PinchingPennies

Saving money to pay off student loans and consumer debt

More Spent on Overdraft Fees Than Fresh Veggies

Americans spent more money on overdraft fees than on fresh vegetables or books last year. No wonder banks love them overdraft fees and loath to do away with them.

The Center for Responsible Lending issued a report stating that Americans spent almost 24 billion dollars in overdraft fees last year. The banks’ reply? It is better than being embarrassed at the checkout. Not really but rationalize it any way you want, banker.

There are pretty pictures at this write up at BusinessInsider.

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November 15, 2009 Posted by | Unexpected Expenses | , , | Leave a comment

Thrifty car rental guarantees what again?

I am having a run of horrible luck with businesses lately. Today it is Thrifty’s turn.

I booked a flight to Philadelphia for a few days to visit the husband’s family and meet our new niece. Since they live in the burbs, we need a rental car for while we are there. So I head to Travelocity to figure out which car rental agency to use. Travelocity comes back with a 4 day rental at $151.95 plus tax from Thrifty car rental, coming to a total of $181.11. Since I prefer to go right to the source instead of using a third party, I visited Thrifty.com and reserved a car. I didn’t notice until I confirmed the reservation that the $181.22 rate did not include taxes and so the price of the car was quite a bit higher there than at Travelocity.

Fortunately Thrifty.com has a “best rate guarantee” written boldly across their website.

Thrifty's Best Rate Guarantee

Thrifty's Best Rate Guarantee

So I submit a claim with all the information needed for their employees to find the fare I did and it was D.E.N.I.E.D. The email I received stated that Travelocity’s weekly rate is the same as theirs. Well, that is nice but I am only renting for 4 days.

I respond to their email with exact details from Travelocity’s site.

Review the Total

Thrifty Car Rental Standard Special rental, 4 day(s) at $29.44/weekend includes unlimited miles/kilometers.
Weekend Daily Rate
2 weekend day(s) @ $29.44 $58.88
2 extra day(s) @ $43.69 $87.38
1 extra hour(s)@ $5.69 $5.69

Subtotal $151.95
Taxes and Fees $29.16

Total due at rental counter: $181.11

And this time, I get the following response to my email:

Thank you for your email

Presently, your rental does not match the BRG Terms and Conditions.

Patrice

Thrifty.com Help Desk

Every time I get responses like this, I think of John Grisham’s book, The Rainmaker. As if they are the insurance company that automatically denies the claims hoping people will go away. Well, I am sick on the couch so I am not going away. I asked Thrifty customer service to explain what portion of the T&C my claim violated. I’ll see if they have an answer for that one.

August 15, 2009 Posted by | Hidden Costs | , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Forget Your Raincheck

This morning I headed to my local grocery store for a few items, including bulk raw almonds. They were on sale for $3.99 a pound, which is an incredible price so of course they were out. I asked the checker if there were any more in the back and she said no, but I can give you a raincheck. I was all, whaaaa? I didn’t know stores gave rainchecks anymore on out of stock sale items.

My lesson today: ask about rainchecks.

March 2, 2009 Posted by | Deals, Frugal Dinner | , , | Leave a comment

Investing Money – Finding the Best Rate

A new website, MoneyAisle, has banks compete for business by bidding for the best interest rate. Give the website a test spin by entering an initial deposit amount and state of residence. Also choose between a certificate of deposit (CD) or high yield interest savings account. To find out the name of the bank and see the terms, you need to register. The site claims all banks are FDIC insured, which I never thought was important until a year ago.

When I tried it out, the high yield savings account gave me an APY of 2.65% and a 6 month CD had an APY of 2.25%. The minimum deposit is $1000 for both the CD and savings accounts.

Takes some of the time out of the research.

February 27, 2009 Posted by | savings | , | Leave a comment

Lowering the Electricity Bill

It is hot here and the AC is on virtually all the time. When I opened my electricity bill, I was in for a little surprise. It was not too high! The company we use have an Electricity Usage Summary that compares our current usage with last month and the same time last year. I don’t find the last month particularly helpful because the temperature difference is 15 degrees. This time last year and this year is a good comparison though.

At the same time last year we averaged 33 kWh per day where this year we averaged 33 kWh (slightly less if you divide total use by number of days) but the heat chart shows that this year has been hotter by an average of 8 degrees. Hurrah global warming. So I count last month as successful in saving electricity.

What have we done to save?

  • Turned down the AC to 80-82 degrees. Last year it was 76-78 degrees.
  • Closed the blinds and turned off the lights. I also covered a few windows with blankets to keep the light out.
  • Made more use of the ceiling fans. I read that using ceiling fans makes it feel a few degrees cooler than it is.

June 28, 2008 Posted by | savings | , , , | Leave a comment

Cheap Ways to Keep Your House Cool

An article on MSN has 25 cheap ideas to keep your house cool. I ran out to Home Depot and bought a new filter for the air conditioning. The old filter was disgusting and replacing it seems to have helped. I also started running the fans at night so I can keep the AC down a few degrees.

June 12, 2008 Posted by | savings | , | Leave a comment

Trimming the Fat

Cutting some so called fixed expenses out of my budget.

Moved credit card debt to 0% – Save: $200/mo
Got reduced rate on cable internet – Save $10/mo

Total Savings: $210 per month!

February 18, 2008 Posted by | Fixed Expenses | , | Leave a comment