Nov 30 2012

Adding roadside assistance to our auto insurance policy


Clown car

Last year, my grandma gave me the gift of AAA service. You know, the roadside assistance/discount plan/trip tik company. It’s a thoughtful gift and one we hoped we wouldn’t need (for the roadside part) but glad it was there if we did need it.

She wanted to know if she should renew for this year, but I thought about it and wanted to look into other options. We don’t drive a ton, and we haven’t used their discounts.

I contacted my car insurance agent and asked if we could tack on a roadside assistance package. He told me we could, for $6 per car per 6 months. So for the year for our two vehicles, it’s $24. Cheaper than AAA and the overall terms of the coverage seemed reasonable to me, so I added it.

If your car insurance doesn’t have this option, (or it isn’t budget-friendly), there’s always the option to self-insure. Save that AAA premium yourself and put it in your emergency fund.

How about you? Are roadside assistance add-ons worth it to you? Do you have another option besides AAA or your car insurance?

Photo. haha!

Nov 20 2012

Let’s stop this Black Friday madness


Black Friday at Westfield San Francisco Centre 2009

Enough is enough.

Black Friday started out wacky enough — stores opening at 6 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving and offering sales. Over recent years, stores began opening at 4 a.m. or sooner, and folks started lining up outside stores so they could get that coveted item on their wishlist.

These days, some stores are staying open all night or worse: some stores are now offering door-buster deals on Thanksgiving Day.

For some, Black Friday shopping is a competitive sport, tradition, or social time. For some, deals found on Black Friday help someone purchase something they couldn’t otherwise afford.

In years past, people have died while shopping. Trampled to death. Shot. And for what? For saving $200 on a TV? For saving $30 on a toy? For owning a hard-to-find “hot” item?

We have lost our minds.

Thanks to the internet, what once began as Cyber Monday (hot online deals the Monday after Thanksgiving) has now stretched to the week leading up to Thanksgiving. Same with retail stores. We do not need to stand in crazy lines or camp out on Thanksgiving or trample someone to buy items on our list.

And even if we do want to go to a brick & mortar store (how about a locally owned shop?!) we do not need to go at ridiculous hours.

We gather on Thanksgiving Day with family and friends to reflect on our blessings. We share what we are thankful for over a hot meal, and many give thanks to God for His provision. We reflect on the Pilgrims and the Native Americans 400 years ago in our country’s history.

Later that day, (or the next day) we go berserk to consume more more more.

Retail workers often have no choice in whether they can have the day off, or what shift they will work. Sure, they earn time and a half but if your base pay is $8/hour, it isn’t going to go very far.

These employees are being put in stressful, sometimes dangerous positions and we consumers are to blame. If we didn’t show up, the stores would have no reason to open early.

Now. Giving gifts is one of my love languages. I enjoy picking out gifts for my family, and I do what I can to get a bargain. If folks want to bless someone else with a gift, I’m all for that. I’m all for saving money, too. I’ve already taken part in some online sales this year.

But ultimately, we have to consider the cost of our gift-giving.

Are we really willing to sacrifice family time to shop? Are we willing to make others sacrifice time with their families? Are we willing to die for the year’s hottest toy?

We as a nation need to consider what we value. Vote with our dollars and our feet.

Lord help us if we truly value things over people.

 (Photo shared thanks to Creative Commons license)

This post appeared in the Carnival of Personal Finance hosted by Narrow Bridge.

Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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