Smart ways to spend your cash right now
$5 Cup of Coffee With an Executive
How else can you build a meaningful relationship with a senior-level player without busting your budget? Hint: Take the exec to the best restaurant you can afford. The coffee will be great; the conversation even better. Log on to timeout.com, zagat.com and theworlds50best.com for restaurant ideas.
$10 Clean Up Your Email Account
Time is money, so if your in-box is cluttered with too many random jokes from friends, notes from your daughter's school and urgent reminders (everything is urgent these days), it's worth it to simplify with Postbox (postbox-inc.com), a desktop app that costs $9.95. It organizes and separates personal and work e-mail, rearranges your in-box with the highest priorities first, and automatically summarizes replies and forwards them into who-said-what-when discussions. No more hunting for that e-mail. Genius!
$15 Prepay Your Bills
Late fees, over-the-limit fees, bounced-check fees. Sound familiar? From a missed credit card payment to a forgotten check, these charges can wreak havoc on your finances, costing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year. Overpay your bills before they are due. An additional $15 toward a $180 monthly gas and electric bill, for example, equals one extra payment a year. Set up automatic monthly payments, and if a financial emergency arises, redirect the "extra" funds where needed. For easy ways to track your spending, try money
$20 Give Money Back to Your College or University
We give to our churches, to our favorite charities and to our coworkers' annual fund-raisers, but writing a check to our alma mater may only enter our minds at reunion time. Whether you bestow $20 or $2,000, giving back is not only good for your soul, but your wallet will also thank you. You'll gain tax deductions from the charitable contributions. (Be sure to keep proper documentation such as a canceled check and receipt from the university.) In addition, you can enhance your school's reputation, since the number of alumni who give is a factor in awarding national rankings for colleges and universities. Your donation may also have a positive influence when it comes time for your child to apply to college.
Money-Saving Apps I Love
HotelTonight Use this free app to book amazing last-minute room deals at hotels in 12 countries and in more than 100 destinations.
RedLaser Shop to your heart's content with this free app that lets you scan bar codes, find the best price and pick up your purchase or have it delivered.
GreenOutlet Figure out which appliances in your home use the most energy with this $2.99 app, which can also calculate your average monthly cost.