Author's Note
I get a kick out of SAVING BIG. I wasn’t always like this. The truth is, I used to live paycheck to paycheck and have a serious credit card habit. But years ago an old boss recruited me to be the consumer reporter at the TV station where I worked at that time. A whole new world opened before me. A world of bagging bargains, sidestepping scams and living debt-free. It’s been a wonderful career and I’ve soaked up the knowledge. I’ve shared that knowledge on the air for years, but now I have a unique opportunity to expand upon it in this book. Sometimes it’s hard to dispense useful advice in one to two minute TV segments. So all that pent up information tumbled out onto 338 pages in SAVE BIG!

Where did the idea for SAVE BIG come from? The truth is, patience is not one of my virtues. I admit it. I’m not content to scrabble around pinching pennies. The savings just don’t add up fast enough. I like to pinch thousand dollar bills! I live the advice in my book, so I know it works. And I found even more ways to SAVE BIG while I was doing research for this project. After all these years as a consumer reporter, I tend to think I’ve heard it all, so each fresh idea was a thrill! I have you to thank for that.

This year I’m going to appeal my property tax assessment for the first time, which locks in savings for years to come. Next time my car needs major repairs I’m going to sleuth out secret warranties and see if I can get it fixed for free. And when I need a medical test like an MRI, you can bet that I’ll spend half an hour calling around to compare prices for a chance to cut my costs in half.

In the post-2008 financial world, I think we’ve all learned the value of money. It’s a lot easier to save it than it is to earn it ——but it’s the same money in your bank account. What does it mean to SAVE BIG? It's any single strategy that can save you more than a thousand dollars in less than a year. How have you SAVED BIG in your life? I hope to get a national dialogue going in which we all share BIG cost cutting ideas. Click here if you’d like to write to me and describe your savings strategies. I will include the best ones in the SAVE BIG Blog. If you really knock my socks off, who knows, your idea could end up on Good Morning America! And think of it this way: by sharing a savings idea, you might just save somebody else. And that would be BIG of you.

Elisabeth Leamy

Washington, DC
January, 2010