Tips to Reign In and Out Of Control Family Budget: Taking Advantage of Discounts

959b176d7a237c76fc19ff89cdfc6904.jpgPreviously we talked about shopping your Cell Phone service, Internet service, even your Auto/Home/Health insurance.

Sometimes switching companies doesn’t yield you any savings. At that point, turn to your current providers and see if there are any additional discounts or perks that you could be taking advantage of and are not currently receiving?

Example: Some cell phone providers (Like T-Mobile) offer perks or freebies weekly. Free tacos, backpacks, free Netflix subscriptions, and other swag are some of the other cool things that they have offered in the past. AT&T has a program called AT&T Thanks where customers can score varying freebies and deals depending on what type(s) of service they have with AT&T.

Some Auto Insurance companies offer discounts for good students (High school and/or college), safe driving/accident-free, defensive driving courses, and low mileage discounts. It’s worth a call in to see if you can score any extra discounts!

What about services that you can’t shop around?

Utilities are a big one- We can’t shop utilities here in San Diego. SDG&E is the only name in the game here.

BUT- there are ways you can save and even earn money!

Did you know that most local utilities (in San Diego county that means SDG&E) will come out and inspect your AC/furnace for free at the beginning of each season? They can let you know if your furnace or AC is running in tiptop condition, and they can also check to see if your pilot light is lit and safe to run your furnace.

If you are in a lower income or you have a medical condition that requires continue with usage of electricity, SDG&E and other utilities frequently have a medical baseline or low-income program that you can apply for to save money on your utilities.

Other ways that you can save money on your utilities include signing up for services like Ohmconnect, which help you conserve electricity during peak demand hours, which not only helps you save money, but you’ll be saving extra electricity as well.

We’ve been members of them connect for upwards of five years, and we earn about $100 a year cashback from home connect, in addition to the money that we save on our SDG&E bill. You can learn more about Ohm Connect Here.

 

 

 

Tips to Reign In and Out Of Control Family Budget: Shopping Around to Save!

683459ee810703fe032903d2443bf58d.jpgToday I’ll be sharing some ways to save money that takes a little more work but can definitely pay off in the end.

For some of us, this may seem like too much work, and that’s ok. Just because it’s something that my family does, doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.

Insurance: Most companies offer a discount if you have more than one kind of policy. Example: State Farm offers a Multi-line discount. If you have your cars and another type of insurance (homeowners/renters/condo insurance, or a life insurance policy).

Some insurance companies serve a specific audience- for example, USAA is an insurance company for active duty or retired military. Because they serve a specific audience, they offer very competitive rates.

When you shop for insurance, have copies of all of the policies that you want to compare. That will help you see apples to apples. You can’t compare and try to save money if you don’t know what you’ve got. This is also a great time to go over all of your coverages and see if you need to increase or decrease coverages.

Due to state and federal regulations, you usually can’t shop for health insurance unless it’s open enrollment or you’ve had a qualifying life event (married, divorced, had a baby, retired, lost your job, etc.). Luckily, Tis the Season for open enrollment! We purchased insurance through the state exchange a few years back, before we had employer-sponsored insurance. It was not too difficult to navigate, and there are discounts available for a lot of people!

Cell Phones: This is my least favorite activity, but it can a money saver. Once again- have a copy of your contract or a copy of a recent bill that outlines everything your plan covers before you get started. If you are looking for a pre-paid plan, Tello has some great money-saving plans!

Internet: I hate dealing with our internet service provider. I always feel like they are trying to upsell me, no matter why I am calling in. We’re looking at changing our plan soon. The big kids school recently sent home information regarding a program that Cox offers called Connect2Compete. For those families that have qualifying social service(s), Cox can provide internet service for $9.95/month! That’s a great deal.

 

Talk Back: I’d love to hear your success story! Share how much you’ve saved by shopping around for your insurance, cell phone service, or internet service.

Scam alert and how to really make money at home…

MONEY CASE 8
One of the things I get emails and messages about frequently is, “Have you heard about (Fill in name of scam program here) program? I got an email about it and it says I can make tons of money for only $50!” Or something that sounds equally as fishy.

With the economy being so depressed for an extended period of time, the rise in work at home and get rich quick scams is shocking.  Those who have a hard time finding a new job are perfect pickings for scammers.

I know that this is a savings blog, but I want to share with you some tips, hints, and information about what to look for if you want to work at home and make money online.  I don’t want to see any of you get scammed.

  • One of the most popular scams is the Nigerian Scam.  Basically an important person in an African country is in jail, if you send them money via wire transfer to help them, once they are out of jail, they will reimburse you plus a handsome fee.  Anytime you are emailed by someone who is asking for help and money, run run run.  Especially if they ask you to wire them your hard earned money (it can’t be tracked) or if they send you a check, ask you to cash it and either wire them the money or send them a money order.  That is a SCAM.
  • Work at home scams: If a company asks you to pay them for a list of work at home companies or secret shopper programs, that is most likely a scam. Google the name of the company and the word scam to double check.
  • For that matter, if a company promises an insane amount of money in a short amount of time, It’s a scam.
  •  If a “legit looking” work at home company requests a credit card number or any money at all, It’s a scam.

If you are looking to get rich quick, it’s damn near impossible!

I earn money online doing surveys, clicking links in emails and doing tasks.  If you are looking to make money online, here are a few of my favorites:

  • Earn Cash with Paid View Point. Surveys are short (less than 5 minutes).  Earn cash with each Survey.   You get $1.00 when you sign up! The pay out is $15.00, and it takes about a month to earn $15.00. So far in 2015, I’ve earned about $60.00.
  • Earn Gift cards with Mypoints. I take surveys, click links in emails, and do all of my online shopping through Mypoints. So far in 2015, I’ve earned about $30.00.
  • I also use Swagbucks. I use their search engine toolbar, take a daily poll, watch a video and click a few links each day! So far in 2015, I’ve earned about $60.00. Swagbucks has tons of rewards, you can receive cash via paypal too!
  • I do surveys with Pinecone Research. They aren’t always looking for new participants, but check out their website and see if you fit their open demographics. I make about $20/Month doing short surveys (10 minutes or less).

With all of these survey companies, these are surveys I am pre-qualified for. No spending 10-30 minutes only to learn that you aren’t getting paid and they don’t want your opinions (that’s the #1 reason I do not do Swagbucks surveys and I don’t recommend you waste your time doing them either).

I work on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to make extra money that I transfer to my Amazon.com account.  I am trying to earn enough to pay for holiday gifts. You sign up and do tasks for small amounts of money, but the money adds up fast.  The tasks are quick and simple (transcription, surveys, flagging inappropriate photos).  I’ve earned over $50 since February.  If you want cold hard cash instead of Amazon.com credit there is an option to have money transferred to a bank account.  Mechanical Turk does ask for your SSN when you sign up- you will receive a 1099- MISC at the end of the year., regardless of which option you select.

Volition has a great list of mystery shopper programs that are free. I do a few of these programs, and I have earned money!

I will by no means become a millionaire, but the extra money each month helps out and allows me to save for holiday gifts, and take the Kiddo to do fun stuff that we normally couldn’t afford.

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 3.38.26 PMHere are a few insights that can help you determine if somethings a scam:

  • Does it seem too good to be true?
  • Is there no phone number or address to contact the company?
  • Does the website look “off” or give you a weird feeling (trust your spidery senses)?
  • Google the company name- What comes up?  If it’s not good, run run run!!
  • If a website has photos like the one below- it’s probably a SCAM!