Friday, March 1, 2013

Don't be content with insurance!

Recently, I received my renewal for my insurance company and noticed my rates went up from last year. I know we moved into a bigger house but car insurance went up also which doesn't add up for me. I am supposed to pay $3017/year for my auto insurance which includes a 2004 Saturn Ion, 2010 GMC Sierra, 2009 Polaris Sportsman 500 & Snow utility trailer to haul the ATV. I thought fuck this and considering I have been with the company for 7+ years, my rates should not be going up. No accidents, tickets or claims so why the increase? I am not going to ask....just cancel!

I started to do my research and found the best way is to do a quote on-line but to really push the quotes lower, you need to call and dedicate about 20 minutes to each call. The on-line quotes gives you a good starting point to see who is offering competitive rates with what you are currently paying. After doing the sites like insurance hunters, insurance hotline and others, it turns out the best rates I found by far are from Belair Direct. I will lay it all out for you in a minute. Basically, I have to use two insurance companies for insurance because Belair Direct doesn't insure ATV's. I do know an agent who does ATV's and his rates are rock bottom. So here is the break down and savings.

The Personal insurance company is offered at a "good" rate for Bell employees which is bullshit. I am scheduled to pay $3017/year for my vehicles which I mentioned above but here is what I am going to pay when I switch on my renewal for April 1st. Belair Direct offered the rate of $2040/year for the Ion, Sierra and trailer. I called the State Farm agent who put me at a rate of $275/year for the ATV only. So by having the two companies and switching I am now paying $2315/year which is a savings of $702/year. I also have Belair give me a quote for home insurance which comes to $52.20/month or $626.40/year. The Personal wants $676.80/year so I am saving $50.40/year.

So overall we will be saving $752.40/year and that makes me happy! Belair Direct is the only company that said they would "love to have me as a customer with my driving record and credit rating". They also did a credit check, which I said yes to, and it turns out on their credit ratings from A-Z this guy gets a B!! This helped to bring the rates down but I am happy with the savings up front and they are calling me back today to set the insurance up for April 1st.

Do yourself a favour and put the pressure on your insurance company so they don't think you aren't looking and comparing because when I saw the rates going up, that was my cue to move on!!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Reasonable kids sports

I am a guy who grew up playing hockey and softball. I love hockey and it was such a great sport to be involved with. I learned so much from hockey like teamwork, sharing, unselfishness, bonding, brotherhood and friendship. When you play on a team, you learn these things because it is a sport that forces you to work together like football, baseball, soccer and any other team sport in which you rely on each other to get to a common goal. When the girls were looking at playing a sport we tried soccer first. Zoey liked it and so did Hailey but they enjoyed it at different levels. Zoey started a little later and was a little behind on some skills but that was our fault. Hailey had entered in at the right time and was on par with everyone else or a little above some players. She scored often and did well. Zoey did score a goal but wasn't as confident because other kids skills were a little ahead but she was the hardest worker out there.

After one season of soccer, the girls wanted to do something else so we looked at other sports they could do. Some how we arrived at bowling after we found free bowling in the summer for kids to get them interested in the sport. Zoey and Hailey both took to bowling better then we would have thought. Hailey finished second in a regional tournament she qualified for and as a team, Zoey and Hailey won the consolation championship for their division. During the banquet last spring, each won individual awards and their trophy for the championship. They have 2 trophies and 2 medals each for their first year. I hope they didn't set the bar too high!

This year we were lucky to find 5 pin bowling balls on Kijiji for a very cheap price. A set of balls brand new usually goes for around $100 and we found 2 sets with 5 balls and a bag each for $40! The girls were thrilled and if they do stick with it I will buy new balls for them as they move on and up in the levels. I wasn't ready to spend $200+ if they were only going to do this for a couple years and quit so it is so much cheaper than hockey! It costs us $20.50 each week they bowl and that pays for the lane use, shoes, banquet & prizes at the end of the year. The year end banquet if pretty good and the kids have a blast. They get a medal, prizes, food and a trophy if they win.

I am glad they found something they do very well at. This year Zoey is bowling one handed and is still throwing an average of 85 per game. Hailey has a 87 average but has been throwing an average of 100 each game. Hailey has won bowler of the month for her consistent high scores and will compete for bowling of the year at our bowling centre. If she were to win that for her age group, she would compete for bowler of the year for the province and then nationally. We will see how she does.


Monday, January 21, 2013

I'm Back!

Well it has been an interesting 6 months to say the least! With a work stoppage and moving, it has been busy and stressful. We are in our new home and the move went great. It rained like crazy the day we moved and the basement in the old house started to leak. I had to pay for the repair which was $678 which was a take it or leave it offer. The guy was a really douche bag and offered to run a gas line for me even though he was trying to get $1200 out of us. I hope karma bites him and he gets his. The worst part it he had 2 home inspections and lifted all conditions but I still had to pay. I would have loved to take him to court but not working and having extra money really affected that.

But putting that crap behind us and looking at the new house. I can't say enough about how nice it is to have a house with not having to worry about noise and the semi next to us hearing things! We back onto the school and it is great walking to school twice a day. The girls love the house and so do Nicole and I. Nothing to do but paint and maybe put in a pocket door so we can better access the hot water tank. The basement is fully finished and functional which is great and love spending time in any room of the house. Quiet neighbourhood and nice people so far. Garage is nice to store my ATV and trailer and all the other things like snow blower and lawn mower.

Being back to work is nice but a hard 4 month battle with negotiating. I will fight again in 2016 if we need to so we can get a fair deal. I'm running for union steward which is a position to help my fellow brothers and sisters with questions and discipline if it comes down to that. I have no idea if I get paid anything but I want it for the experience and to be able to fight for all my fellow employees.

Nicole and I went to Cayo Coco, Cuba in the end of October and had a great time. Made some friends and had lots of fun which is always nice. Love the country and the people at the resort. Bought some black market Cohibas which are the real deal and are a really nice cigar to smoke. Better than the $2 cigars I bought back when I was 19!!

Looking forward to this year and new travels and adventures to new or familiar places. Going to sit down and plan some trips that are maybe local or a plane ride away or drive in a couple days. We will see how the finances are and go from there. I'm glad we moved and with money we did have in profit, paid off all our debt that allowed us to focus only on house, truck and regular bill payments. Now I have racked up a little debt on the credit card but it is manageable.

Tonight we went out to buy the girls leg warmers since it is supposed to be -21 with wind chill this week and since we have been promising for a month we caved in and bought semi permanent hair dye for the girls to add streaks to their hair.

Anyway, I look forward to writing more often and keeping my 2 followers up to date on what is going on in our home. This is my life having daughters!