A Rumpelstiltskin Debt Story

Wha??? This family named their child after their BANK! It really is a Rumpelstiltskin debt story!

My first year out of high school, I worked at a pizza shop. My bosses were a young, married couple who were expecting their second child. It was a pretty chill place to work as I navigated my first collegiate experiences. Mostly I worked weekends.

They had trouble deciding on a name for their baby boy. One weekend, after not seeing my coworkers for five days, I came in and there was a baby carrier on the floor with a little bundle of joy secured inside.

“Ohhhh, you had the baby!” I was elated. “What did you name him?”

“Chase.” My boss went on to tell me that as her husband was going through their pile of bills (opening a food franchise isn’t cheap,) he kept coming across one name more than any others. It was the name of the bank that held most of their business debt.

“Honey, what do you think about the name ‘Chase?'” he asked.

And so Rumpelstiltskin was born.

How we position debt in our lives

I always thought this story was uncomfortably weird. Hopefully, someday they’ll have the debt paid off—maybe they do already—but their son will always bear its name.

When thinking about it recently, it made me think about how we position debt in our lives. That first year I was in college, I decided student debt would have nothing to do with my name. It led to a long road of low wages, but I would have graduated at the height of the Great Recession, anyways. While I wasn’t raking in the dough without a college degree, I also didn’t have any obligation to a student lender.

I’ve decided over the years to take out car loans after owning a long line of beaters paid for in cash. These loans do add debt to my name, but they also have always added value as they’ve allowed me to reliably and safely commute to jobs that pay me more than my monthly car payment. They’re a net win in my specific situation. (Though maybe someday I’ll have enough cash on hand to pay for it flat out.)

The last time we faced debt as a couple, we designated it “The Debt Monster.” It was an evil entity, and we needed to kill it as quickly as possible. The framing worked.

Rumpelstiltskin and justifications

Maybe my old bosses liked the name Chase. But at the time, their business was also the core of their existence. It’s easy to see how the debt associated with it would hold such a strong sway on their naming decisions.

At the time I initially started college, I could have easily put debt to my name. I could have justified it by arguing that I’d make more money when I graduated from school. I probably wouldn’t have, but there’s no way anyone could have been that clairvoyant prior to the housing bubble debacle.

I could just drive around beaters or suffer without a car until I somehow had enough money to buy one without working. It would be harder to bring in money, but we also wouldn’t have as much to deal with in monthly payments.

And we could have accepted The Debt Monster as a part of life that most Americans deal with. We could have dropped the name “monster” and made minimum payments as we chipped away at it in moderation.

So much of how we deal with money depends on our perspective. Over time, our perspective changes as does how we treat our finances. Fortunately or unfortunately, our names don’t.

How do you position debt in your life?

Heteronormativity at Work

Toxic workplaces present very real problems for employees. Discrimination based on your gender identity, gender, or sexual orientation can affect decisions to stay with an employer or leave, leading to an unnecessary loss of talent and productivity.

Here today to share her perspective is ZJ Thorne, a personal finance blogger and self-employed woman.

Heteronormativity at work is damaging and can lead to loss of talent.

Gentle Readers,

Heteronormativity impacts our work environments. It impacts your workers and friends. Many straight and cisgender people are not even aware it exists. Many LGBTQIA people buy into portions of it that serve their more mainstream lifestyle. Many LGBTQIA people buy into portions that harm other segments of our community.

A simple definition is in order and we’ll borrow from wikipedia, for simplicity’s sake, if you don’t mind. “Heteronormativity is the belief that people fall into distinct and complementary genders with natural roles in life. It assumes that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation or only norm, and states that sexual and marital relations are most (or only) fitting between people of opposite sexes. Consequently, a “heteronormative” view is one that involves alignment of biological sex, sexuality, gender identity and gender roles.”

Many people think that sexuality has no place at work. It’s already there. Permeating everything. People wear wedding wings, talk about their spouses, have photos of their children, bring their spouses to work functions, discuss fertility issues and trying for a baby at work, etc. Human Resources wants to know your marital status to update your tax forms and potentially include your spouse and progeny on your health insurance and other benefits. When you name beneficiaries for your life insurance, you are showing who matters to you.

What they mean when they say sexuality has no place at work is that they do not want homosexuality mentioned at work. They mean they don’t want gender identity addressed at all. They are comfortable hearing women talk about how hot Channing Tatum is, but a woman mentioning how beautiful Michelle Carter’s powerful muscles are makes others uncomfortable. Best to say nothing, really.

Heteronormativity shames workers via dress codes and bathrooms. You may not even be hired because of your non-normative presentation. You may be called into HR because the unnecessarily gendered dress code specifies that men must wear a tie, but you are not a man. Your outfit is tailored, clean and well-pressed, but you are being different from other women and that makes HR uncomfortable. Your work product is stellar, but you make people uncomfortable.

You don’t even have to be out at work (many people are not) for heteronormativity to impact you.   You would not even have to come out if people would stop assuming your sexuality and gender identity and being wrong about it. Heteronormativity forces the closet on us and then demands that we correct their misconceptions.

“Up to 43% of LGBT employees say that they’ve experienced discrimination in the workplace because of their sexual preferences, even though 25% of them haven’t made their sexual preferences known.” via Brandon Gaille.

When you assume that people are straight and cisgender because they have said nothing on the matter, you are being heteronormative. You are also missing out on important information about people and their lives. You are making it awkward. Stop.

Companies Should Take Heteronormativity into Account

There are still no nationwide protections against LGBT discrimination at work. You can literally fire a person for discovering that they are transgender in most states. You can fire a person for being bisexual or asexual in most states. Your workers know this and are afraid. They are not able to relax, because they are not safe. One middle-manager who is homophobic can ruin their life and personal finances.

“For the Fortune 500 companies that have internal policies which forbid LGBT discrimination, 96% of them state that their workplace policies have led to greater productivity and a general increase in overall morale.” via Brandon Gaille.

Whether you realize it or not, sexualities and gender presentation are regulated by social norms and institutions. When you are congratulating a married heterosexual for their birth announcement, you are likely congratulating them for sexual activity. However, when a same-sex couple announces a pregnancy, the questions they receive are often inappropriate and invasive. You would never ask a straight woman how she got pregnant even though we know that IVF and sperm donors and infidelity are real sources of pregnancy. People ask gay women how they got the sperm. They ask about the donor. They ask if you slept with a man just once, since it’s the “easiest” way, you know. Har har.

There are benefits to employers to combating heteronormativity and making it safer for their LGBTQIA employees. In one five-year study, the results showed that employees working for out gay managers actually had 25% higher employee engagement. The study found that “Gay leaders value their employees as a whole, because they, themselves have experienced what it’s like to be judged for one thing, rather than valued for who you are.” via StartOut.

There are many LGBT entrepreneurs and they are doing what they can to protect their employees. According the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Diversity Initiative, there are 896 certified LGBT businesses. There even are more businesses that have not gone through the certification process. The Diversity Initiative’s numbers go up every year.

“From 2005 to 2014 more than 1 million jobs created by LGBT entrepreneurs left discriminatory states in favor of inclusive states. Of those, 78 percent moved to California, New York and Illinois. States with policies unfriendly to the LGBT community lose many if not all of their nascent growth entrepreneurs.” via StartOut.

Heteronormativity and homophobia have existed in all but one work environment I have enjoyed. Even now, I have a coworker who corrects me when I mention my girlfriend. She literally interrupts me to say “your friend.” Seriously. I live in a relatively liberal area, but still get this disrespect of my relationship.

Tiring of the heteronormativity that told me that I was wrong and did not fit, I created my own business. This business serves the LGBTQIA community with knowledge and empathy. This business allows me to dress as a professional rather than as a professional woman. My job is losing a hard working intelligent woman with knowledge of their systems. My job is losing someone who thinks outside of the box and saves them money via reduction in inefficiencies. They are losing a lot, but they have not made the environment one in which I can thrive.

In the end, I started my business, because “I don’t want to just show up. I want my work to reflect my values. I am creating that work.”

How to Put Yourself Onto a Financial Diet

financial diet

Perhaps you never quite achieved your idea of a perfect summer body this year, as cakes for work colleagues’ birthdays and drinks at the weekend tempted you, but there’s always time to go on a ‘financial diet’ whereby you restrict your usual shopping habits and roll around in the coins you are left with at the end.

It’s easier than throwing away all the chocolate in the house (or eating it all first before the first day of your diet in a hurry to get rid of it) and it can be done immediately. So, whether you simply want to save money or have a nagging debt and money causing you worry here’s how to go on a financial diet:

Confront your debts

Mortgages and student finance loans aside, it’s important that if the stem of your money troubles comes from debt problems such as credit cards or personal loans, that you confront these head on. Going on a financial diet means you have acknowledged there is a problem and getting debts in order is an important part of this process to avoid the risk of more trouble down the line or even having to take on an IVA.

Manage your money

The next step after arranging your debts is to look closely at your finances and plan out a budget for the month. This means, after the necessary bills, setting a certain amount of money aside for everyday expenses, including food and fuel. If you are strict and rigidly stick to your budgets for each of your expenses your diet is going to become much easier.

There are apps out there that can help too. Some link directly to your bank account and some require you to manually input what you spend each month, but they’re great ways of seeing how much you’re spending on certain things each month. Try downloading the Spending Tracker app to get you started.

Avoid temptation

Like any diet, it’s important you avoid anything that may encourage you to give in to temptation. This doesn’t mean your life has to be boring, it simply means finding alternative ways of entertaining yourself, without spending too much money. Let’s say you and your friends meet regularly at the pub on a Friday night for a few drinks and a catch up; you could suggest they come to your house, bring a bottle and you could provide snacks. You still get to see each other and it will save you money in the long run!

Ask friends and family to help

Like any diet, it’s important those closest to you understand what you are doing and how important it is to ensure they do not lead you off your chosen path. Ask them to keep you in check to ensure you don’t make any rash decisions and perhaps to even scold you if you do impulse buy or ruin your budget one month. Knowing that you are being monitored could help you stay on track – but this doesn’t always work for everyone.

Reward yourself

Cheat days are important on a diet, they allow you to indulge a little in the things you’re missing and the same goes for a financial diet. If you have been a big spender in the past it’s important you allocate a small amount of cash to treat yourself with, whether it’s your favourite bottle of wine or a new accessory to wear at the weekend – try to spend no more than a tenner though!


*This post is contributed by and in collaboration with Debbie Fletcher.*

Travel Stories: Niagara Falls & Darien Lake

This year we waited a little longer than normal to hit the road. Part of that was happenstance. The other part was wanting to get great prices on things as the season wore down.

As always, I wanted to share a little bit about our adventures—what went well, what went wrong and how money factored into all of that memory making.

The first trip we took this year was to Niagara Falls and Darien Lake. We had wanted to take a big, upstate tour this year, but medical bills got in the way so we had to abbreviate our trip.

At first we were a little bummed, but we had so much fun in these two locations alone that we totally forgot about any disappointment.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls at night

We stayed upstate, but when you’re visiting the Falls, you have to go to the Canadian side. The views are better. There’s more to do. It’s as if the US recognizes that they can never compensate for the natural beauty that the border gives Canada, so they’ve given up on investing in their facilities.

Normally when we visit it’s during the day, because bed time. But this time we got into town a little later and there was a huge backup on the Rainbow Bridge. The guy who checked our passports says it happens every August—people realize summer is ending, so they flock to those places they wanted to go before school starts and leaves turn. One of those places is Niagara Falls.

The fact that we went at night was a happy accident. I had never seen the Falls lit up in person, and it was a super neat thing to see. Our kids convinced us we needed to buy them overpriced light up toys. They’ve got a really good sales funnel going on there. The guy at the stand blows a bunch of bubbles to reel the children in, and then shows them a table full of $10 toys. I figure next time we can just bring our own glow sticks and hopefully sate them. It was good to feel like they were at least visible when we were crossing streets, though.

We also got to check out the Tesla statue, which I was really excited about. It was apparently there the last time we went, but I hadn’t even heard about it. We showed it to the kiddos and had a conversation about green energy, the health of our planet, and imagination and innovation. Who knows. Maybe someday they’ll save the world. Goodness knows someone is going to have to in their lifetime.

Visiting Niagara Falls and Darien Lake with young children.

For the record, those aren’t ghostly apparitions. It’s mist from the Falls. :p

My littlest really wanted to check out the Niagara Sky Wheel, but we couldn’t find a parking spot close enough to accommodate little walking legs. No worries, though. We met that want the next day.

We did eat dinner at the Queen Victoria Place restaurant. The views were spectacular, as was the service. But the food was not really great at all, and prices were sky high. Thank goodness that either the Canadian dollar fell since the last time we were there or the US dollar gained some traction. We still paid too much, but it wasn’t as devastating as the Canadian price would have us believe.

The next time we go up there, we’re packing a meal to eat on one of the grassy knolls over by the Tesla statue. Because no one should have to pay that much for dinner—especially when the food is terrible.

We did get to watch a fireworks show from our outdoor seats, though, so that was another happy circumstance.

Darien Lake

The next day, we spent our time at Darien Lake. For those of you from Pittsburgh, it’s like Kennywood and Idle Wild/Sandcastle all combined into one. It definitely feels older than Six Flags would, but that’s probably because it is. They keep adding new and innovative rides, though, and maintain the facilities well, so you get the best of both worlds: old charm and exciting rides.

Boomerang at Darien Lake, NY

The last time I was there I was a teenager. This experience was a bit different because I was there with my husband and two very young children. While I totally predict that both my kids will grow up to be coaster heads a la Lisa Kudrow in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, height restrictions kept us to the kiddier parts of the park this time.

And that was wonderful.

We spent the vast bulk of our time in Hook’s Lagoon where our kids played on a pirate ship, “rode” on floating animals and creatures in the kiddie pool and shot water guns on their climb up to the slide.

Darien Lake with young children.

Initially, the slide freaked me out. Our youngest had to ride down with an adult, which I thought was great, but our oldest was apparently too big. There are sensory issues with that one, and I wasn’t sure how going down a water slide for the first time without an adult was going to pan out.

I stood at the bottom wracked with anticipation, waiting for them to appear around the curve. When they did, it was with a huge smile on their face. As soon as they got to the bottom, they were up and climbing the steps to do it again.

View from the top of the second largest Ferris Wheel in North America at Darien Lake, NY.

View from the top.

Remember how the littlest wanted to ride the Niagara Sky Wheel? Well, when they saw the Ferris wheel at Darien Lake, it was all over. Luckily for us, we went on a day where there were virtually no lines. (Though they did give us a linehopper pass just in case as one of our children needs a little more help. I was very pleased with how efficiently and kindly they accommodated us during our visit. All it requires is a quick visit to guest services.)

The Ferris wheel, aptly name the Giant Wheel, is actually incredibly cool. Originally, it was built for the 1982 World Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee, and was the largest Ferris wheel in the world at that time. Right now, it’s the second largest in North America. As you could imagine, the views were spectacular.

Second largest Ferris wheel in North America at Darien Lake, NY.

I’d also highly recommend doing this first because it gave us a bird’s eye view of the park, which allowed us to get a really good view of all the rides and attractions. When we got off, we were able to head in the general direction of the kiddie rides because we had seen the entire park’s layout.

Other highlights included the merry-go-round, the Haymaker (which made Dad and me sick, but the kids giggle with glee,) and finding a $2 game that gave everyone a prize no matter what, which was perfect for our kiddos.

family rides darien lake

We didn’t get food in the park; instead we stopped at a local place on the way back to the hotel. Again with the picnic idea, though.

Short trips can be just as good as long ones.

We had a great time on our little sojourn, and it reminded us that short vacations can be as valuable as long ones when it comes to the fond memories we end up storing in our brains for years to come.


*I was given free admission to Darien Lake in order to facilitate this review. Regardless, all opinions are 100% genuine and my own.*


Win $10,000 for an Engagement Ring

We heart the Olympics in our house. When they were in Sochi, we did an entire Olympic-themed creative curriculum for our young kiddos and had a lot of fun. This year, they’re a little bit older and we’re working on geography. We pulled out a free map we got from Doctors Without Borders (sent when they sought out our donation a few years ago,) and started coloring flags to decorate it. So far my children can identify the US, Russia (where our cat is from…it’s a long story,) Brazil, and Canada (where we just went on a trip to the Falls.)

It’s pretty cool to see all the things they can learn and engage with as they watch the world’s best athletes do their thing.

$10,000 for an engagment ring? Totally entering! And getting my 15% off coupon code!

The Olympics and Winning $10,000 for an Engagement Ring

Today’s post for all you frualites is Olympic-themed, too. James Allen, my fave jeweler, is currently running a contest called, Go for the YES! In it, they teach you how to build an engagement ring with fun clues and prompts tying into the international competition.

The grand prize is pretty phenomenal: $10,000 to spend on an engagement ring. Because they’re online, you get great prices, so $10k will go beyond your already high expectations. (As a matter of fact, that’s how I saved a bundle on my husband’s wedding ring.)

PLUS, even if you don’t win, you get a 15% off coupon code just for completing the challenge. On a purchase like an engagement ring, that’s some massive savings. Even if you just go with a $1,000 ring, you’ll be saving $150. The savings on a $3,000 ring is $450, and if you are going whole hog at $10,000, you save $1,500.

So it’s worth competing. With that coupon code, everyone is a winner. The sweepstakes is open until August 21st, but you can get a head start by entering today.

I’m curious, readers—how much did your engagement/wedding ring cost? How did you score great deals?

*This post contains affiliate links. You do not pay anymore for using these links. In fact, sometimes they allow me to deliver you even more savings. Thanks for supporting Femme Frugality, and I hope your partner says, “Yes!”*

Save on Back-to-School Clothes with Gymboree

*This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I was compensated for this post. Thank you for supporting Femme Frugality, and happy shopping!*

So glad I found this! Perfect timing for back-to-school!

The vast majority of our children’s’ clothing has been handed down to us or purchased at resale stores. As we’ve sifted through the wears of yesteryear, we’ve picked up on the fact that there are a few brands that make garments that really do stand the test of time in terms of quality. One of those brands is Gymboree.

When I have a need that resale or the hand-me-downs doesn’t cover, I turn to these brands, but only when they’re on sale. Here’s the thing: quality can cost you.

But it doesn’t have to. For instance, right now almost everything at Gymboree is $14.99 or under, making it a great time to shop.

They’ve also teamed up with Stitch Fix recently to create bundles from professional stylists. I’m no professional stylist, but I thought I’d try my hand at it, too.

Here are some of my favorite picks from recent collections.


Back-to-school sales equal great fashion for less!

Cat Pullover-$14.99. We’re all about cats in our house lately.
Classic Tee-$8.00. For layering.
Pleated Shorts-$14.99. Because sitting criss-cross applesauce is more difficult in a skirt.
Riding Boots-$23.48. These are one of the few things that isn’t $14.99 or under right now. But they are 50% off.
Sparkle Tights-$6.99. We actually have some of these in silver.
Bow Headband-$4.99. Matches the cat’s ears and the tights!



Denim Hoodie-$24.98. Again, one of the few things that’s not $14.99 or under, but it is 50% off.
Finish Line Tee-$14.99. Because it would be weird to send your kid into school naked underneath their hoodie.
Straight Jeans-$14.98. For jeans. Score.
Quilted Cap-$14.99. Though they will have to take it off once they go inside. More for Saturdays.
Trucks Socks-$3.99. In keeping with the transport theme.
Hi-Top Sneaker-$16.48. Fifty percent off. Even though it’s not under $14.99, this is still a decent price for quality shoes.

Don’t like my back-to-school style?

It’s cool. I take no offense. You can check out the picks from Stitch Fix’s professional stylists both for girls and for boys.

Also, if you’re liking Gymboree’s style, but they’re still a little out of your price range, check out Crazy 8. It’s another one of my faves, has a similar vibe, and tends to have lower price tags.



Outside the Box Back-to-School Savings Tips

Wow! These are great back-to-school savings tips I haven't heard before!

When it comes to back-to-school shopping, there are some well-known, basic tips: shop sales, look at circulars and hold off as long as you can keeping in mind that when prices go down, your selection will be more limited.

Today we’re going to look at some outside the box back-to-school shopping tips. These are things you may not immediately think of, but can save you big money either in the short- or long-term.

Get Organized with Daycare Expenses

While you’re getting your entire life organized for the first day of school, it’s smart to get your finances organized, too. If your kids go to daycare in the summer, or do paid afterschool programs at a daycare facility, use this time of mass organization to get a pulse on your expenses for the year.

Gather all your receipts and proofs of payment now. Get a dedicated spot for them with your tax paperwork. Come Spring, you will need them to claim the Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses or FSA deductions if you have one offered by your employer.

If you have an FSA, getting familiar with your actual expenses now can help you plan for how much you want to set aside in 2017. Remember, any money you set aside but don’t use throughout the year will just disappear.

Get this paperwork organized now so that you’re not guessing when you’re making your goals for 2017 or scrambling around for yet another piece of paperwork needed for tax filing in April.

Use Student and Educator Discounts

If you’re a college student, many places will give you a student discount if you sign up for their program with your .edu email address. This includes discounts on major purchases like laptops.

If you’re an educator, remember that many places will give you discount, too. Maybe you sign up with your .edu email address, but many businesses will award you the discount at checkout if you show your school employee ID. All programs are a little different, so check before you shop, but know that not all of them limit the educator discount to only teachers. If you are a classroom aide, support specialist, or hold another job in the educational setting, you may qualify, even if you are just buying supplies for your own kids.

Get Rewarded for Your Spend

Back-to-school shopping provides the highest amount of revenue all year second only to Christmas. That’s not just because a lot of people are doing it; it’s because a lot of the essentials are expensive.

If you are spending a lot of money anyways, and you are responsible with credit cards, you might as well put your spend on a card that is going to reward you. For example, right now if you spend $1,500 on your PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card within the first 90 days of opening your account, you get a $100 bonus statement credit. This card not only offers 5X points on gas purchases paid at the pump, 3X points on groceries, but also 1X points on everything else, which includes school supplies. Those points will add up fast and you can redeem them for a variety of rewards.

While I wouldn’t advocate spending $1,500 exclusively on back-to-school shopping unless you absolutely have to (i.e. you’re a college student who requires a laptop or specific software program,) back-to-school shopping is certainly an added expense that will help you organically reach that minimum spend much more quickly.

Don’t Buy What You Don’t Need

This may seem obvious, but if you don’t need something, don’t buy it. If you’re lucky and your kiddo hasn’t outgrown their jeans from last school year, there’s no commandment saying you must buy them something new.

Also in this, though, is that you don’t have to buy brand names—especially for younger kids where social pressures are not as high. For example, with my own young children, I buy them shoes at WalMart. They’re not going to last as long as Air Jordans, but their feet are going to grow out of them before they’ve expended their usefulness anyways.

Get a Backpack with a Warrantee

The last time we bought backpacks was when we went on our honeymoon to Tulum. We were sure to buy a very specific brand that has a warrantee. It’s lifelong, so if the zipper ever goes or one of them tears, they’ll fix it or give us a new one free of charge. That means we spent the money once, and will never have to spend it again.

What are some outside the box back-to-school saving methods that you use in your household?




*This post is in collaboration with PenFed Credit Union*

5 Signs You’re in for a Massive Auto Insurance Spike

auto insurance spike

Whether you’re looking for auto comprehensive insurance or need liability auto insurance coverage, shopping around can help you get the best rate on your insurance premiums, even if you’ve been with the same company for years. Many drivers are realizing just how much they can save by taking the time to compare insurance policies online.

Insurance Premium Fees: The Ups and Downs

While you may be a good driver, practicing safe driving and obeying all road signs, your insurance premiums could still rise. This doesn’t exactly scream FAIR does it? Insurance premiums can spike or fall depending on any number of factors. To understand these changes, you must first understand how insurance providers are a company, and to make a profit, they need to charge for their services.

Where Does the Money Come From?

Insurance companies make money when they don’t have to pay out money in customer claims. Paying out an insurance claim costs your insurance agency just like it costs you. One way to combat this is by practicing good driving habits. Insurance companies will only charge you hefty premiums if they have determined that you are a liability risk.

Why Your Premiums Increase

As mentioned above, your car insurance premiums will increase when your insurance provider has declared you to be a risk. There are several factors that can contribute to this:

Investing in a new car

If you have bought a new car, you can expect to pay higher rates for your insurance premium. Why? Issues of theft, vandalism, engine size and even the make and model of your new car can rate poorly in insurance statistics. If your vehicle is found to have any problems with the aforementioned, your insurance company will want to make sure they don’t lose money insuring you.

Bad credit score

Your credit score affects your car insurance premiums. The 2016 Car Insurance and Credit Scores Report study revealed that premiums fluctuate depending on credit scores. People with poor credit can pay up to 50 percent more than if they had a good credit score.

It’s advised that motorists pay off any debts or loans to help improve their credit score. Some insurance companies have been known to discount premiums to policy holders by over 50 percent if they show evidence of excellent credit scores.

Accidents, tickets and other violations

Have you had a brush with the law? Have you had to file a claim on your insurance? A recent study showed that car insurance premiums can rise by as much as 44 percent after a motorist has filed a single claim. Violations such as traffic tickets or car accidents will make your insurance provider perceive you as risky, increasing your rates.

In order to rein in the rising premiums, you may have to increase your deductible or change insurance providers. Some motorists choose to have liability auto insurance coverage to crack down on insurance costs.

Changing your zip code

Highly populated cities are considered an insurance liability. Cities are found to have higher incidents of accidents, such as in Baltimore, Boston and Washington D.C. If you move to an area considered high risk by the insurance provider, you will pay more on your insurance premiums.

Increasing your commute

You may have decided to move to a different town or may have changed workplaces. An increased commute will be reflected not just as an increase in fuel prices but also as an increase on your premium. Insurance companies consider you at greater risk of an auto accident if you are on the road more frequently and for longer periods of time.

The bottom line is that insurance rates are influenced by several factors. Understanding how these factors affect your insurance rates will help you keep your premiums from rising.


This post is brought to you and contributed by Audrey Hobbs.

I Have No Money: Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Domestic violence is a very real issue for many in this country. While it does affect both sexes, there is a bigger chance you will experience it if you are a woman.

Your odds of exposure will be greater depending on your sexual identity or orientation, household income, and race, according to the CDC:

Grants and financial resources for women leaving abusive relationships.

But let’s face it: when you’ve experienced that fear in your own home, the numbers don’t matter. What matters is that very visceral experience. It’s personal. It’s terrifying. And all too often, it feels like you can never get out.

A major reason women feel like they can’t escape is that they don’t know how they will manage their finances on their own. Maybe you’re in a one-income household where your partner brings in the money. Maybe your partner simply controls the money, or you don’t make enough on your own wages to support your children and start anew.

There are many reasons for not leaving. To say money is the only one would be naive. But since this blog primarily concerns itself with finances, we’re going to explore ways to solve the money problem today for partners who want to escape their abusive relationships. These are resources, but I’d highly encourage you to reach out to a counselor before finalizing any big plans. As mentioned, these situations are nuanced and dangerous.

If money is the thing holding you back, here are some solutions to that part of the puzzle:

Leaving an Abusive Relationship When You Have No Money

Sure, you could hustle. Sure, you could try to find a job and daycare if you have kids.

But immediately following your departure, you need to be focusing on keeping yourself (and your children if you have any) safe. There’s a lot that goes into that, and it interferes with pulling in extra cash.

Shelters and non-profits across the country recognize that. In fact, they have funds set aside to help you out through the transition. Check out the below resources for funding opportunities.

And remember, it’s not shameful to get help. You’re leaving a bad situation for a better tomorrow. It’s scary. The obstacles are real. Others recognize this. It’s why the money exists. Use it.

National Resources

State Resources

While they may not all have funds or grants to give you directly, get in touch with your state’s coalition against domestic violence. They can point you to state-run resources and other local organizations that may be able to lend a financial hand. You can find a full list for all 50 states here.

Local Resources

Many women’s shelters also provide grants for things like housing, education or even just cash financial needs. If you don’t know of a women’s shelter in your area, get in touch with the state coalition listed above or the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

There is help.

Leaving is difficult. It’s complex. It has potential health and safety concerns. But if money is the thing holding you back, know that there are resources available. You can get out if you’re willing to reach out.

I’m rooting for you.


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