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January 25, 2012

The Rich Girl's Money Rules to Live By

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woman with grocery bag

Photo Credit: Bill Diodato

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SPEND SMARTER!

Instant money-savers. (You can start right now!)

Work the Web

Billshrink.com: This free service highlights hidden charges or actual fraud on your credit card. Nerdwallet.com: Compare your credit-card rates against other companies' for better deals. Gasbuddy.com: Check prices at local gas stations, sorted by state. Farecompare.com: Search multiple travel sites at once to get the ticket you want at the lowest price possible. Soap.com: Get all your drugstore basics and household supplies at once from this new site; delivery is often next-day, and prices are low, thanks to e-coupons for as much as 20 percent off. Shopittome.com: Sign up for customized e-mail sale alerts based on your size and favorite retail brands. Savored.com: Pay $10 to make reservations at upscale restaurants (like Beso in L.A. or The 21 Club in New York); you'll get 30 percent off your bill, no coupon necessary.

Download These Apps

Redlaser: Wave your iPhone in front of any item's bar code. The app scans websites and nearby stores to tell you if it's available for less elsewhere. Key Ring: Swap those pesky plastic rewards cards for an app that manages all of your store loyalty programs at once. Tweetalicious: Get an instant feed of trending Twitter deals from stores like Ann Taylor and Victoria's Secret. LifeBooker: Find and make health and beauty appointments for up to 70 percent off at salons and spas across the country. Happy Hours: Track down drink specials in your neighborhood; you can even search for amenities like free Wi-Fi or live music.

Make Small Changes at Home

Save $33 a month: Turn your fridge temperature up to 40 degrees and your freezer up to 0. Your food will stay fresh, but settings any colder ramp up your bill. Save $30 a month: Plug every appliance into a surge protector, not the wall. Save $12 a month: Switch to CLF (compact fluorescent lamp) lightbulbs; they use one-fifth the power of regular bulbs.

Almost-Free Ideas & Guilt-Free Splurges!

Little treats to make you feel like a million

1. Buy fresh flowers. They'll do wonders for your state of mind. Ask a florist which last longest.

2. Just have the latte. Don't deprive yourself. If you want it, get it.

3. Shop with a pro. Stores like Nordstrom and J.Crew offer free personal shoppers. You'll get an expert opinion and tip-offs on future sales.

Outsmart the stores! Save every time you shop ...

AT THE GROCERY STORE:

Skip the shopping cart unless you've got a family to feed. You'll buy 40 percent more with a trolley than if you carry your purchases around.

Pass up samples. Eating releases dopamine, a feel-good chemical that heightens your senses, encouraging you to overspend.

Perimeter-shop. Brand-name processed foods live on the store's inner aisles, while cheaper, fresh items like produce are at the outer edge. Browse here for healthy, low-cost shopping.

AT THE DEPARTMENT STORE:

Hands off. Touching merchandise for more than 30 seconds makes you more likely to buy it.

Shop solo. Browsing with a friend triggers competition; you'll be more objective alone.

Save your receipt. Stores from Banana Republic to Target have 14-day price-adjustment policies. If your purchase goes on sale, they'll pay you back the difference.

 


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