Posted by Elisabeth Leamy, Tue Feb 22 2011, 12:48am

Tomorrow the paperback version of my book, SAVE BIG, comes out and I have you to thank for that

Tomorrow the paperback version of my book, SAVE BIG, comes out and I have you to thank for that. Publishers only print the book in paperback if it has done well. Thank you so much. (And hey, it's your chance to save big on SAVE BIG.) Alternatively -- shhh!-- you can continue reading this column for free, because the truth is, I cover the same money-saving topics here, just not in bookish depth.

What does it mean to SAVE BIG? My definition is any single strategy that can save you more than a thousand dollars in a single step. How have you SAVED BIG in your life? Click here if you'd like to write to me and describe your savings strategies. I will include the best ones in this column. 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.

Personally, I get a kick out of saving big money. 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, side-stepping scams and living debt-free. It's been a wonderful career and I've greedily soaked up the knowledge for my own use as I shared it on the air.

Why do I prefer to save a lot of money every now and then instead of a little bit of money all the time? 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 this column, so I know it works. As I was writing the book, I found even more ways to SAVE BIG. After all these years as a consumer reporter, I tend to think I've heard it all, so each fresh idea was a geeky thrill! I have you to thank for that, too.

I have now appealed 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. And earned money is taxable. Saved money is tax free! That's yet another way to SAVE BIG!