There are certain items that many people still purchase but shouldn’t. Thanks to new and emerging technology and software, many items that we used to pay for in the past can be circumvented. Being smart about our money isn’t just about saving costs at every opportunity we have, but it’s also about being resourceful and keeping up to date with how modern day society is evolving.
We’ve identified some of the things that can be obtained for free that we should always be cautious about before purchasing.
Car Rental Insurance and Pre-Paid Fuel Options
We’ve all rented a car at some point in our lives, and we’ve all been approached by the rental company asking if we’d like to purchase their insurance. What most people don’t know is that your regular car insurance covers your rental vehicle as long as you’re driving it for personal reasons (not business purposes).
When you rent a car, the question you might ask yourself the most is, “What happens if I get into an accident or if someone hits me?” If you have comprehensive and collision coverage on your current vehicle, you’re most likely covered already. If someone breaks into your car and steals your personal belongings, you’re also most likely covered by your renters and homeowners insurance.
Lastly but not least, most major credit card issuers also offer car rental insurance at no charge when you rent the vehicle with your credit card. It’s a good idea to double check with your current car insurance carrier and/or credit card issuer to make sure you’re covered.
When you buy a high ticket item such as TVs, laptops, or smartphones, you’ll most likely encounter the sales representative asking if you want to purchase extended warranty. At the surface, it might make sense because you’ll have the peace of mind knowing you’re protected. However, some of the warranty only covers certain types of damages. CNET reports that the average repair rate for TVs from 2008-2012 was only 6%. Although TV’s seem like they’re pretty fragile, they’re surprisingly pretty sturdy unless you drop them.
Most smartphones will also come with extended warranty options. The cost is usually $10/month with a $100 deductible. If you do the math, having a smartphone for about a year will cost you $220 in the event your phone breaks. Most cell phone carriers also allow you to get an upgrade on your phone every two years, so most of the time this isn’t worth it.
Credit Score Monitoring
This is one of the things you should never spend a single penny on. Sites like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame offer free credit score tracking, and they even update your score once a week. You can also get a copy of your credit score for free from each bureau at www.annualcreditreport.com once per year. Monitoring your credit score every month is important to make sure there are no inaccuracies on your report. It also helps you monitor your credit report to combat identity theft. Some of the credit score monitoring services offer identity theft protection, but at the end of the day, they won’t stop it. Credit monitoring can only monitor transactions that have occurred, which isn’t the same thing as prevention.
International Calling Cards
International calling cards, which can be bought at grocery stores or online, gives callers “minutes” and a local access number to be used for international calls. The biggest downside to this is that the call will drop in a heartbeat as soon as your minutes run out.
The days of paying a fee to call an international number are long gone. Thanks to voice messaging apps such as Skype, Kakao, or WhatsApp, calling friends and family overseas is simple. The only caveat is that the other person needs to have these apps installed as well.
Nowadays there are free services like MyFax or FaxZero that allows you to send a fax through the internet. You don’t have to go to a shop like FedEx to send out your faxes. If you need to just send a few pages, services like MyFax and FaxZero will allow you to send it for free. These services are great for people who rarely need to send faxes but need to do so for special occasions.
All you have to do is make sure you have a digital copy of your document on your computer, enter the phone number you wish to send it to, and fill out a quick cover letter.