365 Ways to Live Cheap

Be Attentive (270/365)

A romantic relationship, whether before or after marriage, needs care to keep it healthy. Just like any living thing, you’ve got to give it the attention that it needs to keep both members happy. It’s harder than it sounds. Most of us have very busy lives. I know we’re holding down two careers, three children, …

Write Love Notes (269/365)

One of the most effective ways to cement our relationship and keep it strong is something incredibly simple that costs almost nothing and is something people have been doing for hundreds of years. I just write a little note for Sarah and stick it somewhere where she will find it later. Usually, it’s not a …

Take Walks Together (268/365)

All through dating and marriage, Sarah and I have taken pretty regular walks together. We’ll just stroll through the neighborhood we’re living in, looking for interesting things to observe and just talking about life. Even now, we still do this, though our walks often involve three children tagging along with us. These walks are a …

Plan a Romantic Free Date (267/365)

While we were dating – and after we were married, too – Sarah and I enjoyed a wide variety of dates. We went to expensive restaurants. We went away for the weekend. We went to amusement parks (Sarah loves them). However, many of our most memorable dates have been free – or very close to …

Give Gifts of Sincerity (266/365)

Sarah and I have been a committed couple for roughly fifteen years, including our courtship and marriage. During that time, we’ve had the opportunity to give each other many gifts due to anniversaries and birthdays and Christmases and just special occasions. When I look back on those gifts, the ones I remember the most clearly …

Don’t Spend to Impress (265/365)

After much recent talk about insurance, we’re going to shift gears a little bit in our “365″ series and talk about relationships. We all need human relationships in our lives, whether they’re close friendships, romantic relationships, or professional associations. Relationships are a big part of the spice of life. Unfortunately, relationships can also be expensive, …

Use the Payment Option That Lets You Pay the Smallest Annual Amount (264/365)

Insurance companies know that different people are in different financial situations and have different financial desires. Some people have a difficult time swinging a large annual amount, but can manage a monthly payment just fine. Other people, who have nice sums in the bank, can easily handle a larger payment (which is more convenient for …

Raise Your Credit Score (263/365)

As we reach the end of our discussion of insurance in this series, we come across a key personal finance tip that has not only a big impact on your insurance, but also impacts many other aspects of your financial life. Your credit score is a single number, but it has so many powerful effects …

Bypass Agents and Buy Directly from Companies (262/365)

In many ways, I feel the same way about insurance agents as I do about financial advisors. In both cases, most of the people in the business are really good people. They’re out there doing what they can to make their customer’s situations better. One of the people I respected the most growing up was …

Combine Health Insurance with Your Spouse (261/365)

When Sarah and I graduated from college, we were both lucky enough to find jobs almost immediately. Since we weren’t married yet, we signed up for health insurance separately, with each of us getting policies. A year later, we were married. We largely kept our finances separate at that point. Two years later, our first …

Make Your Home More Disaster-Resistant (260/365)

When the insurance company offers you a quote for your homeowners insurance policy, they come up with that quote by figuring out how much of a risk your house has of facing a major disaster. To figure out that risk, they look at a lot of things: how new your home is, the area where …

Know What Your Real Building Costs Are and Provide Proof (259/365)

Why do you have homeowners insurance? The reason is, of course, to protect you in the event of a major disaster. If your house burns down or some other insured disaster befalls you, you’re going to want to be able to pay off that mortgage and rebuild, right? Getting reimbursed for the structure of your …

Drive Carefully (258/365)

When I was sixteen, I got into a car accident. I skidded on a bit of ice and rear-ended another car, one that happened to be driven by my cousin. There wasn’t much damage to either car; her car had to have a plastic piece on the rear replaced and my car was completely fine. …

Pay All of Your Bills on Time (257/365)

It seems like such common sense, doesn’t it? You get a bill in the mail. It has a due date on it. You make sure to get the payment in the mail before that due date. Sometimes, though, it’s not so easy. We forget about it. We miss a bill because money is tight. We …

Increase Your Deductible (256/365)

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you have comprehensive and collision coverage on your car. It has a blue book value of about $6,000. You have a deductible of $500, which means that you have to cover the first $500 of any cost turned into your insurance. For this, you pay some amount each year – let’s …

Try Bundling Your Policies for a Discount (255/365)

Most major insurance companies offer a wide range of insurance types, from life insurance and auto insurance to renters insurance and homeowners insurance. It’s good business, since most of the business units you need for one are going to also be used for the other insurance types. They save money because of the overlap. Of …

Know Your Discounts (254/365)

We’ve all seen the insurance advertisements where they laud all of the discounts you can get if you’re a safe driver over a certain period or your children have good grades or other such things. Those discounts can save you significant money, but there’s a catch. The catch is that the insurance company may or …

Shop Around for Homeowners and Automobile Insurance (253/365)

Obviously, you should shop around for any type of insurance, but these are the most common types of insurance that people have, usually because they’re required by local law. Why shop around? For better rates, of course. Shopping around for homeowners and automobile insurance can easily save you as much as 50% on your annual …

Drop Collision and Comprehensive Coverage on Very Old Vehicles (252/365)

When I was in high school, I had a 1985 Buick Skyhawk. It was more than a decade old, and it showed every rough mile that had been put on it. It was approaching 200,000 miles, the body was rusty, and the transmission sounded like metal grinding on metal. There was a persistent hole along …