When you think about saving money, do sepia-tone images of coupon mailers and single-ply bathroom tissue enter your mind? If so, you may want to take a fresh look at saving in 2013. While technology drives many of the tips below, legislative and economic shifts are behind others. But no matter its cause, each of these methods offers an opportunity to save that may not have existed a few years ago. Here are seven ways to increase your savings in 2013.
1. Examine online banks
Banking has endured plenty of change in recent years, but there's been at least one positive outcome of the chaos: the rise of the online bank. As interest rates have fallen and fees have risen at traditional banks, online banks have bucked these trends on the strength of their low overhead. The most recent rate study by MoneyRates.com indicates that the average savings account interest rate at online banks is nearly three times the average rate at traditional banks. In addition, the latest MoneyRates.com bank fee study finds that checking accounts at online banks are about twice as likely to be free of monthly maintenance fees as their brick-and-mortar counterparts. So if your current accounts are low on interest and high on fees, online banks may be worth a look.
2. Look at new credit card rewardsoffers
A recent Associated Press story described today as a "golden age" for rewards credit cards. The prominence of rewards cards today is due in part to the CARD act of 2010, which sliced into card-company profits and prompted them to create new offers to entice spending. According to Brian Riley, a senior research director at CEB TowerGroup quoted in the AP article, more than 60 percent of credit cards offer some type of rewards program today.