Category Archives: Savings

Don’t Cross the Solid White Lines

My wife and I were previously traveling on our way home on LBJ Freeway’s HOV lane in Dallas. We enjoy ride sharing because the HOV lane cuts the trip’s duration almost in half. Since there’s no traffic, we get to move at 50-70mph when everyone else is stopped on the four lane parking lot. The lane is protected with double solid white lines and those lines occasionally change to an unprotected single dashed line where everyone slows down to allow people to change in and out of the HOV lane.

About a year ago we were in an accident when another person traveling at about 0mph, breaking the law, crossed those lines. We  were hurt and our car was pretty mangled.

It happened again. This time though, I did not hit the other person. Fortunately, no one was hurt. However, my tires were flat-spotted from the hard-braking action. I buy good tires, Yamaha YK420, and have always appreciated their road worthiness. I buy the free replacement filters as way of protecting those tires. Since the tires are destroyed, I have to replace them. The certificate doesn’t help because it’s not considered a road hazard. How frustrating! Last time the insurance took care of the tires. This time, there’s no insurance involved. That one person’s foolishness cost $190USD this time. Thankfully, I had some cash saved in my freedom savings account that helped with that.

Here’s some advice. If you do it to me again, get out of your car with a wad of cash. It would be better to at very minimum, have the courtesy of looking in the lane and not pulling in front of someone. Rather though, please wait for the single dashed line where other courteous driver’s have slowed down and given you freedom to safely enter or exit the HOV lane. This is where you’re not breaking the law and endangering your life or someone else’s.

Logitech Rebate

Just when my track record for rebate fulfillment was going strong, Logitech had to screw it up for me. I purchased a Logitech, MX1000 mouse on 12/19/2005 and the rebate offer says I had to buy it between 12/18/2006 and 12/24/2005. Of course like any other rebate offer, you have to include a copy of the reciept. My HP PSC2110 All-In-One works great for photocopies. I don’t know if they can’t read it (mind you, the date is printed on there *TWICE*) from the photocopy even though I was able to read it. Maybe they didn’t understand their own terms. Unfortunately, there isn’t much help available via phone, but I’m using their online form for contact at this point. I’ve filled out their form and am awaiting contact. I sent Thursday night, so I’ll give until Friday before attempting to write again. Maybe by then I’ll receive the photo and it’ll have something helpful in it. I’ll update as it comes in.

Are you using the right company for online savings? Maybe not.

I noticed the PayPal fund doing very nicely, earning %4.48. Other than ING’s sale through 4/15, PayPal got a lead on the other ones for today. I wonder if it’ll last. You’ve got to be careful of using it to spend though. Also, if you use it I think you get some kind of cash back reward. I see that’s been the average the previous 7 days since 2/22. I guess if ya noticed it dipping, you could switch to ING or Emigrant, etc.

I’ve Got Great News! I just saved a bunch of money on car insurance!

After 8 years with Progressive, I switched. I called my local State Farm agent and did a quote over the phone. My automobile insurance now is a LOT better, and I saved almost 33%.

I put my wife on the policy, so she is now covered for the first time in our marriage. I increased my coverage significantly from what I had previously. I went from 20/40/15 to 100/300/100.

Now, let me tell you about the savings. I saved so much (about $500/yr) that I thought I should put the savings to good use, so I also bought renter’s insurance. State Farm has a nice perk called a “multiline discount“, so by buying a policy in a another line of business, I lowered my automobile insurance even more. With the additional policy cost, I still spent $200 less than what I had saved, so I still saved a bunch of money.

The lesson I learned here is: if you’ve been with the same company providing any service or product longer than a couple of years, chances are competition has been working to your advantage, and you may be missing out on a competitor’s great deal . It’s worth the time and energy to do a little investigation. All together, switching my insurance company may take about 4 hours of my time (the calls today, completing property value worksheet, faxing it back, the trip there & back, signing paperwork, notifying the lienholder, etc), but it’s going to save me thousands over the next few years. This should be a “no-brainer” for anyone. MAKE THE CALL. Your wallet will thank you.

How to make sure you get your rebate check.

It’s Friday again. We grab the newspaper off the front porch as we walk to work. We get to work, open the thin cellophane bag and quickly dive for this week’s Fry’s ad. We see all those great specials with two prices. The in-store price and the amount of the rebate. You’ll see similar rebate offers at Staples, Circuit City, CompUSA, Best Buy, etc. These rebates are great for manufacturers. It’s a way of offering a product at a lower price and increasing the number of sold units, while at the same time making the consumer jump through some hoops to actually get the good price, even after they’ve paid a large amount of money for the item. It’s estimated that %50-%70 of consumers don’t redeem their rebates, which helps the manufacturer’s bottom lines. Many of the rebates have strict rules, making it difficult to redeem them. I’ve taken advantage of many of these rebates and have a pretty good track record. Here’s a brief overview of some I’ve done:

  • $50 for an chair
  • $5 for some DVDR’s
  • two $20 for the same mouse
  • 10$ for a KVM switch
  • two $20 for two cell phones (one each)

A good example is this week’s Fry’s ad has the 300gb Seagate Seraial ATA/150 hard drive for $149 with a $50 rebate for a cost of $99. For $99 it’s a good deal. That $50 rebate brings the price from 50cents a gig, to 33cents per gig. That’s a big price difference. If you don’t get the rebate, it’s not worth it. We want to make sure you get that check, so here’s some tips on how to make sure you get the rebate.

1. Read the fine print – This is probably the most important part of the whole process. I considered making this the last tip, but it really should be first. From the fine print, you’ll learn vital information necessary for all the other rules. Reading the fine print is step number one!

2. Look for online rebate registration – I’ve gotten two rebates that used www.rebateshq.com. While I haven’t gotten any rebates, this one’s great so far. It allows you to pre-register the rebate. You can search by vendor/mfr or by a rebate “code”. You may still have to mail a form in, but it’s nice to be able to fill the form out online and print it and mail it to them. This gaurantees legibility. and saves you some trouble. You’ll be able to track the rebates at the same web site later. This is totally a win-win, and why it’s step number two.

3. Complete and accurately fill out the entire form – You have to fill out all the fields on the form. It may ask for your email address and you may not want to provide it, but give it anyway. You may get the extra benefit of getting email notices of processing. If you fail to provide your apartment number, don’t expect to get it.

4. Include exactly what they request – If it asks for anything original, be sure to include the original. Frequently they’ll ask for an original UPC or the original receipt. Whatever you provide in original form, be sure to scan and save a copy until you get your check.

5. Mail as soon as possible. – For the $50 rebate on the chair, I goofed. I waited until the night of the deadline. I noticed the due date that Saturday at 7pm. Fortunately for me, I live in Dallas and we do have a 24 hour post office that NEVER CLOSES. Yes, it’s in Oak Cliff, yes, that’s about 25 miles away from where I live, yes, I paid for the time and the gas to get it there, but it was fifty bucks. I’ve now learned to process all of my rebates as soon as possible. I set a deadline myself of one week from the date of the purchase. The other advantage of immediate processing is getting your rebate check quicker! I waited almost 7 months on two rebates from AT&T for cell phones.

I find it easiest to be thankful when the rebate comes in and just deposit the check. Be careful, a friend told me of a rebate check he received that was only valid for 90 days and he let it expire. I encourage you to put copies of the forms in your Tickler file at the minimum expected time frame for receipt of the rebate check.