Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hanging My Head in Shame

 Okay, that title is a bit melodramatic, but I am seriously embarrassed to admit how much money we have been wasting on car insurance. No, this is not a paid, sponsored post. This is me finally getting around to something that has been on my to-do list for ages: finding cheaper car insurance.

Years ago, I was with GEICO and loved them. They saw me through a stolen car and an accident that left my car and me in a ditch (in the middle of the night in rural Louisiana to be rescued by volunteer firefighters). 

When we bought our house in 2008, Matt found us new insurance with Nationwide that would combine our house and cars for a discounted rate. We also got good service from Nationwide (they saw us through two stolen cars--seriously*).

But when we sold our house in January, I knew that we were paying too much for just car insurance from Nationwide. I had it on my to-do list to look into new insurance. I asked around and got some recommendations but never made the call. Then I shifted the action item over to Matt and asked him to call. He never got around to it either. 

Finally, finally, I took 15 minutes to call GEICO. We had been paying $560 for Matt's car and $652 for my car (every six months). GEICO quoted me $406 for six months. Combined. Seriously, that's our total for both Matt and me. We will be saving $1,654 a year (which means that we wasted more than $800 by not switching our insurance when we sold our house). 

Oh, the embarrassment! 

But that's what blogging is for, right? To share the good and the bad?

I immediately went to our monthly budget tracking sheet (it's set up like this one with numbers populated) and changed our monthly insurance rate from $200 to $70. I added a $100 back into our grocery budget (I really like all the organic food we can buy at Whole Foods). I'm going to set up an automatic transfer so the remaining money goes straight into savings and can't be spent. 

It's frustrating when procrastination prevents me from doing 15 minutes of work that significantly impacts my life. I talked about it here in this post about shifting around the top of a bookcase that had been bothering me. Sheesh!

But instead of spiraling into self-flagellation, I need to be more proactive. What else in my life requires 15 minutes of attention to make a huge impact? Hmm...probably each of the home organization projects listed on my whiteboard (referenced in my monthly goals post).

And how else can I save more money? Cell phone bill? 

Onwards and upwards!

* I promise that we always lock our cars (mine even has an alarm), but I guess we tend to park in high-crime areas.

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Gina said...

Sara, we cut our cell phone bill in half a few months ago by switching to the annual prepaid plan Straight Talk. It's sold through Walmart, and while I generally go to great lengths to avoid Walmart, after extensive research, this was the best value we could find for cell service. They rent tower access from T-mobile and ATT, so it's excellent coverage. No complaints and it works out to only $42/month for unlimited talk, text, and data. Goodness, I sound like an ad, but I also like to share the love when there is a deal to be had.

Lynna said...

I love it when your blog posts just happen to go right along with what's happening in my life. This happens rather often, actually...

So, I spent the weekend feeling guilty about all the little things that I haven't been getting done... the things that only take 15 minutes. In the past, I went through a phase where I did a 15 minute challenge every day. I accomplished all kinds of wonderful, unexpected feats around the house! So, on Monday I decided to re-institute the 15 minute challenge. Since I'm feeling extra motivated, I did 2 yesterday. I've already done 1 today and plan to do a second. I've been setting a timer and then GO! Sometimes I plan what the 15 minute challenge will be and other times it's a spontaneous decision. If I'm not finished when I hear the timer ring, then I might continue for a couple more minutes until my mission is complete. If it's a project that takes longer than 15 minutes, then I break it into smaller tasks that take 15 minutes. One of my challenges yesterday was cleaning out the closet and gathering things for donation. Today I did the same challenge again. I now have three bags of clothes outside waiting to be picked up when the donation truck drives through our neighborhood. Yay!

I thought this idea might help you too. It's honestly very motivating. I seem to be working faster, perhaps because of the timer. Working quickly makes me feel like I'm also getting some much needed exercise!

rachel said...

I hear you! I unexpectedly became a stay-at-home mom (my kiddo stopped taking a bottle at 3months and became a firmly breastfed-only baby) this year with our ten month old and it has been a bare-bones kind of budget for us, though we're kicking ourselves now for all the way we could have been saving money! We recently switched from a more expensive cable internet company to less expensive, only-so-slightly slower DSL internet company and will save $30. We also had Verizon and recently switched to Virgin Mobile's Pay Lo plan (similar to the Straight Talk plan mentioned above) and our cell phone plan now costs only $60 a month rather than $114 (which was the barest phone plan with Verizon that still let us have insurance on our phones). The cheapest Pay Lo phone is $20 and it feels like a $20 phone, but it gets the job done. All in all, that's about $90 of money that can go into our grocery budget each month!

Mismikado said...

Hi Sara!
I'm so happy to hear your insurance savings! I only shopped around once for insurance but I'm very happy with our rates. I am a 4th generation State Farm user and we get amazing discounts so our combined auto and rent insurance in a high crime and uninsured motorist area is $102/mo. It used to be $70 when we lived in a safer area.
As regards cell phone, we switched from Verizon to T-mobile. We had a strictly talk and text plan with Verizon and wanted to get data but couldn't afford it. By switching we are only paying $10 more a month and have everything we want :) Plus we chose T-Mobile over a pas as you go plan because we were able to get new Samsung Galaxy phones for free :)

How I Roll said...

I called to get quotes for our car insurance a year ago and I was AMAZED that they were all less than half what I was paying each month! My husband and I both have cars we're still paying for so we needed full coverage and I got sued for an accident three years ago and our rates went WAY up. I thought it had to be that way because I was paying my dues from the accident and I also thought I was un-insurable by anyone but that insurance company. When I got the quotes, I couldn't believe it and we switched right away. After that, I started cutting other monthly bills like groceries (I have a neurotic spreadsheet of price per unit at each nearby grocery store on everything we buy) and we cancelled our cell phone plan (the contract for which was up anyway) and went on my parents' plan where we now pay $30/month for two phones (no data) instead of $108/month (no data AND 18% discount! outrageous!).

I'm Melissa, by the way. I started reading your blog a few months ago and I'm hooked. :)

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