tips Archive

Tips For Lowering Car & Home Insurance Costs

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.

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Every little bit helps!

The following are some tips that will be covered in this post:

  • Ask about discounts
  • Bundle
  • 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 Insurance

  • 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
  • Low-mileage
    • 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 Insurance

  • 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
    • Alarms

Lowering Insurance Costs – Tip #2 – Bundle

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.

tip iconIn New York, Progressive tends to be cheaper for singles and couples, while Geico or Travelers tends to cheaper for families with teens

tip iconConsider comparison shopping on TheZebra.com, a site that offers estimates from a large number of insurers

tip iconConsider also using an independent insurance agent to help you find you the best deals on the coverage that’s right for you

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Top 10 Tips for Saving Money

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. Place any bonuses from work, tax refunds or winnings into a savings account.
  3. Collect your loose change. You could save hundreds of dollars per year by opening a new account with just your loose change.
  4. 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.
  5. After you pay off that car or credit card, keep writing that check and deposit it in to your savings account or investment account.
  6. Set a goal to reduce your credit card debt by $1000. This can save you $150-$200/year.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Wait 24 hours before purchasing expensive items or items you can live without. You might change your mind during that wait.

Resource: Interactive Health

Popular Coupons To Print (Week of 9/18/2017)

Finding The Right Car For You, At The Lowest Price

This is a sponsored post, however, all opinions are mine.

Finding The Right Car For You

Are you looking for a new car (or your very first car) and feel overwhelmed with the vast array of choices in the market?  There are many factors to consider and many questions to ask yourself before even heading to the dealership to browse. This post will provide tips and advice for car buyers looking to identify the right vehicle for their budget and lifestyle.

Things To Consider Initially

First, you’ll want to take into consideration how much you can afford.  Make sure you have a budget in mind to help you stay focused on cars you can truly afford.  A good rule of thumb that I’ve heard from multiple sources is that your car payments should not exceed 20% of your monthly net pay (or in other words, the total value of all your vehicles should not be more than half of your annual income).  How much money can you put down on the vehicle?  Remember that the bigger the down payment, the lower your monthly payments will be.  Such websites as Cars.com have handy tools that can help you estimate your payments and how much you can afford.

Next, consider your wants and (more importantly) your needs.  This includes the many car features that are available to you.  Here is a list I’ve compiled that outlines such considerations:

Wants

  • Type of car
    • Sedan, minivan, compact car, convertible, coupe, etc.
  • Make and model

Needs (Focus on these)

  • Size / Space – How many passengers will you typically have?
  • Transport / Cargo
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Manual vs. Automatic transmission
  • Weather conditions

Features (What are your “must haves“?)

  • Luxury
  • Performance
  • Safety
  • Technology

Finally, determine whether you want to buy a new car or a used car.  Buying a used car will save you money and it can be hard to tell the difference between a new one if there’s not a ton of miles on it.   Consider, too, whether you want to lease or buy (this has been a very hot topic the past few years).  A lease allows you to put a more expensive vehicle in your driveway for less money every few years.  However, if you tend to keep your car until it quits, leasing isn’t probably your best bet.  Owning gives you more flexibility and usually makes more financial sense when interest rates are low.

Research, Research, Research

Now that you have a good idea of your budget and needs, and may even have a particular vehicle in mind, it’s time to do some research and planning. This is a critical step in the process (especially the pricing portion) and much of the information can be found online.  Without research, your vehicle purchase is more likely to lead to buyer’s remorse.

Before visiting the dealership, make sure you know the market price of the vehicle(s) you are interested in.   Both Kelley Blue Book and Truecar.com provide such information, offering a fair market value price and price range for a new or used car based on what others have paid.   Not knowing this information can be an expensive mistake.

Read what the experts and current owners have to say about a certain vehicle to discover it’s performance strengths and how it compares to others in it class.  J.D. Power and Cars.com offer such reviews and ratings.

Many websites offer side-by-side comparisons that are also helpful in choosing the right car that meets your needs.

Search the Internet, call around, and visit local dealerships to explore your options that are in your local area.  Be sure to compare quotes from multiple dealerships.

How Cars.com Can Help You Research and More

Cars.com

Cars.com is an excellent resource to use when looking for a vehicle, as they offer a ton of information to help make the right choice.  A comprehensive array of research tools and services can be found on their website such as the following:

  1. Find cars for sale/trade and sell/trade your own – Cars.com has a wide selection of new and used cars available for you to purchase.  You can even find a connected dealer near you, along with contact information and reviews. Cars.com gives you free, no-obligation new car quotes from up to 3 local car dealers.  If you’re selling your own vehicle, they help you to find its current value and offer valuable advice on how to sell it.
  2. Research car models – Even if you’re just starting your search, you can scroll down to “Browse Models” on the main page (or here) to view models by body style (SUV, sedan, convertible, etc.), make, price, and more. Cars.com also offers side by side comparisons where you can see how cars compare to one another.
  3. Service and repair – Get a service estimate, find service centers, get repair/maintenance advice, and find information on the latest recalls.
  4. Expert and consumer car reviews – Cars.com has the largest database of consumer reviews in the car industry. There are also bias free expert reviews on new 2017 models as well as on models dating back many years.
  5. Videos and reviews – The “Videos & Reviews” section is one of the best sections of the website. Watching the video reviews gives you a virtual dealership experience in a way, showing you the all of features both inside and outside of the car you are interested in.

Don’t forget to check Cars.com to learn more!

Test Drive Before Making Your Final Decision

You’ve done your research and narrowed down your choices.  It’s now time for a test drive.

Test driving a car gives you “peace of mind” that you’re making the right decision.  Doing so allows you to test out all of the features and get a good “feel” for how the car performs.

You will most likely be driving this vehicle daily, so it’s important that it fits your lifestyle and that you’re comfortable in it.

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(5) Other Money Saving Tips

Besides doing your research ahead of time, here are a few other ways to save money in the car buying process:

1] Pay in cash (if you can)

This is certainly not an option for everybody, but if you can pay cash in full you will eliminate monthly interest costs  and finance fees.  Monthly car payments are also eliminated.  Owing money on a car only makes it more expensive, with the value of your car only going down once you drive it off the lot.

You may also be able to get significant discounts by paying in cash, as well as more bargaining power at the dealership.

According to Cars.com, paying cash can also make it easier to sell your car when the time comes.

2] Best times to shop for a car

MonthAugust is said to be the best month to buy a car, as the highest discounts are offered and incentives are increased.  Honorable mention goes to December, when dealerships offer year-end discounts try to get rid of last year’s inventory to make way for new models.

Day of the week – According to TrueCar.com, the best day of the week to buy a car is Sunday, when there is lower consumer demand and higher incentive for dealerships to close out the week with strong sales.

Other – Salespeople may be more willing to offer better deals the last few days of the month, as they work on commission and often get bonuses for the number of vehicles they sell in a month.

3] Visit multiple dealerships

Especially if you’re looking at used cars, be sure to visit at least 3 to 4 different dealerships to see what financing, pricing, and service they have to offer.  Don’t be afraid to use dealership competition to your advantage.  With the rise of online sales, there’s no longer a need to spend valuable time haggling at a dealership.

4] Buy used

Buying a used car comes down to two main advantages: less depreciation and lower insurance rates.

As mentioned previously, cars lose value as soon as they drive off the lot.  Within the first year, some new models can even lose 20-40% in their value.

Also, a vehicle that is worth less money costs less to insure.

Overall, going the used car route is going to save you thousands of dollars with the elimination of fees, subsequent costs, and depreciation.

5] Don’t negotiate based on monthly payment

One question you are bound to be asked by a salesperson is “How much are you looking to pay per month?”  This is because they want to set the price based on the maximum monthly payment that you are willing to pay and will adjust this price to get you the exact monthly payment you’re looking for.  However, make sure you negotiate the price, not the car payment!

car, cars, transportation, vehicle iconcar, cars, transportation, vehicle iconcar, cars, transportation, vehicle icon

Best of luck!  * Comment below with what things have made your past car buying experiences enjoyable and less stressful *

Happy Cheap Flight Day (August 22, 2017)

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Cheap Flight Day is today, August 22nd.

What is “Cheap Flight Day”?

Why August 22nd?

August 22nd marks the start of the

Now is the time of year when summer is coming to an end and children are going back to school. Thus, this is simply due to a steep drop in demand for leisure travel. As fewer people travel, ticket prices fall.

Although August 22nd is the official day, it is better to think of it as a period of time. These

How much can you except to save?

According to Brian Ek, a travel analyst at Priceline:

“United and Southwest have already rolled out their fare sales, but expect more to follow suit, and expect published fares to drop as much as 10 percent to 20 percent.”

Through August 24th, Southwest Airlines is offering up flights as low as $40 each way

Other Tips

  • The cheapest days of the week to fly remain Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays
    • The most expensive are often on Fridays and Saturdays
  • Book at least 30 days ahead of your trip
  • Shop around
  • Be flexible with dates
    • If you have some wiggle room in terms of when you travel, book according to the lowest fare
  • Websites to check out:
    • Google Flights
    • airfarewatchdog.com
    • kayak.com
    • Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” tool

Check out my full money saving tips on Traveling (Hotels, Flights, Dining)

How to Hack Savings at Rite Aid, Using Plenti Points and Coupons (By Dealspotr)

Rite Aid is one of the big three drug stores in the US. Along with CVS and Walgreens, it’s a place for shoppers to purchase health, beauty, and everyday items at usually low prices. And like its competitors, Rite Aid offers a rewards program for shoppers along with frequent coupons and deals.

While Rite Aid was recently purchased by Walgreens, the two have yet to merge their couponing and rewards policies. Rite Aid’s main perks can be found in its wellness+ with Plenti points rewards program, and in its coupons and online deals. There’s a way to maximize your savings here, but it sometimes takes a deeper look into the couponing policies and rewards that Rite Aid offers to understand how.

So we, along with our Dealspotr community & some pro coupon bloggers, came up with our best Rite Aid savings hacks that can save you money each time you shop.

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Amazon Prime Day Coming July 11th, 2017

An epic day of deals on everything you're into

Mark your calendars! This upcoming Tuesday (July 11th), Amazon will be hosting their 3rd annual Prime Day!

Here are some deals you can get in on now:

> Stream Amazon Prime Video & Get a $10 Credit (Offer expires 7/7)

Stream popular videos included with your Prime membership.

Get a free $10 Amazon credit to spend on any item sold and fulfilled by Amazon simply by streaming a Prime video for the first time. Here is how to get this deal:

  1. Sign into Amazon Video on an eligible device
  2. Stream a movie or show included with Prime
  3. Within 4 days, your $10 Amazon credit will be sent to your email address

You can also get a $10 credit for ordering an Alexa Deal:

Get a $10 Credit with Alexa

> Amazon Music Unlimited Only 25¢ per Month (Offer expires 7/11)

Prime Exclusive. 4 months of Amazon Music Unlimited for $.99

Must be a new subscriber to Amazon Music Unlimited! Unlock tens of millions of songs by your favorite artists and thousands of playlists and stations for any mood or activity.

> Up to 40% off a Kindle Unlimited Membership

Access to over 1 million titles

> Get 40% off a Audible Membership

Get 40% off for 6 Months of Audible

Save 40% off your first 6 months of Audible, meaning you’ll get audiobooks for only $8.95/month for the first 6 months (regularly $14.95 per month!)

> Get $10 off your first Prime Now Order of $15+  (Offer expires 7/11)

Just use promo code 10PRIMEDAY at checkout.  You will also get $10 off a future order of $15 or more.  This offer is available for new customers and in select zip codes only.


https://abasto.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/amazon-prime-day.jpg

What exactly is Prime Day?

Think Amazon Black Friday, but in July. Amazon will be offering over 100,000 exclusive deals on July 11th to Amazon Prime members ONLY. If you aren’t a Prime member yet, you can sign up for a free 30 day trial here.

This year, Prime members in the US can shop early starting at midnight 6PM PST on July 10th. New deals will be continuously added (every 5 minutes or so) throughout the day, spanning across various categories and departments.

Taking advantage of Prime Day is extremely simple: just visit Amazon on the 11th and you’ll see images and notifications letting you know that thousands of items are marked as deals. Shop as you normally would, as no special steps are required.

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Money Saving Quest Garage Sale Tips

gsale

A garage sale is a great way to earn extra money, while getting rid of clutter. Can’t beat that!

As I set out to host one of my own, I thought I’d share some of the more helpful tips I’ve come across to make it worth the time and effort. Leave a comment to share your own 🙂

Beginning Steps

  • Choose when (what day and what time) to hold the sale
    • Saturdays are still the most popular
  • Check the weather forecast beforehand
  • Choose where
    • The more traffic in the area, the better
    • Location is important just as it is in a retail environment
  • Start accumulating items (as well as pricing and sorting them) weeks before the sale

Advertise (very important step)

  • Craigslist & Facebook are excellent options to post a garage sale ad
    • Flyers on bulletin boards can also be beneficial, as well as newspaper ads
  • Make sure to note “No Early Birds, please” in your ads

Signs

  • Make sure the text is READABLE using bold markers (sharpies)
  • Write the date/time of the sale, your street name, and an arrow pointing in the right direction
  • Strategically place in areas with a lot of nearby traffic (the night before)
  • Don’t forget to take all signs down after the sale!

Pricing

  • It is best to price as many items as you can
  • Price things evenly with round numbers – i.e. $2 instead of $1.80
  • Price your items to move – look at it objectively and expect people to haggle
  • Place bigger price tags on bigger items
  • Price and color code items prior to the sale
    • Example: “Green = 50 cents; Blue = $1; Red = $2.”
  • Pricing Guide

Presentation

  • Mow the lawn
  • Organization is key – display all CDs / books / etc. together
  • Display higher end (nicer) items towards end of driveway
  • Display items on tables, racks, or shelves – not on the ground
    • Hang clothes with hangars on a rack
  • Clean items that have collected dust, have stains, etc.
  • During your sale, keep your tables attractive by filling in the empty spots as things get sold
  • Have extension cords on hand to test electronics if needed

Other

  • Designate one person as the money taker
    • Wear a fanny pack or apron to keep all cash and change organized
    • Have plenty of change available:
      • Example – four $10 bills, five $5 bills, 25 $1 bills, 1 roll of quarters ($10)
  • Donate what is left over for a tax deduction
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