Other Wisdom Archive
Saving Money on Insurance Costs
I’m currently looking into ways to lower my current car insurance costs without compromising coverage.
Has it been a while since you shopped around for car insurance? There is a very good chance that you are paying too much for your insurance and could get a better rate as well.
If you believe you are overpaying for your current insurance, this is a reminder that there are savings (of several hundred dollars a year) to be had out there. I’ve found that the more insurance companies you compare, the more savings and better coverage you are able to find.
Every little bit helps!
The following are some tips that will be covered in this post:
- Ask about discounts
- Compare rates / shop around for different quotes
- Raise your deductible
- Reduce coverage
Lowering Insurance Costs – Tip #1 – Ask About Discounts
Ask About Discounts
“It cant hurt to ask.”
There are plenty of auto insurance discounts out there to help you lower your car insurance rates.
But what type of discounts may be available? I’ve compiled a list below.
- Car Safety Features
- Examples include Antilock brakes and Antitheft devices
- Multi Car
- If you insure more than one car on the same policy
- Multi Policy
- If you buy multiple policies from the same insurer (home and car insurance, for example)
- Accident Free/Prevention
- Some insurers offer discounts for taking Defensive Driving courses
- Good Student Discounts
- Applies to high school and college students getting good grades
- Some insurers offer discounts for keeping your annual mileage low (Usually 15,000 or less miles/year)
- Senior citizens
- Eligible for drivers usually over the age of 55
- Group / Associations
- Some insurers partner with various associations to give discounts to members
- Safe / Good Driver
- For drivers with no traffic violations or accident claims. Insurers usually look at the last three years of your driving record to make a determination.
- Plug a monitoring device in your car track driving habits (i.e. Progressive’s Snapshot)
- Defensive Driving courses
- Lower portions of your auto insurance by up to 10% for 3 years
- Paid in Full
- Discount for paying entire premium at once
- Home renovation
- New electrical and plumbing systems, for example
- New roof
- New home
- If home was built in the past 15 years
- Non smokers
- Discounts for having no smokers living in the home
- Energy-efficient features
- Home safety features
Lowering Insurance Costs – Tip #2 – Bundle
If you currently have your auto, home, or life insurance from different insurers, you are probably missing out on a discount.
Put simply, if you bundle policies from a single company, they’re very likely to offer you a multi-policy discount of an average of about 8%.
Having the same insurance provider for your homeowners and auto insurance could save you a few hundred dollars a year. That number varies depending on where you live, though, according to a study from insuranceQuotes.
This is one of the smartest and easiest ways to save money (and time!) on insurance.
Lowering Insurance Costs – Tip #3 – Compare Rates
Compare Rates / Shop Around
This step will save you some money, but may be the most time consuming.
It is recommended that you get at least three price quotes from different companies. These can typically be obtained online (websites like Progressive.com, InsuranceQuotes.com, and CoverHound.com) if you aren’t a phone person. Some upfront information will be needed in order for the rates to be determined.
If you’re already insured, assess how much current coverage you have so you can compare against new policies. Know your vehicles safety features, how many miles you drive each year, claims history, etc.
If you’re unhappy with your current insurer, it is wise to tell them that you’re considering a switch. They may offer you a discounted rate in order to keep you as a customer. If you do decide to switch, be sure not to cancel until you get another policy.
This is something you should be doing every few years even if you’re happy with your current provider, in order to make sure you’re getting a competitive rate. You get little benefit from sticking with the same insurer year in and year out. Not browsing for other policies could cost you more in the long run, even if you believe you are paying less than you were before.
In New York, Progressive tends to be cheaper for singles and couples, while Geico or Travelers tends to cheaper for families with teens
Consider comparison shopping on TheZebra.com, a site that offers estimates from a large number of insurers
Consider also using an independent insurance agent to help you find you the best deals on the coverage that’s right for you
I’ve decided to take the leap and sign up with Acorns.
Intimidated to invest? If you want an insanely simple way to save and invest your money, consider signing up as well.
What is Acorns?
Acorns helps you save & invest spare change from your everyday purchases and invest into a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds. You can easily get started in minutes: anytime, anywhere.
Acorns is a free mobile app that rounds up your credit and debit card purchases to the nearest dollar, then puts this digital “spare change” in an investment account. You don’t notice it happening as it is automatically done for you on every purchase, making it a hands off approach.
All you need to get started is a bank account and an Internet connection. There is no minimum deposit or balance as well as no restrictions on withdrawals.
It is a great way to get started on investing, as Acorns simplifies the process. They have essentially removed the guesswork from the equation.
By starting small, continually adding and being patient, growth will happen automatically. All it takes is time.
Sound simple enough? Read on 🙂
“People generally associate investing with lots of dollars,” said Jeff Cruttenden, co-founder and CEO of Acorns. “Once [people] find out that you can invest spare change, it’s a really attractive concept.”
Sign up is relatively simple.
You will need to answer multiple questions to create a financial profile and state your investment goals.
Make sure you have your bank and account credentials available. You can link up as many debit and credit cards as you want.
There are five different Acorns investment portfolio options you will choose from, ranging from aggressive to conservative (aggressive, moderate, or conservative). Each one is made up of six exchange-traded funds (ETFs) selected to achieve your portfolio objective. These portfolio options are compiled by a team of investment analysts, mathematicians, and economists in conjunction with Nobel Prize-winning economist Harry Markowitz.
Sign up here today and receive a $5 bonus!
Whenever you make a purchase, Acorns “rounds up” the purchase to the next dollar and invests the change into a diversified stock portfolio. When your Round-Ups exceed $5, Acorns transfers the money from your debit/checking account to this portfolio.
Let’s say you buy a meal at McDonald’s for $6.45 using a linked credit card. Acorns would round up to $7, with the difference of .55 (round up amount) being invested.
This would happen automatically. However, it doesn’t have to be, as you can change the setting to be manual. In this setting, you would manually add round ups by selecting from a list of payment transactions.
One thing of note as well is that Acorns does not cover overdraft fees for its withdrawals.
How Much Does It Cost to Use Acorns?
They charge $1 per month for balances under $5,000 or 0.25% per year for balances over $5,000. Students and those under 24 years can use the app for free.
There are no fees on accounts with a balance of $0.
Acorns has the following security features:
- SIPC Insured Accounts – Every Acorns account is insured up to $500,000 for fraud
- SSL Encryption – Website and app are secured with 256-bit encryption
- Account Alerts – Users are contacted about unusual account activity
- Bank-level Security – Secure servers and privacy verified by physical security
- Account Safeguards -Multi-factor authentication, automatic logouts, and ID verification help prevent unauthorized access
- You can deposit money directly into your Acorns, account in addition to the automatic Round Ups
- When you’re ready to withdraw your money, it’s in your account within a few days
- Automatic rebalancing helps your account benefit from market corrections
- You can change your risk profile at any time to be more or less aggressive
*NEW Feature* Found Money (Beta)
New in version 1.5.0
Shop with any of the Found Money partners, and they’ll automatically invest in your Acorns account!
You do not have to opt in – rewards will automatically be invested as long as you have a credit or debit card linked to your account. You will need to do so in order for the Found Money partners to be alerted that you’ve purchased something from them and can promptly reward you. Rewards will vary by brand.
This Found Money will appear in your account within thirty days of your purchase. You can track what you’ve earned on the history screen in your Acorns app.
Check out the Found Money page in the app fore more details!
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What is Checkout 51?
Checkout 51 is a FREE rebate app that gives you cash back when you purchase certain items, which are updated every week.
How does Checkout 51 work?
- Browse through the current offers that are available before you head to the store, so you know which rebates you can receive this week
- Shop at any store and purchase any items from the current offer list
- When you get home, take a picture of your receipt and upload with the app or website (no coupons required!)
- The app will confirm your purchase and credit your Checkout 51 account with any applicable rebates
- When your account balance reaches $20, you can cash out and receive a check in the mail
Other things to note:
- You can also upload receipt photos from your computer (a smartphone is not required 🙂 )
- Using Checkout 51, you’ll find non-brand-specific deals for staples like milk, bread, eggs and even fresh fruits and vegetables
- Offers go live on Thursdays at 12 a.m. in each time zone and they expire the following Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. in each time zone
- You will need to submit the receipts while the offers are live
- Current Offers
- Products purchased from online retailers are eligible for cash back as well
- Packing slips are accepted as proof of purchase and should be submitted as you would a receipt
Top 10 Tips for Saving Money
There are many creative and fun ways to save money, so have fun and think outside of the box. Below are a few ideas to get you started. They may not all be a fit for you, but try one or two and use your momentum to keep going. Before you know it, you may find you’re saving more money than you ever thought possible! Sometimes the first step is the hardest.
- Create a fund in case an emergency should happen. Even if you can only afford $5.00 or $10.00 per paycheck, it will add up. Your emergency fund goal should be $500-$1000.
- Place any bonuses from work, tax refunds or winnings into a savings account.
- Collect your loose change. You could save hundreds of dollars per year by opening a new account with just your loose change.
- Treat yourself, and put an equal amount into savings. For example, if you buy a $5 cup of coffee, put $5 into your savings account.
- After you pay off that car or credit card, keep writing that check and deposit it in to your savings account or investment account.
- Set a goal to reduce your credit card debt by $1000. This can save you $150-$200/year.
- Make one day a week a “no spending day.” Pack your lunch, go to the park or go to the library. Get creative and do things without spending money.
- Double the recipe when you cook a meal. Freeze leftovers in serving size containers and use them for lunches or dinners. This will save you time and money.
- Keep your car maintenance up. When you keep it tuned up and properly inflate your tires, you can save yourself $100 per year in gas.
- Wait 24 hours before purchasing expensive items or items you can live without. You might change your mind during that wait.
Resource: Interactive Health
Just in time for the holidays, you can now earn kicks when you shop Amazon Fashion, Amazon Devices, and other select categories. Visit through Shopkick to start earning kicks today.
Earn 5 kicks per $1 spent when you buy Amazon Devices like Echo, Fire TV, and more through Shopkick. Plus, enjoy savings on select devices through 11/27.
⇒⇒ Check it out here ! ⇐⇐
Michaels will open at 6PM on Thanksgiving Day, 11/23 and close at midnight. Then they open again on Friday from 7AM – 10PM and again on Saturday from 8AM – 10PM
Will be updating throughout the next month or so – Keep checking back 🙂
Full list of ideas to save some $$$ during the Holidays
- Use eBates to get cash back on most online purchases
- Use a website like Raise, Gyft, or even eBay to buy discounted gift cards
- Gyft will give you a $5 credit to use on your first purchase of $15+
- Raise will give you a $5 credit as well!
- Look for coupons in catalogs and toy books that come in the mail
- Install the Honey browser extension
- Jet.com offers a $10 credit + Free Shipping for a $35+ first purchase (Code: 10FIRSTORDER)
- Save on Christmas Greeting Cards
- Print your own Gift Tags
- Take advantage of (be on the look out for) Shutterfly & Tiny Prints free item promotions
- Cash in your rewards points at places like:
- Check Money Saving Quest daily for the best deals around 🙂
- Don’t pay full price !
My Savings Tracker (November + December 2017)
- $20 PayPal –> Ibotta Cashback
- $5 Amazon Gift Card –> Bing Rewards
- $25 Amazon gift card –> Swagbucks
- $20 Amazon Gift Card –> Dealspotr
- Free Hotel Transylvania – BluRay from Sony Rewards
- Amazon $5 Off $20+ Book Purchase
- My Coke Rewards $5 Amazon Gift Card
- Free $10 Target Gift Card with $50+ purchase coupon (valid through 12/24/17)
- Various eBay sales