Improve Your Financial Health and Save Money in 2011


Shop Wisely: Most people don't know that there is a right time to buy certain products. Plan your annual purchases in January and, with patience, you could save a bundle.

Hobson said the best deals occur when a retailer is starting to get new merchandise and wants to get rid of old inventory. For example, if you want to buy winter clothes, wait until February or March to get better deals, she said. You should also consider purchasing new patio furniture in October, rather than in June, she added.

January is the best time to buy linens and bedding, and retailers usually have their "white sales" this month, she added. You can also find bargains on furniture in January and July, just before new shipments arrive.

Do not buy jewelry around the holidays, Valentine's Day or Mother's Day, because jewelers will be less willing to make deals because of high demand, she added.

Health Care: Health care costs are rising dramatically. The average employee will pay $2,200 in premiums -- up 12 percent from 2010 -- for employer health insurance, Hobson said. Employees will also pay an additional $2,200 in out-of-pocket expenses, she added.

The easiest way to save money on health care is not to get sick, so don't neglect your regular check-ups. Last year's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act made most preventative services free, she said. Provided your plan is eligible and you use an in-network doctor, you won't have any out-of-pocket expenses for vital testing such as diabetes testing, some cancer screenings and regular well baby visits, Hobson added.

Taking advantage of preventative free services may allow you to catch problems early and prevent expensive trips to the emergency room, she said.

To find out if you qualify for these free services, ask your doctor, health insurance company or visit

Web-Extra Tips

Hold off purchasing a new car until January. The dealerships are eager to offer money-saving deals during that time as they have to make room for next year's car models.

The best way to tackle debt is by eliminating your credit card bills. Start by paying down the card with the highest interest rate first then move onto the card with the next-highest interest rate. Paying off high interest rate debt first allows you to save money on interests in the long-run.

Don't make financial decisions in a vacuum. Speak openly with the entire family. By involving the entire family, everyone has a vested interest in the financial health of the family. It also teaches young people the value of money.

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