Deal of the Day January 30, 2009

I’ve not been doing these, and I likely won’t  do them every day any more.  But here’s one courtesy of Alison…

Take an EXTRA 50% off Old Navy Clearance!

For 5 days only, and exclusively online, get an additional 50% off clearance.  Now through February 2nd.  Enter promo code HALFOFF at checkout.


Pay Cut Hits Home

It really isn’t a surprise.  After all, Husband’s company has been laying off people like crazy, and is hemorrhaging money every month.

The company is doing better than it was, and once they move to their smaller digs next month they’ll be hemorrhaging a little  less.  Still, it’s not enough to keep the company viable, to keep Large Conglomerate from pulling out  the rug.

So, when Husband and the rest of the staff received a memo yesterday announcing the lease on the new office and mentioning that each staff member will be met with to “discuss your role as we move forward into this year,” we all knew what was coming:  PAY CUT.

Husband and I talked about it, and we figure we can take a 20% cut and still keep me at home.  It would be tough, we’d have to cut every ounce of fat out of our budget, but we could do it.  Sure, I could go back to work, but we truly believe Son is better off, and our family is better off, with me at home.


Well, Husband just called and it’s not as bad as we feared.  The pay cut is about 7.5%, which is definitely easier to bear  than 20%.  It’s not permanent; three months in the black and pay will be reinstated (though not retroactive to today).  They also told him how much he is valued, and that he gets the job done.  Which he all true, even if telling him today was a blatantly manipulative effort to lessen the blow.

And we’re lucky he still has a job.  Darn lucky.

So, we’re going to trim the budget as if the pay cut was 15% and put more money into savings.  We still need to be out of here before August, and  there’s lots of work to do.

Recession?  What recession?   Gee, I hope GWB is enjoying his.

WPLG Channel 10 Shows What Yellow Journalism is All About

I went on the Sun-Sentinel (our local newspaper) message boards to read what people were saying about State Farm’s decision to pull out of the Florida Homeowners Insurance market and was very dismayed to see an entry by a WPLG Channel 10 reporter.  He posted:

hey, any state farm property policy holders want to express your disgust on the local10 6pm news?? i’m a reporter looking for someone to talk to. email me with your contact info.

Posted by: roger | January 27, 2009 12:41 PM

Let’s forget a moment the lack of proper punctuation and capitalization from a journalist.  How disappointing that WPLG is looking for someone to support a specific point of view instead of simply asking for those who would  like to comment, whether they would like to express disgust or not.

I’m not happy with State Farm, either, but this is yellow journalism at its worst – deciding on a point of view and collecting only that evidence which supports it.

Whatever happened to objectivity?  I’m certainly not happy about State Farm’s action, but there were people who weren’t angry and understood State Farm’s position.  It doesn’t seem that this reporter was interested in hearing from THEM.

Shame on you, Roger Lohse.

Fail, WPLG.  A big, fat FAIL.

I tried to send an e-mail to the station’s general manager via the General Manager contact link on the WPLG website, but the address errored out.  Another FAIL for WPLG…

Posted in rants. Tags: , , . 3 Comments »

State Farm and the State of Florida Play Poker, Insureds Are the Biggest Losers

It’s been a very large pissing contest, and now it may be over.  Where did the piss wind up?  In the eyes of State Farm’s insureds.

State Farm officials have been playing poker with Florida’s Insurance Commissioner for years as they tried to get unconscionable rate increases approved.  The State told The Farm to go suck a hose.  State Farm has now gone all in, announcing today they are pulling out of the Florida homeowner’s insurance market and will be canceling some 1.5 million policies.   And Florida has called their bluff, saying, “Florida already has new companies who are eagerly looking to grow their businesses and will welcome the opportunity to add more customers.”

Sure, Florida has new companies.  Florida has become  so desperate to attract any new insurer to write business in the state they are accepting pitifully underfunded companies with unproven track records.

I’ve been happy with my State Farm policy.  They stood by most of their policyholders after Hurricane Andrew changed the South Florida and Insurance landscapes in August of 1992.  While  Allstate and Prudential did mass cancellations after Andrew, State Farm kept their current policyholders and mostly just stopped writing new business. I was proud to be able to reassure people that their policies were safe.

State Farm insureds enjoy a much better homeowners policy than the standard ISO policy most of these start-up companies offer.   More endorsements are available (things like business property, backup of sewers and drains coverage, increased jewelry and furs, gun coverage, incidental office, etc.), more personal property coverage is available, and our agents have more influence in the underwriting and claims process.

Now they are setting us adrift.  But gee, I’m so glad to know they’re going to be happy to keep my auto, life and other policies.  Thanks, guys!

State Farm or the State could back down and fold their hand, but we’ll still end up losing.  No matter what happens it’s bad news for State Farm insureds.   And for several of  my friends, who are sure to lose their jobs as their employer/agents lose 40- 60% of their income.

Come my renewal I’ll probably need to get a different policy with less coverage and a higher price tag.  I’m just disgusted.

Win a Dinner a Week for a Year at Pollo Tropical!

Pollo Tropical is once again giving away a year’s worth of family meals to 15 winners.  This is mostly a Florida chain, with a few stores in New Jersey and one in Connecticut.

Each winner receives coupons good for 52 Family Meal Deals. The family meal includes a whole chicken, two sides and four dinner rolls or it can combination that includes steak, pork or ribs. The winning coupons are worth about $800.

To enter, just register on the Pollo Tropical website. Deadline to enter is midnight, February 28.

10 Things to Consider About Insurance When You Pay Off Your Car Loan

The following information is not advice, it’s just my thoughts and opinions. I’m just a girl on the web, not currently licensed in insurance or anything else in any state. You should absolutely seek the counsel of an insurance agent licensed in your state before taking any action at all. Coverages and programs discussed may or may not be available in your state.  Coverage and descriptions are summaries, subject to the terms and conditions and definitions in your own policy .  Talk to your agent!

PT at Prime Time Money just paid off his car, and he wrote a post about the decision he must make about what to do with the extra money.  He mentioned the possibility of changing his insurance coverage now that he no longer has a loan.  I, being me, always have something to say, and that’s especially true when insurance is a topic.

So, should you change your insurance when you pay off your car loan?

That depends.  Here are some things to consider:

Only two coverages have anything to do with the type of car you have: Comprehensive and Collision.  Those are the only two coverages that cover the car itself.    That’s why the lienholder requires it – they don’t care if you’re hurt or if you hurt someone else; they just care that their collateral is covered.

Collision covers damage to your car when your car hits or is hit by another vehicle,  or other objects.  It pays whether the incident is your fault, no one’s fault or a hit and run.  Most people carry a deductible, so the insurance pays the amount of loss after your deductible is reached (paid by you).

Comprehensive (also called Other Than Collision) covers most other things that physically happen to the car – if it’s stolen, damaged by a hurricane, flood, falling object, or animals. Most people carry a deductible, so the insurance pays the amount of loss after your deductible is reached (paid by you).

So, what should you think about doing?

  1. Find out how much you pay for each of those coverages, and determine your deductible.
  2. Get quotes for raising the deductible(s) and for eliminating the coverages altogether. Get the quotes for each individual coverage so you can see what they cost separately, for all your cars.
  3. Consider what you’d be giving up. I suspect you’ll find that you won’t save as much as you think, especially with Comprehensive coverage.  Also, keep in mind that if you remove them you will be completely out of luck if you get into an accident that is your fault, if it’s a hit and run or if the at-fault party doesn’t carry enough coverage to fix your car (Florida only requires $10000 property damage coverage.  Have you thought  about what happens if they hit more than one car, or if you drive something that $10000 wouldn’t fix?).  Also, you’d have no coverage if it’s stolen, damaged in a hurricane, etc.
  4. Figure out how much of a loss you could absorb without too much financial difficulty. Compare it to the cost of the coverage. Could you come up with the money to replace your car to fix it if the damage is $1000?  $5000?  If it is a total loss could you replace it?  Is it worth it to you to spend X dollars for that peace of mind?
  5. Figure out how much of a loss you could absorb without too much mental/emotional difficulty. Will you be able to sleep at night knowing that you’re not covered?  Is it worth it to you to spend X dollars for that peace of mind?
  6. Consider starting a Deductible Fund.  Think about increasing the deductibles on all of your insurance (including health insurance) and putting that into a fund to pay those deductibles if you incur a loss.  You might be amazed at the money you can save, and over time you’ll almost always come out ahead (well, unless you’re really unlucky). I used to write an individual health policy where the difference in premium between the $500 deductible and the $1000 deductible was  (depending on the insured approximately) $600 per year – more than the deductible difference!  If you chose the $500 deductible you started off $100 in the hole.  Ridiculous. If the patient chose the $1000 deductible they paid less, and if they didn’t get sick they could save as much as $600!  That’s what they call a no-brainer.
  7. If you decide to drop these coverages, consider keeping just Comprehensive. It doesn’t cost much at all, and in many states you can get your windshield replaced if broken without having to pay your deductible.  Many of my clients kept Comprehensive with the largest deductible just for the glass coverage.  My company actually would replace any of the glass on the car (side glass, mirrors) without requiring the insured pay their deductible, and the coverage often cost about $10 every six months.
  8. You don’t want to reduce your liability or uninsured motorist coverage. They have nothing to do with the type of car you drive – you can do just as much damage with a brand new car as an old clunker!  In fact, you may want to get quotes to increase these coverages…
  9. Consider getting quotes from other companies. Hey, as long as you’re doing the work.  And if you do, read my series on  Auto Insurance 101 to get some good tips!
  10. Don’t forget to remove the lienholder! Make sure your insurance agent removes them as the loss payee – sometimes they forget.  It’s not that the bank could actually collect the insurance money if you had a loss, but it would delay your payment at claim time while they straighten it out.

Everyone’s risk tolerance is different.  There’s a reason why “insurance” is synonymous with “risk management”.  Whatever you decide, make sure you can sleep soundly.

And to anyone who pays off their car loan, congratulations!!!!


If you liked this post, check out these related posts:

Auto Insurance 101: Part 1 ~ Before We Shop Let’s Understand What We Have

Auto Insurance 101: Part 2 ~ 10 Tips for Shopping Smart

Auto Insurance 101: Part 3 ~ What to Do With The Quotes Now That You Have Them



That’s how the e-mail from my sister-in law started.

Girl Scout Cookie Time.  A time I anticipate yearly with both glee and dread.  Glee because those yummy Tagalongs and Thin Mints call out to me, and my taste buds are all a-twitter.

Dread because my ass doesn’t need them.  At all.

Still, in the spirit of supporting my wonderful niece I shall sacrifice my ass.

I can’t see it anyway.

Posted in Funny. Tags: , , . 6 Comments »

15% off purchase at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Homegoods and more today only!

TJ Maxx is offering 15% off your entire purchase today (January 22nd) only as part of their Customer Appreciation Day.  If they are to be believed this is the first time they’ve ever done this.

I bought a pair of Levi’s for Son on clearance for $7 and got an additional 15% off.  That’s a great deal!

I hope you find something good, too.

Edited to add:  I just found out that  T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, and A.J. Wright are also offering 15% off today only.  Apparently it’s being billed as an apology to the millions of consumers who had their credit card info stolen.

Mayhaps I should nothave paid with a credit card!

What a Waste

Our community has bulk pick-up every week.  I know I’m lucky, as many communities have no bulk pick-up at all.  Heck, my Dad’s tony city has none so residents have to schlep it somewhere, which can be a real PITA.

This morning I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful wood bed at the end of someone’s driveway.  It looked to be in very good condition, and even if it wasn’t I’d have schlepped it home if I had the room to store it.

It’s truly amazing to me what people put by the curb.  Perfectly usable items, and occasionally they find their way off the curb and into my car.  Some I sell, and some I keep, but either way they aren’t taking up unnecessary space in a landfill.

Just because you don’t want to take the time or spend the money to repair something doesn’t mean it’s  trash.  Unless your dog peed on it or it’s smashed into a hundred pieces someone else can probably use it, and be thrilled to have it.

I understand wanting to get rid of unwanted items, I really do.  But  how much effort does it take to donate something?  A phone call will see the veterans, Salvation Army or one of a thousand church organiations come to your house and pick it up.  You can even get a tax deduction!

There’s also Craigslist, where you can sell your item and make a few dollars.  And Freecycle, where someone who thinks your trash is treasure will come and take it off your hands.  Both of these options take minimum effort, as it takes about two minutes to post a listing.  Yes there can be pitfalls to using these services, but even though I’ve been burned I still think they are very much worth utilizing…

And you can make someone’s life better or easier or prettier.

And you don’t have to schlep it to the curb.

And there will be more space in the landfills.

And my garage.

His Presidency’s First Win

Being a white Jewish girl raised in an uber-liberal household, I’ve grown up to become a  surprisingly more moderate woman than one would think.

I’ve never had Obamamania.  I thought long and hard before choosing the candidate who would get my vote.  I felt there was good news and bad news about both candidates and their philosophies.   I rued the injustice of a two-party system and a media that bars all but the most flush candidates the opportunity to debate and garner coverage.  In the end I made the choice I felt would be best for our country, and that’s that.   No matter who won I would not  be jumping for joy.  There are too many challenges awaiting us, too many unknowns.   We all know who won the election, but we have yet to see if we, my fellow Americans, wind up as winners.

Obama finds himself in an interesting position.  Every incoming  President is faced with the task of uniting the country, but it’s never been more important to do so.  The country is facing such dire threats right now that even the  staunchest conservatives I know are warily rooting for him to do well.  That is so very different from past elections.   and in my opinion this gives us a chance to get through these challenges and find a way to win.  I so very much hope we do.

So, for me today is a day of hope, but it is not a victory celebration.  Still, the little Jewish liberal girl inside me is thinking of those who marched on Selma, refused to sit in the back of the bus,  were inspired by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  I’m thinking of the people who spoke up and risked their lives, and sometimes gave it.  My heart is heavy and my eyes are wet when I think of what this day must mean to them, and their children and grandchildren.  Knowing that when any American child talks about what they want to be when they grow up, and their parents tell them they can be anything they want to be they don’t just hope it or declare it; they mean it.

All of the rhetoric and entreaty and idealization is true.  It is possible.

And that, my friends, is the first win of Obama’s presidency.

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