Money-Saving Tips and Other Goodies

How to Really Save on Car Insurance: Tips, Tactics, and Secrets

Hello all! In this blog we will discuss how you can get the best discounted rate on car insurance. I know you’ve heard the pitches from the charismatic “Flo” to the Aussie/British (whatever the heck he is) lizard. And, let’s not forget that catchy little jingle of “For a great low rate you can get online, go to….” you get the drift. So, what’s the skinny on all of this madness? I’ve gotcha covered!

I will spare you the 20-point checklist for now that I typically use whenever I call during renewal season (which for me is approximately 3 months before my actual renewal date – and YES!!! I really do use a 20-point checklist for all 6 car insurers that I call every 3 months!). For this blog, we’ll just hit the highlights. Feel free to email me for the list though, or I may feel froggy later and publish it too.

Anyway, go to this website first and foremost to see who discounts for what: Cheapest Rates and Most Discounts for Car Insurance After you compare there, I strongly believe it would be WELL worth your time to read this confession essay from a former Progressive sales rep: Confessions of a Car Insurance Salesperson / Sales Rep

Congratulations! If you’ve thoroughly read through the above articles, then you’re well on your way to saving MUCH MORE money than you could imagine! My wife and I currently pay approximately $350 every 6 months for full coverage insurance. Before I started employing my 20-point checklist method, we were averaging about a $650 – $700 6-month quote from these same companies. Think of how much they swindle you! Personally, I feel this about it – if you could have offered me the same coverage for half the money, then why didn’t you do it in the beginning if you were really trying to help me out? In all fairness, I must say that both Progressive and Geico do an excellent job on the phone of trying to help you out. And, please keep in mind here that I am mostly talking about over-the-phone and online insurance companies.

My big 6 list of car insurance companies that I call every 3 months are as follows:

         1.  Geico

         2.  Progressive

         3.  Allstate

         4.  State Farm

         5.  Liberty Mutual

         6.  Nationwide

Here is a list of extra discounts that I typically go for that isn’t too in-depth:

        – Discounts for various clubs/organization/memberships/alumni status (click here for Geico’s comprehensive list: Discounts for Club / Organization Memberships )

          – Discount for being in a graduate or doctoral program (so states allow this and some do not)

         – Defensive driver’s course (here’s a link to Geico’s: Defensive Driving Course Online )

         – Discount for having each of the following:

a.       Anti-lock brakes

b.      Airbags (extra discounts for different numbers and locations of airbags!)

c.       Non-smoker

d.      Anti-theft system (extra discounts for more higher degree anti-theft systems!)

        – Good student discount

Wonder if forking out the extra cash for the defensive driver’s course is worth it? Let’s put it this way…my wife spent $20 to take the course fully online. It saves us $40 each time we renew for the next 3 years. In other words, if we were to stay with Geico for the full 3 years after taking the course, we just saved ourselves $240 for a $20 and half-an-hour of our time investment!

I hope this article has been helpful to you. Email me for more input or information, or to share your own tactics and tips with me! Happy savings!!!

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things (Website Version)…

Although I too like “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,” I am revealing some of my favorite websites in this blog instead of comparing notes with Julie Andrews (Sound of Music). More are to come in the future, so stay tuned (or just get the eBook – coming soon as well). People often ask me questions like, “Where do you recommend I go to learn basic Spanish for free?” or “Where can I compare the best credit cards out there for my credit score?” or “Heck, how do I even get my credit report AND score…for free?”

Well, the answers to these questions and more (to the best of my knowledge and objective opinion) are below. Have fun with them, and please feel free to drop me an email with new suggested websites you’ve discovered or stories on how any of these suggested websites below worked for you! Thanks! And, I hope this post helps!

My Favorite Websites to Get Textbooks for Cheap!

www.half.com (owned by ebay)

www.ebay.com

www.amazon.com

www.abebooks.com

www.alibris.com (possibly my favorite here. Email me for online coupons)

Would you all believe I actually possess ALL of my first-year med school books and only spent $230 thanks to these websites above? I remember in my undergrad years, my Anatomy & Physiology book packet alone cost me $350 at retail price! Wish I knew then what I know now!

My Favorite “Learn Spanish” Website:

Here is a link to start (begins with a basic grammar tutorial): http://www.studyspanish.com/tutorial.htm

Although there are many websites out there that just chart conjugations for you regarding Spanish verbs, I prefer this website for any beginner because it teaches the basic rules of grammar. I particularly love the grammar section on this website! (y me encanta especialmente la seccion de gramatica en este pagina…para todos mis amigos y amigas que hablan español un poco).

My Favorite Math and Stats Online Calculator Websites:

Wow! There are too many to name, but here are a few:

http://easycalculation.com/

http://www.danielsoper.com/statcalc3/default.aspx

http://www.wolframalpha.com/examples/Math.html

http://www.fourmilab.ch/rpkp/experiments/contents.html  (Great for calculating Z scores!)

http://sampson.byu.edu/courses/z2p2z-calculator.html  (Great composite site for finding cumulative probabilities from p or z!)

http://www.mathportal.org/calculators.php (from simplifying rational expressions to calculating derivatives!)

http://www.mathportal.org/calculators/rational-expressions/simplify-rational-calculator.php

Ok, so maybe I got a little carried away with this one. But, hey…l did it all for you – you academic beast, you (at least, that’s the reason I’ll tell myself regarding why I know all of these math websites!) Get your math on!

My Favorite Stock Website (Back When I Wasn’t a College Student and Had Money!)

www.sharebuilders.com

This is by far my favorite stock-trading website. Whether one is just novice or a pro at stock-trading or options, this is the place to get it done! It’s now owned by Capital One (which you will learn soon enough is one of my favorite companies in itself), and it has some of the best tools available! Plus, it only costs $6.95 per trade whether buying or selling. They just lowered the boom on their prices from $9.95 per trade to $6.95 per trade in the name of treating their customers right (according to some of their publications).

Don’t be afraid to email me about stocks. I don’t have the money to invest right now, but I still follow them all the time…really, all the time! lol. I’m part of Cramerica! (for all the “home-gamers” out there!)

My Favorite Online Banks

www.ally.com

Ok, so this bank is awesome! Any ATM fees accrued during the month are reimbursed to you at the end of each month. But, please be a good steward and use responsibly. For example, if you know the ATM around the corner from you only charges $2, but the one next to your house charges $5, please try your best to drive the extra quarter-mile so that companies like this can continue offering their services.

By the way, this bank is endorsed by many big league publications like MONEY magazine. There are some issues that I don’t like though with their joint-accounts. If you are a married or dating couple and want to get a joint bank account here, feel free to email me with questions on why I am not a huge fan of this aspect of the company. Thanks.

My Favorite Online Credit Union:

According to an article in Kiplinger magazine, credit unions: “tend to charge lower loan rates, pay higher savings yields and “treat borrowers who are struggling more sympathetically.”

www.alliantcreditunion.org

Just a good online credit union here that anyone can join. All you have to do is make a donation to one of their charity partners (I believe $5 or $10 will do the trick), and BOOM! Instant online credit union. Credit unions in themselves have their own advantages and are protected by the NCUA (the credit union-equivalent of the FDIC).

I’ve heard good things about this online credit union too, and it is open for anyone to join from my understanding:  https://www.connexuscu.org/

Although, I do not, or have not ever, had any experiences with them (Connexus) personally. Hey, maybe you can try them out and drop me a line about how they are!

If you want to learn more about other online credit unions that anyone can join, check out this article from Kiplinger magazine: http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/credit/T005-S001-7-great-credit-unions-anyone-can-join/index.html

My Favorite Credit Card Websites:

http://www.creditcards.com

http://www.bankrate.com/credit-cards.aspx

https://www.capitalone.com

These are all pretty self-explanatory websites with excellent comparative tools for you to use. “creditcards.com” is by far the best to me for credit card discovery, but “bankrate.com” is great for comparing many other different products besides credit cards. And, “capitalone.com,” as I mentioned earlier, is just a favorite of mine. They have some really great credit cards for any situation, including the following: low-income, coming-out-of-bankruptcy or rebuilding credit, college students, or no credit history at all.

My Favorite Credit Report Websites:

https://www.creditkarma.com

https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp

We all know the jingle: “Free credit report dot com – tell your friends, tell your dad, tell your mom” ’cause if you don’t watch out, then you just might “end up selling fish to tourists in t-shirts” at a pirate restaurant. Ironically though, www.freecreditreport.com is actually NOT free at all. You must pay for a service to get your credit reports from here, and it is sponsored and owned by Experian (one of the 3 major credit bureaus themselves)!

The only truly “FREE” websites I know of from experience is “annualcreditreport.com” (listed above) – which offers all 3 credit reports for free once-a-year with no gimmicks, and “creditkarma.com” – which is sponsored by TransUnion (one of the 3 major credit bureaus themselves). The TransUnion one is an extremely powerful tool in itself and is even mentioned and recommended by Clark Howard.

My Favorite Sacred Texts Website:

 http://www.sacred-texts.com/

 This website makes accessible everything sacred (scripturally speaking) from as far East as the Vedas (Hinduism) and the Kojiki (Shinto) to the West, like the Christian Bible (Christianity), and includes everything in between as well, like the Koran (Muslim) and Kitab-I-Aqdas (Baha’i Faith). I love this website, and I can’t wait to have money to donate to it and buy some of the products – especially the CD-ROM.

My Favorite “Free” College Courses Websites:

https://www.khanacademy.org/

http://academicearth.org/

This has been all the craze lately for us college students, and I have jumped right in head-first as well. Not learning well from your professor who can’t seem to keep your attention long enough to make it past the CoA step of the Krebs Cycle? Or, still can’t quite seem to grasp just how far away a light year is? Check out all of the free courses here! These two websites are excellent ways to get a variety of perspectives taught to you on the same subject, and to just watch for fun too!

…If you’re in to that sort of thing, like me=)