Save money on the run with these coupon apps for your smartphone

Published: Friday, September 07, 2012 @ 7:00 AM
Updated: Friday, September 07, 2012 @ 7:00 AM

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Put the scissors down and stow the coupon wallet in the junk drawer. Coupon clipping is about to get a lot easier.
Armed with a smartphone and the right apps, you can find, save, and even redeem coupons--not just for your local grocery store, but for all kinds of stores.
This can be as practical as it is fun. You'll spend less time pouring through print ads, clipping out the ones you want, and matching them up with items on store shelves. You'll find coupons you might otherwise have missed. And you'll even get through the checkout faster thanks to coupons already applied to your loyalty card. 
Here's a list of five great money-saving coupon apps for your Android phone and/or iPhone.
1. Coupon Clipper (AndroidiOS) You know those Clipper, Mint, Rewards, and Savvy Shopper magazines that arrive in your mailbox every month? Coupon Clipper puts all those local deals in the palm of your hand.
Thus, you'll find coupons for nearby restaurants, automotive services, home-improvement stores, and so on. Just tap View for any deal you want to see, then tap Redeem to get your unique coupon code to show to the merchant. The app's interface is less than stellar, but some of the deals can't be found anywhere else.
2. Coupons.com (AndroidiOS) Anyone familiar with Coupons.com knows the drill: Fire up your Web browser, "clip" the coupons you want, then spit them out on your printer.
The eponymous app lets you do the same thing, but on your phone instead. Alas, for the moment can print only to select HP printers. If you don't have one, you'll have to e-mail your coupons to yourself, then print them from your PC.
3. Grocery Pal (AndroidiOS) Coupons can be a hassle, what with all the clipping or printing, the remembering to bring them to the store, the waiting while the cashier scans them, and so on.
Grocery Pal not only finds coupons for a ton of stores, but also lets you add them to your loyalty card in advance. That way, those discounts are automatically applied the moment you scan your card. How cool is that! If you install just one coupon app, make it this one.
4. Valpak Local Savings (AndroidiOS) You know those thick Valpak envelopes that land in your mailbox every month? As with the aforementioned Coupon Clipper, this app puts those deals in the palm of your hand.
And not just the usual batch of coupons, either, but also some Groupon-style deals you can buy in advance to use later at local merchants (and even some online stores).
5. Yowza!! Mobile Coupons (iOS) What separates this app from the competition is that the developers work directly with merchants to provide you with exclusive deals.
Usually these come from chain stores, like those you'd find in a mall, but you may also see coupons from smaller, independent shops. For example, a nearby salon was offering new clients 20 percent off their first visit -- a deal I didn't see duplicated in any other other coupon app.
Have you found a coupon app you like better than these? Tell me about it in the comments!

(Source: Savings.com)

8 ways to get the cheapest car insurance possible

Published: Sunday, May 07, 2017 @ 2:16 PM

Most of us need car insurance, yet few of us fully understand it. 

Dozens of car insurance companies may be vying for business in your area, including nationwide players and local insurers. Each offers an eye-glazing assortment of policy options, making it hard to compare policies and figure out what is the best and cheapest car insurance.  

If you are looking for the lowest prices, there are some guidelines worth following as you do your research. Here are eight things you can do to ensure that you’re getting the best coverage at the best possible rate. 

1. Don’t assume any one company is the cheapest 

Some companies spend a lot of money on commercials, trying to convince you that they offer the lowest car insurance rates. 

The truth is that prices individuals will pay for the same coverage at the same company vary widely, and no single company can claim to be the low-price leader. The insurance company that’s cheapest for one person in one place might be the most expensive option for a driver in another state. Some insurance companies have also developed complex predictive models that may charge you higher rates if they show you are unlikely to switch providers. This practice, called “price optimization,” is banned in 16 states. 

>> 6 Reasons to Leave Your Car Insurance Company

And there’s quite a bit of savings at stake: A recent NerdWallet analysis found a difference of $859 a year between the average insurance quote and the lowest available quote. 

The only way to ensure you’re getting the best deal is to shop around.  

2. Don’t ignore local and regional insurance companies 

Just four companies control nearly half the nation’s car insurance business: Allstate, Geico, Progressive and State Farm. But smaller, regional insurers, such as Auto Owners Insurance and Erie Insurance, often have higher customer satisfaction ratings than the big names — and they may have lower rates, too.

>> 10-Word Answers (or Less!) to Your Biggest Car Insurance Questions

3. Check for discounts 

Insurers provide a variety of discounts, including price breaks for customers who: 

     
  • Bundle car insurance with other policies, such as homeowners insurance
  • Insure multiple cars with one policy
  • Have a clean driving record
  • Pay their entire annual or six-month premium at once
  • Agree to receive documents online
  • Own a car with certain anti-theft or safety features
  • Are members of particular professional organizations or affiliate groups

Discounts vary by company and location. Check insurance company websites or consult with agents to find out which ones might apply to you. 

4. Pay your bills on time — and not just your insurance bills 

Your credit is a significant factor in the car insurance quotes you’ll receive — except in California, Hawaii and Massachusetts, which don’t allow insurers to consider it. Insurance companies say that customers’ credit has been shown to correlate with their risk of filing a claim. 

Improve your credit — and lower your premiums — by paying your bills on time and reducing your debt. Track your progress by checking your credit reports at least once per year. 

5. Consider insurance costs when buying a car 

You probably already pay attention to factors such as fuel efficiency and repair costs when deciding which car to buy, but you should also consider insurance premiums, which can vary between popular models. A NerdWallet review of rates for best-selling vehicles in 25 cities found that the Toyota Camry, for example, cost an average of $187 per year more to insure than the comparable Honda Accord. Similarly, a Toyota RAV4 cost an average of $201 more to insure than a Honda CR-V. 

6. Skip collision and comprehensive coverage for your clunker 

Collision coverage pays to repair damage your vehicle receives in an accident involving another car or an inanimate object. Comprehensive pays to repair vehicle damage caused by weather, animals or vandalism, or reimburses you for your car if its stolen. But both will only pay up to the value of your car. If yours older and has a low market value, it may not make sense to shell out for the two policies. 

7. Consider raising your deductible 

If you need to carry comprehensive and collision — because your car is a later model or your lender requires it — you can save a substantial amount of money by raising the deductibles. A NerdWallet study of rates in Florida and California found that customers who increased their deductibles from $500 to $1,000 saved about $200 per year on premiums, while those who increased them from $500 to $2,000 saved $362 per year. Keep in mind that this will mean you’ll pay more out of pocket if you do make a claim. 

>> Avoid These 6 Mistakes When Switching Car Insurance

8. Consider usage-based plans, especially if you don’t drive much 

If you’re a safe driver who doesn’t log very many miles, consider a usage-based insurance program, such as Allstate’s Drivewise, Progressive’s Snapshot or State Farm’s Drive Safe and Save. By signing up for these programs, you allow your insurer to track your driving electronically in exchange for possible discounts, based on how much you drive, when you drive and how well you drive. 

If you drive less than 10,000 miles per year, you might be able to save money with a mileage-based insurance program, such as Metromile or Esurance Pay Per Mile. Metromile is currently available in seven states, while Esurance Pay Per Mile is only available in Oregon.  

Aubrey Cohen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: acohen@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @aubreycohen.

How to hack your Keurig 2.0

Published: Thursday, November 13, 2014 @ 1:08 PM
Updated: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 @ 6:00 AM

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The cost of what you pay for a cup of fancy coffee at home is going up -- not down -- thanks to a tricky move by the dominant home coffee brewing company.

How your 2.0 Keurig is ripping you off

It recently came to my attention that the Keurig people are making a 2.0 version of their machine with DRM (digital rights management).

I know this sounds crazy, but Keurig is using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act -- a controversial law designed to protect the entertainment industry -- to force you to only use proprietary K coffee pods in their new machine!

My executive producer Christa likes to make individual off-brand K cups at home using her Keurig machine. That drives her cost down to around 6 cents a cup.

But as more and more people do what Christa does, Keurig has watched their profits go down. That's because their business model is based on them making money from all the different coffee manufacturers who pay them royalties to have their coffee in K cups.

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So Keurig came out with the 2.0 machine that has a computer chip in it to sense anytime somebody is trying to save money making coffee...and it will not let them make their coffee!

Even if you buy an off-brand refillable coffee pod, if it doesn't have the Keurig logo on it, it can sense that too.

I have never had a cup of coffee in my life and I'm upset for any coffee drinker over this DRM coffee. Clarkrage!

Watch this video for the hack:

http://youtu.be/BKZvRuS1xLo

If you don't want to go through all that work, you're better served right now with the older 1.0 versions of the Keurig machines to avoid this DRM ploy. They're available for $50 to $75. Buy one of the older ones if you are price sensitive.

Target recalls more than half-million water-absorbing Easter toys

Published: Thursday, April 13, 2017 @ 6:20 PM

(cpsc.gov)

Target is recalling 560,000 Easter toys after discovering that, if ingested, they can expand inside a child’s body and cause life-threatening health issues.

>> Read more trending news

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a notice Wednesday for water-absorbent Hatch & Grow Easter Eggs, along with Easter Grow Toy and Hatch Your Own Dino, sold at Target stores nationwide from February through March for about a dollar each.

According to the CPSC recall notice, if the toy is ingested “it can expand inside a child’s body and cause intestinal obstructions, resulting in severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration and could be life-threatening, requiring surgery for the toy to be removed.”

Parents should also be aware that the toy may not show up on an X-ray while visiting a medical professional for help, according to the CPSC recall notice.

The recall notice says no incidents or injuries have been reported.

Consumers must return the purchased items to Target immediately for a full refund. One can also call Target’s customer service number at 800-440-0680 for further assistance.

6 splurges that will save you more in the long run

Published: Monday, April 03, 2017 @ 3:08 PM

It may seem counter-intuitive, but you will often save money in the long run by spending more in the here and now. This is because cheaply manufactured goods need frequent replacement, whereas a higher quality item can last you for years — sometimes even decades!

>> Southern Made: Worthy splurges for kitchen and home

Buy from a company with a lifetime warranty, and you’ll have the possibility of purchasing something that lasts as long as you do!

Of course, not all purchases have the potential to last forever. Take shoes as an example. I’m a labor and delivery nurse, and as such, I do NOT scrimp on my footwear. I’m on my feet 12-1/2 hours per shift, and would quickly regret buying inferior shoes.

Instead I splurge on $125 Dansko clogs, which give me the support needed to tend to my patients and continue in my career. However, my shoes last at least seven to eight years. This is because they’re manufactured with quality in mind and are almost infinitely repairable. I save the cost of buying multiple shoes by spending more on my initial purchase.

>> It’s OK to Spend Money on Yourself — Really

Read the full story at Clark.com.

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