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Pop Quiz: Are You Cheating Yourself?

You likely already know most of what you need to know to succeed in maximizing your personal financial situation. The problem is acting on it.

You've likely heard or read about many of the best suggestions and tips before. But go through the following list of questions and keep score. Are you heeding the wisdom you have gained?

Answer "yes" or "no" to each question, and at the end, we'll see how you did:

1. Do you properly maintain your vehicle? It only takes five minutes to check and maintain the proper tire pressure for your vehicle each month. In addition to saving gas, it will extend the life of your tires -- saving even more money. Keeping your car uncluttered also is important. The extra weight of towing your stuff around makes the car use more gas.

2. Do you avoid impulse shopping? Giving yourself enough time to research a major purchase will make it much more likely that you will get an item that best fits your needs. It will also give you the time to compare prices from different retail outlets so that you get it for a good price. Even for smaller purchases, like groceries, a little planning can go a long way. When you shop with a list of the items you need, you are much less likely to buy things you don't need or forget something , which will force you to waste gas to make another trip to the store.

3. Do you use coupons and apply for rebates? There are billions of dollars worth of coupons available each week and if there is a coupon for something that you are going to buy anyway, then it's like throwing away money when you don't use it. The same is true with rebates. If you don't send in the rebate form after making a purchase of something that has a rebate, you are throwing away money.

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