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Pay By Cash Or Credit? Deciding The Best Way To Save Money

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After six months of a progressively louder clicking sound emitting from my engine, I decided to take my car in for a free inspection.

After only about five minutes, the auto-mechanic mentioned that he was sure my fan unit was broken and needed replacing. Great. “How much?” I asked.

His brother, the operations manager, got back to me and said, “$925 before tax, which is about $1,004 after tax.” Sales tax is 8.5% in San Francisco.

Phew! I was mentally preparing for some $3,000+ bill because the clicking sound was near the engine. When you go on the car forums, you always read about the worst situations. Here’s a short recording if you’re curious.


The operations manager told me I’d have to come back next week because he’d have to order the entire fan unit. No problem. In the meantime, I decided to do what any rational person would do and check what fan units would cost online.

A bunch of options came up that were 30% lower than the shop’s quoted price. The next week, I gave the shop owner a ring and asked why such a huge price difference. He said the difference was between an original part from the manufacturer and a replica without a warranty.

Sensing his weakness over the phone, I asked him if there was any way we could get the price down. After stumbling through some umms and awws, he responded, “Why yes, if you pay ‘cash cash,’ not check, I’ll knock the price down to $750 out the door.

Will I still get a receipt and the warranty?” I asked.

Absolutely,” he replied.

Enticing! What would you do?

The Dilemma Of Paying Cash To Save On Cost

Saving 25% off the original $1,000 out-the-door price is a lot.

I was already feeling relief that I didn’t have a $3,000+ bill. But to then spend under $1,000 made me feel like I was getting an absolute bargain!

At this point in my life, time is way more valuable than money. I probably could have saved a little more if I had shopped around for a cheaper auto mechanic that didn’t specialize in my automobile. But the shop’s Yelp ratings were great, and they knew what needed to be fixed.

Here were some of the things I had to consider when paying cash.

1) A lack of protection. By not being able to pay by credit card or check, there is no record that I ever paid for services rendered. I could videotape me paying them cash, but I’m sure the shop owner wouldn’t allow it. I’ve paid cash for things before that turned out not to work properly or not be authentic.

2) Might not get a valid warranty. A warranty against poor workmanship or a faulty product is something we all deserve. My immediate concern when the service manager mentioned I could pay all cash was whether that meant the service would be done off books, and therefore, no warranty. But he immediately reassured me I would get a warranty and a receipt. I still felt hesitant they would not back up their warranty.

3) Not used to carrying around a lot of cash. The most cash I carry in my wallet is $100 since I charge everything on either my business credit card or a personal credit card. Whenever I’m holding a lot of cash, I always get a little paranoid I’ll get mugged.

4) Potential aiding of tax evasion. I’m assuming the reason why I can get a 25% discount is that this small business won’t be reporting the work done to the IRS. It will be “off books.” Its profit margin will be 100% on labor and whatever markup it charges on the OEM part.

I don’t feel guilty paying cash at a favorite restaurant, so why should I feel guilty paying cash for auto service? What a business does with its customer’s cash is none of my business. Maybe the business is just trying to save on paying a credit card transaction fee. I should always assume the best in people.

5) No rewards points or sign-up bonus. Charging $1,004 to my Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card would earn me a basic 1,004 rewards points. That’s only worth up to $20. Further, I won’t get a 60,000 sign-up bonus after spending $4,000 within three months that all new Sapphire cardholders get since I’m already a cardholder. The 60,000 points are worth $750 in travel rewards if redeemed through Chase’s program.

But, I have been doing a lot of credit card research lately and I could get the following cash back bonuses or rewards with the following cards:

  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: 50,000 bonus miles, equal to $500 in travel rewards after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months. $0 annual fee first year, $95 a year after.
  • Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card: $150 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months. No annual fee.
  • Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card: $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months. No annual fee, $95 a year after.
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: $200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months. No annual feel.

I could open two credit cards and charge $500 each to pay for my auto-mechanic bill and get $300 in free cash. My bill would effectively drop to $700, or $50 less than paying cash. Further, I would have purchase protection and a nice paper trail, just in case of faulty service or parts.

Alternatively, given I use Beast Master for business, I can expense the repair and automatically save 25%, whether I pay by cash or by credit card. If I pay by cash, I would just have to withdraw the cash from my business and then track the expense. If I pay by credit card, here are a couple choices as a Chase business client for the past 10 years.

  • Chase Ink Business Cash: $500 cash back after spending $3,000 within three months of opening. That’s like getting 16.7% cash back. Further, there’s no annual fee.
  • Chase Ink Business Unlimited: $500 cash back after spending $3,000 within three months of opening. 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Also no annual fee.

Besides not getting the lower $700 cash price, the other downside to paying with a new credit card is spending 5-10 minutes applying for each credit card and then waiting for 7-10 days to receive the cards in the mail.

But I am in no rush because the fan has already been making this clicking noise for six months. Waiting another couple weeks is no big deal since I only drive about 4,000 miles a year.

Pay By Cash Or Credit Credit?

I’m curious to know what you’d do since the community always seems to come up with something I’m not seeing. Here is a summary of the three options:

1) Pay by cash. The easiest and quickest way to go. In this scenario, I get 25% off ($1,004 down to $750) and then get another 25% off if I write off the auto repair as a business expense. My biggest concern is that they install the fan improperly or the fan breaks within 12 months and they won’t honor the warranty, despite my receipt.

2) Pay by credit card. The conservative person would go the safe route by opening up at least a couple rewards credit cards to get purchase protection and at least $300 in free cash or 30% off. The credit card sign-up bonuses would effectively make the auto repair $50 cheaper than the cash route ($700 vs. $750), while also providing peace of mind.

3) Do both. Pay by cash to get $250 off after the job is done properly. While waiting for the 1-2 hour job to get done, spend 10 minutes opening up a couple no annual fee credit cards to get at least $300 in free cash after spending $1,000 on something else. This way, I’ll get at least $550 in savings, if not much more if I keep opening up new cards after three months or so.

The sad reality is that I have to do a three-year service that’s one year overdue, a brake bleeding service, and I also need to get new brake pads soon. All this will cost another ~$1,500. But of course, if I pay cash, they’ll give me a $300 discount!

Ah, the expenses never end when owning a car. At least I know that if I open up a new rewards credit card, I have something purposeful that needs charging. The last thing one should do is open up a credit card and buy something you don’t need just for the rewards.

Once I get enough feedback, I’ll take Beast Master to the shop next week and let y’all know what I decide.

Readers, what would you do? Pay cash? Pay by a rewards credit card? Or do both? If you’ve faced a similar situation before, what have you done to save the most amount of money?

Disclosure: Financial Samurai has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Financial Samurai and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

The post Pay By Cash Or Credit? Deciding The Best Way To Save Money appeared first on Financial Samurai.



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For 5 years we have tracked every single transaction in and out of our accounts using YNAB. The results are revealing.

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Hi all, I was reading a post on another sub of someone sharing their expenses for last year when it got me thinking about my own and it hit me: this month marks 5 years that my wife and I have been using YNAB! So I decided to take some time and reflect and figured I would share. By all means let me know if there are things I miss in this data!

For starters, wow what an absolute change 5 years has made and not just financially. YNAB itself brought upon us the concept of budgeting and tracking out finances when up until that point our lives had consisted of a "buy it, figure out how to pay for it later" mentality. Thankfully we were never really big spenders so we started from a decent spot. Secondly, looking at this it's relatively easy for me to see life changes along the way. From renting to mortgage, from having non-mortgage debt to having none. Life uh, finds a way.

Let's start at the top and look at total spending over the past 5 years https://imgur.com/LVlo2DY

Nearly $500k, ouch. Breaking it down further though it looks like 32% of that went to Savings which is our largest top-level category followed by Monthly bills(ouch again). Debt was a pain and everyday expenses really added up as well. Instead of looking at raw totals though I think taking a look at how things have changed over time is better https://imgur.com/geobw9v

Apologies but it looks like YNAB does not include a legend so here is what the colors mean:

  • Red – Monthly bills
  • Orange – Everyday Expenses
  • Green(Beige?) – Savings
  • Blue – Debt

A couple of trends/events I am able to pluck out of this:

  • Non-mortgage debt was eliminated mid-2018(yay) meaning up until that point it was much more than a 17% expense that the totals had shown
  • Monthly bills were pretty bang on until mid 2016. Correlates with a cross country move. Everyday Expenses took a beating for a couple of months as well
  • Monthly expenses spiked in mid 2017 and haven't really come down. This reflects the transition from renting to owning
  • Savings is highly irregular. Spikes I can mostly explain as IRA contributions.. but the more frequent minor irregularties not so much The last couple of years the bulk of the savings comes in the first couple months of a new year when contributions can be made

That provides a pretty good high-level overview, let's take a peak at the 4 different master categories individually. Starting with savings https://imgur.com/pfTyopB

Sounds about right, looks like IRA contributions have made up about 50% of the category. I'm also assuming this has some 2014 contributions in there as well given the totals. After that the totals seem to get a bit smaller with other things we have saved up for including purchasing a home, going on vacation, gifting and donating and thankfully we really haven't had to use our emergency fund all that much in the last 5 years! Woohoo. What in the world is going on with Services/appliances/Electronics though? I did a little digging and it looks like it mostly breaks down thus: * $15k landscaping and house projects * $5.5k "we bought a house now we need a washer/dryer/lawn mower etc. for it" * $5k one-time luxury purchases * $4k electronics (phone's/TV/routers etc.) * $2k furniture * $2k misc services (plumbers/chimney sweepers etc.)

I would not have guessed we spent that much on electronics. Holy hell. : Moving on to the next category: Monthly bills https://imgur.com/iaHtkvS

Right off the bat: putting a roof over our heads is expensive. To the tune of nearly 82% of the entire category over the last 5 years. Second observation.. these subcategories are all over the place. "Electricity" and "Utilities"? Oh right.. we basically got lazy sometime in 2016 and decided to stop tracking electricity and lump it in with gas/garbage/water in the "utilities" category. Looking closer at utilities:

  • Nearly $4.5k is from LP.. which just began in 2017 with the home purchase. We need to switch, that's ridiculous!
  • Another $1k in natural gas for the previous 2 years(MUCH CHEAPER)
  • Rest mostly electric with water/trash combining for not even $50/month over the period

Nothing else too exciting about this category. Next up.. every day expenses https://imgur.com/leMPHm7

This one I'm kind of proud of. This is where I feel like we have a lot of control over our spending. Right off the bat, our largest expense is groceries consuming nearly a quarter of the entire subcategories cost. Over 5 years though, that comes out to around $400/month. Not too shabby if I do say so myself! The next highest, homegoods is a bit high for my liking as is miscellaneous but they are what they are I suppose. For our budgeting homegoods is basically things like cleaning supplies, paper products, decorations, health and beauty and so on. Misc are things like car registrations, haircuts, credit card fees, amazon prime etc. For the last year we have only budgeted $50 a month for this category, although looking at purchases from a few years ago it looks like we were just throwing random junk in here that belongs better elsewhere. Maybe I'm not so proud of this master category. Oh well, live and learn I suppose! Last observation: pets are cheap, awesome. Sub categories are clothing/work expenses/and laundry from when we used to have to go to a laundromat.

Now the last category, and my least favorite: debt https://imgur.com/bytFahV

As previously mentioned this was tracking non-mortgage debt. That came down to 2 types for us, a car loan and the dreaded student loans. Actually, I think this category is the one to be the most proud of. We paid off $70k in student loan debt in 3 years. Hell ya. I know that there was at least another $30k dent put in the 3 years before that as well. Took longer than we had hoped, but in the end it's good to have that boat anchor off of our necks. Other than that, not really much to see/say for this category.

Well.. this post got uh.. long and a bit of rambling. I apologize. I more or less did this live. A couple of big takeaways.

  • Tracking your spending like this not only has the power to change your behavior and life, it also allows you to reflect on the life changes that occur and how they impact your finances. The spending over time chart is my favorite I think
  • Refinement along the way is key. When you begin your budget categories may be too granular for you or not granular enough. Tweak as you go and keep moving forward
  • There are always things you can do better and things you rock at. Your assumptions may not always match the facts. The way to tell is to first have the data and secondly to analyze. Short of that you're just guessing. I know I wish I had started sooner to see what the 5 years before this looked like
  • Plan long term where able with your budget. This is not reflected in the numbers posted, but initially we used to plan 1-month ahead in our budget. Then we need a new car. Or furniture. Or <insert expensive thing we had not saved for over the last x months>. The result: scrambling to find the money and spiking the funding of a subcategory for that month in order to cover the expense. Now we try to plan ahead all of those purchases, even the ones that are many years out like a new vehicle so we can spread the cost out over time
  • 5 years is a loooong time.

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The Cheapest Renters Insurance Companies Georgia 2020

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Georgia is one of the most expensive states for renters insurance, as they’re the sixth most expensive state, with premiums around $243 annually in 2017 compared to the average premium of $180 in the United States. Even with the extra cost in Georgia, renters insurance can be affordable and can save you a lot of money if something happens that would require you to use your coverage.

Find the Best Renter Insurance

Enter your ZIP code below and be sure to click at least 2-3 companies to find the very best rate.

When considering renters insurance, there are several things to consider:

  • Personal property: This is the amount that covers your items should they incur damage from fire, flood, weather or other covered events
  • Personal liability: Personal liability covers medical bills for anyone who’s injured in your home or on your property. It can also protect you from expenses if you’re legally responsible for damage on someone else’s property.
  • Loss of use coverage: This provides financial assistance for temporary living expenses if your apartment becomes uninhabitable.

With these factors in mind, how much renters insurance do you need? This depends on the value of the items in your home. To demonstrate, if you’re a college student who doesn’t have many valuable items, you could afford to have a lower personal property amount. Or, if you have collectibles, artwork or other high-priced equipment, you’ll want more protection to cover them. Likewise, if you have a dog that might bite someone, more personal liability protection could be useful.

Best rental insurance companies in Georgia

When searching for the best renters insurance companies in Georgia, consider a provider’s reputation for delivering customer service (the J.D. Power & Associates customer satisfaction survey is a helpful resource), it’s financial strength that indicates if they can pay out claims (AM Best rating) and their price offerings. With this in mind, here are the best of the best:

  • Liberty Mutual: Liberty Mutual earned top marks for its financial strength, as it rated A with AM Best. This indicates the company has strong financial health and should be able to pay its policyholders’ claims.
  • Nationwide: Nationwide made the list on the strength of its customer service. That said, Nationwide tends to be a more expensive option when compared to State Farm or Liberty Mutual.
  • State Farm: State Farm makes the list because they earned a five out of five rating with J.D. Power, demonstrating a high level of customer satisfaction. What’s more, when we did a quote with State Farm, it was the cheapest traditional provider available, with rates beginning at $242 annually.
  • USAA: Last, but certainly not least is USAA. It’s the gold standard for insurance companies because it earned a five out of five overall in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction ratings. USAA is also among the least expensive providers with some of the most responsive customer service. This company only serves military members and their families.

Taking these things into account, here’s how the top Georgia renters insurance companies measure up to each other:

Provider J.D. Power Rating AM Best Rating BBB Grade
Liberty Mutual 2 out of 5 A A
Nationwide 2 out of 5 A+ A+
State Farm 5 out of 5 A++ A+
USAA 5 out of 5 A++ Not rated

When comparing renters insurance, you will have certain things that are more important to you than others. Because of this, we want to help you in the right direction by providing the best carrier depending on your situation.

Cheapest Georgia renters insurance: State Farm

State Farm is by far the least expensive option available. When we did a quote for them using an Atlanta zip code for $20,000 in personal property coverage, we received a quote for $243 annually. If you combine this policy with an auto policy, it drops the price down to a little over $16 per month.

Best Georgia renters insurance for online options: Nationwide

Nationwide makes it simple to receive a quote within minutes. You visit the website, go to “start my quote” and fill out the required information. Nationwide also offers a mobile app where you can make changes to your policy at any time, which is a simplified way to manage your policy on the go.

Best Georgia renters insurance for customer service: USAA and State Farm

Insurance can be difficult to understand. If you don’t know what coverage you’re receiving, it helps to go with a provider that delivers exceptional customer service. This is where USAA and State Farm separate themselves from the rest of the pack, as both earned top marks in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction survey.

Frequently asked questions

How much renters insurance do I need in Georgia?

The amount of Georgia renters insurance you need depends upon the value of the items you have. If you have more valuable items, you’ll want a bigger amount to cover you in the off chance they incur damage.

What’s the cheapest renters insurance company in Georgia?

For traditional carriers, you won’t beat State Farm. It offers the lowest rates with the highest customer satisfaction scores. If you’re in the military or have a family member who is in the military, USAA is your best bet. However, your circumstances might make some companies cheaper than others. Get several quotes and ask about discounts you might be eligible for to find the cheapest coverage.

The post The Cheapest Renters Insurance Companies Georgia 2020 appeared first on The Simple Dollar.



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We Spent $68.24 at the Grocery Store This Week (+ our dinner menus)

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Want to see what we bought for this week’s $70 grocery budget? I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

I was excited to find some great deals at Kroger, be able to stock up on a few things, and stay under budget. Here’s what we bought this week:

Kroger Shopping Trip #1:

  • 4 boxes Creamette Pasta — $0.49 each with the digital coupon
  • Duncan Hines Microwave Cakes (I thought these would be fun to have for a movie night) — marked down to $0.39 each
  • Kroger Hashbrowns — $1.79
  • Fresh Salsa — marked down to $0.99
  • 1 bag of apples — marked down to $0.99
  • 4 jars Kroger peanut butter — $0.99 each after digital coupon
  • 1 jar natural Kroger peanut butter — $1.79
  • Kroger cheese (16 oz.) — $3.99
  • Pillsbury Pie Crust — marked down to $0.99
  • 3-lb bag of Gala apples — $3.99
  • 2 lbs ground beef — marked down to $1.99 each
  • 3 bottles Odwalla juice — marked down to $0.99 each
  • 2 boxes Kroger cereal — $1.49 each
  • Milk — $2.79
  • Half & Half — $1.99
  • Total with tax: $38.38

Kroger Shopping Trip #2:

  • 2 boxes Kroger cereal — $1.49 each
  • Hostess Cupcake Dessert Mix — marked down to $0.39
  • 2 cans Chef Boyardee — marked down to $0.19 each
  • Simple Truth Refried Beans — marked down to $0.39
  • 4 bags Kroger Frozen Veggies — $1 each
  • Lemi-Shine Dishwasher Tabs — marked down to $0.89
  • 5 packages of Pampers wipes — $0.99 each with Friday-Saturday digital coupon
  • 2 Stayfree pads — $1.69 each when you buy 5 participating items, used $3/2 Kroger digital coupon = $0.19 each
  • 2 Suave shampoo/conditioner — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items, used $1/2 Kroger digital coupon = $0.49 each
  • Kellogg’s Raisin Bran — $1.79 when you buy 5 participating items
  • Milk — $2.99
  • Simple Truth Eggs — marked down to $1.49
  • Total with tax: $29.86

Our Menu Plan This Week

Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.

This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate.

Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here.

Breakfasts: Cereal

Lunches: Leftovers, Salad, Apples/Peanut Butter, Mac & Cheese, Yogurt, Cookies, Chips, Random other markdowns/sale items 🙂

Dinners: 

Sunday: Leftovers + Mac & Cheese

Monday: Breakfast Casserole (recipe sent to me by a follower)

Tuesday: Fend for yourself + leftovers

Wednesday: Tyson Anytizers, Broccoli, Brown Rice

Thursday: Chicken Tetrazinni, Green Beans, Bran Muffins

Friday: Pumpkin Waffles, Bacon (Jesse & I went out to dinner with a gift card we were given by his parents — we’re trying to get in some dates before the baby gets here!)

Saturday: Dinner out (Kathrynne had an out of town basketball tournament)



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