Car Talk, Deals, Education, Money Saver, Tips and Tricks

Finding The Best Car Insurance in Washington Is Full of Surprises…

Trying to find the best car insurance can be a trial. We all know the big car insurance brands: State Farm, Geico, Progressive, Allstate — but after browsing those sites, I’m never sure if I’m actually getting the best deals. So this time I used Clearsurance, and what I found totally caught me by surprise. All those household brands we all see advertised so often? They aren’t ranked very highly. Clearsurance, which is a website that collects reviews from people about their insurance company, uses the data it gathers to create unbiased rankings of car insurance companies, both by state and nationally for 2018. The detailed breakdown helps you compare companies and find coverage that’s actually the best deal for your location and driving history.

Once I got over my surprise, I decided to see what companies other consumers ranked as the best car insurance options in Washington and if my car insurer was rated highly by other consumers. I didn’t even recognize some of the companies that ranked ahead of the giants in car insurance, including my own insurer.

For instance, Amica Mutual, which offers a home ownership discount, was founded in 1907 and ranks as the third best company in all of Washington. Amica Mutual’s 4.46 rating out of 5 on Clearsurance is significantly higher than that of Progressive (4.16) and Allstate (4.1).

Take a look at what companies are ranked as the top 5 car insurers in Washington on Clearsurance:

  1. USAA — 4.68
  2. California Casualty Group — 4.47
  3. Amica Mutual Insurance Company— 4.46
  4. Metromile— 4.45
  5. American National Property & Casualty Company — 4.43

These aren’t the names we typically associate with car insurance. So why are these brands so much better than the big companies we all know? Clearsurance has tons of great information to help you navigate your car insurance coverage, and one of the things I discovered is that companies like Geico and Allstate spend billions of dollars a year on advertisements to become the names we think of when it’s time to buy car insurance or consider switching car insurance. But those advertising dollars have come to from somewhere, and it ends up driving up the cost of our insurance premiums.

 

Why should we be paying more to insure our cars so that our insurer can solicit new business?

For the most part, the companies rated highly in Washington are lesser known than the big names. But the bottom line is, they’re better. These are the companies that other policyholders have found offer fair prices with good customer service and claims handling.

Still, we’re not all eligible for these top insurers, and we don’t all have the same insurance needs. That’s something else Clearsurance understands and helps you navigate. For example, USAA is the best car insurance company for Washingtonians, but it only serves active and former military members and their families. And at a company like Metromile, it offers a multi-car discount. Plus, not all car insurance companies cover high-risk drivers, so if you have a lot of accidents on your record or a DUI, you may not be able to obtain coverage from one of these companies.

What’s a good option for high-risk drivers in Washington?

I did some digging into the car insurance companies that sell in Washington and offer policies to high-risk drivers, often referred to as non-standard drivers. If you’re looking for a cost effective option, The General offers affordable coverage. The General has a rating of 3.68. Consumers seem to believe The General offers cheap prices, but the low rates are reflected in the customer service and handling of claims.

 

Finding the best car insurance for you or your family shouldn’t have to be completely mind-boggling. Once you step outside the buzz of all those big name brands, figuring out which companies actually offer the best customer service at the best price becomes a lot easier, especially if you’ve got Clearsurance on your team.

Back to School 2018, Education, Parenting

Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten? Try these tips!

I have partnered with Teach My for this feature. Opinions are my own

Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?

Can you believe it? Your baby is heading to Kindergarten and it happened so fast! How has at-home learning been going? Did preschool prepare your child well enough or is there more you wish they could do? Summer is a great time to sneak in extra at-home learning. It keeps their eager brains learning without a summer pause and brings a way to have some one on one time you both are craving. Let’s order your Teach My Preschool Learning Kit now. There is so much inside this kit your child will not run out of motivation to learn at home.

But, learning kits and summer home programs are expensive? Teach My is under $30! It is affordable at-home learning and let’s not stop learning after school gets out for too long or they may lose some of the knowledge preschool gave them. Let me dissect what comes in this kit:

  • Teach My Preschooler Reading Learning Set
  • Teach My Preschooler Printing Learning Set
  • Teach My Preschooler Numbers to 100 Learning Set
  • Teach My Preschooler Math Learning Set

I think that covers the early-learning subjects of math, reading and writing. Teach My makes learning fun because you get the lessons in the form of mini books, flashcards, a drawing board, a flip book, posters, counters and it all comes packed neatly in a carrying case. Don’t worry, you get plenty of guides to best create learning segments at home and make sure you are using all of these tools correctly.

Let’s make learning fun! To make sure you stay consistent and also to make sure they stay engaged, create a learning site weekly calendar! Here is what a learning site calendar may look like for example:

  1. Monday: Math Flashcards and 1 booklet – After lunch at the table. Read second story at nap time
  2. Tuesday: Number counters and Writing practice – with snacks at the backyard patio table. Read 1 story at nap time
  3. Wednesday: Field Trip! Park, grocery store, etc and bring 2 flashcards and find groups of things in the cards #
  4. Thursday: Take TeachMy case to the park for a math lesson & 1 writing fun! Read 1 book at bedtime
  5. Friday: Child’s choice = Pick 2 lessons and learning spot for the day! Have a Friday treat ready to celebrate your weeks learning!

Making learning fun, having a reward each week and changing up study spots makes it so much fun and becomes a great way to spend quality time together. It is OK if you work and it is OK if you have other children in the home. Learning each day can be anywhere you find new spots and with anyone willing to take that day! Older siblings may have fun taking 1 day a week to sit on the lawn as a weekly ‘fun chore’ and help little sibling learn for a bit! Anytime of day and any study buddy works as long as they are learning!

Connect with Teach My by visiting their website and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Buy Teach My Kits

Stay tuned! I will be giving away THREE Teach My Preschooler kits in starting mid-July!

Brands with a Cause, Earth Friendly, Education, Healthy Living, Parenting

What Happens To Your Carton Recyclables Once They Leave Your Home?

This post was sponsored by the Carton Council as part of an Ambassador Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

What Happens To Your Carton Recyclables Once They Leave Your Home?

You know it is important! You see the blue containers! And you use recyclables everyday yet do you remain conscious about recycling? I know lunch breaks are short and running errands with a car full of kids steals all of your focus, but do you know what happens to your recyclables once they leave your home? Maybe if you have a visual and really understand the impact you can make, you will find a way to stay a bit more aware of what cartons you are tossing. I use this type of education and visuals as a teachable moment for the entire family.

A Recycling Video for Motivation

Let’s start with a short video from The Carton Council titled, How Recycled Cartons Become New Products. This is really fun to show the kids too because if they also have a visual that is motivation to help out and recycle. It is important to know why you can and should recycle food and beverage containers.

How and What Cartons to Recycle

You watched the video and now you know what can become of your recyclables. So how and what should you recycle? First of all, if you need a go-to site to see a lot more information on recycling than I can fit into one post, visit the Carton Council website.

The cartons you would typically recycle are packages from soups, broths, milk, juice, coconut & other waters. Other cartons used for packaging could be found with certain wines, creamers, beans to name a few. You would simply put these cartons in your recycling bin with your pickups.

Do you know if your community participates in curbside carton pick up? You can use the zip code locator at recyclecartons.com, or check with your local program to find out if recycling cartons is as easy as putting them on your curb. While there you can even find ways your family, work and schools can start their own easy recycling efforts. This can be a great class or senior project for your child to take on in their school! Think of what we can do with all of those juice and milk cartons from hundreds of students each day!

Let’s turn these shelf and refrigerated cartons into other paper products or chemical free environmentally friendly building materials.

The entire family can be involved in bettering your recycling habits! You can make it a fun spring or summer competition for the family that can build habits to last well beyond the season. You can start by making it the kids spring project to set recycling collections up in your home!

Getting the entire family to effortlessly recycle (and even to get staff and schools to recycle) can be simple. Sometimes all it takes is some education and a visual like the video I shared above. It is that simple to leave a positive footprint on the environment we will be leaving behind.

Click below to print your own summer chart!

Be sure to visit The Carton Council as I mention earlier because they even offer great ideas for making recycling fun and learn what happens to your recyclables once they leave your home!

Back to School 2018, College Bound, Education, Gift Guides, Kids, Parenting, Reviews, School

Back To School Guide 2018

Welcome to the 2018 Back to School Guide

Back to School Guide 2018

“An Investment in Knowledge Pays the Best Interest” – Benjamin Franklin

They are heading back to school! Fun in the sun and vacations are coming to an end! Are you prepared? Do you have a buy list to complete still? Have the kids style and sizes changed? Is one off to college and you have no clue what you may be forgetting to buy or discuss with them? I hope I can help you out with topics, reviews and some fun below!

*If you are a brand, contact Erin at erinnsluka(at)gmail(dot)com to get your product featured!

Keep checking back as there are more posts added several days a week through summer and fall!

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Books Reviews, Children's Books, Education, Kids, Reviews, Reviews by Anthony, STEM Learning

Children’s Book – Max Goes to Jupiter (Second Edition): A Science Adventure with Max the Dog

I was sent a copy of the book for feature. Opinions are my own

Children's Book - Max Goes to Jupiter (Second Edition): A Science Adventure with Max the Dog

Children’s Book – Max Goes to Jupiter (Second Edition): A Science Adventure with Max the Dog

by: Jeffrey Bennett, expert astrophysicist and educator and Nick Schneider & Erica Ellingson

Here are some cool tips that kids will learn in the book that were shared with me:

  • How to find Jupiter in the night sky
  • The importance of Galileo’s discovery of moons around Jupiter
  • Why spaceships can’t land on Jupiter
  • The missions to Jupiter (Juno Mission, which is in space now, ends July 2018, unless extended!)
  • The possibility of a future “space elevator”
  • What the ocean is like on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons and could there be life?

Anthony’s Review (age 10):

Anthony thought it was a lot of fun learning about how a rocket works and orbits. He also learned a lot about Jupiter and was shocked to realize just how large our Universe really is in size!

Let’s learn some facts about Jupiter!

Connect wit the Author on his book page and on Facebook

Buy the Book on Amazon (release date June 1, 2018)

College Bound, Education, Parenting

6 Ways to Prepare Your Teenager for College

You’re excited that your child is headed off to college at last! Most likely, you’re a bit worried and anxious, too, and so is your college-bound teen. Follow these tips to prepare your child for the first year away from home.

Determine How to Finance College Costs

Image via Flickr by CollegeDegrees360

Finalize college financing before your teen heads off to school. Help your child fill out federal and school financial aid forms and apply for scholarships. You may also need student loans to cover remaining costs. Remember that financial aid and grants don’t pay for some expenses, such as clothing, food, and car insurance. Consider taking out a private student loan to have extra cash on hand to cover such expenses.

Boost Emotional Skills

Right now, when something goes wrong, you’re right there to help your child through tough times. At school, your teen must manage emotions and challenging situations alone. Sit your teen down and talk about how to handle life events, relationship issues, and stress. Work to build your child’s confidence in handling emotional issues.

Review Basic Life Skills

Does your teen struggle to keep the bed made and the bedroom clean? Most likely, your child will share a room. Review how to clean, do laundry, go shopping, and cook some light meals. Make sure your college student will be a welcome roommate.

Discuss the dangers of alcohol and drugs, too. A college campus is a fun place that can be full of temptation. You won’t be there to help your child say no to risks like drinking and trying party drugs. Prepare your teen to make the right decisions when you’re not there.

Create a Budget

Teens who have not managed their own money will be in for a shock when they head off to college. Create a budget to show your child how much money to spend each month. Review how to track debit and credit card spending, and discuss the importance of paying bills on time.

Focus on Health

Immunizations must be up to date before your teen arrives on campus. Your child should also have a health insurance card and know where to go for help in case of illness. Review how to use campus health services, urgent care facilities, and emergency rooms.

You won’t be on hand to make lunch or dinner.  Teens will have a lot of food options, not all of them good ones. Help your child avoid the dreaded “Freshman 15,” which refers to extra weight college freshmen tend to gain. Review nutrition guidelines to help your child make healthy choices when you’re not around.

Make Your Expectations Known

Make it clear that your child is in school to learn. You’re not footing the bill or helping with loans so your freshman can hang out and drink beer. If you expect a report card with all A’s, make sure to tell your teen to work toward those grades.

Put your child on the path to living independently before your teen leaves for school. Review these tips with your college-bound teen to give him or her the necessary skills to be successful while living away from home.