Benefits of Talking to an Insurance Broker

I’ll be honest, up until a few months ago I didn’t even know what an insurance broker did. I honestly thought it would be more expensive to go through an insurance broker rather than dealing with a company directly. I thought they’d get some kind of big commission which would translate into extra fees on our insurance.

When we were getting ready to add our oldest son to our insurance and saw the crazy numbers that were coming up, we figured it couldn’t hurt to talk to an insurance broker. If we didn’t like what they had to say, well, we already had our insurance with the same company we have for many years. I’m so glad we took the time to do it.

We found out that the insurance company we were with for years is one of the most expensive ones out there and they can be beat by almost any insurance company out there.

We found out that if you have a pool or one of those big outdoor trampolines it can make your house insurance go up.

They told us that the smaller regional insurance companies can be a lot cheaper than the national companies because they’re not having to compensate for payouts for things like earthquakes in California, tornadoes in Kansas, or hurricanes in Florida.

We found out that while one company had amazing rates on car insurance they’re rates were actually worse on home owners insurance so our broker helped figure out the best company to go with as a whole for our needs.

In the end we ended up saving over $1000 a year on our car insurance even with adding a new driver and a used car with liability. I’m so glad we took the time to get the quote. It really paid off.

Speaking of insurance, check out this post I wrote for Bodwell’s blog on Insurance Fun Facts.


Finance Fun Facts For When You’re Bored

Have you ever sat around thinking about money and thought…I wonder what the most expensive dessert is? Or complained about the price of gas and wondered where the cheapest gas is? Well here are some fun finance facts you didn’t really need to know but we’re telling you anyway.

  1. Did you know that if you had invested $100 in Microsoft in 1986 it would be worth $46,400 today.
  2. Paper money is not made from regular paper but from cotton so which is one reason it doesn’t fall apart if you accidently wash that $5 bill you forgot about in your jeans pocket.
  3. Now I have you wondering what the most expensive dessert is right? Well according to financeonline.com it’s something called Strawberry Arnaud from Arnaud’s restaurant in New Orleans with a staggering price tag of $9.85 million! I mean who orders that?!
  4. Venezuela has the cheapest gas per gallon at only 2 cents per gallon.
  5. The estimated lifespan of a $1 bill is 5.8 years while a $50 bill has an estimated lifespan of 8.5 years according to the federal reserve website.
  6. John D Rockefeller was the world’s first billionaire.
  7. As of January 31, 2019 there is 1.7 Trillion dollars in circulation
  8. Every wonder if you’ll have a better chance of winner the Publisher’s Clearinghouse sweepstakes if you purchase something through them? Well 80% off Publisher’s Clearinghouse $10 million in winner never purchased a magazine subscription.
  9. 7-11 convenience stores sell 10,000 pots of coffee every house, every day.
  10. The average cost of a wedding in the US is $33,391 yikes that’s a lot of debt to start your life together with!

Are you a fan of fun facts? Check out the post I did for Lenstolers blog with Jeep Fun Facts.


Effected By the Equifax Breach? Read This

In September 2017 the Equifax breach effected 147 million people. It’s hard not to considering Equifax it’s hard not to be considering Equifax is one of the major credit reporting agencies. You may have seen the recent post about settlements for people effected by the Equifax breach. They’re offering free credit monitoring for up to 10 years and identity theft protection or $125 cash payment if you already have credit monitoring in place.

To find out if your information was exposed you can check here

If you are effected, you can file a claim here

The claims process has begun but settlements will not be made until January 23, 2020, at the earliest. Claims must be filed by January 22, 2020.

Click here for more information from the FTC.

I also know I’ve talked about it several times on my blog before but Credit Sesame is a free service that keeps giving more and more free benefits. I highly recommend anyone and everyone create a free account with them. I have had an account with Credit Sesame for many years and have never paid them a dime. It’s a great finance tool to check your credit score, monitor your credit, keep track of your debt, and so much more. But maybe the best feature with the Equifax breach is the FREE credit monitoring and up to $50k in identity theft protection. If you would like you can pay a monthly fee for up to $1m in id theft protection but you do not have to. the $50K in protection is a free service with a Credit Sesame account. They also offer assistance and information if you discover you are the victim of Identity theft. While $50k in coverage is awesome for free it could take more than that if you become a victim of identity theft.

Credit Sesame is free and you have nothing to lose with it. It has become a valuable free financial tool for me in repairing my credit since my divorce 11 years ago that obliterated my credit. I’m happy to say I’ve made leaps and bounds in repairing it and it’s because of resources like this.

This post does contain affiliate links. I will get a small commission when actions are take on the Credit Sesame links only. I do NOT receive compensation from the Equifax links.


6 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Grocery Budget brought to you by Brice Capital

The monthly grocery budget can be a big number, especially for families. Groceries can cost 100s or over a thousand dollars a month depending on dietary needs, family size, and preferences. Here are some ways to help give you some wiggle room in your grocery budget. Thanks to Brice Capital I’m here to give you a few of my tips. As a family of 6 our grocery budget could get out of hand fast if I didn’t budget and find ways to save!

Couponing

Couponing isn’t all cutting coupons out of the paper. Stores like Market Basket, Giant Eagle, Family dollar and more offer eCoupons on their apps. Cash back apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, and Saving Star give you cash back . There are even coupon clipping service that let you buy only the coupons you want in greater quantities. So let’s say you know you are going to be buying Pampers diapers, you can order 5 Pampers diapers coupons.

The key to really saving money is to line the coupons up with sales. There’s tons of couponing groups out there now. Google the name of your favorite grocery or drugstore and with the phrase “couponing” after it and you’re sure to find one. I love to shop Giant Eagle for couponing because they double coupons. Ladysavings.com is awesome for Giant Eagle, Walmart, and Kroger and a few others but, in my opinion, best for Giant Eagle.

Some Ideas for Sources for coupons

  • coupons.com
  • klip2save.com
  • Ibotta
  • Checkout51
  • newspapers
  • manufacturer websites
  • Kellogg’s Rewards (for Kellogg’s products)

Clearance Sections

Oh do I love my clearance sections. Find discontinued products, overstock products, scratch and dent, and more. The deals get even better if you have coupons that match up. As an example, my local Giant Eagle is no longer offering Seattle’s Best brand coffee. They had k-cups and bags for only $3.00 each plus I had a coupon for $2 off if I bought two making it only $2 per box of k-cups! Giant Eagle, Walmart, Rite Aid, and many other stores have a regular clearance area.

Bulk Buys

This one you have to compare. If you’re normally buying Brand X body wash for $3 a bottle but you can get a bulk 3 pack for $7 it’s obviously a better deal. I’ve found that club stores don’t always have the best price for bulk prices though. So you really have to know what you normally spend on your fave products.

Additionally there are number of places that let you buy cases of meats such as chicken breasts, bacon, hamburger etc and a discounted rate. There are several places near me that have these case deals periodically like Market Basket and Fisher Country Store.

What About Produce?

Glad you asked. There’s lots of ways to save on produce. When of my favorite ways I just discovered is Misfit Market box. They offer misfit produce at discounted prices and shipped right to your door.

Farm co-ops are another great way to get lots of fresh produce direct from the source for less.

Additionally, cash back apps like Saving Star and Ibotta frequently offer cash back on product purchases.

Rewards Programs

A lot of grocery and drugstores have their own rewards programs: RiteAid, Giant Eagle, Food Lion, CVS, Kroger…actually it might be harder to find one that doesn’t. These rewards programs can offer anything from lower prices, extra discounts after so much spent, special deals for rewards members and more.

Brice Capital Highlight Tip: Stockpiling

This works great with the coupons. So let’s say you have a coupon for shaving cream for $1 off one can. They have this particular shaving cream on sale for $2. If you use the coupon you can get it for $1. Pretty good deal considering this shaving cream is regularly $3.50 a can. So you get a coupon from the paper and you printed a coupon from coupons.com Now you can get two cans for $1 each. If you have more coupons you can get more (as long as the store and coupon limits allow) In this way you could get 7 cans of shave cream for the price of 2 regularly. Then you store them and don’t have to buy shave cream for a year…or however long it lasts you. You do this with multiple items as you see deals throughout the year then you start to really see the savings. Eventually, once you have a good stockpile going, you’re basically shopping your own stockpile.

Re-evaluating your grocery list can help too. Consider buying store brand instead of name brand if you don’t have coupons. Look for budget friendly meal recipes and plan your grocery list accordingly. Consider cutting back on junk food. It’s ok to have a favorite brand but being flexible can really help save money.

This post is sponsored by Diamond Links. Any opinion expressed is my own.


Beauty Tips On A College Budget

Living on a college budget is going to be difficult in pretty much every area of life (hence the ramen stereotype).
That said, budgeting living is no reason to drop the ball on your beauty routines. After all, confidence is a huge part of success, so looking your best will help you to feel and perform your best as well!
Here are some tips for maintaining those beauty goals while on a tight college budget.


Question the Price Behind Branding
There is a balance to be struck between cutting corners to lower costs and inflating prices because of aesthetics.
Of course, you don’t want to only choose the lowest prices with everything you buy, particularly when it comes to beauty. Sure, 99 cent shampoo costs virtually nothing and will last about as long as luxury brands, but it will also damage your hair.
That said, many brands and ventures are able to hide behind presentation as they upcharge you. Make sure you aren’t just paying for advertising and aesthetic, because there is almost definitely going to be a cheaper alternative that offers the same quality.

The best way to do this is to search for reasonably priced ventures and products and then looking for the specifics (this may take a little research).
For instance, know what ingredients you should be looking for (or avoiding) in your regular skincare, hair and other beauty products. For ventures like med spas, research the specific treatments you are looking for so you know how to narrow down your options based on service,
knowledge and testimonials rather than biased advertising.


Make a Spa at Home
Facials, luxurious baths, mani-pedis and other relaxing treatments don’t have to be found at day spas – they can be found right in your own home!

Even if you live in a small apartment or dorm with several roommates, it’s more than possible to set up a relaxing self-care station for yourself. All you need to do is set aside a specific block of time and stock up on any necessary materials like nail polish, face masks, wax or any other treatments that interest you.


If you are looking for some DIY fun, you could even make your own facials, scrubs, bath bombs and plenty of other spa-day must-haves. The important thing to remember is that this is your time, so structure it however you want and maybe even put together a playlist to really get yourself in the mood for some pampering.
Best of all, since you are doing all of it yourself, you will be paying a fraction of the price that it would cost to go to a professional. A good rule of thumb is that if you can do it yourself, it could be fun (and economical) to try!


Take Advantage of Free Consultations and Offers
For the things you just can’t do at home (medical procedures, professional insight, etc.), make sure you are taking advantage of special offers and free consultations so that you are getting the best deals and service possible.
Luckily, for ventures like med spas or dermatologists, most places will offer those consultations to help evaluate your specific situation and give you invaluable advice.
By taking advantage of things like this, you will make sure that you aren’t wasting money on the services you are saving up for. After all, for more significant needs, it may take some time and planning to pay for it with a college budget.

Dr. Sarah Bennett, a naturopathic doctor in Scottsdale with a med spa of her own, pushes her free consultations more than anything:
“I always try to get those brief meetings with potential clients for a number of reasons. Firstly, it makes it possible to determine whether we make a good match or whether I can help direct them to more appropriate assistance. Secondly, it gives me the chance to really evaluate the individual and give professional advice on treatments and solutions. Lastly, though, I can really
work with the person and their specific situation so that we can be honest about the “less fun” matters like money and availability. That way, I can really work with them and help them get the services they need on the budget they have.”
Since most places will have special deals or, at the very least, free consultations, you can probably rule out any ventures that don’t as an easy process of elimination.
After you’ve done that, feel free to book some of those consultations to get advice on how to proceed with your financial and personal situation.


In Summary
No one likes budget planning, especially when they are tight on cash and have academic responsibilities that make it harder to boost income.
That’s no reason to let your self-care and beauty routine take a backseat, though. By questioning the branding of your products and services, doing all that you can do yourself at home and taking advantage of special offers and free consultations, you’ll be able to keep up with your appearance and maintain your confidence.
For more great articles on budgeting, be sure to look through our other posts!

About the Author

Katherine (Tori) Lutz is a graduate of Florida State University and current student at Columbia University. Professional, she is a writer and editor with a great deal of freelance experience surrounding articles, marketing, and other various areas. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and hopes to one day be a journalist.