Posts Tagged ‘insurance’

Awesome Super Bowl Party (on a Budget) Tips

Super Bowl… it’s all about the game… er… party… er… food… er… budget...

Whatever the Super Bowl is for you, you won’t want to miss catching these videos with recipes and entertaining tips that score well for your wallet’s team while you serve your guests a winning time.

Football Fiesta – Andrea Correale, founder of Elegant Affairs catering gives affordable football-themed  ideas for food, buffet settings & party favors.

10 Super Bowl Party Savings Tips – Josh Elledge, SavingsAngel founder’s tips to save on a range of Super Bowl Party expenses like babysitting, party supplies, decorations, food & more.

Super Bowl Buffalo Chicken Wings & Vegan Snacks –  Traditional Wings, Asian Peanut Sauce & 2 vegan dishes, all for under $15 from the Working Class Foodies.

Super Bowl, Serve 8 Under $35 – Tim Love, Owner of The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Forth Worth, Texas shares recipes for a Super Bowl menu on a budget: 3-course meal to serve 8 people for less than $35.

Hosting a Party? Play it Safe with Liability Insurance –  Experts say it’s important for party hosts to carry liability insurance for your parties, not only to cover a potential accident or an incident due to intoxication – but also for things like food poisoning, even if the event is catered you may be held responsible.

More ideas from our friends:

  • Super Bowl party ideas, recipes, drinks and games…
  • Super Bowl Menu: how to keep it frugal…
  • More Recipes including Beer Cocktails…

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Obamacare’s Alternative: A Medical Insurance Shopping Site That Works


With the Obamacare website ( non-functioning, these three San Francisco techies in their 20’s were determined to provide a much needed service to frustrated medical insurance shoppers. They created a site in one weekend that brings you all the comparison insurance shopping you need, and it’s free.

Details on in this video:  Medical Insurance Shopping Site That Works.

More healthcare savings tips in these posts: 

Obamacare: What It Means For You

Health care costs from drugstore items, insurance premiums and co-payments, to emergency room and hospital visits are one of the largest expenses American’s face, and picking up the tab for the uninsured results in a considerable financial drain on everyone and the government. Today marks the start of The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, which hopes to aleviate much of that financial burden.

Despite the government shutdown, one of the most critical elements of the health care law, open enrollment, begins on 51 different state-based, online insurance marketplaces.

How will this affect you and your family and/or your business? What should you do? What paperwork, forms, proof of income, etc. will you need to sign up? What is covered, what isn’t?  How much will it cost me? Where do you go to find out more?

In brief:

You don’t have to do anything right now if:

  • You already have insurance
  • You have insurance through your employer
  • You are on Medicare, Medicaid
  • Your child is covered by CHIP
  • You are on COBRA

If you do NOT have coverage of any kind right now – this IS for you. You can begin shopping for health care coverage plans on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 ONLY through This is where you can compare costs and choose the coverage plan you want. 

This is the portal through which you will be directed to your state’s listing of available plans. Each state has something different. For those who live in states that are not offering plans, you will be directed to a federal government site for coverage options. In either case, you’re going to see different types of coverage plans — say like covering 60 percent to 90 percent of your health care costs. You can choose the plan that you prefer.

There are subsidies and tax credits available for those with qualifying income levels.

You have from October 1, 2013 until March 21, 2014 to enroll in a plan during this first enrollment phase.

January 1, 2014 – health coverage starts.

This Open Enrollment period closes, March 21, 2014.

There are penalties for those who do not enroll in a plan by March 21, 2014. The fines will go up over time, so should you choose to not enroll, you should know an estimate ahead of time as to what penalties you’ll be facing now and in the future.

Here are five videos that explain and clarify in more detail.

UPDATE: Medical Insurance Shopping Site That Works – With the Obamacare website ( non-functioning, these three San Francisco techies in their 20’s created a site in one weekend that brings you all the comparison insurance shopping you need, and it’s free. 

5 Things About Obamacare’s Open Enrollment –  What you should know about the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance coverage and open enrollment (aka: Obamacare) and what will be available to you.

Obamacare Insurance Enrollments – Open enrollment in the health insurance exchanges begin October 1st and it is the first opportunity to shop for comprehensive health care plans under the Affordable Care Act. More about  what this mean for you in this clip.

 Obamacare Starts: What It Means For You – Starting Oct. 1, Americans looking for health coverage are able to enroll in a private insurance plan through a state-based exchange – online marketplaces where consumers can comparison shop for health coverage, “Just like you would for cell phone plans or plane tickets.” President Obama said. What you need to know about Obamacare  and where you go to find out more in this clip.
What You Need to Know About Obamacare Scams – The launch of the Affordable Care Act begins on October 1. PROTECT YOURSELF AND WATCH OUT FOR SCAMS… Get important details to protect yourself in this clip.
More in these posts: 
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Vintage Vinyl Records: Tips to Reuse, Repurpose and Resell

The Grammy Awards always gets us thinking about our favorite tunes and the memories that are sparked by music. Music is a powerful force. And as an art form it changes with the advent of new technologies, just as the vehicles by which we listen to music also changes with new technologies. In just a few short decades the way music is delivered has gone from requiring a huge apparatus like the victrola to wireless devices that are barely visible if at all. Some people still prefer to listen to music from vinyl record albums; some people love actively collecting both new and vintage vinyl albums, while still others have collections that they don’t know what to do with. Many people are creative and see the crafty potential hidden within those records and they enjoy a little DIY time creating unique items to enhance their homes and give as fun gifts. No matter where you fall in those categories, we have helpful info. about how to get the most out of your vinyl records.

How to Sell Your Old Records – It’s not always easy to find the true value of your vinyl records. You would need to know this before reselling or seeking insurance protection for your collection. Here are tips on how to assess the value and on reselling

Does Insurance Protect Your Record Collection? – If you have an in depth vinyl record and/or CD collection, you won’t want to miss these pointers on how to make sure your collection is covered by insurance and protected from mishaps.

Make a Bowl From a Vinyl Record – How to repurpose your old vinyl records by making a cool bowl. This creative DIY craft project is SUPER easy, quick and makes a unique, impressive gift idea!

Make Bracelets from Vinyl Records – Crafter extraordinaire Jennifer Perkins shows how to make bracelets from vinyl records? Easy DIY how-to instructions for making a cool, fashion-forward cuffs. This also is a great gift idea!

Make a Clock from Vinyl Records – How to make a clock from vinyl records? This easy DIY project makes a fun gift, adds creative and personal flavor to any room… it’s simple to do, inexpensive, and fun to make!  Marie suggests getting a used clock, but you can also find clock mechanisms at your local crafts store. You could also glue clock numbers that you cut out from decorative paper onto the record if you like.

More you’ll like:

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Ways to Save Money on Health Insurance

Urrg! The rising cost of health care and health insurance is distressing and aggravating, to put it mildly. In November, I received notice that my health insurance premiums are going up. As of January 1  they are increasing a whopping 24% – that’s an increase of $198.44 per month!!  Yes, per month, bringing my yearly premium total to $12,279.72. I guess this was an early “Happy New Year” greeting.

I am not currently employed, do not seem to qualify to join a “group” for group rates, and I do not yet qualify for Medicare (and I’m not sure if I actually will qualify for it when I do reach the qualifying age), which means I either go without insurance, or I carry private independent insurance. So once again, I need to do some thorough investigating to compare the dozens of policies and options.

I know there are thousands of others out there facing similar situations. Here are some options that might be helpful when looking for resources to save on, or secure, general medical health insurance:

Resources for finding “Group” Medical Insurance coverage:

If you are not employed by an organization or business that provides “group” insurance, you still may be able to become a member of a group, organization or union and receive insurance coverage at better rates than if you are being covered as an individual, with the added potential benefit of more leniency on issues like pre-existing conditions. Consider anything and everything, from organizations like AARP to whatever your hobby might be, as potential to finding a “group” to join. Do online searches to see if any may be offering health insurance. Try using search terms like:

  • “Boat Owners of America” medical insurance group benefits (insert your own term, hobby, fraternity, profession, etc.. between the “….”).
  • Group medical insurance coverage
  • Where to find group health insurance coverage “insert your state”

Here are just a few groups we found who do offer health insurance coverage to anyone who qualifies for membership in their group:

Additional ideas for example:

  • Alumni Associations
  • Local Chambers of Commerce
  • The Elks Club
  • A sport enthusiasts club or league
  • Previous military service
  • Trade association
  • Craft guild
  • Religious organizations
  • Educational organizations
  • Ethnic organizations

Insurance “Alternatives”

Group Health Expenses Sharing Plan: This is not insurance but works in a similar way. A group of people pool their money together and pay each other’s health expenses. They sort of become their own insurance company. The member contributions are pooled together and usually invested in order to accrue interest on the pooled funds. These work best when there are a lot of people contributing and everyone only uses the money for major medical expenses. Many religious groups have used this model, like’s Medi-Share. If you are considering this as an option, choose a group that has been around for a long time with a good track record.

Clubs: Here’s one example of an insurance club: The No Insurance Club which offers a no-frills option to health insurance for people who want basic, preventative health care. It launched in 2009 and is now available in 12 states. Annual fees: $480 for an individual membership, and $680 for family membership, no matter what the size of the family. For that yearly fee, individual members receive 12 doctor visits, families receive 16 visits, services such as flu shots, discount generic prescriptions, physical exams, blood tests, and other preventive testing. There are no co-pays for doctor visits,  no physical is required before enrolling, and there are no exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

It is important to note however, that the No Insurance Club does not cover emergency room visits, catastrophic illnesses, hospitalizations, visits to specialists, surgery, brand name prescriptions, and rehabilitation, among other services. But for some people who cannot afford the high premiums of most health insurance plans on the market, but who believe they will utilize the services offered by the Club, this may be an option – if even temporarily. This may also be a good option for those who only have major or catastrophic medical insurance policy coverage to be able to receive general care at reasonable rates.

Two other similar, though not identical, medical discount clubs are and

Amend your current insurance policy: Carrying a higher deductible or limiting your coverage to major, catastrophic, or emergency-only coverage are ways to keep your insurance premium rates lower.  The higher the deductible, the lower your monthly premium will be, but you will also pay more out of pocket when you do go to the doctor or hospital. If you elect to do this, you should consider creating a health savings account for smaller health issues.

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Don’t automatically think that since you have a job you won’t qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid will pay health care expenses for low-income families, individuals, and children. Eligibility requirements differ from state to state. It costs you nothing to see if you or your children qualify for Medicaid so check that first before moving on to other options.

Medicare: Medicare is provided by the U.S. government and administered by the Social Security Administration. If you are 65 years old or older, or under 65 years old and disabled,  you might qualify for Medicare. You may also qualify if you are getting Social Security disability benefits.

Look Ahead: In 2014, Direct Primary Care practices will be allowed to compete within state-based insurance exchanges. By eliminating insurance companies from the health care equation, these practices promise to lower the cost of medical care by up to 40 percent. You pay every month whether you go or not, go as often and whenever you want. They accept no insurance, there are no deductibles, there is no paperwork and no bill. The cost? $50 – $150 per month. This would also be a good option to combine with a catastrophic or major medical only insurance policy.

Additional information from experts on more ways to save on health insurance in these videos: 

More health savings ideas:

  • Ways to Cut Everyday Health Care Costs –  An SLTV blog post giving ways to reduce your everyday health care costs, without compromising quality on everything from dental floss to prescription eye care.
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Ways to Cut Everyday Health Care Costs

I know I am not alone in feeling a little panic when facing the skyrocketing costs of health care in the U.S. on everything from an aspirin to surgery to insurance premiums. It seems everyone is looking for ways to combat the rising cost of medical care.

Here are a few pointers and resources with tips that may help reduce your everyday health care costs, without compromising quality:

Always ask. Ask your doctor, hospital, lab, pharmacy, etc. if there is anything they might suggest that would lower the cost of treatment. You’d be surprised at what they might be able to do for you.

  • Ask if discounts are offered to members of groups like AAA, AARP, veterans, government employees, professional or trade unions, or any any other organization or profession you can think of which may qualify you for an affiliated discount, don’t be afraid to ask!
    • Prescription Drug Discount with AAA – This short video explains the AAA prescription drug discount program. But additionally, AAA members also may receive 15 % discount on nutritional products at GNC stores, reduced membership fees at Gold’s Gym and 30% off on regularly priced items at Reebok Outlet Stores.
  • Ask your physician if generic medicines would work for you.
  • Many pharmacies have a list of flat rate $4 or $5 generic prescription medicines available. Ask at the pharmacy for a list of those medications and bring that list to your doctors. Ask your doctors if they might be able to prescribe medications for you from those on the list.
  • Ask your pharmacist if there might be other prescription options that would cost less, and if so, they can call your doctors for approval.

Your county may be providing free prescription Rx discounts cards.

Shop around. Pharmacies vary on the prices they charge for prescription medications just as they do for everything else on their shelves, so shop around to find the lowest prices. Don’t overlook “big box” stores and membership discount stores like Costco and Sam’s Club for rock-bottom prices, on prescriptions and eye care. The price of membership may end up being worth the savings offered.

Keep a look out for free samples and ASK for free samples, from your physician and pharmacy, not only for prescriptions but on a variety of drug store items, too. In addition to asking, there are many websites like our partner,, that offer special promotions, discounts, giveaways, free shipping, and free samples – for in-store and online shopping.

Use coupons and loyalty programs, and combine the discounts you receive from those with store promotions or sales whenever possible.

  • Coupon Stacking Explained – How coupon stacking works, how easy it is, and a simple tip that adds up to big savings at the cash register from Julia Scott, CEO,

Amazon has a “subscribe and save” service that can help cut the cost of anything you buy on a regular interval and offers free shipping with sign up, which can often bring down the cost of regularly used items, like razor blades, toothpaste and tooth brushes, and shampoo at prices well below many big-box discount stores.

Opt for longer lasting items. When you shop for sundries, opt for the items that will last longer, like toothpaste from a tube instead of a pump, or bar soap instead of liquid.

Use less and use it all up. You may be using far more than you need to. Advertisements show us toothbrushes loaded with toothpaste, and luscious streaming waterfalls of shampoo, conditioners, and lotions, but in reality, most often all that is required is a tiny dab. Cut open the tubes when you think they are empty, you’ll be surprised at how much is actually left.

Consider a little do-it-yourself. Several renowned beauty experts have all relied on natural items that you probably already have on hand in your kitchen to achieve the same, if not better, beautiful results as expensive cosmetic treatments, lotions, scrubs, moisturizers, hair conditioners, teeth brighteners, and bath spas. And there are several at-home products that may be effective in treating minor itches and sunburns, too.

Eyeglasses: Register for email notifications from websites like, to receive notice of their deeply discounted sale promotions, as well as their free eyeglass events. An example of a recent sale: 11 eyeglass styles for $11 each. You can even “try on” eyeglass frames online!  I have personally ordered contact lenses from them and was very pleased with their service.

AAA members may receive 30% discounts on eyeglasses, and 10% discounts on contact lenses at Lenscrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical and Target Optical.

Consider Bartering –  Bartering is once again emerging as a popular viable option for receiving goods and services, and many medical practices are participating. There are several online bartering sites where you “bank” your skill and/or time for points, and then “swap” your points for medical services.

  • Time Swap – The New BarterConsumer advocate Stacy Johnson from explains one online bartering site in this video.
  • Bartering for Health Care – The story of one medical center in Maine that is participating in a barter bank to help make health care more accessible.

Here, from one of our favorite resources, Bottom Line Personal newsletter, from their interview with Clark Howard, host of The Clark Howard Show on CNN’s HLN network.(Volume 32, Number 21, November, 1, 2011), are tips for those not covered by health insurance to receive lower prices on services, prescription medications and eyeglasses:

  • Get health-care providers and pharmacies to bid for your business online. If you requrie a medical, dental or vision procedure that is not covered by your insurance, enter it into the free website (registration required). Health-care professionals offer lower-than-normal prices through this site to bring in new clients.  This site tends to be most useful for finding low prices for dental and cosmetic procedures. It’s sometimes possible to obtain discounts of 25% to 30% or more.
  • For prescription medications, check out the free website (registration required). Enter your prescription medications into their site, and pharmacies will offer your their lowest prices. Only reputable U.S. pharmacies are allowed to participate.  If you cannot wait for a medication to arrive by mail, the site can restrict the search to local pharmacies.  Savings of as much as 50% are possible.
  • An online site for eyeglasses at very low prices is Zenni Optical. They offer prescription eyeglasses online for less than $20 — lenses, frames and shipping included. Eyeglasses with special features such as lenses can cost $50 or more. The lenses are ground in China and theframes are not brand names, but the product is good quality. You can upload a picture of yourself to the site and “try on” frames. One downside is there is no post-purchase care or adjustments. You’ll have to bring them to a local optician to adjust fitting issues.  To help ensure a proper fit, make sure your eye doctor checks and records on your prescription your pupillary distance (PD) — the distance between the centers of your pupils.

More from experts on health care savings:

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How To Avoid Costly Travel Hassles

No one wants travel hassle. No matter how far from or close to home you venture, travel is an exciting and enriching adventure. We spend days, sometimes months planning and making arrangements. We may spend several years saving up to make a vacation happen. We want everything go to as smoothly as possible. But… we’ve just got to face it, travel is the perfect opportunity for snags, and those glitches can be very expensive, draining you of your time and costing you in extra unplanned fees, change charges, impromptu overnights, and even fines. However with a little forethought and planning you may be able to save yourself some real travel trouble, time and money. The more you can prepare ahead, the less opportunity for snags. We’ve gathered these tips and videos from some of the best travel experts – handy ideas to help you avoid or quickly smooth over some of the potential pitfalls that come with the travel territory.

  • More people are handling their own travel personal and business arrangements these days. Sites like allow you to have your whole itinerary easily accessible to yourself, and anyone you choose.
  • Write it all down and make copies. Even if you’ve created online records, there’s no replacement for paper.Be sure you have it all in one easily accessible place for quick reference.Even the simplest information is important.
    • A copy of the name of your airlines, flight numbers, ship, train line, hotels, length of stay and dates for each destination.
    • Emergency contact info: Write down who you would contact in case of an emergency ie: your embassy, bank, credit card company, etc.
    • Leave a copy with someone you can reach at home of all documents, itinerary and details.
  • Be sure you have all that is required for travel to the country you have selected to visit…the valid required health documents, visa’s, passports, money, taxes.. etc.
  • Find out ahead of time which countries will not accept your visit based on a prior visit to another country which they may have problematic relations with. If you know this ahead of time, you can ask to have a separate piece of paper stamped instead of a page in your passport.
  • Have all boarding passes, tickets, passports, identification, and other necessary papers altogether and ready to show. This is especially handy to have when dealing with customs both entering and exiting a country. Often it’s these simple details that can get forgotten when you are rushed and frazzled and can’t even remember what day of the week  it is after a long day  or night of travel or have awakened at 4 am and haven’t had a cup of coffee yet.
  • Prepare ahead for a last minute change:
    • Have a list of airport hotels direct numbers (not 800 numbers) If you need to stay overnight a direct call will go further than an online or central reservation.
    • If you have to rebook a flight, you may do it faster by calling rather than waiting in line to book the change. If you carry or have online access to a flight guide you’ll be several steps ahead.
    • Pack a change of clothes, medications, and mobile device re-chargers in your carry-on bag.
    • Bring a sweater, light jacket, shawl or lap blanket to have available on the flight, or to use if you need to sleep over at the airport. Catch this site for the ultimate in airport sleep-over pointers.
    • Have a money belt in your carry-on ready to use if you want to protect valuables should you need to sleep in the airport, also a good idea while sleeping on the plane.
    • When waiting for your flight, be sure to locate electrical outlets, in case you need to re-charge your mobile devices, very handy if you need to sleep over at the airport.
  • Get the most comfort possible for your money.Know before you book by checking sites like which show you exactly what is what, size of the seat, location, proximity to the restrooms, etc.
  • Get a boarding pass ahead of time if you can. You may be able to do this online.
  • Arrive at the airport early, early… and did we say, early?
  • Avoid checking luggage. Carry-on is the only way to be certain your bags won’t get lost. Make sure you have proper identification on the outside AND inside all your luggage.
  • Will your carry-on bag actually fit in the overhead or under the seat? Check ahead, many smaller planes will require gate-check-in, but you can avoid a surprise and the accompanying hassle if you know this ahead of time.
  • Check ahead for luggage weight limits, too. Find out the weight limits on luggage for your airline. Many smaller and foreign carriers have weight limits even for carry-on bags.
  • Separate your liquids.Make sure they are in the proper sized bottles (under 4 oz.). Put them all together in one quart-sized clear plastic bag and take them out of your suitcase for separate scanning.
  • If you have prescription medications, it’s best if you can also have a copy of the prescription, but if not be sure the package/bottle is properly labeled, especially if the bottle is over 4 oz. Be sure to pack medications in your carry-on bag.
  • Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off, and easy to run in.
  • Dress simply. Avoid wearing anything metal: belt buckles, jewelry, metal hair clips, watches, pocket change, nail clippers, etc. anything which might set off the metal detectors at security. If you do have these items, don’t forget to take them off and put them in a bin for separate screening.
  • Bringing gifts? Avoid gifts that are wrapped, security will ask you to unwrap them.
  • Have your computer and mobile devices out from their cases and out from your luggage for separate scanning.
  • Put proper identification on your mobile devices, like your name, phone number, and where you will be lodging.
  • Travel Trip insurance and Travel health insurance may well be worth the few dollars it costs in order to be reimbursed for your expenses should a last minute cancellation be necessary, or for any accident or illness that might occur while you are traveling abroad.

Related videos with even more insight on avoiding travel snags and the expense that goes with it:

Traveling & Lose Cell Phone Charger?Have you ever lost the charger for your cell phone or mobile device when traveling? Here’s an idea that could save your mobile devices’ life when you’re on the road, from  travel reporter Peter Greenberg

Keeping Track of Your Luggage Peter Greenberg gives simple tips that can make a big difference toward preventing lost luggage, so both your suitcases and you end up at the same destination.

How to Avoid Losing Your Luggage– More tips to prevent lost luggage and the extra worry and expense that goes with it.

Avoid Airport HassleExcellent pointers to save you airport travel hassle from radio host John Tesh on checked baggage fees, early check-in, re-booking & security tips.

Consider Travel InsuranceTravel insurance could save you a lot more than just a travel headache. Consider these tips before planning your next big trip from June Walbert, USAA Financial Planner.

Traveler’s Health Insurance Travel and health insurance may be a good idea, especially for travel outside of the country, and for more costly trips, but navigating the coverage can be complicated. Travel agent Sally Watkins advises on health insurance for travel abroad.

Identity Theft? Stolen Wallet?No one wants to deal with this, ever, but especially while traveling and away from home. June Walbert gives pointers so you can be prepared, just in case.

Be Prepared Travel TipsWorld traveler Jacquelyn Richey gives her favorite pointers on staying safe while traveling with valuables, money, important papers and more.

More Money Saving Travel Articles:

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Pet Care Savings Tips

We’re always looking for ways to save money on pet needs. The price of pet care is sky-high, and unfortunately we don’t expect to see much of a change in that.  But there are ways to save or stretch your pet care dollars. We recently did a post titled, How to Save Money on Pet Care which received tremendous readership, so when we we came across a recent AAA Horizons newsletter that featured an article on some pet care savings options available to AAA members, we could not resist bringing these to your attention to help you keep your pet healthy while keeping your wallet happy, too.

From: AAA Horizons, May 2011

AAA Has Discounts for Animal Lovers

Here are.. ways to save as you care for your pets at home…

1) Save on keeping your pet healthy.  Many pet medications are eligible for a discount throgh the AAA Prescription Savings Program. When your veterinarian writes your pet a prescription, visit or call (866)AAA-SAVE (222-7283) to find a participating pharmacy and to obtain a cost estimate. Then show your AAA card and your AAA Prescription Savings card (available online or from your local AAA office) to receive the discount on drugs that could also be prescribed for humans and are not covered by an insurance policy. (SLTV notes:  in other words: This only works for Rx’s which are intended for your pet but are medicines which are also used by humans, and purchased through a participating pharmacy. And, FYI:  you can also use this on prescriptions for yourself which are not covered by insurance, too!)

2) Pamper your puppy with professional care.  As a AAA member, you can save 10 percent on Fetch Pet Care services such as pet sitting and dog walking. A trained staff member will care for your pet according to your wishes and your pet’s needs.  To schedule a consultation, visit and use the promo code: AAAPETS or call (877)5-FETCHAA (533-8242) and mention your AAA membership.

3) Hit the road with your furry friend.  Find more than 13,000 pet-friendly AAA-approved hotels and campgrounds in “Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook.”  It’s available at your local AAA office for the member price of $12 or for farious rices on

Related Pet Money-Saving Videos:

More pet care money saving ideas in our post:

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Cheap Car Rentals, 22 Money Saving How-to Tips

You’re traveling on vacation or on business — you’ll need a rental car. Your own car is the shop and you aren’t covered for a loaner —  you need a rental car. You live in a busy metro area with great mass transit; you don’t own a car of your own, but you need to travel out of town for an afternoon and the train doesn’t go there — you need a rental car.  At some point, everyone will need to rent a car.  Every city, every car rental company, and each individual dealer all have their own set of terms, prices, taxes and fees.  Renting a car can be one of the most tedious, complex, and costly arrangements to figure out. Well,’s here to keep you rollin’ with the very best tips and tricks to receiving some deep money-saving discounts for cheaper car rentals and save you valuable time as well… well worth taking a few moments before you spend your money or start your engines!

22 Ways to Save Money on Car Rentals:

If you own a car and carry car insurance on it, you may not need to purchase additional car insurance on your rental car, check with your current homeowner’s and/or your current auto insurance companies to see if a rental car is covered. In addition, many credit card companies offer automatic  insurance coverage if you use that card to rent the car.

For the most part, Pre-paid gas option is not your best option. You’ll usually fair better if you simply re-fill the tank before you return the car.  And a “re-fill” does not necessarily mean you need to completely fill the tank if it was not completely filled at the time you rented it.  Check the tank when you pick up the car, make sure the proper tank amount is noted on your paperwork.You only need to replace what you used. If the tank was 3/4 full when you picked it up, you only need to return it 3/4 full.

Use a cell phone app or online site to price compare and locate cheap gas prices at local pumps.

Reserve the least expensive car ahead of time. Often the lot may be out of smaller cars and you will receive a larger car anyway, so you might as well wait and see first, if not, then ask if they can offer you a special deal for an upgrade at the last minute if you prefer a larger car.

— Make a car reservation yourself online as far in advance as possible. Keep tabs on the rates, and if prices drop, cancel your reservation and re-book at the newer, cheaper rate. There are no penalties (at least not at the time of this writing) for canceling a reservation.

— Ask In advance, and ask again when you pick up the car, if there are any potential extra fees, you should be aware of such as one-way surcharges, and then later check your final bill carefully for extra fees, and don’t be afraid to mention anything you may have a question about.

If you are not a member of that car rental loyalty club, you may wish to sign up to become one, especially if there is no fee to do so.  You may receive points for airline miles, or a discount, or an upgrade, but the best reason, is to avoid those long lines at the regular rental counter — You can sign up ahead of time online, Pssst…. but if you haven’t signed up ahead of time and you are there in the agency facing a 3-hour long line –  just walk right up to the shorter line at the “Club Member” window… tell them you want to enroll, and proceed in renting the car without the hassle of waiting in a long line.

— Askthe rental car company if they are affiliated with any credit card companies, travel membership groups like automobile clubs, your airline, AARP, hotel loyalty clubs, local colleges and universities, and any large local businesses or industries that might be in the area. Ask if they might be offering any current discounts, coupons or deals. There may be several current specials, but they may not volunteer this information, you usually have to ask.

Walk around the car and inspect it carefully in the presence of an agent. Many dealers are doing this as routine now, but if not, you may request to do this. Have them take note of any scratches, dents, dings, or anything out of place so you aren’t charged for it when you return the car.  Call immediately to report if something is not functioning properly once you’ve driven away, and get a name and/or some form of confirmation of having made the call.

Avoid extras! Do you REALLY need to rent a navigation system or a toll payment /tag transponder?

Consider renting a car from a non-airport location. Many cities charge additional taxes, as much as 20% in some cases, for airport car rental locations.

Check the weekly rate, even if you may not need the car for the full 5 – 7 days.  It may be considerably cheaper than paying a daily full price rate.  Also,confirm ahead of time, exactly what constitutes their definition of what a “weekly” rate is. It varies and may not be what you expect.

Typically weekend rates are less expensive than weekday rates, but again you will have to check at the time of booking for their current policies or specials.

— If you do not need a car for the entire time, calculate what renting for only the time you need a car would be. This may possibly come out better when you consider savings on garage and parking fees, tipping, and gas. However, if you cannot receive a discounted daily rate, you’ll need to calculate which option you would come out ahead with: a discounted weekly rate or, say, a three-day rental at the full-price daily rate.

If you are in North America and only have an occasional need for a rental car, consider using Zipcar, a concept designed to allow for anything from an hour’s need to a full day’s rental.  This can be very efficient, especially given that gas is included. The first 180 miles is also included. $60 annual fee. $25 one-time application fee. Cars are located in parking garages city-wide and on various university campuses. You reserve a car either online or via phone for a few hours or an entire day. You go to the car, hold your card over the windshield, the car unlocks, and the car is yours for the pre-reserved time. Return the car to the same parking spot at the end of your reservation. Round-trip rentals only – no one-ways permitted. Currently available in the following North American cities:
Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, London, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington DC.

Handy Tools:

Cheapoair :  In addition to Cheap Flights, provides car rental booking and compares prices across the full range of car types including Eco-friendly & Hybrid Cars from five  major car rental dealers with one easy click: Entrprise, Hertz, Avis, National, and Dollar.

TruPrice Car Rental Calculator: Translates car rental fees into total price, including thousands of fees, for nine car rental firms in 50 major U.S. airports.

Kayak:  Offers a search for rental cars from 5 travel sites: Priceline, Travelocity, Expedia,, Hotwire.

Travelmath Fuel Cost of Driving Calculator: This calculator gives you the option of using their  ‘Quick Calculator’ in which you enter a start and destination point to receive approximate costs. And another Fuel Cost Calculator where you can enter more specific details such as mileage per gallon, price of gas per gallon, and distance in exact miles. There are options for both U.S. and European travel.

Related Videos With Money-Saving Tips:

Rental Cars: How to Get The Best Deal – Author of the Pauline Frommer Travel Guides, Pauline Frommer herself, shares insider tricks for getting the best deal.

Renting a Car? What to Ask – Travel reporter, Peter S. Greenberg’s handy questions to ask before you rent.

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