How Students Can Get a Better Deal on Car Insurance

The money drain begins even before a student steps foot on campus. Deposits for housing, tuition fees, parking permits, and dining hall dollars are just the tip of the iceberg. College students also have to budget for gas, car maintenance and vehicle insurance as well, and these charges seem to come due at just the wrong moment. Those wise enough to realize just how much car insurance can hurt their bottom line should work hard to make sure that they are getting the most for their money. The tips listed below will help students lower their car insurance costs so that the cash they save can be applied to other living expenses:

Prepare Early

Teenagers should know that they start determining their future car insurance costs when they choose their first vehicle and get on the road for the first time. For this reason, it is necessary to know the following facts:

  • Grades matter and good ones can reduce insurance costs in the future.
  • Vehicle make and model is important to insurance providers so choosing a safer, less expensive model will help control insurance costs.
  • A driving record begins the minute that a driver first gets behind the wheel so keeping a great safety record by obeying all traffic laws is important.
  • Neglecting to take driver’s training classes may be a costly mistake.

Shop Smart

 Shopping for vehicle insurance is more like other types of shopping than most consumers are aware and students should go about it in an organized manner. The following steps might result in significant savings:

  •  Students should decide just how much insurance is needed to purchase new transportation if the old vehicle is destroyed. Also, they should consider how much out-of-pocket cash they will have available to pay deductibles for any damages that their vehicle sustains. With these numbers in mind, they will be able to determine a dollar figure for the amount of insurance they wish to purchase.
  • Once the needed amount of insurance has been determined, students should use an online insurance comparison website to get a good idea of the price of this insurance offered by each of the reputable companies. Then, they should personally visit the local agent of the three companies with the lowest quotes and explain that they are searching for the best bargain. Most agents will work through all of their available company discounts and look for insurance bundling opportunities in order to earn a new client’s business or keep that of an established customer.
  • Finally, students should use the information and quoted figures offered by one agent to deal with the next. Although agents are bound by some company rules and do have to comply, they will work harder to find savings if they know that people have done their homework and have the figures to prove it.

Good planning and methodical shopping should result in lower insurance costs for years. The money saved should make paying those other college bills much easier.

About the Author: Jennifer Lewis writes for a site that help female students find financial aid for college, including chemistry scholarships and nursing grants for women.

How to Decorate your Space on a Budget

Want to decorate a space or room in your house but it’s not in the budget?  Do you desire for your space to look like those beautiful spaces that you see on HGTV or in decorating magazines but think it cost too much to copy? Don’t despair; you can achieve the space of your dreams without breaking the bank. All you need is a little imagination, innovation and some sweat equity. Small changes can yield big results. Chances are you can decorate your space for less than what you normally pay for a great night out on the town. Below are some great ideas for decorating on a budget:

Apply a Fresh Coat of Paint

With summer here, it’s time to spruce up those drab walls and add a fresh splash of color. Painting your walls is one of the cheapest things you can do, that will make the biggest difference when decorating your space. You can easily get a quality gallon of paint for less than $20 dollars.  Most spaces only require 1-2 gallons depending on the size of the room.  Don’t have the time to paint the entire room?  Painting an accent wall will yield great results at a fraction of the price.  With most hardware stores having hundreds of colors and style suggestions, you can be assured you’ll find the perfect color to fit your décor.

Change Bed Linens and/or add Accent Pillows

The next biggest change you can make when decorating or redecorating is changing the bed linens or adding accent pillows.  You can find great deals on bed linens at places like Wal-mart, Bed Bath and Beyond and Anna’s Linens. You can’t go wrong with the “Bed-in-a-Bag” ensemble, which is very popular these days and can be purchased for less than $50 dollars depending on the style and size of your bed.  It definitely gives you the most bang for your buck because it’s all inclusive.  Meaning it includes a comforter, sheets, pillow cases and shams, etc.  For those of you who are in love with your comforter, changing the color of the sheets/pillow cases and/or adding accent pillows is a frugal way to spice it up. Pillows can be purchase for $10-$15, or if you’re handy with a sewing machine you can purchase fabric from a discount fabric store and make your own pillows for way less.

Curtains

Curtains are the next best thing after changing your bed linens when decorating your space.  If your “Bed-in-a-Bag” ensemble came with curtains, then you’re in luck.  If it didn’t, you can easily make your own curtains from the leftover fabric you used to make those nice accent pillows. Great deals on curtains can also be found at discount chain stores or most thrift store carry a plethora of curtains and fabric that can be purchase for less than $10 dollars.

Add Accent Pieces

Adding accent pieces to a room gives it the finishing or final touch. Turn old photographs into a collage and put it on the wall or perhaps you’re great at drawing or painting something abstract.  The sky’s the limit when using your imagination.  You can purchase picture frames and even prints for little or nothing from chain discount stores such as Ross, T.J. Maxx or Marshalls.  Better yet you can get pictures, candle holders, plants and even fabric, etc. at thrift stores such as Goodwill.  Chances are you might even have some pictures and other decorative accent pieces in other rooms in your house that you can use in your new decorative space. It doesn’t take a lot of pieces to add the finishing touch.  A couple of candle holders, a little greenery and pictures will do just fine.  Less is better sometimes when decorating….it’s about finding a balance.

Decorating your space doesn’t have to cost a fortune just a little creativity. You’d be surprised at how you can make a big impact with a little money.  If you implement some of the savvy ideas above, before you know it, you’ll be on your way to falling in love with your space all over again.

What spaces have you decorated on a budget

It’s Done: I’ve completed the CFP Program

I got some great news.  I’m pleased to announce that I’ve finally completed my CFP program.  It was a hard long journey but I got through it.  This couldn’t have happened at a more perfect time being that I’ve been laid off for almost a month.

What’s next?

I plan to sit for the CFP exam in November so I’ve got about four good months to prepare. The exam is very difficult and will last approximately two days. As a result, I’ll be starting a 14 week intensive review, the first week of August, which will require me to put in about 4 hours a day of study time in order to pass this test on the first try.  It’s an uphill battle but I’m up for the challenge. 🙂

Future Plans

After I pass my CFP exam I’ll need to get at least 2-3 years of experience under my belt before I will be able to officially use those coveted three little letters behind my name.  As a result, my plans are to start a tax and retirement planning practice, in January 2013, as well as start my non-profit AAMFL (American Association of Minorities for Financial Literacy).  So I’ve got a lot riding on passing the CFP exam in November.  I’m excited about branching out and creating my own future.  It’s something I’ve always aspired to do but was a little apprehensive to do before now.  Losing my job was truly a wake-up call for me.  It’s a feeling I’d rather not experience again.

I’ll leave you with this quote by Moliere: “INNOVATION….The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

What accomplishments have you made lately?