50 tips for riding out the recession

Maximize your credit cards
Grace periods amount to interest-free loans if you pay off full balance

Save on auto insurance
Lower your car insurance premiums with these useful tips

Get the best available price
Tips to avoid missing a sale or discount, even after purchase

Recession-proof your job
With virtually every industry cutting jobs, you're probably asking yourself: Am I next?

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Baltimore Sun reporters share news and tips on shopping, saving money, deals and credit

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  • Spend less on food with a little more preparation

    Don't be tempted by restaurant meals or take-out at dinner time. With a little strategy, you can spend less money cooking for yourself. First, plan your meals and snacks. Buy groceries in one trip to minimize impulse purchases. Use supermarket circulars for inspiration rather than gourmet cooking...

  • Riding out the recession: IRS might be willing to wait

    Is the IRS liening on you? There might be some relief if a tax lien on your house is preventing you from refinancing your mortgage or selling your home. You or your lender can ask the IRS to make its tax lien secondary to the one bythe mortgage company refinancing your loan. Or, you can ask the...

  • Riding out the recession: File for jobless benefits quickly

    If you lose your job, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Last month, Maryland's unemployment rate jumped to a 15-year high of 5.8 percent. File for jobless benefits as quickly as possible so that the state can determine your eligibility, says Thomas Wendel, executive director for Maryland's...

  • Trim your telecommunications bill

    Telecom services offer large and relatively pain-free ways to reduce household bills. Do you really need a land line telephone? Is premium cable worth the money? (Is any cable? TV stations still broadcast for free, although you'll need to buy a new TV or digital converter.) Can you really tell...

  • Talk to mortgage lender if worried about falling behind

    Don't wait. That's the most important advice for people who fear they could fall behind on a mortgage payment, according to housing experts and lenders. The message is at the heart of a statewide campaign to prevent and assist with foreclosures, says Jacqueline Lampell, spokeswoman for the state...

  • Keeping health insurance even if you lose your job

    So, you got pink-slipped. Don't let your health insurance slip, too. Here are options to keep yourself insured while you look for a new job: •Enroll in a spouse's workplace plan. You can do so even if it isn't open enrollment season. •Maintain coverage under your old employer for up to 18 months...

  • Finding better interest rates on your deposits

    No question, interest rates on deposits are piddling. But banks still need to attract deposits, and savers can still find rates that are higher than average. You'll need to shop around. Check out Bank, and for the highest yields around the nation. Last week, the...

  • Declaring war on random bank fees

    Banks make their easiest profits not from traditional lending but from nuisance fees, past-due charges and other extra costs paid by consumers. Most are avoidable with a little vigilance. Declaring war on random fees can pay for a nice restaurant dinner. Bounced-check charges are almost pure gravy...

  • 529 college savings plans gain flexibility

    Families with 529 college savings plans have more flexibility this year if they experience second thoughts about their investments. Usually, the Internal Revenue Service limits the number of times you can switch investments to once a year. (The only other way to switch investments is by changing...

  • Online budgeting sites are bustling in this economy

    The recession has lots of people trying to live within a budget, and more of them are turning to online money-management sites to stay on track. These sites generally collect information from online bank and credit-card accounts. They update your account information regularly so you can see where...