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Think Outside The Box When Getting Cheap Car Insurance Quotes

Where are you going to turn for cheap car insurance quotes? Have you tried doing this in the past? Were you successful? It’s hard to stay away from continuing to check on cheaper rates when the industry keeps marketing to customers that you can save money. No one likes paying money for car insurance, and unless you have a rock bottom rate, you always have the idea in the back of your mind that you can save money.

Of course, it’s not going to do you much good to keep switching insurance companies all the time. If you do that, you’re not doing yourself any favors. How long have you been with your current insurance company? Is there a way to get a cheaper rate? Before you get cheap car insurance quotes, why don’t you give them a call to see if they are able to do anything to lower your rate. Make sure you know the policy specifics of anything they do, and then you can check out insurance quotes online to make a comparison (its advisable to compare car insurance before getting one).

If the insurance quotes you receive are cheaper, and you like the companies you see, then maybe it’s time to switch. You need to be sure you want to make the switch though because you want to stay with your new company. It’s better if you establish a relationship with a car insurance company, and that’s why it’s so important that you like the company you choose.

If you make a hasty decision, it could be that months later, you find yourself getting car insurance quotes once again. That’s no way to handle the insurance game and to expect to be handled properly during the claims process. Think about what you need from an insurance company and make sure you’re getting what you want before you sign and pay for a policy.

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The Top 3 Symptoms Of Depression

Depression is perhaps one of the most common mental disorders that people suffer with in the modern age, and if you think you may be suffering from the symptoms of depression, then you are certainly not alone. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the top three symptoms of depression.

1 – persistent feelings of sadness or emptiness

While everybody can have moments of sadness or feeling blue, if you find this state persists for many weeks or months without much will change, then you may be suffering from one of the most common symptoms of depression.

2 – difficulty with concentrating

In many cases, depression can have various side-effects on your ability to make decisions, concentrate, or recall events from the past. If you find your concentration level seem to be dipping without any other explanation, then you may find that depression is contributing to these symptoms.

3 – restlessness and irritability

Another symptom that goes hand-in-hand with depression is a chronic sense of restlessness (maybe always thinking why people buy life insurance), combined with feelings of irritability that seem unprovoked or out of the ordinary.

Conclusion

Overall, depression is a very common occurrence, but it’s important to remember that there are treatments available – so if you suspect you may be suffering from depression, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible.

My LifeStyle Now that I’m Retired

Uncommonadvice asked two really good questions, and I decided to answer them with a post rather than throw together a quick response in the comments.

The first question was: Do you live by a routine to keep yourself busy?

I have to admit something here. I spent 15 years planning my retirement, but the planning was focused entirely on the financial side of things. I knew that retiring at a young age was going to require a well-laid-out plan, a solid understanding of expenses, investments, and even taxes. So I spent years educating myself on these things. But it was not until about 6 months before my retirement date that it dawned on me: I’d better spend a little time planning what I’m going to do with my newly found time. I started putting together a list of all the things I’d like to do (or spend more time doing) if I had the time. This was really just a starting point, something of a safety net I would return to if I found myself idle.

The lack of structure was probably the biggest adjustment for me in the beginning. Don’t get me wrong – I never, not for a minute, regretted leaving the job. But I did miss the structure of routine, knowing where I needed to be and when. I had just a little structure left as I still teach a few classes a week. But the rest of my time was initially a free-for-all. At first, I kept cleaning the house everyday until I realized that had to stop! In the almost one year I’ve been retired, I am starting to strike a nice balance of structure and flexibility. Blogging is actually helping me with a little more routine – when I get up in the mornings on weekdays, I check comments, write posts, tweak the blog a bit. What I do in the afternoon depends on what needs doing – I may clean the house, work in the garden, answer emails, do some cooking, or meet a friend for lunch. Evenings are when I teach classes, read, or catch up with hobbies. But the very best thing for me is the flexibility. The other day I was working at the computer and looked out the window at my garden. I decided that the tomatoes needed harvesting, and some shrubs needed pruning. It was a lovely day and I just got up and worked outside for 2 hours. Something I never could have done when I was chained to a desk at a full-time job.

And then the second question: What income do you live from?

This question is actually a little easier to answer! I live from a combination of investment income and part-time (self-employment) income. One of the things I do (and which I did for years while working full-time) is teach a few classes a week. The part-time income is enough to cover my normal, expected monthly expenses. I only tap investment income for major expenses – a home repair, for instance. I am prepared to tap my investments more as I get older (and probably drop some of the part-time work). I have no pension so handling my investment income is critical. I recommend this book for excellent advice on managing investments to optimize income and minimize taxes in retirement: Buckets of Money: How to Retire in Comfort and Safety.

One thing I should mention is that I am able to cover most of my expenses with a small income because my expenses are so low. Obviously I could never have done this when I had substantial expenses. But since I have paid off my mortgage, have no other debt (no car payment, no credit card debt, etc.), and live a frugal lifestyle, I really don’t need very much. But I have enough for everything I need and want, within reason.

Thank you for the thought-provoking question, Uncommonadvice!

Too Much Fun with the Festival of Frugality

This week’s Festival of Frugality is up at almost FRUGAL. Kelly did a great job organizing and presenting the wealth of frugal material.

In Financial Freedom Quick Tip #25: Sweat your assets!, liberta has good advice with a great quote (and a funny inverse statement as well). I’m not going to spoil this – be sure to go read it for yourself.

I couldn’t agree more with My Two Dollars in How To Frugally Decorate Your House On A Very Tight Budget. This article makes some great points about decorating frugally and buying used. It has a really good list of resources, as well.

A fabulous list of common-sense tips for choosing, caring for, and extending the life of your clothes can be found at The Smarter Wallet’s 7 Frugal Tips To Clean and Care For Your Clothes.

And, just to kick your day off with some humor, be sure to look at this entire article at The Digerati Life for some laugh-out-loud funny photos: Sick of High Gas Prices? Turn To Smart Cars or the Aptera. Who says a we can’t have some fun with a serious subject sometimes?!

Thanks to Kelly at almost Frugal for the hard work in putting this festival together.

Can Quicken make you Frugal?

I admit it. I love Quicken. But it wasn’t always this way. I was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the world of personal finance software about 10 years ago. I didn’t really want to try it, but was shamed into it. It’s not that I didn’t want to track my expenses or investments, it’s just that I wanted to keep doing it that way I always had – in a checkbook, or on paper. I’ve been called a WILIWIK (pronounced willee-wick) on more than one occasion. Ever heard of one? It stands for: What I Like Is What I Know. That’s me, all over.

When I agreed to try it out, it was agreed that I would give it a year. If I didn’t like it after a year, I could give it up and it would not be mentioned again. But, of course, when the year was up, Quicken had become my good friend.

You see, it’s not just that it helped me balance my checkbook, reconcile my credit card charges, or track the balances in some of my investment accounts. It forced me to see what I was really doing with my money. It made me accountable to myself, and there was no denying where my money had gone at the end of each month or each year. I used to have a false sense of pride about my money management skills. The checkbook was always balanced, the credit card charges reconciled. No late fees, no overdue payments. But when I looked at some of the reports Quicken could produce for me, I did not like what I saw. There were some totals that could not possibly have been my spending – I am much too frugal for that! But, in the end, there really is no denying that I spent the money in ways I would not have approved of. Once faced with the ugly truth of where I had been spending, I had no choice but to mend my ways.

To me, the real essense of frugality is aligning my spending with my values. And as long as I live within my means, it is totally my decision what I value and how much I feel comfortable spending on it. When I talked about frugality in the past, I’ve mentioned how our hard-earned money can be thought of as our “life energy” since we traded our time to earn the cash. But two things forced me to quantify these thoughts: estimating an annual budget at the beginning of the year, and then producing annual reports from Quicken showing actual spending in each category.

Before I had spending reports in black and white, I think I was in denial about where my money was going. I might have made a vague statement to the effect that “I don’t spend much money on…” Clothes. Or Dining. Or Whatever. But the truth of the matter was often different that what I perceived. The most valuable thing Quicken does for me is producing reports of my expenses, in categories set up by me, on demand. Once a month, once a quarter, once a year, whatever. Whenever I’d like an impromptu look at my spending year-to-date in a category, it does that for me with the push of a button. At an absolute minimum, I always print a detailed report at year-end and see how I did compared to the budget I prepared at the beginning of the year. And it helps me put together an estimated budget for the next year.

Now, when I am about to spend money on something, I almost subconsciously consider its effect on my Quicken report. For example, if I have budgeted $300 for clothing and I want to buy a $100 coat, I realize that will be 1/3 of my budget for the year. So either I have to really be careful with clothing expenses for the rest of the year, or I decide to exceed the budget. Either way, the decision is mine but I had to face up to how it is affecting me. And in many ways this helps curb my discretionary spending.

So, I ask you, does Quicken (or other personal finance program) make you frugal? For me the answer is that while it may not make me frugal, it helps keep me accountable to my self-defined frugal goals.

A Question to Readers about Personal Finance Tools

Since I wrote about my use of Quicken, I’ve received questions from several readers about other options for personal finance and budgeting. Since I’ve only used Quicken (and for many years), I was hoping some of you could comment on what other programs you’ve used and your likes/dislikes. Do you use Wesabe, Microsoft Money, or something else? If so, would you be willing to share with the other readers what your experience has been? Thanks!