Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Swings and roundabouts

Hello, I renewed my insurance cover for my car this morning, it took about two minutes flat. The letter came last week from my broker, as it always does, two weeks before the current policy is due to run out. I did what I always do, pick up the phone and pay with my credit card.

You may ask, WHAT! You didn't go online and scour the comparison sites to find a better deal? You didn't play one off against the other, you didn't ask for a discount, you just coughed up your dosh and paid without question? Yep, that's exactly what I did.

I have been with the same broker for 40 years, every year I get the letter advising me of the cost of renewal, and every year I ring them and ask them to look for a better deal. They always come up with a cheaper policy. Now they don't wait for the phone call, they search before they send the letter, and tell me of a new company which will cut a few quid off.

Over the years this has saved me hours of my time, frustrating and confusing hours because I don't understand all the ins and outs of car insurance. It has saved me tearing my hair out, swearing at the computer, and mistakenly choosing the wrong policy. Yes, I know the broker is going to add their cut, but I think it's worth it, because two minutes on the phone and the job's done.

This is a family firm I deal with, they have been in business for 43 years, they know me, and I know I can speak to a real person any time about insurance matters. It's only like going into your local butcher or greengrocer, I am supporting a local business in my home town.

So, the twenty quid or so extra I pay will come out of my money saving in other areas. I could easily spend an extra £20 on my food bill, or go boozing for £20, or have a meal out for £20, or buy some bathroom smellies for £20. But I don't. It's swings and roundabouts, save a few bob here, and pay it out there. Shuffling money around and making sure I put it to it's best use to suit me.

Being frugal and living within your means is all about identifying what matters. I can easily trawl around the different shops to get the best deals for me, it suits me to do that. I get fresh air, I am getting exercise walking about, I meet people and chat, and I get the cheapest food. Some people prefer to do their supermarket shopping online, because they have neither the time or inclination to do it my way. It would do my head in to go to the Tesco or whatever web site, spend time searching for what I need, ticking boxes, arranging delivery times, and paying online. No no, chuffin no thank you. Pay more for your online shop, and claw the money back from spending another couple of hours or so on the computer trying to get your car insurance cheaper. Swings and roundabouts.

Some good comments on the last post, thank you for your input. Debbie makes a good point, spend a bit save a bit. When funds are low live on next to nothing, have a splurge when things are looking up.  Sue G's hubby bought some camera equipment, because they budget their finances well and can afford the odd treat. Pam has it sussed, channel any spare money saved from elsewhere, and buy a sewing machine. All swings and roundabouts.

I think a lot of my readers are as savvy as me, so please excuse me if this is all old hat to you. But as Anonymous (ha ha) mentioned, the people she used to work with were constantly complaining that they couldn't afford holidays, yet can afford phone contracts. No point in moaning people, you makes your choices, if there isn't enough dosh to pay for everything you want, you cut back on some things to pay for others. Simple as that, swings and roundabouts. By the way, my mobile phone is on PAYG £5 a month. Not a priority to have an all bells and whistles phone.
Thank you for visiting Tightwad Towers. Toodle pip.

24 comments:

  1. after being with the same provider for eons we changed this year, thinking of saving the almighty dollar, spent hours researching, calling comparing, all the while thinking we were doing the right thing, in the end they mis quoted, charged exactly what our tried and true provider had offered, they were unfriendly, cold, never returned calls, to adjust the miscalculation, they should not be able to change the quote, to me thats wrong, bad customer relations, fraud, we will be returning to our old provider net year, we have spoken with them and they said the same thing you mentioned, they do the searching and find us the best deal, we should never have left them, They know us, we have gained their trust and a mutual respect after 30 years , I only wish you had written this post two months back, llol!!!!

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    1. Oh dear, sorry you had a bad experience.

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  2. "Being frugal and living within your means is all about identifying what matters." Exactly! It's about conscious spending, not just the easy option UNLESS that is also the best option, properly chosen. You made this sound like the easy option but actually you have taken time and effort over the years to develop a relationship with your broker. Nice one.

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  3. I use a family firm of insurance brokers. The call to them is quick and efficient - and much lower than what I can get online. I went to court in November and was described as "on the breadline". I am very frugal (I have to be). As Ilona says, by making everyday budgets, you can afford to have a little splurge on what you think you would like. I like to save up over a long period of time for something and then when I am able to get it (like the sewing machine or camera), I really appreciate it and use it lovingly. I am also never mean (I hope) with other people. Natalie

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  4. As much as I like your comments and welcome them, the ranting really gets my goat. So, Anonymous ranter, I won't be publishing your rant.

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  5. What price peace of mind? Its got to be worth paying a small comission knowing that your broker will deal with reputable companies and you'll no doubt get some sense and advice if you ever need to contact them.
    A scam insurance office caught my friend out 20 years ago, his really cheap premium wasn't that cheap when it turned out he wasn't insured.

    Its worth phoning your insurance company to ask if they can match a lower quote.
    Dave.

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  6. As you say Ilona it's all about choices, we don't have a flat screen telly or smartphones rarely go out, don't drink or smoke. However we do take our young fella on a reasonably priced holiday every Summer, we want him to have the happy childhood memories we had. He said a while ago at the age of 9, he is one of only a handful of children in his class that has never been on a plane. We then listed the stuff he'd done last year Dr Who experience (Tesco vouchers), 2x theme parks (birthday pressie and Tesco vouchers) trips, cinema visits, his very generous grandparents and aunties paid for, etc etc. He said hmm well I suppose I do quite a lot :) The best money I have spent for him is definitely his Cub membership, not only has it built his confidence, he has made some great friends right from being a Beaver aged 6, but he visits some ace places and learns lots of new things. Money well spent for us.
    Twiggy

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  7. Up until last week we were with the same insurance broker for 44 years ever since we married and got our first car. We left it to them to get us the best deal however after hearing from my friend that she got her insurance through Saga I tried them for a quote. Not on the computer, just by phone. Really pleased to get a quote for the same cover as we previously had and for £102 cheaper than our brokers quote!! What's more it was exactly the same insurance company that our broker had sent the renewal for!! Makes me annoyed now that our broker was making so much profit out of us, just because we kept paying their recommendation.

    Saved £102 with a phone call. The documents have already arrived. Apparently Saga apecialise in the over 50's. Our broker took it for granted we'd pay what they asked for. I'm all for supporting local businesses but there has to be some common sense applied, it could have been that our broker was still the cheapest after phoning Saga but not in this case. We'll see what happens when it's time for the house insurance.....

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    1. Dealt with Saga insurance for years, they'e always been on the ball, a couple of claims (house contents) have been settled courteously, promptly and efficiently.

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    2. Well done Erin. If you had questioned your broker every time the policy came up for renewal, they might have realized you were on to them and offered a lower price.

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  8. Ilona, I know you do fundraising for animal welfare. I have been saving up postage stamps for many years, both from the UK and overseas.. I just never seem to get round to doing anything with them. Do you know of any charities who would benefit from these. Thanks x

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    1. RNIB Stamp Appeal
      P.O. box 185
      Benfleet
      Essex
      SS7 9BH

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    2. Thank you Anon, that's a good one.
      Susan, if you want to help animals this is one I support.

      Bransby Horses.
      Bransby.
      Lincoln LN1 2PH

      Web site
      www.bransbyhorses.co.uk

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    3. Thanks so much both of you.

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  9. I echo what an earlier commenter said: frugal and mean are not the same! you can be frugal and yet be generous with your time and any little money you can afford to give or invest in someone else. I like this approach.

    And I've done that look all over for the best insurance for my car deal (my state has the highest auto insurance of the entire US) only to find that the so called discount rates also discounted service and coverage! I ended up finding that the insurers I've used for years still gave me the best coverage and price at the same time. They give me a good driver discount and a senior age discount, and a low mileage discount. And since they carry my house as well as auto, they've given me a bundling discount. So expensive as it is, it could be much more so. I'm good with it.

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    1. Yes, the difference between mean and frugal is something which a lot of people fail to recognise.

      Frugal people, or at least any I've met, are very rarely mean-spirited.

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  10. Absolutely - you can't put a price on your precious time and energy. Being frugal hopefully means you get choices, having choices is what makes me see that I have enough. Debbie.

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  11. Now there was me thinking you'd taken to messing around in kiddie's playgrounds. Can I mention the brilliant service I've had from London and Country Mortgages in finding me good deals. What's more they don't charge. I'm going to get a call tomorrow from their adviser re: remortgaging my rental place. x

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  12. I don't think of you as a tight wad at all...just a very good guardian of your blessings.

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  13. Hi Ilona.

    Your insurance company sounds just perfect. I leave that all to my hubby so he is the one spending time and getting annoyed trying to get the best rates....As you say everyone has a choice where they save and where they spend. My brother has 6 hols a year at least but moans because he is broke. We chose to spend our money on the children and animals and save a little as well.
    Rosezeeta.

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  14. Hiya.We too choose to support local business and have for 30 plus years.They found us the lowest rate, provide excellent personalized service consistently.Having a car can be very expensive but we find ways to save money elsewhere in our budget to enjoy it and fortunately can afford to at this time. Thinking of the future and perhaps being unable to drive for varied reasons and am glad I don't live out on the farm any more and can be independant and walk to amenities here.For every thing there is a time and a season.You are the frugalmeister, and a great motivator, I never tire of that kind of narrative.Thankyou,regards, D.

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  15. We also use a local broker and despite recently changing our car, when we phoned them up they gave us a quote then told us they thought that a bit steep and hunted around For the best price that day. Yes they take a cut but they saved us around £80.

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  16. Hubby & I are fortunate, retired early, I guess most people would call us very wealthy.
    But if we were multi millionaires we would still be frugal, not mean, we are generous, but still frugal. You can do so much more for others if you are. One thing I never scimp on is food, prefer it to be organic. As you say, swings & roundabouts.
    Sara

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  17. Last year I decided to look for a better deal. After spending several days researching and calling around, I discovered the price I was getting from my broker actually was the best price. And at my birthday this year they automatically got me the over-50 reduction. I'll continue to support my broker as well!

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