Shopping has become an art form and seasoned practitioners know how to parlay those skills into juicy finds to make their lives easier, better, or more fulfilled. Let’s go shopping and ease the recession’s impact on our pocketbooks.
I know it sounds crazy for a personal finance writer to advocate shopping in the midst of a recession, but it really CAN ease your financial stress if you buy the right items with the right information. Which items and what information? Here you go:
Go shopping for a better savings rate
Great rates on savings accounts are getting more and more difficult to find, BUT they are out there. Since I just want to “park” money for my emergency fund in these accounts, I prefer to use ING or HSBC. ING’s rate has dipped plummeted as has HSBC’s but they are still better than putting money in my mattress (and a whole lot more comfortable).
Currently, the HSBC rate is better than ING’s but I still have some ING referrals so if you’d like a $25 bonus on any savings account you open with them, send me a note via my contact form.
Once these links are used, they cannot be re-used so don’t delay! Otherwise you’ll have to use the HSBC savings account link – just don’t get too creeped out by that talking pig. There’s no bonus with HSBC but they do have a slightly higher rate.
Go shopping for better car insurance rates
The industry leader in providing multiple quotes to consumers is InsureMe.com. These guys help their customers save 20-40% by giving them multiple quotes on car insurance from names like Progressive, Esurance, Allstate, and Nationwide. Fill out one form and receive multiple quotes without all the hassle of phoning (and dealing with) sales people. Much easier in my book.
Go shopping for dental insurance
Our teeth are indicators of our overall health and taking care of them is one of my top priorities. I’ve just had a lot of dental work done (replaced 7 fillings and got one crown) so I know the value of dental insurance. Much like NetQuote, DentalPlans.com allows you to choose from over 30 top-quality national and regional discount dental plans for the dental insurance you need. Having a resource at your fingertips to see, evaluate, and choose the plan that best for you is priceless.
Go shopping for better rates on all your insurance
While you’re at it, NetQuote also offers those of us watching our dollars and pennies home, health, life, and even renters insurance quotes – multiple quotes – again without having to deal with multiple phone calls or multiple agents. I don’t know about you, but when I can have all the information mailed or emailed to me so I can make the best choice without the pressure of buying, I feel much better about my decision. That’s why I like Netquote for my insurance needs. Plus it is ridiculously easy, fast, and smart to get the multiple quotes when you have the option.
Go shopping for a better mortgage rate
Now’s the time folks, we may never see rates this low again. I know, I know, you’ve been hearing that phrase for a couple of years now, but it IS true. With the amount of debt we’re being saddled with from Washington DC, inflation is a certainty in our future. Why not use ato get a lower rate now so you can pay less in the future with those devalued dollars?
Go shopping for a better cell provider
We live in a wireless world, interconnected to each other by electromagnetic wavelengths we cannot see but CAN hear. The cellular world has become much more commoditized and as a result, the different provider’s offerings are getting more and more similar. By using a service like LetsTalk, you and I can easily compare rates between the different providers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc) and see if we’re really getting the best deal for our usage levels. LetsTalk even has deals to get free cell phones, even a new Blackberry Pearl with ANY of the major carriers.
Go shopping for energy savings
Whether you’re shopping for full spectrum daylight earth bulbs or for a smart power strip or a 7 day programmable thermostat, shopping for energy saving items is a no brainer. Be sure and figure your break-even point, though. If you can save just $1 per month, in electricity, a CFL bulb is worth it after 2-3 months, the power strip after 36 and the thermostat after 43, but I’d be willing to bet you’ll save a lot more than just one dollar.
Go shopping for a better credit card rate
I’m not a big fan of credit cards but I do understand their necessity and the incredible convenience they provide. I personally advocate paying 100 percent of your balance each and every month. If you’ve made the commitment to get your credit card balance to zero, you can pay it down MUCH faster with a better rate. Just be extra vigilant that you don’t run up more debt just because you now have an old card with nothing on it.
If you pay off your credit card balance in full each month and don’t need to transfer a balance, you may find that a rewards card is much better. In those cases, a “charge” card that pays rewards may be the best bet.
We’ve spent the past two decades learning how to shop so we might as well use those skills to help us ease our recession worries and save some cash in the process! Shopping can be fun when you’re shopping to save money. What you do with your savings is up to you, but I’d recommend putting it into an emergency fund, saving for your retirement, or for your children’s college education if it were me.