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Savvy Consumer: Invest an extra dollar here, there for big payoffs

Published April 17, 2013 6:40 pm

Tips on the best $5, $10 or $20 you'll spend this year.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

We talk so much about socking away money, which is a good thing, of course. But truth is, sometimes you need to spend a bit to save moolah and improve your life. Check out these investment tips, and you'll see how they can make a difference with really big payoffs.

Take someone you admire to lunch or to have coffee

Why is such a date worth your money, beyond offering a gripe or gossip session? Because connections are a big secret to how you can get where you want to go in life. Whom do you admire, either at work or socially? Lunch or coffee could open doors because a quick bite with someone can turn into a job opportunity.

Bonus • Adults with a strong, wide social network have a 50 percent better chance of living longer, reports a Brigham Young University study. That's an amazing return on a few dollars.

Protect your possessions

More than 2 million burglaries occur every year in the U.S., and if your house is the crime scene, you will be devastated. And, you'll probably disheartened, too, if you find out your insurance policy doesn't offer enough coverage for the pricier items you've accumulated — think laptop or engagement ring.

So, it's time to get a rider or two to extend your coverage on specific items. MetLife, for instance, charges $1 or $2 per $100 of value for a jewelry rider for an item that's being worn or kept at home. If you have a ring valued at $2,000, that's $20 a year for protection in case of loss or theft. Some perspective: It would take you maybe 100 years to save up $2,000 at $20 a year.

For more information on insurance riders, head to the website of the Insurance Information Institute, iii.org.

Overpay — and enjoy it

You've heard this one before. Minimizing what you owe is one of the best ways to turbo-charge your money. If you add even an extra $10 to your credit card payment each month, you'll be amazed at the impact. Let's say you're carrying $5,000 at 16 percent interest that you're trying to pay off at $200 per month. Add an extra $10 each month, and you'll save $67 in interest payments and get out of debt two months earlier than the two-year-and-seven-month timeline you're now on. Make it an extra $20 a month, and you'll save $126 in interest.

Clean up your email act

One daily to-do that eats up time and money is sifting through your email inbox — teeming with everything from forwarded jokes from friends to urgent work items and info for 30 percent off sales that you may actually want to know about. You can simplify that process with Postbox, a desktop app that costs $9.95 and is available at postbox-inc.com. It will group your email messages as you see fit, and it can scan the contents of each email to make searching for those promo codes and coupons super-quick.