3 ways to save money this spring

By George Mannes, senior writer


(Money Magazine) -- 1. Book a sweet getaway

Why: An early Easter (April 4) marks the end of spring break in the Caribbean -- and the start of bargain season for vacation packages. If you like your skiing on snow, not water, snag deals at Canadian Olympic ski venue Whistler Blackcomb, since host locales usually suffer a post-game decline in tourist traffic.

CDs & Money Market
MMA 0.39%
$10K MMA 0.35%
6 month CD 0.37%
1 yr CD 0.68%
5 yr CD 1.37%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

What to do: For last-minute deals and extras such as free meals, sign up for all the airline and hotel-chain loyalty programs and newsletters you can, says George Hobica, founder of airfarewatchdog.com. And check kayak.com.

2. Stop lending to Uncle Sam

Why: Fancy a raise come spring? With the average federal tax refund around $2,700, chances are you've been giving the government an interest-free loan by having too much money pulled out of your paycheck. Turn over a little less each pay period and you'll have an extra $50 a week to tuck into your wallet -- or your bank account.

What to do: With your most recent pay stubs and tax return handy, go to irs.gov and use the withholding calculator to get specific instructions for filling out new W-4s. Your payroll department will adjust your withholding accordingly.

3. Go crazy at the drugstore

Why: Didn't cash out your 2009 flexible spending account by Dec. 31? Maybe there's still time. About a third of employers that offer such plans let you tap last year's account until March 15, according to Hewitt Associates.

What to do: Think beyond doctor-visit co-pays: Qualifying expenses may include contact-lens solution, acupuncture, home pregnancy tests, and even Botox (if you have migraines). Check with human resources -- and get busy.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.36%4.24%
15 yr fixed3.39%3.26%
5/1 ARM3.36%3.27%
30 yr refi4.34%4.22%
15 yr refi3.38%3.24%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,427.74 19.20 0.12%
Nasdaq 4,102.54 7.02 0.17%
S&P 500 1,866.85 2.00 0.11%
Treasuries 2.70 -0.02 -0.70%
Data as of 9:36am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Western Union Co 15.25 -0.80 -4.98%
Regions Financial Co... 10.22 -0.12 -1.16%
Twenty-First Century... 32.52 0.24 0.74%
Oracle Corp 40.08 -0.05 -0.12%
Merck & Co Inc 56.47 0.21 0.37%
Data as of Apr 17

Sections

On eve of hearing UAW says it will no longer challenge loss in organizing election at Volkswagen's only U.S. plant. More

Obamacare sign ups hit 8 million, though final enrollment remains to be seen. More

Schwinn, Trek and Cannondale are all iconic American bicycle brands. But none of them are made in the United States. More

Getting people to donate money is a big business, and some universities, hospitals and other nonprofits are rewarding their top fundraisers with as much as $1 million to bring in the big bucks. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.