Category Archives: Money

How to Lower Your Car Insurance Rate

How to Lower Your Car Insurance RateCar insurance is a necessary aspect of owning and driving a car. But that does not mean that you should expect to pay high rates for good coverage. The truth is that there are a variety of car insurance options, as well as the opportunity to lower a current rate. Here is a few different thing to keep in mind whether you’re just starting out or hoping to negotiate a brand new rate.

Compare Quotes

Whatever you do, don’t settle on the first car insurance rate you are given. Different insurance companies might be able to offer you different rates. Try to get at least three different quotes before you decide. This can feel a bit time consuming, but the effort is worth saving money in the long run. One reason why different insurance companies have different rates is that they use a different process. Some rely on independent insurance agents, others have their own, and some sell directly and don’t use agents at all. Switching car insurance policies is always an option, and sometimes it’s a viable one.

Request Higher Deductibles

When you are negotiating a car insurance rate it is always possible to request higher deductibles. This means that your monthly rate will go down, while the cost of repairs will go up. This is, of course, a plan that only makes sense when you anticipate having a clean driving record. If you go with this choice, be sure and set aside some money in case of emergency down the line.

Drop Your Collision Coverage

This might not be a good idea on a new car, but if you are driving an older car you might consider dropping your collision coverage. The reason for this is that the car might not be worth very much. Or at least not as much as it would be if it was a new car. You might end up paying more than it’s worth when it would be cheaper just to replace a totaled car in the event of an accident. If a car is worth less than ten times your premium, you might be able to do without. Be sure and find an accurate assessment of how much your car is worth before making any moves.

Ask For Discounts

There might be a variety of discounts available to you with the insurance provider you already have. People who drive minimally in the year might be eligible for low mileage discounts.  You might also be eligible for discounts based on your driving record. Some insurance companies offer discounts for people who have stayed clear of accidents and moving violations, as well as people who have good credit. Long time customers are sometimes rewarded in an effort to retain their loyalty, so that is something else to consider when you are getting insurance. Additionally, some alumni groups and business offer group deals. Always consider any circumstances like those that could potentially lead to your getting a better deal on car insurance.

10 Tips for Curing Your Spending Addiction

10 Tips for Curing Your Spending AddictionIn today’s consumer society, it’s easy to get caught up in the fervor of buying whatever catches our attention. Credit payments and competitive pricing capture our attention wherever we look, whether it’s the supermarket, a shopping mall, or a bargain hunter’s online shopping bonanza. The kids’ school fundraisers and dining out with friends can add unplanned purchases to the monthly credit card statement or deduct from the checking account balance. If your spending habits are becoming more impulsive and threaten your credit rating or bill-paying status, the following tips can help you to get your spending addiction under control.

Carry Cash

Make cash purchases only. Research shows that shoppers who pay with cash compared to other methods tend to make smaller and less frequent purchases.

Freeze your Credit Cards

Literally. A brilliant cost-cutting expert started keeping her credit cards in a plastic bag in the freezer. To use them, they would have to be thawed. This took time, and she was usually unwilling to wait, so she began using cash instead, which saved her thousands in a few short months!

Avoid Friends Who Love to Shop

Do fun things with them, but don’t go shopping with shoppers, or you’ll likely be tempted to do the same. Some studies suggest that we become more like our friends when we spend time together.

Make a List

Taking a written or mental list along can help to limit purchases. Using a smart phone app or a hand-held calculator can take the guesswork out of buying something you want, especially if you keep your budget allocations in mind.

Start a Savings Account

Even if you already have one, start a savings account for a special purpose. It might be for a vacation, a home renovation, or a new car – anything that you are willing to save for while foregoing temptation purchases.

Get a Hobby

Surprisingly, some people go shopping or bargain hunting as a fun activity or a competitive opportunity. They don’t realize they are overspending until the bill comes in. Getting involved in another fun activity like home decorating, studying a foreign language, or joining a book club provides a creative outlet that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

De-Stress

Shoppers who are stressed from work or a family situation often overspend without meaning to. They distract themselves from the troubling issue by focusing on an action activity, whether fun or needful, such as grocery shopping or buying a new outfit. Relaxing in other ways, such as exercising or reading, can actually save money for some folks.

Work Out Your Emotional Issues

There is some evidence that indicates people who ineffectively manage their emotions for various reasons may be more prone to spend money, sometimes on unnecessary things, as a means of feeling positive or in control. The sense of well-being doesn’t last, however, creating a vicious circle of spending when emotions run at high levels.

Be Grateful

Reflecting on how much we already have to be grateful for helps to reduce the desire to buy more things. It may help to take inventory in the area of your life where shopping may lead to spending more than you can afford. If you’re dreaming of a new patio, enjoy the back yard view with its grass, trees, and flowers instead and relish the savings from not building a patio. If new china is your goal, think about the wonderful memories associated with the china you have been using for years.

Consult an Expert

If you don’t know how to control your spending habits, schedule an appointment with a professional who might be able to help. A therapist can assist you in working through personal issues that may contribute to your desire to buy things. A financial planner can explain the benefits of spending less and saving more.

Overspending can take a toll on every aspect of your life, including other family members. Take steps now to bring spending under control so you can enjoy the income you have without incurring bills you might not be able to pay.

How to Save Money Around the House

How to Save Money Around the HouseSometimes saving money means cutting back on indulgences or changing spending habits. But there are actually lots of simple ways to save money right in the home. All it takes is an awareness and a commitment to doing things differently. Here are some ways to save money around the house. Over time these savings start to add up.

Get New Lightbulbs

Just because a light bulb still works doesn’t mean it’s working for your energy bill. Updating to compact fluorescent light bulbs can save you up to 80 percent on your energy bill, which is pretty significant. They are more expensive so the initial investment might be slightly higher. But they also last way longer than normal bulbs so it’s a win-win situation. Plus they’re not that expensive, think $15 or so for a pack of four. Swap out your most use lamps and lights or replace your old bulbs with energy efficient ones as they burn out. You’ll notice a difference in your electricity bill.

Cut Your Cooling Costs With Curtains

If you have to use air conditioning in the summer, you’ve probably noticed your bills hike with the temperature. But it’s quite easy to keep some of that heat out by installing reflective blinds, which can reduce up to 45 percent of the heat. Window treatments can also be used to keep heat in during the winter, so they’re actually putting in work and saving you money all year round.

Get More Efficient Water Faucets

In addition to cutting down on lengthy showers and big baths, installing low-flow water faucets can significantly cut your water bill. This is particularly important in the kitchen where you can’t really cut back on dish washing time. The low flow water faucets only cost around $10 to $20 but could end up cutting the water bill by 25 to 60 percent. You can still spend the same amount of time washing the dishes. The facet just ensures that less water is used (and wasted) in the process.

Cut the Cable

Cable TV costs on average $768 a year. These days there are so many streaming alternatives that you can watch whatever you want to watch whether or not you actually have cable. So you might not actually need it. Streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu cost somewhere around $10 a month. Even if you’re paying for a couple of them it can still be a far cry from the monthly cable bill.

Unplug Your Electronics at Night

The average person might have dozens of electronics plugged in at a time and not even realize how much energy they’re using. Even if your phone hits full charge the plug in the wall continues to conduct electricity. Consider all the things that might be plugged in at any given time. The lamps, TV, air conditioning unit, computer, electric toothbrushes, etc. An easy way to “unplug” at night without having to actually unplug everything individually is to have electronics plugged into power strips. Then simply switching off the power strip will disconnect the electronics from the power source all at once. The average household spends $100 each year having their electronics plugged in.