Mellody's Math: Everyday Money-Saving Secrets

Another way for motorists to save significant money is to keep their cars properly serviced, taking special care to keep tires properly inflated. Fuel consumption increases 1.5 percent and the life span of a tire decreases 15 percent with every 0.2 bar the tire is under-inflated. Approximately 20 percent of all passenger cars bear tires that are under-inflated by up to 40 percent.

No Butts About It

Quit smoking now, if only for the sheer financial cost of this unhealthy habit. The cost of lighting up easily surpasses the pricey habit of buying café lattes from expensive coffee shops each day before work.

So far, 16 states have raised tobacco prices this year. In New York City, the city's cigarette tax has increased from 8 cents to $1.50 a pack, driving the cost of cigarettes to $7.50 a pack.

The American Cancer Society estimates the cost of smoking at about $3,391 per smoker per year. By skipping the smokes and instead investing the money in a mutual fund (assuming an eight percent return) for 25 years, the money saved is remarkable:

Mellody's Math:

If in 25 years, you invested the $3,391 a year in a mutual fund (assuming an 8 percent annual return) you would have $267,734.42!

ATM — Automatically Takes (Your) Money

ATM fees and gold cards are a guaranteed ways for your wallet to take a hit. In fact, almost 89 percent of banks and savings institutions levy some type of charge for using their ATM machines. The most common ATM charge is for users who access the ATM of a financial institution that is not their own.

The average surcharge for such transactions is at an all-time high, $1.47 per transaction from the bank that is not your own. Plus, your own bank may charge an additional fee, on average, of $1.38 a transaction, making a total of $2.85 per transaction for those who withdraw money from a different bank.

With an average withdrawal of $60 per transaction, the fee for using another bank's ATM can cost you about 5 percent of your transaction. And, if you are a frequent ATM user, 5 percent can quickly add up!

Mellody's Math: The following scenario is if you use another bank's ATM (assuming you are charged by the other institution as well as your bank)

$1.47 per outside bank fee transaction $1.38 fee from your bank per outside transaction $2.85 total per transaction $444.60 per year, if you make 3 transactions a week

If you invest the $444.60 every year, for 25 years, (assuming an 8 percent return) you would have $35,103.13 in 25 years!

There are other costs associated with banking, too. Many financial institutions assess a fee for non-customers to cash a check. The best way to avoid any fee is to have your paycheck direct deposited to your account, or to use your bank's ATM to deposit or get cash back on your check.

When it comes to selecting a credit card, it is often a wiser to pass on the gold and opt for the no-frills standard card instead. On average, according to, the APR on gold cards is more than 3 percent higher than the average rate on a standard card. Some gold cards, like American Express come with an annual fee. In addition, there may be a higher annual fee to flash the gold, a privilege that usually brings only a higher rate of credit.

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