Savings Champs

Saving Money

Savings Champs

Winning advice that every household can use.

What most people throw in the trash, Klaudia Lannoye mines for treasure. Rather than toss those 0%-interest checks tucked inside her monthly credit-card bills, Lannoye uses them to deposit as much as $50,000 to her E*Trade money-market account, currently paying 4.75%. Each month she withdraws enough money to make the minimum payment, and she repays the loans in full at the end of the six-month grace period. She earmarks certain cards for transfers only (no spending) and never pays a transfer fee of more than $75.

That's how Lannoye, a tax accountant turned stay-at-home mom from West Chester, Ohio, earned nearly $3,000 in interest last year -- enough to treat her family of four to a cruise. Impressed by Lannoye's creative money-management skills, we selected her as the grand-prize winner in the saving-tips contest we announced as part of our April cover story, The Ultimate Savings Guide. Lannoye can add her $1,000 prize to her travel fund.

Among 1,700 entries, Jeffrey Fischer, the self-described "coupon king" of Roswell, Ga., scored a $500 runner-up prize by taking couponing to the next level. For the past 15 years he and his wife, Nancy, have stashed savings of $50 to $75 per week into their kids' college funds. When older child Matthew heads off to Georgia Tech this fall, he'll have more than $60,000.

Carren Whitt of Flint, Tex., is also a runner-up. She and husband Shawn always round down deposit entries in their check register by $25 and round up payments to the next dollar. Their slush fund nets about $1,600 in savings each year.