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Save Big: Cut Your Top 5 Costs and Save Thousands Hardcover – December 14, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Amazon.com Review

The secrets to saving BIG from Good Morning America Consumer Correspondent Elisabeth Leamy

In this battered economy, saving money matters more to consumers than ever before. But we're tired of hearing about all the small stuff, like skipping our morning latte and installing low flow showerheads. We want BIG, bold ideas, and this book has them. In a straightforward style-with a dash of attitude-Good Morning America's Elisabeth Leamy shows you how to Save BIG on the priciest parts of your life.

In SAVE BIG (Not Small), Leamy puts saving in perspective. Her philosophy is to save a lot of money on a few things rather than a little bit of money on a bunch of things. Why give up life's little pleasures when you can save more money by attacking a few big, boring expenses instead?

  • Helps identify where you spend the most money so that you can save the most money. The top five costs are our houses, cars, credit, groceries, and healthcare
  • Written by Good Morning America Consumer Correspondent Elisabeth Leamy
  • Unlike most personal finance guides that stress the small stuff, every tip in this book has the potential to save you at least a thousand dollars

Filled with fresh advice and insider secrets, this book will have you saving more in less time.

Ten Ways You Can SAVE BIG
Amazon-exclusive content from Author Elisabeth Leamy

What does it mean to SAVE BIG? It’s any strategy that will save you more than a thousand dollars in less than a year. It’s saving a lot of money on a few things rather than a little money on a bunch of things. It’s the antidote to all that depressing advice we’ve heard for years that we should give up our daily lattes, install low-flow showerheads and pack our own lunches.

Author Elisabeth Leamy is the Consumer Correspondent for Good Morning America--and lives the SAVE BIG philosophy--and even she was surprised at some of the little-known strategies she was able to uncover. Here are some real-life examples from the book:

• Page 90: When interest rates go down, use the savings to refinance into a shorter mortgage instead of the kind you have now and save $103,536.
• Page 84: Appeal your property taxes--only 2 percent of people do-- and save $2,626.

• Page 126: Buy a “dark horse” car instead of the most popular make and model-- and save $6,814.
• Page 160: Uncover a “secret warranty” where the dealer fixes flaws for free and save $1,200.

• Page 209: Undergo rapid rescoring before finalizing a mortgage and save $72,000 over the life of the loan.
• Page 218: If you pay your credit card bills bi-weekly instead of monthly, you can short-circuit the bank’s “average daily balance” and save $1,000.

• Page 244: Stockpile groceries when they’re cheap instead of when you need them and save $5,772 a year.
• Page 265: Bid for groceries at a grocery auction instead of buying them at the store and save 66%.

• Page 299: Take the over-the-counter version of a drug instead of the identical prescription version and save $1,763 a year.
• Page 320: Enlist a medical billing advocate to fight hospital billing errors and save $6,858.

How are these jumbo-sized savings possible? Because if you figure out where you spend BIG, you can SAVE BIG. Our top five costs are: houses, cars, credit, groceries and healthcare. It’s possible to turn your biggest expenses into your biggest source of savings. Author Elisabeth Leamy shows you how. There are $1,176,916 worth of savings in the pages of SAVE BIG. Grab a latte and read all about it!


Elisabeth Leamy's Save Big: Cut Your Top 5 Costs and Save Thousands is invaluable because it focuses on big expenses, including mortgages, cars and insurance, and makes each step understandable."
—Gail MarksJarvis, Chicago Tribune, December 2009

"Advice is practical, clearly explained and, best of all, does not require daily maintenance or routine deprivation. … Even if readers choose only one or two tips from the hundreds offered, Save BIG should live up to its tantalizing title – and you can read it over your latte."
—Joanna Brichetto, BookPage, January 2010

 “Save BIG is a tremendous source of savings for you, the consumer. I learned many things from reading this book on how to save BIG rather than save small. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to save thousands or possibly millions in a lifetime by just some simple adjustments to what you do.”
— Sheri Newton, Associated Content, www.associatedcontent.com January 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (December 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470554215
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470554210
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,739,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Chapter 1, "Buy A House ASAP"
After I saw this I immediately checked the date and was surprised and disgusted to see it was from 2010... Pure propaganda in this chapter. No mention of the risks involved, ie: how you could be underwater in no time, how if you get behind on your payments due to a lost job the banks take everything you've paid into the mortgage principle.

One point the author makes that isn't pure nonsense, "buying a house is a forced savings plan." Utterly true. But since we know this aren't we better just saving, and not paying interest for the privilege but EARNING it instead?

This book is filled with fuzzy, downright illogical math. Example:

Annual mortgage cost before tax deduction $14,777
Annual mortgage cost after tax deduction $12,242
BIG SAVINGS = $2,535

Uh, paying interest (on something you don't need) but getting a small kickback from the government equate to savings? It doesn't... Have no illusion your government encourages you to go into debt, especially with a mortgage. But does it really make sense to pay the banks $5 just to get $1 off your taxes? Such "savings" are quickly eaten up by associated costs and taxes.

Contrary to the corporate money experts, renting is not throwing money away. There are many benefits... For example money that you have in the principle of your house pays no interest or dividends. Say you have a $75,000 paid against your mortgage, that same $75,000 pays $250 a month at 4% (still available today in checking accounts, pretax) that can cover a good portion of rent... You don't have to worry about lawns, water heaters, losing your job and still making payments for the next 25 years, losing $150,000 of payments you've made.
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Format: Hardcover
I would heartily recommend this book for any one who might ever buy or sell a home, drive a car, need healthcare, buy groceries, or use a credit card... in short, just about anyone could save big using the tips in this book!

My husband and I were fortunate to read the home-buying section of this book just as we were in the process of buying our first home. We had no idea how many aspects of buying a home were negotiable. Using the ideas in this book, we negotiated a better mortgage interest rate, successfully got rid of "junk" fees added on by our bank, and eventually closed our house with almost NO closing costs. This allowed us to have some money in our account to begin making all the little changes to the house that we otherwise would have had to wait months to do. What we appreciated most was that the tips in the book were easy to understand, and we didn't have to become real estate experts in order to feel good about our purchase. When you see the potential savings on paper, it's hard not to at least TRY to get a better rate or price, and more often than not we were successful!

Throughout this book, there are countless real-life stories about people who are spending more than they need to on the necessities of life. The author walks through how we can all save huge amounts of money without having to scrimp and save and give up things we love. I feel better treating myself to coffee or a yoga class knowing I saved thousands of dollars on my home purchase. The other aspect of this book that I loved was the sheer amount of research that was done to compile a massive list of resources. The author provides countless websites throughout the text to make the most of her tips.
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Format: Hardcover
We all need to save money and healthcare is a huge expense that many of us are struggling with. This book offers a lot of great suggestions for how to do it. One product it highlights is The Health Care Blue Book which I've started using. Say you have to go to the dentist and have no dental insurance. You can look up what you need done - from routine cleaning to oral surgery - and it will tell you the average price health insurance providers pay dentists in your market. Then you can negotiate - it's amazing how surprised doctors and dentists are when you know what they get paid. Check out the book and the web site.
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Format: Hardcover
When you subtract out the chapters on buying a house and why you shouldn't buy a new car, you're left with chapters on using coupons and creating a stockpile. While these are good ideas, other books have done a much more extensive and better job of disseminating this information. Frankly, the author comes across as a shill or publicist for [...]! Again, there are many, many sites out there focusing on saving money. Why push a site like Thegrocerygame which charges a monthly fee (for two grocery store chains and two drug store chains it works out to be $25 every 8 weeks)? Or Becentsable, which is more a clearinghouse of other people's posts. There are DVDs explaining the couponing process (Jill Cataldo comes to mind) for anyone just starting out; Rachel Singer Gordon has both a book and website which covers more than the use of coupons. She also posts pictures of each of her grocery purchases together with the cost breakdown. Again, these are FREE sites which cater to beginning couponers.

The chapters on SAVE BIG make sense if you are currently shopping for a car or house. She does have valid points about consumers spending more time researching small things than the major life purchases. Having said that, other authors have covered these same topics in greater depth and clarity.
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