6 money-saving myths that might be costing you

6 money-saving myths that might be costing you

You 'top off' your gas tankThose little squirts of gas you try to add to your tank at the end of a filling often end up staying in the hose. That means you've actually given gas away to the next user of your pump!

You always turn off lights when you leave a roomThink you're doing your electric bill a favor? Turning off compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), which use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs and can last up to 10 times longer, when you leave a room for less than 15 minutes actually costs more than leaving them on. So if you are likely to be back in that part of your house soon, leave the lights on to save.

You cut up extra credit cardsYes, it's smart to reduce your temptation to splurge by destroying cards. But if you actually cancel them, it could hurt your credit rating. Here's why: Lenders worry about how close you are to using all the credit available to you. If you close an account, you lose its credit line. As a result, you are using a greater portion of the reduced amount you can now borrow. How many cards do you need? While the average American household has nine, two or three active cards should be plenty.

You fall for common grocery store promotionsHere's a well-kept secret: When a grocery store advertises a special (say, buy 10 containers of yogurt for $5), you don't have to buy the number of items they're advertising. In this case, you could buy one container for 50 cents. Unless the store specifically states otherwise, you should buy as few as you want. Also: Don't fall for limits. Keep your money in your purse when you see signs like "Limit six per customer. Stores know that customers will buy more of an item if they think there's a shortage, and there generally isn't.

You dropped your wholesale club membership (and no longer use the pharmacy)If you decide to stop paying for a wholesale club membership, you can still buy prescriptions there even if you're not a member. The pharmacy may tack on a small fee, but you have the right under federal law to fill prescriptions at any pharmacy, so tell the person asking for your ID at the front door that you're only visiting the pharmacy. (But don't get carried away; you won't be able to buy anything else without a club membership ID).

You frequent discount storesThey tempt you not only with their excellent bargains, but also with their, "I don't know what I was thinking when I bought this" impulse buys. How can you avoid these temptations? Avoid the shopping cart. Buy only what you can carry in your arms. You'll end up buying only what you really need and want.

Photo: Jrod

TJ, Janet & JRod

TJ, Janet & JRod

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