Everything You Need to Know About High Risk Insurance

Everything You Need to Know About High Risk Insurance

Another reason not to drink and drive, my friends.  As if you needed one.  This post is brought to you and contributed by Abby Locker.

Falling under the high risk insurance category may not be the end of the world, but there are some things you need to know about this type of insurance. What is high risk insurance? How did I fall into the high risk category? How does it effect me directly? How much more will I have to pay? What happens if I don’t have insurance? Do I still have all my driving privileges? What can I do to get out of the high risk label? Here is everything you need to know about high risk insurance.

What is High Risk Insurance?

Insurance companies have multiple categories of insurance each with their own associated fees and regulations. The Preferred Risk, is reserved for drivers with the lowest chance of accident, and as such pay the lowest fees. Most drivers fall under the standard risk category. This category is for drivers who may have had a few accidents or driving violations on their record. The rates for standard risk drivers are a bit higher than the preferred risk rates but not nearly as high as the high risk category. All other fall under high risk. High risk insurance has the highest rates, and in some cases, it can be very hard to procure a policy.

Insurance companies calculate every driver’s risk assessment. That is, how likely are you to get into an accident, or make an insurance claim? Driving records and claim histories are the main factors insurance companies take into account when deciding a potential driver’s risk category.

Driving records and claims are not the only factor used when determining a driver;s insurance risk level.  Age and experience can play a part as well. New drivers and teenagers are typically considered high risk, and fall into the high risk insurance category. Teenage males are involved, statistically speaking, in far more accidents than any other drivers, and fall into the high risk category, paying the highest average rates. While it is illegal for insurance companies to base rates on race or religion, they do use some other interesting factors. Insurance companies use factors like age, gender, marital status, and geographical location to determine rates and categories for each driver.

While these factors all play a role, none of them are as important as the driver’s history and DMV record. There are a few things that will cause a driver to automatically fall into the high risk category. These are as follows: traffic violations such as tickets and/or citations, DUI convictions, driver with bad credit, teenagers, or driver who had previous insurance policies canceled.

Drivers Convicted of DUI are considered high risk drivers. Some insurance companies may choose to cancel a driver’s policy when convicted with DUI. This can make it extremely difficult to get insurance. While there are many companies that specialize in high risk drivers, rates from these types of insurance companies can be a lot higher. If a driver is convicted of DUI, they may be required to carry SR-22 insurance.

SR-22 Insurance

SR-22 insurance is not really a policy, but more of a technical agreement stating that the driver is insured and appropriately covered at all times. Drivers required to carry the SR-22 agreement must carry this with their policy at all times. The insurance company will contact the DMV if a driver’s policy is canceled or suspended, breaking the SR-22 mandate, and the DMV will revoke the car’s registration.

If a driver is found driving while uninsured and/or in breach of SR-22 agreement there may be serious legal consequences including but not limited to: loss of license, fees, car impounded, and in serious or multiple faults, jail time.

There is typically a time frame associated with SR-22. That is, drivers must carry SR-22 insurance for a mandated time, after which they can apply for standard types of insurance policies. Even after the SR-22 mandate has expired the driver may still be considered high risk.

The Cost of High Risk Insurance

The cost of high risk insurance is much greater than any other category. On average, drivers who have had just one moving violation can expect to pay almost 20% more then those with clean records. For many that could mean an increase of about $500-$700 a year. And that is just one violation. High risk drivers can expect to see insurance rates increases, anywhere from around 50% to 60% a year.  That’s a lot of money.

Another cost of high risk insurance is many companies do not offer this type of coverage. Once you have have fallen into the high risk category, many insurance companies may decide to cancel the driver’s policy. This can make it difficult to obtain new a new policy. There’re a ton of resources giving tips on shopping for the best high risk insurance. Doing some research before you signup might save you a ton of money.



Why The Founding Fathers Were Broke

Why the founding fathers were broke, and why in the grand scheme of time and humanity, it doesn't matter.

It’s so interesting to me how many versions there are of the founding fathers.  From politics to religion, many different people associate many different ideals with each one, sometimes correctly, sometime erroneously, and sometimes both.  These were men founding a democratic republic in a world where Western society was still largely ruled by monarchies.   They had a lot of ideas.  They said a lot of things.  Over the courses of their lives, they sometimes contradicted themselves.

Their situations changed from birth until death, too.  They were born British citizens, and died founders of a new country that not too many people wanted to do business with.  Many of them were, in fact, broke after the birth of America.

George Washington

Washington had some rich parents.  His dad made his living farming, and he inherited his estate (Mount Vernon.)   Washington himself made some money as a soldier, rising to the rank of Major during the French and Indian War, but gave up the whole military thing for a while to go back to his farm and marry into some more money.

He then led American rebels against British forces to win the American Revolution.  He lost more battles than he won, but he also won the war.  Post-war, America’s trade was limited as most of its ships had been destroyed and Britain cut off any economic ties not only with England itself, but also the British part of the Caribbean.  We had taken on massive amounts of debt to fund the war.  Inflation was out of control.  To top it off, we had defeated Britain, but didn’t really have a replacement government ready to go.  At least not one everyone agreed on.  So fixing the economy took some time.

What that meant was that while Washington owned a lot of land, the people he leased it out to weren’t necessarily paying him what they owed.  It was a huge class issue, and the government at the time slightly took the side of the tenants, lightening burdens for debtors (who, at that time, could face prison.)

It’s pretty common knowledge that Washington was reluctant to take positions of power.  He wouldn’t have take command of American rebel forces if it hadn’t been for idealism and honor.  But he mostly took the presidency because he was broke.  When he was president, he was very generous with funding programs and guests, putting everything on his tab while waving away a salary.  When he checked out, Congress paid him back everything he had billed, but the money had lost most of its value to inflation.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was also born to a wealthy, land-owning family.  (It should be noted that both families utilized slave labor.)  He also married a wealthy widow.  I don’t mean to assert that either marriage was loveless, but it’s worth noting that neither of these men married someone of a different economic status than themselves. (At least not the first time around.  Jefferson did end up having a family with Sally Hemings after his first wife passed away.)

Essentially the same thing happened to Jefferson as it did to Washington.  During the war, he had racked up some personal and business debts.  After the war, when he tried to pay with American money; the Brits that he owed to flat out turned it down, saying it wasn’t real currency.  He was in trouble.  And then his father-in-law died, passing his debts on to Jefferson.

Jefferson still lived a life of high society, though.  He outspent what he earned.  He served as an Ambassador to France, and the President, keeping up appearances all the while. He kept on racking up debt.  He lived long enough to see another period of economic turmoil in 1819, which didn’t help.  And he cosigned on a pretty big loan with a friend.  The friend died a year later.

He made some bad decisions, and could not catch a break.

Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine was not a president, or a great military leader, but was a shining example of the pen fortifying the sword.  His pamphlet, Common Sense, rallied the American people to the cause of independence.

He was born solidly middle class, and married a house servant purely for love (which was abnormal at the time.)  She passed away in childbirth, and then he married a teacher.  He tried his hand at many trades, but was pretty much broke all the time.  At the worst of it, he and the teacher split.

He came to America, and found his calling as a writer for a magazine.  As things heated up between the American colonists and the British, he firmly chose a side and wrote his epic pamphlet.  It tipped the colonists’ feeling of trepidation in confronting the crown towards outrage and a willingness to fight back.  It was the unifying force behind colonial political opinion.

During the war, he served as a military secretary.  While he was serving under Washington, he wrote a series of pamphlets called American Crisis that kept the troops’ morale up.

After the war, he was broke again.  He went to Congress to try to get payment for all he had done to help win the war.  They gave him land (we can all guess how that turned out, based on the previous two landowners,) and $3k reimbursement for money he had spent on war-related efforts.

Paine was fiery, which was what the colonists needed at the time.  But as a result, he wasn’t very tactful, and made a lot enemies.  He lived in France during their own Revolution, and was imprisoned by the Jacobins.  They meant to execute him, but by some lucky miracle the guy who was supposed to get him out of his cell forgot.  Before anyone could notice the error, Robespierre had been beheaded.

He wrote more pamphlets,  hung out with Napoleon, came back to America, and convinced Jefferson to make the Louisiana Purchase.  But he never really had any serious money.  He died penniless.  I’m not sure if he didn’t manage his money well, or he got into a career that didn’t pay well.  It was probably a combination of both.

They weren’t all broke.  And why does it matter?

Then there were men like Benjamin Franklin.  A rags to riches story.  A man who was not only constantly curious, but also invested in and expanded businesses he knew inside and out.  Maybe not the best family man.  Sound familiar?

The point is this: as we make our journeys through life, money can make us comfortable.  It can make some things easier.  It can be a powerful tool.  But it does not dictate the legacy we leave behind.  Today, does it matter that Washington struggled financially?  Not a bit.  In fact, if he hadn’t, he probably wouldn’t have been our first president.  Jefferson’s struggles with debt don’t weaken the power of The Declaration of Independence.  And the fact that Paine was essentially penniless for most of his life didn’t stop him from uniting a people to revolution.

We are important.  No matter who we are.  No matter how much money we have or don’t have.  We can make positive changes in the world around us, because the most important currency doesn’t lie with dollars and cents; it lies with inspiration and ideas.

Around the World in 80 Books: Basque Country

Welcome to the next installment in my Around the World in 80 Books Challenge!  It’s exactly what it sounds like: I’m trying to read 80 books from 80 different countries/cultures around the world, and to add a frugal spin, I’m trying to do it all for under $20.

Here’s my running tally so far:
$0- Library books: RussiaNorwaySwedenMexicoSierra Leone, Spain
$0- Free eBooks: ScotlandEngland
$0- Gift: Turkey
$0- Won in a Giveaway: Jerusalem

Grand Total: $0 

Today’s book was the first one I spent money on!  I had been wanting to read something from the Basque culture for a while.  I had been watching this one, and it went on sale for $1.99.  So that beautiful zero is gone, but I’m still on track to come up under my goal of $20.


This book was similar to the one I read for Turkey.  Except I have a better grasp of Turkish culture than Basque culture.  I could see how East met West in that volume of folklore.  With this book, I had no background, so any of my observations may be 100% out of whack.  I need to go back and actually read up on the Basque people and their culture to truly get this one, I think.

What I did get was that they were a very resilient people.  Autonomous through many ages, they remained independent even while Rome and the Ottoman empire (and many others) took over Spain.  These were serious foes, but much like the Scottish landscape helped protect its people for so many ages, the Basque’s mountains protected them.  That and their fierce desire for independence, and their willingness to fight for it.

They are very much Christian, and for a minute I wondered if prior to that they were some type of Wiccan or Pagan because of all the fantastic characters and the magic that came into their stories.  They probably were, as all of Europe was, but the more I reflected on it, the more I realized that pretty much all of Europe involved clairvoyant, malevolent witches in their folklore, and that magic was still commonplace in stories even with Christianity’s influence.  It made me wonder at what point they adopted Christianity, though.  For a people that were so fiercely independent, I wonder at what point they adopted that religion, or if they had adopted it before their origins.  I kind of doubt the latter.  I have much, much more reading to do for all the questions this book brought up.

It was worth reading if for nothing else, the intro.  It’s funny, because you can tell it was written a good while ago.  It talks about science and how we know all this fantastic stuff didn’t happen.  But we should let people find peace in the stories.  Maybe even believe in them.  Because what gives us more hope?  Magic and legend or the cold-hard facts of scientific mortality?

Which was a lot of quality food for thought.  But then some of the science they were hanging their hat on was so outdated, it made you realize that what we think we know about the world around us is likely to be completely antiquated in the next centuries.

We know nothing, so we might as well take solace in our folklore.

I’m not sure what’s up next.  I’ve been working on a few non-fiction reads that aren’t a part of the challenge as they’re pretty darn American.  I’ve also been chipping away at a non-fiction beast about what happened when Spain settled Latin America.  It covers century upon century. I’m not sure I’ll read it to its completion before picking up another book, though I will finish it someday.  That’s the beautiful thing about this challenge.  On these lovely, sunny summer days, I can take my time.  Because the only one setting the deadline is me.


If you do have any recommendations, please leave them in the comments!  Just because I’m not in a rush doesn’t mean I’m not looking out for great books from countries I haven’t read or aren’t in my queue.  I’m eleven books in, so I still have a lot of cultures to explore.

Here’s my queue:

Canada: The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be by Farley Mowat recommeded by Messy Money
Afghanistan: The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg recommended by Savvy Working Gal
Nigeria: I Do Not Come to You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani recommended by Guiltless Reader
Philippines: May Day Eve and Other Stories by Nick Joaquin recommended by Guiltless Reader
Iceland: Scarcity in Excess by Arna Mathiesen & Thomas Forget
Sudan: The Wedding of Zein by Tayeb Salih recommended by Kate Wilson
Kenya: Out of Africa by Karen Blixen recommended by Christine from The Wallet Diet
China:  Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie T. Chang
JapanTotto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi recommended by Suburban Finance
EthiopiaThe God Who Begat a Jakal by Nega Mezlekia recommended by Based On a True Story
French AntillesVictoire: My Mother’s Mother by Maryse Conde recommended by Based on A True Story
SurinameThe Free Negress Elisabeth by Cynthia McLeod recommended by Based On A True Story
Costa Rica: The Ticos: Culture and Social Change in Costa Rica
France: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr recommended by Our Next Life
Italy: Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes recommended by Emi from AIP Around the World
Germany: In the Garden of Beasts or Devil in the White City by Erik Larson recommended by Emi from AIP Around the World

#GetYourGrubOn This Summer with GrubUp #Pittsburgh

Help feed Pittsburgh's children by spreading awareness of the GrubUp program, becoming a sponsor site, or contacting your legislative representative to expand summer meal programs across America.

For many school-aged children, when summer hits, hunger strikes.  With 45,000 children in Allegheny county being food insecure, and 73,500 eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, finding breakfast and lunch when school closes can become a very real problem.

In the City of Pittsburgh, there’s a fantastic program that combats this problem.  It’s called GrubUp, and provides no-cost meals to children across 125+ sponsor sites around the city.  Not only are the meals no-cost, but they are available to everyone, regardless of income, reducing the stigma for children.

The fact of the matter is that low-income households are not the only ones who suffer from food insecurity.  It’s also a problem for many middle-class families.  Regardless of where you fall on the income scale, no one wants to be singled out as the one who can’t afford food.  That’s why GrubUp has made these sites open to every child up to age 18, or up to age 21 for youth with disabilities.  It’s not about pity or judgement; it’s about everyone sitting down together, eating a meal, and having fun.

I had a chance to sit down with the organizers of the program, and their passion was evident.  They’re not content with keeping the status quo:  they’ve set a goal to feed 10% more children than last year, or 7,640 youth.  To help reach this goal and spread awareness of the program, they’ve added the GrubUp truck to their arsenal.  This truck will make many trips alongside the ever popular Roving Art Cart, and make several other trips to parks, pools, and spray parks around the city throughout the summer, serving no-cost meals everywhere it goes.

Click here to see the GrubUp Food Truck’s Schedule, or to find a participating sponsor site near you.  You can also call 2-1-1, or, to find the closest sponsor site, text “MEALPA” to 877-877.

How You Can Help GrubUp

There are a few ways you can help spread awareness of this program.  The first is to simply talk about it.  Tell people about it.  Share it on social media. But if you want to do something more, there’s two powerful ways to make an impact that literally anyone, in the city or in the entire country, can do.

Identify a New Sponsor Site

Do your kids go to a summer program in the city?  Do you run a summer program for kids in the City of Pittsburgh?  GrubUp has expanded their sites by 30% in the past year, but they’re not stopping anytime soon.  If you run or know of a local non-profit, childcare, church, neighborhood group, or any other organization that runs a program for school-aged youth, get in touch with GrubUp organizers.  They have funding to bring the program to your site, and can even provide site monitors for you.  To help feed Pittsburgh’s children by becoming a sponsor site, contact Carly Walker at carly.walker{at}pittsburghpa{dot}gov .

Help Expand the Program Nationwide

Tomorrow, June 30, the GrubUp Truck and Roving Art Cart will be at Troy Hill Spray Park from 11am-1pm.  Joining in the festivities will be Senator Bob Casey.  He’ll be there to talk about the Summer Meals Act of 2015.  Currently, for districts to qualify for financing for a summer meal program, 50% or more of their students must qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.  This bill, among other things, proposes to move that number down to 40%, allowing more districts to feed their children year round, not just when school is in session.

If you’re in Pittsburgh, go to Troy Hill Spray Park tomorrow to hear him speak.  (And for the GrubUp food truck and roving art cart!)  If you can’t, or you’re in any other part of the country, contact your local congressional representatives and senators voicing your support of the bill.  Call.  Write a letter.  Shoot them an email.  Because feeding America’s children is important, and reaching more of them is just a bill away.

Don’t know who your local representatives are?  Find out here.

Turn to Online Lenders for Unexpected Costs

online lender

It happens to even the most money-conscious and budget-minded people. Unexpected costs have ways of rearing their ugly head at the most inopportune times, ruining financial plans and upsetting precise budgets. They’re called unexpected because, like car trouble, owing on your taxes, or a visit to the doctor, you don’t really plan for them. Having to pay for an extra bill when you don’t have the extra money can result in a lot of stress. Instead of worrying about how you’ll make ends meet, take a proactive step towards financial security. Consider turning to an online lender for when you need fast cash.

Anyone who has recently attempted to secure a loan from a bank can tell you how hard it is. First you need to make an appointment with a financial advisor, who, during your meeting, will assess your finances and credit history. Then, you need to wait weeks while they appraise your application. If you have limited resources, you don’t have home equity, or you have poor credit, then your wait could be for naught.

When you need cash to pay for a much needed immediate repair, the bank’s long-winded application process is unacceptable; which is why online lenders are quickly replacing financial institutions as the best source for short-term, small-dollar loans. They cut down on the application time, so you can apply and be advanced cash within 24 hours. They also offer their services to people from all walks of life. That way, even if you have zero equity or poor credit, you can still secure a loan.

Online loans come in three, easy categories. There are single-pay and flex-pay installment loans as well as personal lines of credits. Each loan carries different terms and repayment possibilities and is suitable for different circumstances. This means you have ample choice when securing a loan. Depending on your state’s laws and regulations regarding lending practices, you can expect access to $200-$500 for your first loan, with the possibility of raising it to $1,000 in the future.

When there are so many online lenders available today, it’s important that you contact the best in the industry. By following state lending guidelines and securing personal information with SSL and database encryption, MoneyKey has a proven track record with their loans. Their friendly representatives ensure that all rates and terms are understood before the loan is secured, supplying customers with manageable, responsible loans for when they need help the most. Find lines of credit, opt for single-pay loans, or get online installment loans from MoneyKey.com and enjoy hassle-free customer service, a secure server, and quick, easy turnarounds.

When unexpected costs throw a wrench in your financial plans, you don’t have to worry. Short-term, small-dollar loans from reputable online lenders are there to help you make ends meet. With quick access to cash, you’ll never worry about your budget again.




Note from Femme:  We all know that personal loans are not the most desirable way to get out of a bad financial situation.  However, I know that for some it is a necessity.  Life doesn’t always go the way we plan it to, even if we’re ridiculously financially responsible.  If you do have to go this route, be sure to follow the outside writer’s advice and find a reputable lender that will help you understand every single aspect of your loan.  This post is brought to you by MoneyKey.com.

Celebrating Four Years of Blogging: $75 Target Gift Card #Giveaway

Win a $75 Target Gift Card to celebrate 4 Years of Blogging on Femme Frugality! #giveaway

Tomorrow will mark four years for this blog.  It’s crazy to think about where we were when I started writing and where we are now.  It’s crazy to think about all the amazing connections I would have missed with all of you had I not hit that “Publish” button with trepidation four years ago.   I’m so glad I did.

Year four was a good one around these parts.  It had its ups and downs.  But those downs make the ups so much better, and life that much more interesting.  So here’s to a good, interesting year.  And some of its highlights:

  • At the end of last summer, I handed off Financially Savvy Saturdays to Mel at brokeGIRLrich. She’s doing a phenomenal job running it.  If you blog about any aspect of money, check it out this Saturday (or any Saturday, really.)  It’s a great way to digitally network, discover new blogs, and get your work seen.
  • Ironically enough, after this post you all encouraged me to find out my children’s family history once and for all.  So I did.  And then you all got curious about your own. (Seriously, read Sheila’s story in the comments.  It’s fascinating.)
  • I got to go on an odyssey for the first time in a long while.
  • We buckled down and started taking action towards one of our long-term goals: buying a house.  We’ve actually made some progress, too.
  • I got massively overwhelmed and hammered out this post, which ended up being a reader favorite.  Apparently I’m not the only one who gets overwhelmed from time to time.
  • I delved deeper into freelance writing, which was awesome financially but led to some scheduling problems with the husband.  We had many healthy…debates over it.  So I asked you to weigh in.  And found out I was in the wrong.  Your recommendations led to a more peaceful home life.  Thank you for that!

And thank you for so much more.  For reading.  For sharing.  For lending advice.  And for being generally awesome.  As always, if there’s something you want to see on Femme Frugality, let me know.  Leave me a comment.  Shoot me an email.  Those are some of the posts I love writing the most, and there’s a great community here ready to help me answer questions with different points of view.

As a small token of my gratitude, I wanted to give you all a chance to win something you really seem to love, if past giveaways are any indication: a $75 USD Target gift card.  It’s open to anyone who has an email address, worldwide.  Teaming up with me are some of my amazing blogger friends; be sure to check them out and follow them everywhere!

The Barefoot MinimalistAspiring MillionaireBudget and the BeesThe Thrifty IssueMy Stay at Home AdventuresThe Mom of the YearCloudy, with a Chance of WinebrokeGIRLrichShoeaholic No MoreBudget and the Beach

It’s open for the next two weeks, so there’s lot of opportunity to win!  Best of luck to all who enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Starting an Online Business

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Starting an Online Business

The Internet provides many new opportunities for individuals to start businesses that serve customers around the world. Starting your online business requires significant research, a good understanding of product marketing and strong organizational skills. However, many online businesses do not survive the first few years for a number of reasons.

If you avoid these five common mistakes, you will ensure that your business has the ability to reach the broadest range of customers and expand at a manageable rate.

1 – Not Finding Your Specific Niche

Customers can choose from many businesses, some of which can provide general goods at much lower prices with much greater variety. Anyone considering an online business should carefully consider his or her specific niche in the business community. Ask yourself specific questions on what you can provide that other business don’t. Can you offer unusual products? Superior customer service? Ongoing one-on-one support?

The answers to these questions can provide clues on how you can carve out a niche that no other business can fill.

2 – Copying Other Businesses

Although you may admire the success of other online businesses, resist the urge to copy their style or substance. Being a mere copycat will relegate you to an instant “also-ran” status that will hurt your business in the long run. Find your own unique style and provide customers with an experience that cannot get elsewhere. This measure will ensure customer loyalty and a “brand” of your own that you can use in all your marketing efforts.

3 – Not Forming Relationships With Customers

Ensure that your contacts offer an enriched experience for your customers. Compile email lists to ensure customer satisfaction and help for using products in the most effective ways. Start a two-way conversation to get information on products, customers would like to see, and how you can better serve their needs.

4 – Growing Too Fast

Avoid going overboard on the number of products you offer in the early period. Make sure your order handling is efficient, and your shipping is done in a timely fashion. It is also important you open an online business account where you can keep track of your finances in and out of your business. It is common for business owners to get caught up with the everything they fail to note whether expenses and costs of expansion are actually doing more harm than good.

5 – Not Marketing Effectively

How does one market effectively? Find out where your customers are going online, and find ways to put your name and products before them in an unobtrusive, yet effective manner. Start a blog with interesting information or mention of current events related to your products. Provide helpful posts on blogs that are related to your business. Always ensure that your “brand” is associated with helpful, positive information to reinforce your business’s reliability and status.


*This post has been brought to you by Isabella Ramos*

Used Car Insurance


When you purchase a vehicle, the largest, recurring expense is most likely to be insurance.  (Although if you take out a large enough loan, it may rank second depending on where you live.)  Most people don’t take the time to figure out how much their auto insurance will be costing them monthly, but when it’s such a big expense you really should investigate before you purchase.

There are several factors that affect how much you will pay.  Some of them are dependent on you, such as your age and driving history.  Others will change based one where you live.  For example, auto insurance in a state like Idaho will be cheaper than it is here in Pennsylvania because of the population difference.  When there’s less people per square mile, there’s less likelihood of you getting into an accident with one of them.

A major factor in how much your premium will be is dependent on the car itself.  This is especially important to know when you’re buying used, because even though the car may be worth less, a lack of newer features can actually result in a higher likelihood of a claim to your insurance company.  When there’s a higher chance for a claim, you’re going to be paying more for your premium.

The Mileage: When you are applying for insurance, an agent will ask you how many miles you drive a year.  They will also ask you how many miles are already on the vehicle.  The latter is the one you should take under consideration before making a purchase.  While the insurance company may not frame it as charging more for a car with higher miles, many will apply a low mileage discount if the vehicle has a ridiculously low odometer reading.

The Safety: The safer a car is, the less it costs…{continue reading on Reedman Toll Auto World}

Home Hunters Idiot Edition

Because not getting everything you want is not a reason to go over budget.

During one of my pregnancies, I had an obsession.  It was watching, “Say Yes to the Dress.”  Not just watching.  Binge watching.  My husband, then boyfriend, asked me, “Is this your not so subtle hint that you want to get married?”

Why, yes.  Yes, in fact, it was.

In keeping with tradition with watching reality TV shows to propel my life goals, I’ve been watching a lot of HGTV-esque stuff lately.  I’ll admit it: on the nights where I have time, I’ve been binge watching.  I’ve learned as much as you possibly can from staged, addictive TV shows.  Or at least as much as I possibly can.  Here are some of the things I’ve gleaned:

  • I’d only ever want to buy a foreclosure if I had mad liquid capital at my disposal.
  • You don’t get everything you want out of a house.  Pretty much ever.  Unless you go way over budget.  (Which some people do.)
  • Some people literally won’t buy a house because of the living room’s paint color.
  • There are people out there who buy homes planning to live in them for less than five years.  I don’t know the dynamics of each and every housing market they’re shopping in, but this always shocks me.  They’ll be paying almost all interest and building almost zero equity.
  • You can get a four bedroom mini mansion in the Houston area for under $300k.  I need to learn more about Houston’s local economy and maybe schedule a visit to check it out.  (Just kidding.  We’ll never leave the Burgh.  Darn if that’s not tempting, though.)

The other night, there was one woman who just about killed me.  She was arguing with her husband over the budget.  He didn’t want to go over no matter what.  Then they cut to her talking with the camera, and she seriously said this:

“I understand the budget’s important.  But at the same time, I don’t want to not get everything we want just because we can’t afford it.”

WHHHHAAAATTT?  There were so many things I wanted to say to this woman.  Like:

  • YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT.  Just because you want it doesn’t mean you can have it.  What led to you thinking like this?  Were  you spoiled as a child?  Are you delusional?
  • You are the reason our economy collapsed.  Case in point.  You.  People like you took out loans for houses they couldn’t afford because they really wanted them.  Then they couldn’t pay their mortgage. Then the housing bubble burst.  Then our economy fell.  Then tons of people lost their jobs.  In this post-Great Recession world, I don’t understand how you could allow yourself to be filmed with that garbage coming out of your mouth, even if it’s running in your internal monologue.
  • If you really want to buy the perfect house and it’s out of your budget, maybe you need to save up a little longer.
  • Please tell me this is something they told you to say?

The story has a pseudo happy ending.  The husband convinced her to buy a house within their budget.  Because it was the option that would make the dogs the happiest.  If it were me, I would have chosen the house that was within the budget that made me as a human the happiest since I’d be the one paying that sucker off for 30 years.  But to each their own.

The episode that immediately followed was a single guy buying a four bedroom mini mansion in Houston. For himself.  And that’s it.  Presumably he could afford it, and he cited the reason for wanting such an expanse as having room to grow.

Kudos to him for thinking long-term?

At that point I had to turn it off.  I think I may be done with reality TV for a while.  At least until I set another life goal.


*SmartAsset & Femme Frugality: Disclaimer, Privacy, and More*

A Tale of Two Budgets


I read a lot of personal finance blogs.  It’s a hazard of writing one myself, but it’s one that I absolutely love.  I learn so much about how other people manage their finances, and things that do and don’t work.

A couple of weeks ago, Tre wrote a post about creating multiple budgets.  Doing so allows you to be ready should the financial winds change.  When things go up, you’re ready to allocate your resources responsibly, and when things go down you’ve already prioritized the living daylights out of things so you don’t have to stress about what will be cut next.

She shared two budgets; one was her family’s ideal, and the other was a bare bones necessity budget.  I thought it would be fun to run the same budgets for us, and see where we fell.  Go see where she fell, too, because we landed in two completely different places.

Ideal Budget

Here are the things she included in her ideal budget, with an addition or two of my own made in red:

  • maxing out our IRAs every year
  • contributing to an emergency fund monthly
  • setting aside cash monthly for annual expenses
  • saving money for travel every month
  • contributing a healthy chunk to our house fund every month

Aaaannnddd we’re not doing amazing.  Funny story: the first time I ran the numbers I calculated for my own IRA contributions, but not for the husband.  I guess the fact that he doesn’t currently have one made my brain skip over it.  The numbers were bad even without it.  But they got worse when I added it in. Ha?

We’re currently making only 62% of what we’d need to live this ideal kind of lifestyle.

I swear it’s not all grim, though:

Bare Bones Budget

  • no money for cable (though we already do this)
  • no savings for travel
  • no monthly additions to the emergency fund
  • no dining out
  • no contributions to that house fund

Want to hear something amazing?  We’re actually rocking this one!  We make 31% more than we need.

If I had ran this when I first started the blog, it wouldn’t have been the same story.  And that’s where the happy comes into this post.  Since then, we’ve cut cable (well, kind of; it would actually be more expensive not to have it,) built an emergency fund, and, most importantly, dramatically increased our income.  That income makes all of these other things possible.

What do we do with that leftover 31%?  A lot of the things on the ideal list.  I contribute to a retirement fund.  We have a healthy emergency fund.  We’re saving for a home.  We have some travel savings.  Are all of the numbers where I’d like them to be right now?  Absolutely not.

But they’re a heck of a lot better than they were a few years ago.  I fully believe that they’re only going to get better.  It’s not easy getting to your ideal life, but with some persistence and hard work, it is possible.

And now, thanks to Tre, we have a hard plan for when we get there, rather than figuring it all out after we’ve arrived.

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