TODAY | December 30, 2011
>> thank you. this morning on "today's money" surviving a holiday debt hangover, if you're left with a mountain of debt, there are ways to get cash in your pocket apparently fast. vera gibbons, good to see you.
>> good morning.
>> pretty in pink , i'm assuming that's a christmas gift.
>> yes and a lot of people bought gifts and wanted to share the love but reality sets in soon.
>> you need to put cash back in your pocket. give yourself a raise, specifically i'm talking about change the number of allowances you take on your w-4. three out of four taxpayers got a refund and the average was $3,000 which tells us we're having too much withheld from our paycheck so you can figure this out by using some of the withholding calculators on the web. turbo tax and irs.gov has one. if you're single, got a $1,000 refund, if you claimed two allowances that puts $90 back in your pocket every single month. it's better than to give the government an interest-free loan.
>> you headline give yourself a raise. next stop, what some consider a no-brainer, nibbling away the at the mortgage.
>> the reason i mention this, we have 12 million credit worthy americans who have yet to refinance and probably should because they're overpaying their mortgages by $436 a month.
>> collectively, tamron, if this group were to refinance they'd save about $52,000 over ten years so significant amount of money, to see how much you would save, some of the others have the refi calculators, zillo you can comparison shop to find which offer you the best rate.
>> a little spring cleaning puts money in your pocket.
>> do it early, clean out the drawers. we have the stale potpourri. $16 billion in unredeemed bonds, bonds that expired, no longer earning interest. you need to cash the out and go to treasury.gov to find out what they're worth. gift cards we got a lot over the holidays. on average we have about $300 worth of gift cards on hand at any time so that's an awful lot of money sitting out there. if you're not going to use the gift cards sell them. there are plastic jungle or card hub.
>> better than having them sit in the drawer. you talk about redeeming some of your reward points and miles. why is that significant?
>> we earn $48 billion in points and miles every single year and we leave $16 billion on the table, a third of it on the table. what's that, a waste of money. you earned the points, redeem them. the average household earns for example $6 2 and leaving $205 on the table. i mean that's enough for a week's worth of groceries, airline ticket, smartphone.
>> you say no more impulse buys. all of the good sales start after january 1st .
>> a lot of this over the holidays, retailers entice us any number of ways. they offered rlly good deals and reconfigured the stores to encourage us to brows, tempting items by the checkout. we spent a lot, holiday sales are up about 3.5% and even though i think there's buyers remorse going on we're still out there making the impulse purchases, 60% of purchases, tamron, are unplanned purchases and the average impulse buy is about $100. that adds up.
>> keep that in mind going shopping, if you're going in, get in, get out.
>> 52% of americans lose $3,000 a year to mystery spending.
>> what is mystery spending?
>> they don't know where it went. you spent it on something, food, entertainment, money you can't account for. you need to be more accountable. even if you take a couple dollars out of your wallet and stash it aside you can have over $700 saved at the end of the year.
>> retail rip-offs.
>> everything seems like it is on sale but there are rip-offs out there. for example, this is probably the biggest example, movie theater popcorn marked up as much as 1,300%. wine you boo i at restaurants marked up 100% to 200% on the bottles, 300% to 400% if you buy it on the glass and the cheapest stuff has the most significant markup, precut fruits and vegetables, you get the idea. so avoid the retail rip-offs.
>> bargain, haggle.
>> continue haggling because it works. those who negotiate for a better price tend to get it, over 50%.
>> learn to haggle because you get intimidated and say you're going to do it and don't.
>> just do it.
>> happy new year, vera. great advice.