing Travel’s handy “price predictor. sign up for Groupon. Orbitz and Travelocity) for package deals on airfare. COURTESY (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP): HOMEAWAY.COM. HOLLYWOOD. If your dates are flexible. LivingSocial and Scoutmob in your destination city and pay special attention to restaurant coupons.KIPTIP Land the best deals before you travel For the best Car rentals. Places that choose not to register with travel search engines can be a great deal and have more local flavor than the chain hotels. Cruises. Next.” Check the travel search engines (such as Kayak. and be ready to pounce on special promotions and time-sensitive “flash sales. CEO of Travalliance. Booking through Hotwire or Priceline is a good way to snag a bargain on a rental—the vehicles in rental fleets don’t vary much.COM. Kayak. lodging and car rentals. HAVEN IN PARIS. Orbitz and Travelocity. Don’t forget local tourism sites and guidebooks when looking for lodging. Look for cruises on which often place you on roundabout routes at inconvenient times. when you can find deals of 50% to 60% off. be flexible.” which forecasts whether prices are headed up or down. Food. Or sign up for the Gate1 newsletter. (Skip blind booking sites. PARIS INVESTING FAMILY FINANCES 54 BUDGETING/SAVINGS KIPLINGER’S PERSONAL FINANCE 04/2012 CREDIT . sign up for e-mail alerts from airfare-alert sites or follow them on Twitter. which sends out deals on all-inclusive vacations and tours.” from January through March.) Hotels. Check online reviews on Yelp. Flexible travelers should follow LivingSocial Escapes and Groupon Getaways for discounted offers at romantic villas and bed-andbreakfasts. A few weeks before takeoff.

looking for more space away from the tourist meccas in U. Booking for a week can land you a reduced rate. These sites include thousands of listings. Italy. EDINBURGH. SOUTHERN ITALY. as the classic lodging for families or large groups on beach vacations. PARIS. with a one-week minimum stay. not to mention families. listed on Haveninparis. The financials work differently for vacation rentals than for such as VRBO. Amenities include two fireplaces. But they can also suit singles and lists properties worldwide. We also found a couple of smaller sites: within walking distance of the Walk of Fame and Sunset or HomeAway. Besides offering more square feet per dollar. Be sure to book through a trustworthy site. A three-bedroom villa near (the price can triple during summer season). with the owner’s contact information. was renting for $250 per night. starts at about $190 nightly on Roomorama. On focuses on Paris and Provence as well as London and Tuscany.| 50 KipTips | KIPTIP Stay in a home away from home Vacation rentals aren’t just for summer beach getaways. an SORRENTO. a twobedroom Craftsman-style house. sleeps four and offers cable and free calls to North America. cities or abroad. A two-bedroom luxury apartment listed on VRBO. photos. You’ll likely pay a cleaning fee ($100 to $250) and may have to put down a security deposit or nonrefundable reservation deposit. In the trendy Marais neighborhood. 50 VACATION RENTAL HOMES ARE PIGEONHOLED HOLLYWOOD. rentals usually have a kitchen to help keep down food costs and a laundry room so you can pack recently rented for between $165 and $340 per night (more during the August Edinburgh International Festival). It has an infinity pool and can sleep up to eight people. ■ HOME COLLEGE SPENDING EDINBURGH. ITALY airy apartment runs from $300 to $375 per night (depending on the season). reviews and pricing details. both domestic and international. The apartment. a bathroom with heated floors and views of Edinburgh’s castle. SCOTLAND RETIREMENT .

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