Save Big: Cut Your Top 5 Costs and Save Thousands

The way to save on credit is to use less of it or get it for less. The way to get it for less is to ferociously protect and promote your credit score. I'm not shy. I confess that I had credit card debt and a crummy credit score back in the day. By taking steps -- free steps that didn't cost me a penny — I raised my score. And that new, higher score helped me qualify for a better interest rate on my mortgage, saving me $116,000 over the past decade.

Groceries come in fourth, and there are ways to cut your grocery bills by as much as 80 percent. Seriously! But it does require some work. I outline all the strategies to save biggest in the book. But at my own house we mostly use what I call the "Not Shopping" method. If you normally grocery shop once a week, you challenge yourself to skip some of those trips and subsist on the forgotten food in your fridge, freezer and pantry. It sounds obvious, but get this. If you cut out one shopping trip out of four, you are cutting your grocery costs by 25 percent. For the average family, that's a savings of more than $2,500 a year.

I'm passionate about saving on healthcare, our 5th biggest expense. My husband and I did the math and discovered that if you pay higher premiums up front in exchange for low or no co-pays when you go to the doctor, you often end up paying for more healthcare than you actually use. Our family of three saves $1,100 a year by paying less up front to an insurance company but more when we actually need care.

Do you detect a theme here? I like to cut my big, boring expenses instead of life's little pleasures. And by doing so, over the past 10 years I've saved more than $160,000! Let me put it this way. You would have to banish lattes from your life for the next 110 years to match my decade of savings! That's why I'd rather SAVE BIG!

To read an excerpt from Elisabeth Leamy's new book, click here.

To find out how to get your hands on SAVE BIG, click here.

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