Tag Archives: Shopping

Buying a New Car? Cash Rebate vs 0% Financing Spreadsheet

I think the toughest part about buying a new car is selecting a model. When I searched for my most recent car, it took me months to figure out which one I wanted. I even feel like I settled on my Chevy Malibu because I was just tired of shopping. Whatever car you end up selecting, there comes a time when you have to choose between the cash rebate and the super low financing rate (typically 0%).

Do you find yourself searching for topics such as this every day? By subscribing to this site, you can get FREE updates in your inbox daily. Why not give it a try? You can unsubscribe at any time and it’s FREE. You can subscribe via RSS or you can subscribe via email.

Cash Rebates

Cash rebates are exactly what they sound like. Many automotive companies offer cash back when you purchase one of their new cars. If you see a commercial for a new car that offers $2,000 cash back, you can expect at least $2,000 off the MSRP. There are several types of rebates so make sure you know about all of them. You can get rebates for being a recent graduate, being in the military, etc. Make sure you negotiate the lowest price before mentioning any rebates. This will ensure you receive the best deal possible. You can find a list of current rebates at this site.

Special Financing

Many companies also offer the chance to get great financing rates through their company. Many companies, especially right now, offer 0% financing for a couple of years. Even if they do not offer 0% rates, they usually still offer rates lower than you can get through traditional banks.

Which Offer to Choose

Now comes the part where you need to figure out which one to choose. Here are the options which you will need to pick from:

1. Pay Cash for the Whole Car

In this case you should obviously take the cash rebates. You should also be proud of the fact that you will own the car free and clear. Congratulations!

2. Take the Cash Rebate and Finance the Car at an Outside Bank

With this option, you need to figure out if the amount of the rebate will be greater than the amount of the interest expense of the outside loan. For example, let’s say you need to borrow $15,000 for the new car and you can get a 60 month loan at your credit union at 5%. Over the term of the loan you will pay $1,984 in interest. So for this example, if the rebates are greater than $1,984 you should take the rebate and finance it at the outside bank. You can search for auto loan rates in your area at Bankrate.com. Also consider joining a credit union. They always seem to have great rates. You can use the spreadsheet at the end of this post to calculate the interest expense. It will also tell you which option to choose.

3. Pass on the Cash Rebate and Finance the Car at the Special 0% Rate

If the rebates are smaller than the interest expense you calculated for #2 (using the spreadsheet at the end of this post), you should use the 0% financing (assuming you qualify).

I should note that many companies are offering cash rebates PLUS 0% financing right now due to the economy. If that is the case, you should obviously take both.

Spreadsheet to Help You Choose

Use the following spreadsheet to help you choose the best option for you. Be sure to read the comments in the spreadsheet so you get all of the numbers in the right spot. Enjoy!

Get Free Coin Counting at Coinstar

We all have change lying around our house and in our cars. In fact, the average American has about $90 is spare change just lying around! But how can you turn that loose change into bills for free? Many banks will do it for free if you are a member. But what if you are not a member or do not live close to a branch? Many banks even charge to count coins because they absolutely hate it. Well, Coinstar can help you turn your change into gift cards for use at many major retailers. If you turn your change into gift cards, they waive their 8.9% surcharge. I have been doing this for quite some time now. They offer gift cards for my favorite shopping site, Amazon.comHere is the complete list of gift cards that you can get:

  • Amazon.com
  • AMC Theaters
  • Borders
  • Cabelas
  • CVS
  • Eddie Bauer
  • iTunes
  • JC Penney
  • Lowes
  • Old Navy
  • Overstock.com
  • Starbucks

Looking at this list, you can see that there is something for everyone. Want to go to the movies? Get the AMC gift card. Need an electronic gadget or about anything else under the sun? Get an Amazon.com gift card. Coffee addict? Get a Starbucks gift card.

Personally, we use Coinstar for all of our change. They have a location near us in a supermarket which makes it very convenient. You can find locations near you by searching on their site.

How to Get Free Auto Insurance Quotes and Purchase Online

Every six months you can find me surfing the web for auto insurance. Call me weird, but I always need to know I am getting the best price. If I had to guess, I would say that I have changed my auto insurance carrier seven times over the past nine years. Is that bad or am I just a good shopper? Anyway, I thought I would share with you my routine for shopping for auto insurance and things to look for. Currently, I am with Progressive and I have been pleased so far. Please keep in mind that none of these companies paid me to write about this. I also do not receive anything if you visit their site, so please feel free to visit them!

Check Your Current Policy

When six months rolls around (sometimes sooner), I will double-check to make sure that the coverage is still what I would like it to be. If for some reason the company lowered my limits, I make sure to get a new quote for the coverage amounts that I like. Here are the coverage amounts that I currently carry:

Bodily Injury Protection: $100,000 per person / $300,000 per accident

Property Damage: $100,000 per accident

Uninsured Motorist: Same limits as personal protection

Medical: $2,500

Comprehensive: $50 deductible

Collision: $500 deductible

I keep the bodily injury quite high because the cost of medical care is high. It’s that plain and simple. I will never buy less than $100,000 in property damage due to the high costs of vehicles today. For example, if I were in an at-fault accident with two other SUV vehicles, I would have caused damages (considering both were totaled) of around $50,000 if I am lucky. I really do not want to have to pay for any additional amounts out of pocket. I just keep the uninsured motorist coverage the same as my personal coverage due to the same reasons above.

In regards to deductibles, I keep my comprehensive very low because it just does not cost that much more to have it close to $0. Also, why have a $500 comprehensive deductible when you will use it for mostly inexpensive things? In terms of the collision deductible, I would like to have the deductible at $1000 because I could save around 15% on my policy. However, my credit union forces me to have at-the-most a $500 deductible. Anyone else have that problem?

Before you move onto the next section, make sure you obtain a new insurance quote from your current carrier. Their pricing structures may have changed.

Time to Start the Quotes

I typically have several sites that I check every few months for auto insurance. In this section I will list the sites that I visit and my general experience (price, obtaining a quote) with them.

Progressive

As I mentioned before, Progressive is my current carrier. So, far I have had a good experience with them. They were my carrier several years ago as well but of course, they were outbid a few months later so I switched. Obtaining a quote from Progressive is very easy. All you have to do is enter a few bits of information and you are all set for an accurate quote. They even offer to show you the prices of some of their competitors. However, I have never gone off of what they said. Can you really trust another insurance company to give you a quote for another company? I would rather do the digging myself. One of the main reasons I decided to go with Progressive is their MyRate Program. This program is for conservative drivers like myself. You basically install a tracker in your car that measures your distance and time traveled as well as your braking and acceleration. It then compares your driving to others in your rate class and gives you a discount accordingly (that is if you are below the average). My discount so far is about 5% at renewal (I have only been using it for a few weeks). All in all, I would recommend Progressive to anyone.

Geico

Before Progressive, my auto insurance carrier was Geico. They are well known for their commercials with the gecko. When I first purchased a policy from them it was very easy. Their quote system is very similar to Progressive. I only switched from them because Progressive’s quote was about $100 cheaper for six months and I also wanted to try the MyRate program. If you happen to find a cheaper quote with another company, make sure you call your current company first and see if they can negotiate with you on the price. Most companies will be willing to do this with you rather than see you go.

Esurance

Esurance is a fairly new auto insurance company. They are the ones with the animated (which I think are a little corny) commercials. Since the commercials are animated, I guess it allows them to produce cheaper insurance. I used Esurance for a few months and their quotes were quite low compared to some others. However, when I moved to Texas, their rates became more expensive and I could no longer use them. I would encourage you to check them out. They are very competitive right now and it does not hurt to get a quote.

State Farm

I have heard very good things about State Farm and their service. However, every time I get a quote there, they are always way more expensive than some of the others. I am talking about 25% higher. Maybe it is because I am in a strange rate class right now (young male). You may have more luck than me so be sure to check them out as well. Even though I never get a great quote from them, I still check. If you are someone who needs personal service, you may want to purchase from them even though they may be a fraction more expensive. They have many agents that you can see in your area.

Allstate

My first insurer was Allstate. Looking back, I could have probably saved quite a bit of money had I shopped around before I went with them. However, everyone in the family used them and I figured why not. I really did not know much about auto insurance back then. As soon as I went to college and became interested in personal finance, I started shopping around and got some pretty good deals. Allstate has quite a few good features such as accident forgiveness, deductible rewards, etc., but most of them are just a gimmick and add additional costs to the policy. Every time I quote with them now, they are even more expensive than State Farm. However, your circumstances may be different so be sure to at least get a quote from them.

Those are all of the companies that I get a quote from. I know there are probable plenty of other companies, but by the time I am done with quotes for these few, I have reached my maximum utility for auto insurance. There more than likely was a quote that I was comfortable paying for.

Time to Buy!

When you find a quote/company that you like, they make it very easy to purchase. Once you receive a quote, they automatically give you the option to purchase the insurance on the spot. Many companies even give you a discount for buying online.

Other Things to Consider

I figured I would give some additional brief tips to help you save some money on auto insurance.

1. Keep all of your policies with one company. If you have your homeowners, umbrella, renters and auto policy all at the same company, you will receive a discount on all of them.

2. Increase your deductibles. If you are allowed by your finance company (if you finance), raise your deductibles in order in increase your savings.

3. Find some discounts. Many auto insurance companies offer different types of discounts. They range from being a good student to belonging to a union. Make sure you ask your company if you are getting all of the discounts you are entitled to.

4. Drive a low-profile car. Drive a fast car? Chances are you are paying more due to that fact.

Anyone else have a company that they have used in the past? Did you get some good quotes from them?

Money Hacks Carnival #51 – The Office Edition

Welcome to the 51st edition of the Money Hacks Carnival! My name is Adam and I am pleased to be your host this week. Please feel free to poke around the site if it is your first time visiting! You can subscribe to the blog using the links on the right or you can follow me on Twitter to stay up-to-date.

NBC’s The Office is my favorite show on TV. I just love watching the office banter and politics. Every week there is a moment that reminds you of something a co-worker did recently. For this carnival, I decided to categorize the topics by some great characters in the show.

Editor’s Picks

Michael Scott is the Regional Manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin. If anyone has the right to pick this week’s best articles, it’s him. He is the glue that holds his team together. Did I really just say that?

Credit Shout tells us to Beware of ATM Scams. Honestly, I really had no idea about some of these. I will be thinking twice about going to the ATM now!

Living Almost Large talks about a family that is in trouble and Their Ship Is Sinking. Looking at this person’s cash flow, it’s hard to believe that they did not see the major problem.

FIRE Finance shares a great story on how Smart Refrigeration Lowers Electricity Bills. Who better to tell you about saving energy on your refrigerator than someone who works with them every day?

PF Credit Cards shows you How to Beat Priceline and Get a Winning Bid. Personally, I have been using Priceline’s Name Your Own Price for over a year now. I will never go back to paying full price again! You really have no say in the brand of your hotel, but you still get to pick the star level. I have yet to be disappointed in the hotel I end up getting.

Career

To me, no one seems more focused on their career than Dwight Schrute. He is constantly reminding everyone about his position with the company and how he is the top salesman. He is also good at sucking up to the boss. Watch the show and learn from Dwight if you are searching for a new job!

Tom at The Strump gives his opinion on How to Translate Employment Ads.

FMF at Free Money Finance lets you know How to Waste Money on a MBA.

Debt and Credit

Kelly is really into fashion and fancy things. Only working at Dunder Mifflin, I can imagine that she has some major credit card debt. Hopefully, some of these articles can help her get on the path to becoming debt free.

Jim at Bargaineering has a Review of MyFICO ScoreWatch. He says it’s perfect for credit score junkies!

Tyler from CreditCards.com talks about how Credit Card Regulation is Brewing for College Campuses Again. Personally, I have never signed up for a credit card at a table at college, sporting event , airport, etc.

Looking for a new rewards credit card? Credit Addict tells us about the Pentagon Federal Visa Rewards Card.

Shaun from Learn Financial Planning gives his 5 Principles for Getting Out of Debt. Some great insights here!

Mr. Banker at Best Interest Rate Banks gives us his review of High Interest Savings Accounts.

Studenomics Breaks Down Student Loans in a non-confrontation manner.

Chris at StumbleForward gives you some tips on Becoming a Blogger to Get Out of Debt.

Housing

Jim just recently bought a house from his parents. I bet he wishes that he could have had some of these great articles to read!

Len Penzo provides us with A Layman’s Guide to Mortgage Application Junk Fees.

Passive Family Income talks about The Recession in America and Home Foreclosures.

Frugality and Saving Money

If anyone on the show is frugal, it’s Pamela. She dresses simple, religiously watched her money while going to college, and was thrifty while planner her first wedding.

Silicon Valley Blogger at The Digerati Life has a Valentine’s Day Tip on Using Ebates to Get Cash Back.

Pete at Bible Money Matters reminds us that Small Decisions Equal Big Results.

J Money at Budgets are Sexy says The Budget is Back, Baby!

Lisa from Greener Pastures presents Economic Collapse-R-Us: 22 Lifestyle Changes of Middle Class America.

The Writer’s Coin presents Am I a Thief or an Entrepreneur? The overwhelming majority of the comments suggest a thief. Head over there and give your input. He has even written a response post to the naysayers.

Matt at Stupid Cents gives us Five Simple Ways to Buy Everything Cheaper and Save Money.

The Shark Investor gives us Strategies for Raising Savings.

Mr. Tough Money Love show us how Arming Ourselves to Save Money on Car Repairs can be a good thing.

Patrick at Money Saving Deals has some Godaddy.com Coupon Codes to share.

David at Personal Finance Analyst gives us The Best Free Budget Worksheets on the Internet.

Dana at Not Made of Money tells us How Her Family Keeps the Breaks on Spending.

The Smarter Wallet shares some delicious Cheap Meals You Can Cook at Home to Save Money.

Debt Kid shows us Why Budgets Don’t Work for Everyone.

Hank at Own The Dollar wants to know Is Three to Six Months of Expenses Enough Money For Your Emergency Fund?

Aryn at Sound Money Matters shows you The Pros and Cons of Homemade Yogurt.

Taxes

When I think of someone who would evade income taxes, I think about Creed. Hopefully some of these articles will help him file his return this year. His first return ever?

Money Tipper lets us know about TurboTax Discounts for Vanguard Customers.

Nickel at Five Cent Nickel gives us Ten Common Income Tax Credits. Head over there to make sure you are getting all the money you deserve.

Thinking of buying a new house? Madison at My Dollar Plan talks about the Possibility of a $15,000 Home Buyer Tax Credit.

Patrick at Military Finance Network answers a question about What You Need to Do If Your Stimulus Check Was Lost of Stolen.

Christian Personal Finance found some places that have Free STATE e-file Online! Living in Maryland, I know that we have free e-file for the state return. It makes it nice and easy!

Insurance

If I had to guess which employee had the greatest amount of insurance, I would say it was Andy. I’d bet he has whole life, term, universal, two health policies and a deferred annuity. He also seems to be the most likely to be a insurance salesman. He just has that way about him!

Mr. GoTo at Go To Retirement gives you an idea about Fixed Annuities and Financial Risk. I think fixed annuities are a great thing to have in retirement. It’s unfortunate that they get such a bad rep from many mainstream media types.

Junior Boomer from The Consumer Boomer talks about Women and Long-term Care Insurance.

Economy

Now honestly, who cares more about the economy than Stanley? Just look at that face!

Kathryn at Out of Debt Christian tells us about The Importance of Shopping Local.

PFR at Personal Finance Reviews tells how the FDIC Plans to Restrict Interest Rates of Troubled Banks.

Curt at Penny Jobs presents The Fiat Money System is Failing.

Money Blue Book Finance wants to know is there a Second Stimulus Check for Obama in 2009?

Investing

Toby is the head of human resources at Dunder Mifflin. If anyone was maxing out their 401(k) there, it would be him.

Sun at The Sun’s Financial Diary alerts you to a Free Stock Analysis Tool.

The Financial Blogger shows you some Options to Secure Your Investment Portfolio.

The Intelligent Speculator wants to know if Super Bowl Ads are Really Worth It?

The Investor at Monevator gives their 10 Reasons to Be Cheerful as an Investor.

Jeff from Good Financial Cents has 7 Things to Know About the 2010 Roth IRA Conversion.

Dividend Tree shows us how Everyday Life Teaches us Dividend Investing.

Other

When I was thinking about what character would be good for the category other, I thought of Ryan. He definitely had some ups and downs with Dunder Mifflin!

MoneyNing presents What Everyone Ought to Know When Applying for Free Stuff.

Patrick at Cash Money Life has some $25 Sign-up Bonuses from Lending Club. You even have 2 chances to win $100!

Mara Rodgers at Secrets for Money gives some great Tips To Teach Kids About Money.

Chris at Financial Reflections lets you know How Identiy Thieves Sell Your Data Online.

Mighty Bargain Hunter gives you Some Great Sources for Free AudioBooks.

Miss M at M is for Money shares with you Deliverance from Debt: Budget Basics.

Mike at Money TLD shares with us 10 Places to Click for Cash. There are quite a few things on this list that I have never heard of. I think I will check some of them out!

Retailers Ask Obama for Sales Tax Holiday

I got this interesting link in my email yesterday. Apparently, in an effort to stimulate consumer spending,  the National Retail Federation has asked President-elect Barack Obama to include a series of sales tax holidays in his upcoming economic stimulus plan. After a dismal holiday shopping season, retailers are really hurting for sales. The NRF proposed that tax holidays be held during March, July and October 2009, each lasting 10 days, including two weekends.

Many states already have sales tax holidays. Past holidays have been limited by dollar amounts or on certain items like clothing. In this proposal, the sales tax would be lifted on almost all taxable goods other than cigarettes and alcohol. The US Government would then reimburse all 45 states that have a sales tax. By temporarily lifting the sales tax for the three 10-day periods, the NRF estimates that consumers could save nearly $20 billion. Just think, that’s another $20 billion that the government will be handing out!

Your thoughts? Would it help you out?

Carnival of Money Stories #93 – BCS Edition

Welcome to the 93rd edition of The Carnival of Money Stories! My name is Adam and I am pleased to be your host this week. This carnival is one of my favorites. I love reading the great personal stories every week and it’s even better hosting the carnival as I get to choose my picks as the best for the week.

Last week Florida was able to beat Oklahoma 24-14 in the College Football BCS Championship. That game (and the BCS in general) gave me an idea for a great theme this week. This week we are holding the BCS of Money Stories. In other words, the Blog Championship Series of Money Stories. I am going to mention my 2 favorite entries for this week and you can decide on your own who the champion should be. There are also different “bowl games” in which other great stories are mentioned. All I have for the winner is a picture of this amazing trophy seen above. Cherish it as best you can as you will never receive anything of its kind again in your life! Anyway, let the games begin!

BCS Championship Game

These two stories made it to the championship game. There was a unique selection process in order to earn a bid to this game. First, I added all of the numbers of the date that it was submitted with the time of day it was submitted. I then subtracted 100 because I can. I then compared their strength of schedule against those who made it to this weeks Carnival of Personal Finance.  Simple process, right? Without further ado, here are my two picks:

Curt at PennyJobs.com wants to know which pays better, popular investing or staying in front of the crowd? I think I agree with Curt on his conclusion. When people are greedy, I am afraid. When people are afraid, I am greedy.

Papa Boomer at Consumer Boomer tells his tale about almost getting hosed by Terminix and the importance of doing research before buying. I just picture the poor old ladies in my mind that the Terminix guy has already ripped off.

Shopping Bowl

The Shopping Bowl includes posts talking about shopping experiences, customer service, etc.

FMF at Free Money Finance hates getting gift cards from Macy’s (and Macy’s shopping in general). Unfortunately, someone decided to get him a card for Christmas and he let’s us know how much Macy’s rip you off!

Jim at Blueprint For Financial Prosperity is heading to Walt Disney World! A day after he booked, his wife received a better offer in an email from them. Much to his surprise, they matched the offer!

Coupon Artist over at Art of the Coupon talks about their quest to spend $0 on groceries this year. A little unrealistic, but definitely some great ways to at least try! They will spend way less than me, I can tell you that!

VH at Funny About Money went shopping for shoes that don’t hurt. Sometimes you need to spend money for quality things. They will definitely last longer!

Single Guy Money got a new car and best of all, it was free! Well, at least it was free for him.

Abby at I Pick Up Pennies gives her personal opinion on warranties and their usefulness. Personally, we bought one on my fiances laptop. Mostly because it covers accidents and spills.

Investing Bowl

The Investing Bowl shares personal experiences with investing.

Silicon Valley Blogger at The Digerati Life talks about her experience with college savings plan rewards like Upromise. I have Upromise to help pay off my loans but I have not made $4,000!

Jeff at Good Financial Cents shares a story about a man who did not utilize the match on his 401(k). A 401(k) match is one of the only things in investing where you can get a guaranteed rate of return. Make sure you are utilizing yours!

Sun at The Sun’s Financial Diary shares with you their passive income for 2009.

Mr ToughMoneyLove from Tough Money Love presents to you his year end financial performance review. He definitely made out better in the market than most!

Billy at Beginner Investing shares his story about keeping emotions out of investing.

Ryan at Uncommon Cents had a GREAT investment in 2008. Want to know what the investment was? Click to find out!

Housing Bowl

The Housing Bowl has a wide variety of posts on renovations, mortgages, etc.

LAL at Living Almost Large has basically rented his house over the past few years even though he owned it. I can imagine that there are MANY individuals in this position. Hopefully prices will rebound in the coming months.

Miss M at M is for Money needs $153,000 and your help. Miss M is in the same position as many Americans these days: upside down on her home.

Cathy at Money to Spare lets you know that one expense no homeowner should never forget. Ah, the joys of home ownership!

The Financial Blogger gives you his final thoughts on his home renovation.

Credit and Debt Bowl

The Credit and Debt Bowl showcases stories on credit and debt stories.

Mr CC from Ask Mr Credit Card was asked by his credit card company if he wanted higher rewards. His response was certainly positive!

PFR from Personal Finance Reviews shares some tips on what to do when your credit cards are closed due to inactivity. They called up the companies and to my surprise, the company actually listened!

Len from Len Penzo shows you why paying off your mortgage is a no-brainer.

Random Bowl

The Random Bowl is for those posts that just could not be placed in one of the previous bowl games. Do not let them fool you though. There are some great stories! DON’T STOP READING!

J Money from Budgets are Sexy won the lottery! Well, he isn’t the next Bill Gates, but getting closer to that cool million!

Grace from GRACEful Retirement was born without a silver spoon in her mouth. Be sure to check out this post as there is some great discussion going on!

Patrick from Cash Money Life shares with you his 2009 personal finance goals. Just the way I like them: short and sweet. It makes them much more attainable!

DD at The Happy Rock goes over their December monthly expenses. Let’s just say it was a rough month!

The Smarter Wallet gives some great tips on saving time and money with quality cookware.

Vilkri from Our Personal Finances shares with you his own personal finance story.

Z Petals shares with your her financial past.

Pete at Bible Money Matters shares a guest post from Jason at Forward Habit. Jason shares his story of how he went through a $100,000 inheritance in 6 years.

Well there you have it! Thanks for visiting my site and be sure to poke around for just a little bit. You know you want to!