Deal or No Deal: Cell Phones

To cut savings on utilities many people have gone from having a landline phone to just using a cell phone.  This is understandable because of the many deals you get on long distance servicing, internet options and unlimited minutes. But, how do you determine if switching off your landline is the best for you? The following are some tips and advice to consider:   
It’s a good idea if:
  • You’re single, travel a lot for work and need to be reached.
  • You’re an empty nester. With no kids at home, you might depend on your landline less.
  • Your cell phone gets near-perfect reception in places where you spend most of your time.
  • You take advantage of free or low-cost VoIP, so that you have another way to stay in touch should something happen to your cell phone.
It’s a bad idea if:
  • You spend more than two hours per day on the phone (a landline likely is cheaper than that many minutes on a cell plan).
  • Your family depends on a landline. Look at the cost of giving each family member his or her own cell phone.
  • You want fast 911 service. Generally, 911 operators can’t find you automatically in an emergency if you’re on a cell phone.
  • You make a large number of international calls.
Additional tips to help you maximize savings should you choose to go with only a cellphone provider: 
  1. Do the math on your billing. Many plans charge additional fees for texting and web, look for unlimited plans.
  2. Get discounts by combining your family into the family plan specials that companies offer.
  3. If you need to use 411 services DON’T pay for them. Dial 1 – 800 – 466 – 4411 for FREE.
  4. You can compare plans by checking, and
  5. Forget buying phone insurance. They carry huge deductibles that may cost just as much as purchasing a new phone. 

How To: 10 Things that should be FREE

Walletpop has a great article on how to get things for free that we all pay for entitled The “Ten things that aren’t free – but should be (and how to get them for free anyway)” We all need to save money and this article comes right on time! STOP paying for things that you shouldn’t have to! 10 FREE THINGS

NO DEAL: Zero Percent Auto Financing

Zero percent auto financing is not the deal it seems by Clark Howard

RIP-OFF ALERT: Have you seen offers for zero percent financing for five years at auto dealerships? They’re the No. 1 come-on right now because dealerships know similar ploys worked so well earlier this decade.

Why are offers like this that seem to be a good deal actually a rip? Well, first off, about 60 percent of customers are being turned down when they apply for the zero percent offer. The automakers have made the credit requirements very strict — as they should. They know that the allure of zero percent financing gets people in the door and that’s really what they’re after.

So be honest with yourself. If your credit is not perfect, don’t go into that dealer expecting to qualify for zero percent. You’ll be turned down and then — and here’s the part the dealerships love! — talked into letting the finance department write a loan for you at above-market interest rates.

So you actually end up burning yourself twice: First because you don’t get the zero percent and second because you walk out there with a high-interest loan.

Finally, there’s the question of how long you should finance a vehicle. Kelley Blue Book now says 62 percent of car shoppers are looking at financing longer than 48 or 60 months. Yet Clark recommends car loans of no longer than 42 months.

Why 42 months? That’s the last sweet spot where the car’s value over time and the loan balance over time stay on a nearly even pace together.

Limiting your car note to no more than 42 months may mean you can’t afford the car you really wanted. It can be a hard dose of reality when you find you’re buying too much car. Too often, though, buyers will get rid of a car before the balance has been paid and the losses are rolled over into a new, larger loan. Don’t do it!!

Dealers love “payment buyers” who can only afford to pay X dollars per month. By taking that approach to purchasing, you lose sight of the total cost of the loan over its lifetime.

No Deal: Bank Account Overdraft Protection

From @clarkhowardshow 


Banks want to rip you with “account overdraft protection” — don’t fall for it!! 

The American Bankers Association finds that almost half of all people surveyed have signed up for (or intend to sign up for) overdraft account protection. That’s a real testimony to how convincing the solicitations from the banks have been for this “service.”

As previously reported, on August 15 the banks and credit unions became required to ask for permission to rip you off by allowing debit card charges in excess of your available balance.

Don’t believe the hype about overdraft protection! You don’t want to opt in for this so-called “protection.” Protection from what? It’s much better to be denied your $2 coffee purchase at the register when you have no money in your account than to get the coffee and be hit with nearly $40 in overdraft charges.

Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to make sure you have money in your account. Carry a calculator and/or check register and record your purchases as you go. Just do whatever it takes to gets the job done — as long as it’s not opting in for overdraft protection!

Postal Rates on the Rise Again!!!

Buy those just plain ugly Forever Stamps now. The cost of mailing a letter is going up again beginning in January 2011! The Postal Service has announced that they want to increase the price of first-class stamps by 2 cents — to 46 cents. Other postage rates would rise as well.
Read more of this story here: Yahoo! Finance 

Non Savings: Quick Stop Shop

I know this site is supposed to be mostly about saving money, but there were so many things happening in the city I wanted to get them posted first. There are tons of blogs out here about saving and I want you to get more than that from this one.

Well here today I’m going to give you an example of a bad shopping experience I had because I was asked to run out and pick up some items for someone right then. That wouldn’t have been a problem had my trusty coupon holder been with me. But alas, it was at home as I had no plans to go to any store. *note to self and you – keep it in the car just in case.

So here’s what happened, I purchased for them : angel food cake, yougurt, deli sandwhich, tortilla chips, and cheese dip. Not too many things to snack on…but I would have had coupons for at least three of those things. The out of pocket cost (even with the in-store discount) was $9.78!  OMG I spent $10 bucks for snacks? I almost cried, I’m so cheap it’s sad. It wasn’t even my money and the person I was shopping for didn’t even think twice about it!

Bad shopper, bad, bad, shopper!  You savvy shoppers know where I’m coming from!