10 Ways to Save on Insurance

Having insurance is great when the universe decides it’s time to give you a major (or even minor) problem. But when you can get a policy for practically anything, it’s easy to spend more on protecting your life than living it. Don’t worry, though. We can help you keep these expenses under control while still getting the coverage that you need.

Here are ten ways to be protected for less:

1. Assess Your Needs

Rather than buying coverage simply because you think you should, it’s important to consider your specific situation. Your life today and your future plans should dictate what insurance policies you need and how much coverage is appropriate.

Although there are lots of factors to consider for each type of insurance, you should think about the following to determine your needs:

  • Your assets: More assets (cash, investments, businesses, property, etc.) may mean more insurance
  • Your family: Having dependents typically requires more coverage
  • Your health: Poor health could necessitate a more robust medical policy or more life insurance

2. Shop Around

Before committing to any policy, get pricing from multiple companies. You may be surprised at how much variation you see. And remember — don’t just set it and forget it. It pays to do this before every policy renewal.

3. Bundle Policies

As you get quotes for coverage, ask each company for a bundle price on the types of insurance that you need. You could score big savings and simplify your bill paying process.

4. Get a Discount by Association

Sure, you can likely get a deal on health, life, and disability insurance through your employer. But did you know that you may be eligible for discounted group rates on home and auto policies, too? Check with your HR department!

5. Raise the Deductible

Increasing your policy’s deductible could be an easy way to save a few bucks each month. Be sure, however, that you can cover the higher deductible if you ever need to make a claim.

6. Keep Your Credit Report Clean

Unless you live in CA, HI, or MA, poor credit history could cost you. Insurers may assign you an insurance score (similar to a credit score), with lower scores resulting in higher premiums. They believe, right or wrong, that a low score indicates irresponsibility and therefore more risk.

7. Save on Car Insurance

If you want to own a car in 48 out of 50 states, you need car insurance. The good news is that you can defray the expense with tons of different discounts. You may be able to save cash for being a student, taking a defensive driving course, being a member of AAA, driving a car with low miles, and more. Additionally, if your car is older and paid off, you may not need as much insurance. Remember: carry sufficient liability coverage to protect your assets.

Tip: Try this calculator to see how much car insurance you may need.

8. Save on Homeowners/Renters Insurance

If you have a mortgage, you’re probably required to have homeowner’s insurance. To make this expense more budget-friendly, ask your insurer if they offer price breaks for having smoke detectors, a home security system, modern plumbing and electrical systems, etc. Many of the same discounts are available to renters, too.

Bonus read: Check out this article on determining how much coverage you could need.

Tip: Use this guide to take an inventory of your belongings and determine the value of your stuff, which gets factored into your insurance requirements.

9. Save on Life Insurance

If you have a family to protect or want to leave loved ones a little something when you’re gone, you may want to purchase life insurance. There are a few different types, each with their own pros and cons, but generally, the most affordable type is term life insurance. Term life insurance will pay your beneficiaries a specified amount if you die within a certain timeframe (usually 10-30 years). There are a number of ways to save on life insurance such as paying the entire year’s worth of premiums upfront or getting a volume discount (aka getting more insurance for less money!).

Tip: Try this calculator to see how much life insurance you may need.

10. Save on Health Insurance

It’s no secret — medical care is crazy expensive. Adequate health insurance can save your wallet from a beating if you become seriously ill or injured.  If you’re in good health, don’t go to the doctor frequently, and have a cash reserve, consider saving money on your monthly premiums by choosing a plan with a high-deductible. You’ll pay the full tab if you go to urgent care with the flu or a sprained ankle, but you’ll (hopefully) pay less overall each year due to premium savings. You can also save money by using in-network providers and practicing healthy habits — like eating right, getting those steps in, and going easy at happy hour.

Tip: A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a perfect partner to a high-deductible medical plan. Check out how an HSA can help lower your tax liability, set money aside for medical expenses, and save for retirement here. To get started, click here.

Final Thoughts

Insurance can be a significant line item on your budget, but there are many ways to minimize the expense. While this article isn’t an exhaustive list of ways to save, it gives you a good start to being covered affordably.

Tell Charlie: What’s your favorite way to save on insurance?

Please note: We don’t have an affiliation with or personally endorse any of the services linked to in this post. We’re just trying to give you some ideas.

This article was originally published at HiCharlie.com

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The Cost of Love: Differences in Dating Expenses Between Men and Women

The game of love can cost a pretty penny. Take the popular reality TV series The Bachelor. Female contestants are expected to bring their own wardrobe for the entire show. (That’s seven whole weeks!) This includes the entire kit and caboodle, from stiletto heels and evening gowns to hair products, accessories, and makeup to city cruising and hiking outfits. The cost for these single ladies? Anywhere from $1,800 to a whopping $8,000. Looking good on the prowl ain’t cheap!

Getting the bachelor to ask you, “Will you accept this rose?” could add up quickly.

Male contestants on The Bachelorette, however, spend a lot less on appearances. How much do they spend to be on the show? Anywhere from $500 to $3,500 in an attempt to woo the bachelorette.

When it comes to the real world, the costs of courtship are lower, but there’s still a discrepancy in how much men and women spend in their journeys for love.

The Costs of Dating
According to Match.com’s 7th annual Singles in America survey, men spent an average of $1,855 per year on dating, whereas women spent $1,423, per Mental Floss. This includes throwing down dough on eating out, entertainment, clothes and personal grooming, and on dating apps. Singles are spending roughly $80 per date and going on about 20 dates each year.

As you might’ve guessed, it costs more to date in major cities: $2,069 in the Big Apple, $1,816 in Chicago, and $1,788 in Washington, D.C. Despite the major costs related with courting, talking about cash in a relationship is tricky. Here are our tips for approaching the subject:

Don’t Assume 
Whether it’s what we observe from our parents, or what’s been culturally instilled in us from an early age, we might bear assumptions that no longer ring true in our modern age.

For example, who takes the bill at the end of a date? Per the Singles in America Survey, nearly half of men believe in footing the bill, while only 36 percent of women think that men still should. What’s more, when it comes to going splitsies, 71 percent of males enjoyed it when a woman offered to pay, and 78 percent of women said they had offered. When my partner and I first started dating, we went Dutch from the get-go. It wasn’t about gender roles, it was just what felt right for our dynamic.

You also don’t want to assume you know what the true costs of courtship entail. A good friend of mine was getting annoyed that his girlfriend wasn’t paying her fair share. He was paying for most of the meals and movie tickets. Plus, he had to fork over gas money to drive out to see her. When he brought this up to her, she pointed out that she had made up for it by buying pricey lingerie. This was a “hidden” cost that my friend hadn’t even considered. If you’re not sure what your date is thinking, don’t be afraid to ask. That can help prevent conflict and bouts of resentment.

Start Simple 
You probably don’t want to talk about credit scores, debt loads, and tax brackets on the first date — unless you want to scare them off. As the tried-and-true adage goes: Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS). In the early days of courtship, start with the easy stuff. There’s no need to pry when all that’s required is deciding who will be paying for dinner.

In the early days of the relationship, it might be best to observe instead of outright asking. You can learn a lot about someone’s approach to money in the spending decisions they make and their lifestyle choices. Are they are a saver or a spender? Do they generally seem optimistic about their finances, or can you sense glimmers of pessimism? Piecing together these hints can help you figure out whether they have a healthy relationship with money.

Handle With Care 
Chatting about finances in a romantic partnership is no easy feat. As it can be a heavy and sensitive topic, you’ll want to approach it with finesse. I like to bring up light topics when it comes to money, such as finding a bargain at my favorite online store. If I feel like talking about my finances, I’ll do so in a way that could lead to a deeper discussion. If they’re not feeling it, don’t pressure them to share.

And whatever you do, don’t judge. People might feel shame about not earning enough, or about their debt situation. (Yes, debt shame is a very real thing.) If you’re going to approach a tricky subject, come from a place of empathy and understanding.

Time the Ask 
Getting financially naked is essential to a healthy relationship. Once you get more serious, you’ll need to pull back the hood and reveal the state of your finances. This includes your credit card debt, net worth, how much you earn, as well as your hopes, fears, and concerns about money.

Yes, it’s a lot. But the last thing you want in your relationship is financial infidelity, or keeping a money secret from your S.O. If you don’t know where your partner stands, you won’t be able to build a life together based on shared values. Talking about money is oftentimes difficult and scary. But doing so will help you build trust.

Know There Will Be Differences

We come in with our own mindsets, behaviors, and habits around money. If you and your partner have different ways of handling money, you’ll need to communicate boundaries, expectations, and work on shared goals.

My partner and I have pretty different ways on how we treat our money. I am super cautious, and need a lot tucked away for emergencies to feel safe. My partner feels comfortable having a smaller cushion for his rainy day fund. My threshold for what makes me feel safe isn’t the same for him. He doesn’t own a credit card, and pays for everything upfront. While I pay off my credit card balance in full each month, I love racking up those credit card points!

Pencil in Money Dates 
Most of my coupled money nerd pals carve out time to go on money dates with their significant others. It’s a perfect time to discuss progress on shared money goals, share wins, and hash out any issues. You can make it fun. Get out of the house, and chat over coffee or ice cream. As you most likely each lead busy lives, you can squeeze in a time to chat while driving to dinner once a week.

Dating is expensive, and talking about money is hard. But unless you swear to a life of singlehood, these are costs and challenges you’ll need to take into account. With a bit of know-how, planning and tact, you can incorporate finances into dating and relationships like a pro.

This article was originally published at HiCharlie.com

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8 Ways to Stop Impulse Shopping

Raise your hand if you’ve gone into Target just to buy a pack of toilet paper and left with a full basket of stuff.

Hey, we’ve all been there. It’s fine to make light of it all (I mean it does make for some great Target run memes, amiright?) but when it comes time to look at your bank account, it’s probably not going to be fun.

Impulse shopping happens to the best of people, but it can lead to blowing your budget, missing financial goals, and even going into debt. Worst of all, you may regret purchases, leading to those pesky emotions known as shame and guilt.

Before you go hiding under a rock, vowing never to come out again — please don’t, the world needs your awesomeness — keep reading to find out what you can do to curb impulse shopping.

Forgive Yourself

We all make mistakes. It’s not helpful to dwell on them and beat ourselves up on the past.

The more negative self-talk you engage in, the more you’re going to shop impulsively again. If you feel like you can’t escape the wrath of the Target run, you’ll end up blindly going into the store and tossing unnecessary items into your cart.

If you end up overspending, take some time to tell yourself it was a mistake and that you can become better with your money. One step at a time.

Notice Your Urges

… Shopping urges that is.

When you feel the need to shop — and it’s not because you ran out of toilet paper — take note. You can even go as far as marking it down in your note-taking app or a journal. The idea is to draw attention to it so that you can stop and think about why you feel the need to shop.

In most cases, the reasons are emotional. Maybe you’re going through a stressful time and want to do some retail therapy. Or you’re feeling a bit insecure at your new job and want to impress your coworkers. It could even be as simple as you celebrating your birthday, leading you to buy things you weren’t planning on purchasing.

 

Avoid Temptation

  • Here are some simple tricks to avoid the urge to buy things in store or online you don’t need: Block websites of your favorite retailers
  • If you need to purchase something, see if they have a pickup service, so you’re less tempted to be swayed by shiny displays
  • Don’t go to the mall
  • Give yourself a time limit when you do need to buy something, like 5 days to see if you actually want it
  • Take a different route to work if there are any stores you’ll see that may lead you to impulsively shop
  • Have hours where you’re not allowed to browse online (like past midnight, when you might not be thinking straight…)

Stick to a List

A lot of people end up making impulse purchase because they don’t have a plan. Of course, sticking to a list isn’t going to be 100 percent but at least it can help deter you by having something you can reference.

Sticking to a list will require you do some advance planning on your part. For example, if you go grocery shopping, check your pantry to see what you items you need. Or if you’re buying new clothes, write down the types of styles, color and clothing item before you go try stuff on.

Try a 30-Day Challenge

Gamifying your finances can be a fun way to work towards a better financial future. Call it a “shopping ban,” “spending fast,” or something more fun. Whatever you do, see if you can challenge yourself to stop impulse purchases for 30 days.

If you do, make sure you get as specific as possible. Maybe you’ll only purchase necessities, but nothing outside of groceries, bills, etc.. Or you want to stop clothes shopping for the next 30 days. Consider making some rules or guidelines on what you can and can’t purchase during the challenge.

When the challenge is over, see how you feel. What did you learn about yourself??

Have an Accountability Partner

Sometimes having an outside force can help you to stick to your goals. If you have a friend who you can chat all things money with and trust, challenge each other to stop impulse purchases.

This plan will have a higher chance of success if you make specific goals. Think about keeping each other accountable throughout a 30-day challenge (as mentioned above) or even having a weekly chat to talk about your thoughts around spending money.

The win-win here is that you can work towards a better financial future and help a friend out at the same time!

Bring Cash

You can’t spend money you don’t have, right? If you need to head into a store to make a purchase, bring only the cash you need and that’s it. That way you’re not tempted to buy anymore because you won’t be able to purchase it.

If you hate the thought of carrying around cash, consider using a prepaid debit or credit card so you can still limit the amount you spend.

Understand Your Why

Sounds super cheesy, but you can’t maintain a habit without understanding why you’re doing it in the first place. Sure, it’s a good idea to stop impulse shopping, but why is it important to you specifically? Do you want to save more money so you can replace your old laptop? Or do you have a bunch of credit card debt you want gone by the end of the month?

Giving a reason for changing your behavior will help keep you motivated during the tough times. And when you get through to the other side, you’ll be thankful you took the time to understand the why behind your finances.

This article was originally published at HiCharlie.com

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What Entrepreneurs Can Teach Us About Getting Out of Debt

Credit card debt surpassed $1 trillion in 2017, according to a report by the Federal Reserve. Getting out of this kind of debt can be challenging, but there is one group that can help show you a way out; entrepreneurs. They understand that debt involves having more liabilities than assets according to Forbes. In general terms, debt can be defined as owing more than you own. Owing something to someone else can be beneficial to your productivity, prosperity and value creation. When you cannot use debt for these benefits, then debt becomes a burden not an opportunity.

Learning to negotiate your way out of debt

When even the smartest entrepreneurs get into debt because a certain product did not sell well or because of a downturn, they often find ways to negotiate better rates and monthly payments with their lenders or creditors. Creditors do not refuse to negotiate because if the business fails, the creditors will not get their money. Similarly, your creditors want you to continue paying your debts because if you stop paying, it may force them to litigate.

Most creditors prefer to receive smaller amounts rather than to receive nothing at all. This process of negotiation may be brought before a third neutral party called an arbitrator to resolve any debt repayment dispute. This is often done to avoid spending time and money going to court to resolve the dispute. During time period of debt repayment after the debt negotiation process, your cash flow may stabilize.

Cash flow can be irregular

An illusion of invincibility may envelope you when cash inflows start exceeding outflows, but that quickly dissipate when irregular cash flow unexpectedly sets in. Some people turn to more credit cards when this happens, but credit cards may only make you dig yourself deeper into debt.Entrepreneurs ensure that they do not sell anything at a loss when they are experiencing more cash inflows than outflows. Another way entrepreneurs keep the cash flow regular is by offering no discounts and adding more value by creating bundles of products or services. So maintain your former budget, but do not add any more expenses. You will also need to prioritize your debt.

Tackle loans with large interest rates first

Entrepreneurs prioritize debts that affect their business relationships and those with large interest rates and penalties before other loans.  Penalties include having to lose an asset which you placed as collateral for a loan from a lender. So you can start repaying the loan that has either your house or your car as collateral because losing those properties can plunge you deeper into debt.

Debts can affect your relationships if you borrowed the money from relatives, friends or co-workers or when the debt is putting a strain on your marriage. Failing to pay the debt on time can actually end these relationships making you more vulnerable the next time you get into debt. For entrepreneurs, a supplier or vendor may refuse to deliver certain products to a business because of a debt that wasn’t paid.

Generally, you need to have a debt repayment plan, which involves drawing up a budget and sticking to it with the discipline of an entrepreneur. The changes you make may be hard on you and your family but that sacrifice will lead to a more secure future.

Chrissy Helders

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How to Save Money Each Month While Paying Off Debt

You have oodles of debt that you want gone. But you also have other important financial goals, like saving money, that need your attention. These competing priorities can make you feel like you’re trapped in a chicken or the egg conundrum. If you pay down your credit card debt, you’ll have more wiggle room in your budget and can save that extra cash. But, if you save more money, you won’t have to whip out your credit card next time an unplanned expense pops up. So do you pay off debt or save? The short answer is: porque no los dos?

Here’s your plan of attack to slay debt and pad your bank account:

Divide and Conquer

To work on both goals simultaneously, you’ll have to split your available resources between them. But, you need a clear plan to ensure that you allocate your dollars in the most effective way.

To get started, prioritize your debts and savings goals, keeping these things in mind:

  • High-interest debt will sink you. If you only make the minimum payments on your credit cards, you’ll be in the hole for years and pay potentially thousands extra in interest. Get rid of this debt first.
  • Lower interest debt isn’t as urgent. While you definitely want to pay off all of your obligations, “good” debt like student loans and your mortgage do less damage to your financial health.
  • Paying extra on installment loans doesn’t help your budget now. If you sock extra cash at your mortgage or student loans, you’ll reduce the total time you’re paying on them. But — it doesn’t change your required monthly payment amount.
  • An emergency fund will save you in a pinch. A cash reserve will keep you from going further in the hole when something breaks or you lose your job.
  • Start saving for time-sensitive goals ASAP. The holidays, your sister’s destination wedding, and your car registration renewal are all known events. Squirrel away a little bit here and there in the months leading up, and you’ll pay for them in cash with ease.
  • Don’t ignore retirement. It may seem like a million years away, but delaying saving for retirement will have long term negative effects. You’ll miss out on the compounding interest that actually works in your favor. If you can afford it, contribute at least enough to your retirement account to get your employer’s full match.

Choose the Right Mix

Once you’ve got your priorities in order, you need to divvy up your funds in a way that makes the most sense for you. For example, from your discretionary income, you could put 6% into retirement, 50% toward your credit card debt, and 44% toward your savings goals. As you pay off debt and your goals are completed or change, be sure to adjust your mix accordingly.

Remember: While there are some good guiding rules of thumb, how you manage your money is up to you. Personal finance is personal!

Find the Dollars

To make faster progress toward your financial goals, try freeing up more of your existing resources, increasing your cash flow, or both. Here are some steps you can take today:

  • Review your spending. Is there anything you can scale back on or nix?
  • Negotiate your bills. You may be able to get a lower rate on things like car insurance or cell phone service just by calling your provider.
  • Buy smarter. It doesn’t matter if you’re getting groceriesclothing, or shopping online, there are countless ways to get what you need and come in under budget.
  • Earn more dough. Consider picking up extra shifts at work, getting a second job, taking on freelance clients, or selling some of your unwanted stuff.

Remember: While it’s tempting, be sure to use your budget wins and side income for your debt pay off and savings goals, not for brunch and a new pair of shoes.

Final Thoughts

It can be overwhelming to juggle multiple, seemingly-competing financial goals. But if you proactively map out what you need your money to do, you can strike a balance that allows you to live your best life.

This article was originally published at HiCharlie.com

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