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It's easy to find out how your premiums match up with those at other companies.

By Karen Datko Jan 22, 2010 3:11PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.

 

I've had my car insurance through Nationwide for almost 30 years. My parents used Nationwide when I started driving, so that's who I used. Of course, back then there was no Internet or easy way to compare auto insurance quotes. You had to call agent after agent to get rates. Today, comparing auto insurance is a snap.

In fact, searching for the lowest rates is so easy, it's worth doing every year. A few years back I called Geico to see if they could beat the rates I was getting from Nationwide. Despite their commercials, they couldn't. Still, it was worth the 15-minute call. Just last month, Nationwide decided to bump up my insurance rates by $100 a year. So I'll be comparing rates this year, too.

 

Here's how to do it.

 

You can try Domino's new pizza, free Wi-Fi at McDonald's and a free yoga class.

By Teresa Mears Jan 22, 2010 2:15PM

It’s once again time for Friday food deals and freebies, with a little help from our friends at Cities on the Cheap.

Some of last week’s deals are still good. McDonald’s has rolled out its free Wi-Fi service for customers. At Starbucks, register your card and get two hours of free Wi-Fi every day, plus other perks.

 

'Pay what you can' shows are a boost to the entertainment budget.

By Donna_Freedman Jan 22, 2010 1:47PM
Want to see a play, have some laughs or absorb a little culture even when your wallet says "stay home"? The "pay what you can" concept is a frugalist's best friend.

Pay what you can is the happy hour of entertainment, a way to get out of the house without going off the rails. In my case, it was a Thursday night performance of "Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes" at Theater Schmeater.  

Retailers may track your purchases, but they'll also target you for sales.

By Karen Datko Jan 22, 2010 1:16PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Next time you’re out shopping and a cashier asks if you’d like to join the store’s free loyalty program, do your wallet a favor and say yes.

 

Turning up your nose to the offer probably means one of three things: You’re worried about retailers tracking your purchase history, you aren’t sure if you’ll have a long-term relationship with a store, or you are (for lack of a better word) lazy, says Kit Yarrow, a professor of psychology and marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, whose book “Gen Buy” assesses consumers’ purchase motivations. “They view (loyalty programs) as not worth their time and effort,” she says.

 

You may have reasons to be suspicious, but there are counterarguments to each objection.

 

Relocating, even within your own city, could cut your spending.

By Janet Paskin Jan 22, 2010 12:05PM

Maybe it's a job opening in Memphis. Maybe an old friend calls from his new home in San Diego. Or maybe it's your mother, reminding you how much better the weather is in Seattle this time of year. Whatever the trigger, it's got you thinking about all the things a new house, a new job or a new life could offer, somewhere else. Now you've got something else to consider: how it could change your budget.

 

Started a budget before, only to give up a few months later? Maybe you weren't doing it right.

By Stacy Johnson Jan 22, 2010 9:25AM

For the next few months, I’ll be doing news stories and blogging about destroying debt. This blog post and the video below are about one of the most important tools for doing it: a budget. Not just any budget, but one that you can not only live with, but look forward to using.

 

Impossible? Read on.

 

Be sure to check the fine print so you'll get your $100 (or higher) bonus.

By Teresa Mears Jan 21, 2010 8:03PM

Just when we think our banks don’t love us anymore, they start sending flowers -- at least to some of us.

 

While banks are adding fees with one hand, they are offering us money with another, in hopes of luring desirable checking account customers.

 

And the bonuses offered to sign up for new checking counts are substantial: $50 here, $100 there, even $300. Like any relationship, these come with strings attached, but if you qualify, you can pick up some free money.

 

It says consumers spend more each year on overdraft fees than they do on fresh vegetables.

By Karen Datko Jan 21, 2010 5:30PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

The Center for Responsible Lending has taken a calculator to tally up the costs to the U.S. economy of what it calls "bad lending" -- everything from subprime mortgages to abusive bank policies to payday loans.

 

The group has added a section to its Web site where consumers can see these costs broken down sector by sector and state by state.

 

For example, in California, CRL counts 731,779 total foreclosure starts from the first quarter of 2008 through the third quarter of 2009. Foreclosure starts increased 692% from 2006 to 2009.

 

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