How to Save on Your Auto Insurance

auto insurance

Auto insurance companies constantly battle to claim providing the best deals, but only some actually pull through. There are many areas in your life where you can make cuts, and, believe it or not, your auto insurance is one of them.

A year after I graduated college, I had my first taste in shopping around for new auto insurance companies. I felt I was not receiving the promised rewards of my plan at the time, and despite reaching out to my representative, no changes were made. After doing some extensive shopping around, I cancelled my plan and went with a new company. This reduced my monthly payment by roughly $60. Needless to say, I was very happy I took the time to do some research.

Many individuals tend to forget to reevaluate their car insurance. They are so focused on their car and having this investment protected that savings could be easily missed, which is completely understandable. But, when working on improving your personal finances, leave no stone unturned.

Just because you already have a policy does not mean you can’t still shop around. Finding the best quotes is key to auto insurance savings. These insurance quotes from reliable companies will be the primary tool you need to leverage change in what you pay. Keep in mind that the estimates you choose should be from a comparable plan to your existing one.

So, let’s get started and get you the savings you deserve with these quick tips.

Don’t limit yourself

There is no cost to getting an auto insurance quote, so don’t limit yourself to just one. In fact, get as many as you can to really help you evaluate your options and to present these estimates to your current company. Performing a thorough research is the first step in this process, and a really important one. Ask for referrals from friends and family and consider looking on forums for advice on companies to speak with.

Dig deep and know your auto insurance needs

Referrals are great, but you still need to research the company to make sure it is a good fit for you. Know what you need in a policy. What is the companies’ coverage like? What are their policies on accidents, speeding tickets and so on? Do they offer forgiveness plans? Do they primarily work online or are they very personalized in their customer service? Knowing all the background information and fine details are important in your savings journey.

Raise your deductible and have good credit

You may need to raise your deductible in order to lower your premium. As companies begin to run quotes for you, they will also look into your credit score, so just be prepared for that. If you need to improve your credit standing, this recent article published right here on Suburban Finance may help.

Try to stick to online searches

Although agents will generally always be available to speak with you, you may be presented with additional costs to meet and talk with them. Not to mention, this will also take up a lot of your time. Try to do as many online searches as you can without speaking to an agent. Should you need to speak with someone for more details, there are some companies who do have online chats or will offer a complimentary phone call with a representative.

Bring multiple cars together

If you have more than one vehicle, consider placing them all under the same policy. This will bring you even more savings.

Overall, the goal is to weigh out your options to make sure you are getting the best deal for you and your budget. Customer service is huge for me, so when my previous auto insurance carrier failed to look into my issues with me, I decided to move on. If your company is willing to make changes to better suit your needs, they may be the best option you.

Never be afraid to look into things and ask where you can save. The answers are out there; you just have to look for them.

What tips would you add to the list? 

 

 

Make Household Budgeting a Family Affair

household budgeting

Household budgeting should involve a team effort.

There are times when things will be inevitably tight around the house. When you are the only mouth to feed, it is easier to understand your current situation. However, as you dive into the family life, budgeting is not so easy to comprehend if you aren’t the one paying the bills.

Growing up, my parents were always very open about our financial situation at different times in my adolescence. They made sure to include my sister and I on what was happening very early on, and I am so glad that they did. At first, I had a hard time understanding, but as I got older, it began to make more sense.

The less involved the family is with finances, the less they will understand. It can be difficult for your growing kids to see why they can’t get those new clothes they want or go to the movies with their friends. The term “money doesn’t grow on tress” may not be enough to get them on the same page. Now is a great time to not only teach them, but show them the value of a dollar.

Making household budgeting a family affair will set positive habits for the future as well. So, how can you get the family involved?

Organize the information

Prior to holding a family meeting to discuss finances, gather up all of your bills and household expenses. This includes groceries, gas, car and house payments and so on. Also include those expenses that are not monthly but may only be quarterly or annually. Be fully prepared to also answer any questions about money that your kids may have.

Be open and honest

Lay everything out on the line. Don’t try to hide anything from your family, even if the news does not look so hot. This is the first step in everyone grasping the reality of the financial situation rather than their fantasy. By hiding certain pieces of information, they may feel money exists where it doesn’t and the problem will continue.

Show them what’s left

Try to have a personal spreadsheet of the expenses and income in the home to really make the point visible. List the pay dates and how each expense is paid. This will be a great way to actually show them what is left each month.

Encourage applying for jobs

Should you have a teen that is old enough, encourage them to get a job so that they can fund their own entertainment. Household chores are an excellent way to earn an allowance, but not all families have the finances to even provide such. I had my first job when I was 15 working in a greenhouse. It was seasonal from spring to early fall, so it worked out well with my school schedule. This taught me personally how to save money as I would save up my paychecks over the course of the months to use throughout the year.

Get everyone’s input

It may be wise to share the budgeting system you have in place for your home. I was around 10 years old when I began to understand that money was not endless and that some months were more difficult than others. Depending on the age of your children, you could ask for their input and have them be a part of the household budgeting process. Your kids may end up having more ways you can end up with more money at the end of each month by being willing to give up some of their own desires. It is likely that through this process, everyone would be willing to give up those additional unnecessary expenses like satellite TV so that you can do even more with the family income.

Younger children may not fully understand, but you can still find ways to show and teach them that your money supply is not endless. (Be on the look out for an article in the future about this topic.)

Your financial situation may not even be bad, but still informing the family of what is coming in and out will help enhance the household budgeting. Budgeting is never really a comfortable topic, but when you include the family, everyone begins to take on more responsibility. You’ll most likely find some pressure alleviated off of you as well.

How do you handle household budgeting in your own home?

How to Fix Your Credit: A Key to Financial Freedom

fix your credit

When you fix your credit, you are one step closer to financial freedom. But, how do you do this?

Credit comes with its many benefits and of course its negatives. It takes careful, responsible spending and timely repayments in order to really see its positives and not experience its dark side.

Those in need of repairing their credit know how difficult it is to be approved for loans, receiving lower rates and getting ahead. But, there is good news. You still have hope and can fix your credit.

Fixing your credit can help you get closer to financial freedom. Here are some great tips to help you get started:

Don’t stop believing

Continuing with credit seems counter-intuitive, but using credit is a great way to achieve a good score. As long as you pay them back immediately, do use your credit cards. You also want to mix up the type of credit you use (i.e. installment accounts such as mortgages and revolving accounts such as lines of credit). Don’t wait to repay; not only does this harm your finances due to interest rates, but it hurts your score as well. Your payment history is one of the key factors of determining your credit score. You want to make sure you can prove to credit card companies you’re capable of timely repayment in order to improve your rating.

Open a savings account

Opening a savings accounts helps to reach a favorable credit rating. As simple as it may sound, this does show companies that you are financially responsible and have the resources to pay for debts.

Spread out your disputes

You can dispute items from your credit reports. If you do, however, just be sure to spread them out and do one item at a time, starting with the most damaging or largest items first. Disputing too many things at once signals a red flag to the credit bureau, and they could consider them to be insignificant. Make sure to really take time to examine your report.

Keep balances low

This one is pretty simple. Just because you have a $5,000 limit each month does not mean you should reach or max it. Keep your balances low so that they are easier to handle.

Get your monthly report

Tracking your monthly activity with your credit is just as important as tracking your other expenses each month. If something seems off, you will be able to dispute it right away. This is a good habit to develop. It will be a cost to get them monthly, but it will be worth it to keep you on a favorable path. To ensure your report and activities are current across the three major credit bureaus, retrieve reports from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian yearly. Not to mention, you’re able to get one free report from each bureau each year under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, making the cost of credit maintenance low.

Don’t create more debt

If you’ve put yourself in a bad situation with your existing debt, you generally should avoid opening more credit cards or loans to pay off what you have. This can really cause the problem to continue to spiral out of control. Instead, you need to start focusing on ways to reduce this debt in order to fix your credit. On the contrary, there may be times where it is OK to open another credit card in order to generate some positive credit history. A secured credit card, which requires a deposit that serves as your limit, could be the answer for you in those sticky situations. Just don’t sign up for unnecessary credit cards.

Know that this process will take time and dedication before you start to see improvement. There will be a many ups and downs on the road to credit repair, but try not to get discouraged. Make it a priority so that you can work toward that financial freedom you’ve been dreaming about for a while now. If you feel overwhelmed by the process, just take things one step at a time. Create better spending habits in order to ensure you are not in a situation like this in the future.

What steps are you taking to fix your credit? What route has worked best for you?