Each year AARP offers great tip on savings. This year’s list is out and it’s the 10th anniversary addition. How much can you save with these tips?
Here’s a great article from AARP for getting out of debt. It’s discusses older American’s, but the step apply to all ages.
We recently purchased a replacement car. We bought my 1995 Jeep in September 1994 and we felt it was time to get another car.
Here are the steps we took before making the purchase:
- Started to look at cars to determine what manufacturer and model we were interested in (looking a pricing)
- Reviewed our finances – how much can we put down as a down payment, how much can we afford as a monthly payment, etc?
- Reviewed our credit to make sure all is well
- Looked at car loan interest rates from several sources to determine rates and terms
- Unfroze it to make it accessible to the lender for a car loan
All this took place over about a four month time frame. Once we determined what car – brand and model, we did our online research for deals (the model and miles). We wanted to be ready to move as soon as we found the car we wanted. It had been a long time since we purchased a car, so we weren’t sure what we wanted in an SUV and we were open to most car manufacturers. This made the search process long, but I knew when we found what we wanted we would be ready.
And it happened a couple of weeks ago, we found the perfect SUV for me. A couple of years old (2016) with hardly any miles (less than 4,000), certified pre-owned and an extended warranty. That was the car for me. Saw it on a Thursday and make the decision on Friday – all our preparation made us ready to go. We picked up the car the following week.
As we start to think summer, what are your plans?
Personally, we are planning a few day trips / long weekends. One day trip in the works is to a concert that’s about 2 hour drive each way. This takes some planning – checking out the route and plans for the concert – tickets, parking, the location, etc. Our weekend away is for later in the summer, this involves more planning as it’s out of state to an event. Nver the less, planning comes into play here as well.
With all our plans (and whatever you are planning) for this summer, here are some tips for that road trip from The Hartford for everything from a day trip to driving in a foreign county to prepare yourself and your car to be able to plan ahead.
You need to consider – route maps, lodging, gas, lodging, admission fees, parking and more to work with your budget. Options is what it’s about. For example, route maps have come a long way from the paper maps to GPS to phone navigation apps – all are good choices, but require planning. What’s your preference? Doing your research ahead of time, helps you plan your finances and helps you to stay within your budget.
I’ll keep you posted on our summer adventures. So what’s on your bucket list for this summer (and beyond)?
Do you ever get that feeling you are missing some money?
There is lots of unclaimed money in every state. The unclaimed money list is a big list of names (individuals, companies, non-profits and more), that each state maintains from institutions that turn over money to them. You may be asking why would an institution turn over your money to the state? Good question, these are funds from accounts that haven’t had any activity in several years. Here are a few examples:
- An in active savings account – did you forget you had an account from when you were a child?
- Proceeds from a check not cashed – did you lose a check a while back?
- Unclaimed insurance polices proceeds – did your parents buy life insurance when you were born that was forgotten about?
This past weekend, I did a search for myself and members of my family. I didn’t find any results this time, but I have in previous attempts. In the past, I found a few share of stock that I inherited from my mother’s estate and the proceeds of an old life insurance policy my father that my father must have forgotten.
When was the last time you checked? Don’t forget to check in every state you have lived in. Search by your name(s) and for family members. Remember that there is no fee to claim unclaimed money. If you are asked to pay a fee – don’t. You can do this yourself easily and there is no fee to collect unclaimed money.
Here’s an old article I wrong on this for more information click here.
I grew up with a mother that recycled and composted, so reducing and reusing is in my blood.
Our town was one of the first town’s in the state to ban the single use plastic bags at stores. They encourage you to bring your own bags. If you don’t bring your own, they will give you a paper bag. I personally keep my reusable bags in the back seat of my car, so that they are always available and with me. Also, when buying one single item, we skip the bag and take the item without a bag.
In addition, we have been reducing our single consumption items in favor of reusable ones. We are eliminating the plastic in our lives. We have switched from plastic bags to reusable silicone bags and from plastic containers to glass jars (mason jars are a great inexpensive alternative). We try not to purchase items in plastic instead looking for alternatives.
We now make our own cleaners in reusable glass jars – no more single use bottles from the store. You can believe how inexpensive it is to make your own (besides not having a single use container to toss). Baking soda, vinegar and essential oils can clean just about everything for a fraction of the cost of store bought cleaners.
We have eliminated the private trash collection service from our home and now take our own trash to the transfer station – we our down to one bag of trash per week. This eliminated a $100 a month bill! I love saving money.
Share with me what reusable things you do.
For those of you who have been following this newsletter – Cutting the Cord – here is our last step. If you missed – Cutting the Cord – Step 1, please read this first.
The home phone number is ported! The actual process was supposed to take 3 to 4 weeks. So I started the process thinking I had time to set up the new actual device. Well surprise – I didn’t. I started the porting process on a Friday afternoon and the number ported by Monday afternoon (2 business days)!. So that was great because it was fast. It was bad because it wasn’t easy to set up the new device. I’ll be honest with you, currently it’s set up wired. I haven’t been able to connect the wireless setting to this date. But the phones and voicemail work!
So our next step was the TV’s. Over the years, we had reduce our TV package / channels down to basic so there wasn’t anymore we could do to reduce our bill. In honesty, we already had some alternative TV options in the house so my husband can watch live sports. This past weekend, I did some exploring with our TV options. I added and set up the major networks apps for streaming live TV and on demand. We installed an app recommended by our alternative TV sources for all local over the air channels and set that up (that is a minimal cost as they suggest a $5/ month donation).
Called the TV provider to discuss the cost of internet only (vs. the triple play). I wasn’t happy with that call. I was told that we wouldn’t be keeping the current price for that portion of the bill, because we were dropping the triple play. It would go up by $15/month. I knew there would be alternatives to this service and I was on a mission to find them.
First, we disconnect the bedroom TV from the cable TV and re-set up the TV and all worked fine. The next day, on to the living room TV. Got that TV disconnected and re-set up. That was a little more challenging as this one had more components involved, but we did it. All is working without cable box!
Next, we called the TV provider to disconnect the phone and TV service. Again, I was told the internet only was going to go up by $15.00. Not what I wanted to hear. After a lengthy conversation, I was transferred to another department and there I got to a great helpful person. I explained our situation – how long we had been a customer, the original TV package we started with and all the down grades over the years.
Bottom line, is that we did get the internet service (same speed) for the price that we were paying for the triple play. And, they gave us the basic cable with the box and remote for no additional change. Yes, we did go through a lot of set up to configure the TV’s without cable and then back to be with cable, but now with a savings of over 45% per month. When the price goes up, we will be ready to fully cut the cord.
I don’t know about you, but our TV, internet and phone bill keeps going up, regardless if you have negotiated with them or not. I don’t want to keep playing the game of switching companies for a new triple play package each and every year. I’m done with this!
So we have taken step one in the process of cutting the cord. We just purchased a device to have our same home phone for a fraction of the cost. We are in the process of having our number ported over over the next couple of weeks. It will be a minimum monthly cost for taxes and fees – about $5.00 per month versus $35.00 – that’s a big savings to us.
Once that is up and running, it will be time to cut the TV service. No need to keep paying for channels that we don’t watch. Over the years, we have reduced the number of channels and are currently just subscribing to basic, but it all adds up. So there wasn’t anymore to cut out.
Keep reading for the rest of journey on cutting the cord.
I am rerunning a post from 2016 that has been really relevant to us so far this year (and the last week of last year too). We had three events between the holidays and now, that we are so grateful for our emergency fund. It saved us again!
We woke up on a Sunday morning to no heat or hot water. If that wasn’t bad enough, our plumber was away for the weekend. The installer of the system was attending a football game was wasn’t available. Luckily, we found a temporary solution. That was great because the part took two weeks to come in (as it was back ordered). Next, I was driving home on the highway and I had car trouble. Help came quick and it was a minor repair. Lastly, the furnace began dripping and another call for service. All in all, this could have been a really expenses month on top of our regular bills. We were fortunate enough to have an emergency fund to rely on when needed.
In praise of emergency funds! I can’t say enough about having an emergency fund to use in times of an emergency, as well as having the protection of insurance. We had a big life emergency this time, and it could have been much worse.
While Dave and I were out of the house for about an hour and a half, an emergency struck our house. A feeder line for the toilet broke and we came back to a small geyser. Not only was the bathroom flooded, the water flowed into the master bedroom and then down into the basement. Ugh! You can imagine the damage this has caused. But it could have been much worse.
So this is how our afternoon went:
* Shut off the water – we had individual shutoffs installed all over the house
* Next the clean-up began – towels, wet vacuums and more
* Contacted the insurance company to file a claim. This is the first homeowners claim we ever filed.
* Started the removal of the damaged stuff, and this was hard without Dave being able to move things.
* The insurance company sent out Service Master to remediate the damage. They moved the heavy furniture, installed the industrial fans and dehumidifiers to lessen the damage
* Next day we had to replace the modem, as we lost phone and internet service. It’s difficult to make multiple calls with only a cell phone.
* The drying out stage lasted for days. It included the carpets, hardwood floors, ceramic tiles, sheet rock, furniture and that’s only the big stuff!
Now we are at the rebuilding stage, with the contractors giving us estimates for replacing floors, hard wood and tile, sheet rocking the portion of the walls that were cut away with water damage, painting of rooms, replacing furniture and items that were damaged and more.
Living in a disorganized home as two rooms of furniture and personal items had to be moved out of the rooms and the basement, made our home somewhat of an obstacle course for quite a few weeks. Hopefully by the holidays, we can be back to our organized house.
You’ve heard the saying, if you don’t succeed, try again. We’ll that was try number two yesterday to get the results that we wanted.
Every August it’s the time in our home to negotiate the TV, internet and phone bill. It’s a time that I dislike, but it’s something that has to be done. Every year, we get that letter that our current package is expiring and the cost will be increasing substantially. Ugh!
I phoned earlier in the month and was given a new package that didn’t meet our needs or budget. We have lowered our services in past years, so there isn’t a lower package with less channels (we’re on basic). Not being happy with the call, I research other companies and their options.
Yesterday, was call number two. Spoke with two different people and get the results we wanted. The price will be increasing less than $5. Yeah!
If you need to negotiate with a company to get the results you need / want, be prepared to make multiple calls. You might just get a person that will go the extra mile to find what you are looking for. We did and we are set for another year.