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.

Kids, Money Saver, Promotions, Reviews, Reviews by Anthony, Summer, Tips and Tricks, Travel

How To Experience Great Wolf Lodge in Under 24 Hours

I was provided Paw Passes in exchange for this feature. I attended GWL on my own and opinions are my own

On the last day of school we hoped into the car and joined friends for a night at the Grand Mound, Wa. Great Wolf Lodge to celebrate the start of summer. It was the best way to celebrate with these new fifth grade boys. We have been before and this time was a bit different and actually the most fun we have had. The difference is that we had Paw Passes and we crushed our stay in less than 24 hours!

When you reserve your stay (or at check in) you have 3 play options to choose from which is a fantastic way to save in more ways than one! I’ll explain…..

For the littles, the Pup Pass is a great start and for the older boys the Paw or Wolf passes are best. Have you ever been to Great Wold Lodge and seen families with these large paws around their necks? These families know how to save and I wish I had discovered or really jumped on board sooner. We checked in and the passes were waiting for us and so was our room at 1:30 – bonus! We were able to go grab all our bags and go upstairs right away to change and head to the water area. After some swim time we changed and grabbed the passes to begin some indoor fun!

Here is the back of the Paw Pass $79.99 (saves over $32 in activities). First we sent the boys to do a quest. They have done this before and even have wands so they chose toppers and played MagiQuest. Because we bought the pass I didn’t have to bring any cash downstairs-it is all pre-paid and off they were running the halls. Us adults went upstairs to get dinner ready.

After dinner they wanted to have some arcade time and they got a game card with 20 points loaded because of the Paw Pass (that’s about $5 free pre-loaded). We added some more cash and off they went. They actually played day 1 and day 2 and were able to save the tickets on their cards from day 1 and combine when we left for their prizes.

After dinner and arcade they wanted to check more off of their Paw Pass list so off to the candy shop where they got to fill an entire cup with any of the bulk candy on the wall. Then next door was Oliver’s Mining Experience where they got to mine for gems. At this point I still have not spent any money besides the extra I put on his arcade card.

One more item to check off for the night…. Creation Station characters! There were many to choose form and Anthony chose Oliver. The game was down you play with after creating your stuffie so they offered us a free backpack and GWL character tee. 

Up to the room to munch on their candy and rest and then at 8pm was a BINGO game downstairs. We played a few games and all 3 boys managed to come away with wins. They pick lots of winners each round so winning is common and they got husky pups.

That was day one! They crashed right away and woke up wanting more water fun. The best time to hit the water park is right when it opens in the morning. A quick run to Starbucks downstairs (Amen to a Starbucks inside), made them waffles and to the waterslides where it is quiet in the morning with no waterslide lines. They had many rounds of slides with little lines. Once it came close to checkout we went upstairs to change but we still have a Paw Pass item and arcade points to spend.

At Great Wolf Lodge you check out at 11 but do not have to leave. Come back in and have some more fun! We completed our last Paw Pass experience in the gift shop where the boys chose a bracelet and got to engrave a name on it. Anthony wanted one for his puppy’s kennel so he chose pink and put Maya’s name on it. He traded in his arcade tickets for a Spiderman character and them homebound! The boys (and us gals) were beat!

The only item on the Paw Pass we did not do was the glitter tattoo ($8 value) because none of the boys were into it but the little girls in the Creation Station the boys offered it too were so excited. The crew allowed the boys to donate their tattoo item to these little girls we saw inside so it got used.

How the Paw Pass really saves!

When you arrive your room and any passes have been paid for if you chose them at purchase time. What I found is that I would spend so much more at GWL without passes and there are 2 reasons for this. The cost of the Pup, Paw and Wolf Passes save you an average of $30 because you bundled and pre-paid for activities in a package. When we don’t have a pass, we also don’t have a plan. There is so much to do and it all costs money.

With the pass the boys are so focused on getting all they can off their passes they aren’t constantly asking for money here and there. No, they didn’t golf or play both Quest games and they would want to do it all normally but these passes were a way to confine them and they never asked to do above and beyond. They had enough going on to keep them occupied. The passes save right away and give your kids a range to stay within.

So, what did we pay for inside the park? We brought our own food so no meal money was spent. We did pass by a bar where the boys were so excited to see Italian Sodas only I read it better to see they were Red Bull Italian Sodas so the guy at the bar told them he could make them sprite Italian Sodas and charged us $3.10 each. Deal! I gave my son $20 to add to his arcade card. I got coffee at Starbucks that my friend actually bought me, but still an expense for us. That’s it! $80 passes plus an extra $25. Know what I have dropped without a plan or pass inside before? At least twice as much! I am very proud how little after checkin we got away with and it makes it much more enticing to get back again soon. Oh and our stay was a Groupon deal so we still saved a ton on the room.

Our suggestion for Great Wolf Lodge

As we stood in line at the top of the waterslides we can see the Rope’s Course outside. It is a bit pricey but fun. Then my friend asks why GWL doesn’t offer a Teen Pass? There are many teens roaming and that would be fantastic. We figured maybe they can have some rope time. They can trade things like mining, bracelets and stuffed animal creation for more arcade points, slices of pizza, Ice Cream scoop, T-Shirt or water bottle from gift shop. They can maybe redeem for a room dedicated for teens (that would be fun to offer) for a movie or perhaps GWL swim area stays open a half hour longer and uses that as teen time for a small fee or free with a Teen Pass. We thought about our boys getting older and still having a blast but they won’t be into stuffed animals anymore so there is plenty that could be available for a pass for them. Maybe?

Visit Great Wolf Lodge and choose the Pass package that fits each of your family members!



Apps, College Bound, Education, Gift Guides, Money Saver, Parenting

Learn How To Invest in the Stock Market. It’s Fun!

In exchange for my honest and unbiased review, I received a $25 gift card to try out Stockpile.

Learn How To Invest in the Stock Market. It's Fun!

Let’s talk about the stock market (did you just yawn?)! Wait! Before you leave what if we talked about apple pie? How does apple pie relate to the stock market? No matter how much effort that goes into creating the recipe it is always worth the taste and fun to eat. Plus, a pie is sliced so you can enjoy only as much as you want. Making pie can be fun especially if you can find a recipe easy enough to get the entire family involved as so can making your very first stock market investment. Give me a try as I explain how easy it can be and in the end I have a little freebie for you to get you started.

Stockpile is a website and an app (if you prefer) that guides you from start to finish with your investments. So let’s make it simple. Think about that apple pie all baked and ready for you to take action and slice into it. Do you plan on eating the entire pie at once? Of course not. So you just want a slice? There are many slices available and you know what? No one is going to force you to eat your entire slice either. You may want the whole slice and all the goodness (and calories) it comes with, but what if you only want a bite or two? You want to start small and maybe you’ll finish the entire slice later on…or not. That is like investing with Stockpile.

When you sign up at Stockpile which consists of assigning an account someone (yourself or child) and giving some basic information you aren’t dealing with pies but businesses. I was given a $25 stock gift card to invest and I chose Amazon. Now I hold a stock that starts out as zero cash value on a number line and can check in anytime to see if it falls or rises.

Fact (lesson): ‘Prices go up when there are more buyers than sellers. Prices go down when there are more sellers than buyers.’ So let’s all buy a little piece of the business pie. You get to choose your flavor (Amazon, Apple, Nike and over a thousand more).

Remember my analogy of taking 1 slice of apple (or your ‘flavor’ of choice) and only wanting a part of that slice? Stockpile allows you to put the amount you want and that can be as low as $5 to start into 1 share. A share can go for as much as hundreds or even thousands of dollars in trade but you buy into it as much as you wish. Any return if it doesn’t fall is calculated based on your investment.

Now once you just start with a minor dollar amount you still cannot really dive in deep without an investment plan. Whoa! Heavy phrase! That’s OK, Stockpile will teach you about index funds (such as the S&P 500) and individual stocks. The difference in short? Index funds are a collection of companies that come together as one investment option and individual stocks is putting your money into only 1 company. There are risks and advantages to both and that’s the fun part. What would you choose to learn more about?

You won’t get rich quick. There are no guarantees. You can lose your investment. I chose Amazon so do you think that is a big risk or a little risk? Amazon has been around a while and is more established than a brand new start up. Amazon has had steady stock prices for the most part and are past the new start up price spikes. That makes a brand like Amazon a safer risk. Think about that as you invest your first $5.

Guess what? I am giving you your first $5 to start. Just for fun. Just to really feel motivated to dive more into Stockpile and learn about how you can sign up a child, family member or yourself. GET your FREE $5 (I promise there is no catch-I would never do that to you). I will say that if you sign up I get a $5 bonus to invest somewhere just like you did and that is a lot of fun. But I am not telling you to create this free and easy stockpile investment out of greed. Once you complete redeeming your $5 you can get a referral code to and pass it on to others yourself.

Start now with $5 from me (well, technically it is fro Stockpile). Ready? Go!

This post contains a referral link. I am not a market professional and not responsible for gains or losses that you may experience. I am not affiliated with or own an investment in any company or brand mentioned, and have no plans to do so. Securities products are not FDIC insured. Not bank guaranteed. May lose value.

Home, Money Saver

Coupons for Good: 4 Essential Items Every Family Bathroom Needs

The bathroom is not always the first room that we think of when we are thinking about decorating and appointing a home. However, a well-designed bathroom is a great way to make a positive impression on visitors. If you are looking for some useful and decorative items for your bathroom, take a look at this list of bathroom essentials.

Toothbrush Holder


Image via Flickr by Nick Harris1


We all use toothbrushes to clean our teeth, but sometimes we don’t think about where we store those important items. If you leave your brush on the counter, it can soak up all kinds of foul bacterial and other pathogens, which you then put inside your mouth. Instead, buy a holder to keep the various brushing implements in your bathroom separate from one another and the counter. You can get a value toothbrush holder from Bath and Body Works using online coupons. Get your family together one night and decorate your holder to make it more festive.

Magazine Rack

Reading materials in the bathroom can help make the necessary functions performed in it pass more pleasantly. A rack for your magazines can help you keep them off the wet floor and preserve them longer. When picking out magazines for your rack, though, spare a thought to the kinds of people who will be using your bathroom. If you have kids or regularly invite other families over, make sure everything is appropriate for that content demographic and reading level.

Non-Slip Mat

Showers are an important part of a cleaning regimen, but the shower itself poses dangers to the unwary. Since showering by definition involves creating a slippery surface, it is far too easy to end up losing your footing and falling down in the tub. And even a short fall like that can be hazardous — especially if you end up hitting your head on a faucet. Putting down a solid non-slip mat attached to the floor of the tub, with a surface that gives you traction even when wet, is a great way to keep your family safe. Some coupons for Bed, Bath, and Beyond will help you find one for a great price.

Storage Bins

With all of these items, bathrooms can easily become too filled up with stuff for easy use. One of the best ways to reduce the clutter in your bathroom is to use bins. Properly separated storage bins allow you to wrangle items that are not used every day, like bath toys, into a compact location where they can easily be found. If your bathroom footage is limited, you can put those bins in a nearby closet and clear up some space. Stores like Pier One Imports often have good coupon deals on interesting and different storage solutions, so spend some time poking around and find the best one for you.

A well-appointed bathroom is both convenient and attractive. Spending some time finding the ideal items for your decorating scheme will make a bigger difference than you think on the impression your home leaves on visitors.



2016 Holidays, Education, Kids, Money Saver, Parenting

Children Can Save, Spend and Share with Moonjar

Samples sent for feature

Moonjar gift

There is nothing too typical about money and children. This is because children gain much of their financial knowledge from their parents and no 2 households have the same financial situation. Should the schools teach children how to budget? Of course, the basics. Should their peers teach them? Depends on their own examples they have seen. The best teacher is you!

Perhaps you teach them your successes. Perhaps you were not so successful so you teach them a new way. Whether you put effort into financial topics with your children or not, they will remember what they saw, or interpreted by watching you talk, spend, argue, scrimp, work 3 jobs or buy lavishes and have them taken back if that may be. So, where do you start?

Moonjar children can save

The best way to teach financial spend, save and sharing tips is with scenarios or conversations. Moonjar can help with all of that so your children can save. It is your tool to teach. The Moonjar is their savings bank by task and the Conversations to Go is your guide.

children can save conversations

Conversations To Go: Money allows you to share opinions and dreams. A great dinner table topic or for get togethers. See how fun it can be to hear how your children put financial topics into their own words. Let it help you find the right lessons to preach.

children can save cards

The Classic Moonjar Moneybox helps your child divide their expenses into save, spend, share. Later on, think of it as spending, savings and bills and now with a sense of giving back-in any way you can. Let it become a habit because if you can’t give back financially, you can always give time. It comes with a budget book to so they can track their progress.

moneyjar children can save

Visit Moonjar for more great products like these that make excellent gift ideas.

Blogger Resources, Money Saver

How to use Dealspotr to earn and save money

This is a sponsored post for Dealspotr. Some links may be affiliated.
dealspotr coupons

I wanted to introduce you to a one-of-a-kind deal finder and reward community for Influencers and the general public. You do not need to be a Blogger to simply find, share and browse great deals. The influencers can add deals and move up in levels through the Influencer Network, but you can browse and share these deals with your friends and family to save.

Adding a deal is simple. If you see a great deal, look for it in Dealspotr and if it is not listed, add it! You will earn points that add up and become redeemable for gift cards and more.

dealspotr coupons

Why do WE add the deals? Well, brands can add their deals too but as a community of shoppers and influencers we can verify the best deals out there because they worked for us and share with others. Dealspotr does its part by verifying every deal. This means that anyone on the site that finds a deal will get a real, working code or savings.

I am a Blogger so how do I put Dealspotr to use for me?

  1. I share and post deals using my referral link. This earns me back even more points for referrals that come in through my site.
  2. I also a am given about 4 codes a day I can pass on to invite other Influencers to the Dealspotr Influencer Network. When they earn from moving up in level, I earn too.
  3. The more I move up in levels, the more commission I can earn plus bonus amounts when I convert a deal
  4. I get Influencer badges to choose from for my site
  5. At Gold level, I max out and enjoy the best benefits. After publishing this post I will be there because I learned Dealspotr and am sharing it with you via a post right now.
  6. Each deal has a deal sharing widget within the share icon that is customizable to add your own brand affiliate links

I have already moved from Bronze to Silver and should be at gold real soon. Remember that Dealspotr’s content is crowdsourced, meaning their 30,000 members add, edit, and police all the deals on Dealspotr to ensure the deals are accurate and complete.

It is easy to earn gift cards using Dealspotr, it’s even reasonably easy to earn your first $10 gift card on your first day using Dealspotr. Plus, you’re helping shoppers save money (and saving money yourself) while you’re earning. So get started now at Dealspotr.

Here is an example of a deal I posted in less than 5 minutes on my blog. It includes my Dealspotr link as well as my personal Best Buy link: