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Affording What You Didn't Know You Could

In "The Early Show" and Parade magazine series, "It's a New Day," we're showing you how small changes can have a big impact.

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Those small changes can extend into your finances, as "Early Show" consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen pointed out on the broadcast. You may be able to afford things you never thought you could!

Q:How can you afford a great steak dinner?
A: You can do something called "cow-pooling." Instead of going to the supermarket, you can team up with your friends and buy a side of beef right from a farmer. So you are buying in bulk -- instead of getting individual steaks from the supermarket. One family I talked with paid five dollars a pound -- and get several different cuts, hamburger meat, roasts and steaks. Their local store would have charged $6 to $20 a pound for those cuts. To do this, you need to buy in bulk, 20 pounds or more will make it worthwhile, and you have to have the freezer space. Meat can be frozen for up to 12 months. Check out Local Harvest.org for a local farm near you.

Q: Go to Disneyland! If you think you can't afford a ticket to one of the Disney parks -- there may be a way to get a ticket for free - but how do you do it?
A: if you are willing to give your time -- you can get a free ticket. This month, Disney is launching a program called, "Give a Day Get a Disney Day." If you volunteer your time at one of the participating organizations, you can earn a free ticket to one of the Disney parks. To find out more go to Disney Parks.com. They are trying to give away a million free tickets.

Q: Buying a new car can cost a lot of money -- what's the best way to afford a new car in 2010?
A: There are a few things you can do. Shop for a 2009 model. Dealers want them off the lots. You may be able to get a 2009 model for below cost. Also try buying a car from a dealer using the internet. According to Edmunds.com, a car industry expert, online shoppers will see a 10 percent lower starting price on a new car.

Q: If you are thinking about doing some home improvements, could 2010 be the year to do it?
A: Take advantage of all the tax credit and rebates that are available this year. Your new windows, doors may qualify. The federal government is providing $300 million to states for consumer rebates on new Energy Star appliances. For example, in New York, you can get $75 if you swap an old refrigerator for a new Energy Star model. Also, you can get $50 for a freezer. And you can get even more if you recycle your old one. Check with the Department of Energy Web site for more information on rebates.