8 Free Services Every Car Owner You Should Be Using

Are you a car owner or planning to purchase a car soon? The following are eight free services that can make life easier and more affordable for car owners:

  1. Insurance quote-comparison websites

Many car owners do not shop around for car insurance once they have purchased a policy. A recent study by Consumer Reports showed that more than 75 percent had not shopped for car insurance in the past 12 months. The same study found that insurance companies revised their pricing every 6 to 12 months. This means that many long-term customers end up paying higher rates simply because they fail to compare rates.

Use online services like CoverHound to obtain a free online auto insurance quote from at least three insurance providers every two to three years. This will ensure that you get the best deal possible and keep your premiums low.

  1. Insurance company policy vetting

Have you found a great deal from an insurance provider? Before you purchase the policy, be sure to check the company out. Check with federal and state agencies as well as with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and A.M. Best for information and ratings on insurance providers. You may also want to check out what other consumers have to say about the insurance provider on review websites or with consumer protection organizations such as the Better Business Bureau.

  1. Online insurance calculators

Various factors are taken into consideration when determining what you pay as an insurance premium. Many of these factors change as your life progresses (e.g. getting married, having kids or changing jobs). You can determine how these factors will affect your insurance premiums by using free online insurance calculators.

Although these calculators won’t give you an accurate figure for what your rate will be, they allow you to approximate the effect of various factors on your premiums and therefore allow you to plan better.

  1. Online license renewal

A recent report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that one in five fatal car accidents in the U.S. involves a driver whose driver’s license status is either invalid or a mystery to law enforcement. The same report revealed that over 8,400 people die daily in accidents involving unlicensed drivers.

Driving without a license is a criminal offense. You could face jail time or hefty fines if caught. You could also face hiked rates in insurance premiums. It is therefore important to renew your license before it expires and avoid these and other problems.

  1. Online car markets

Are you looking to upgrade your car? You can do so for free on online car markets like ebay, Cars.com and even Craigslist. Sell your car or buy a new one for a reasonable rate. Be sure to have the car inspected by an independent party (not the seller’s mechanic) before you make the purchase.

  1. Online car reports

Before you purchase that dream car, be sure to check out what the experts say about it. Read free online reports from consumer protection agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and other authorities in the industry to be sure of your choice.

  1. Online vehicle history checks

Are you planning to buy a used car? You should check the car’s history (i.e. CarFax to find out if it has ever been involved in an accident, it’s maintenance history and who it is registered to.

  1. Recalls look up services

Has your car been recalled? You may not have received a notification in the mail but you can check online to see if your car needs to be taken to the dealer for service.

There are many other free online services available today. Taking advantage of these services will allow you to stay on top of your expenses and obligations.

 

 

 

 

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Get in the Zone with Zone Perfect

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Zone Perfect. All opinions are my own.

So the kids are back to school, so my schedule went from extremely busy, to um, impossible busy. I start before the sun rises and I finish well after it’s set. I really do try to be the best organized me – taking care of my husband, my kids, and myself as well as my work without too much of a bump, but sometimes – well, sometimes it’s not possible.

Believe it or not I get up around 5:30 and I make my oldest breakfast and pack her lunch – get her out the door and kid # 2 gets up and I do the same – then kid #3 (there is a lot of work that goes into having 3 kids at 3 different schools) then it’s time for my to jump in the shower and get myself to work. Unfortunately I’m not quite as diligent in making myself a wholesome breakfast (or lunch).  I’m usually looking in the pantry for something to grab as I run out the door.

Trying to make good decisions in a hurry means that you need to make good decisions in the grocery store – thankfully, I found Zone Perfect nutrition bars.

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Now I don’t know about you, but if I chose to eat empty calories for breakfast – then I tend to eat empty calories the rest of the day. If I make a better choice in the morning, I make better choices for lunch – and for dinner.

Being able to pick up a few boxes of Zone Perfect bars is a great option for breakfast and snacks in a hurry – there are tons of flavors to chose from such as:

  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • Salted Caramel Brownie
  • Double Dark Chocolate
  • Strawberry Yogurt
  • Fudge Graham
  • Cinnamon Roll
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Cholate Mint
  • Chocolate Almond Raisin
  • Dark Chocolate Almond

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I just throw one (or two) in my purse, and I can head out the door! It’s the little wins that really add up – and making smart choices add up to big victories, right??

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Today is National Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day! #AskYourVet

This post is sponsored by Pet Health Network® and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help create awareness for the importance of the IDEXX SDMA™ kidney screening test for pets, but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. Neither Pet Health Network® or IDEXX is responsible for the content of this article.

I know what some of you are thinking – time is money, and money is time. Maybe you yourself haven’t had time to fit in a check up for yourself in awhile (if so, stop what you are doing and make one now. You’ll thank me later). But just like our check-ups, and our kids check-ups are important – so are our furry friends.

Did you know 1 in 3 cats will develop kidney disease? The worst part is, most likely your cat won’t show any signs of illness until their kidneys have already lost most of their function – permanently. Now losing a pet is hard enough on a family – but losing a pet to a disease you could have known about, and taken action on? Now that’s really tough.

Take your pet to get the IDEXX SDMA™ kidney screening test. This test can help you and your vet take action sooner to give your cat a better, happier, longer life – even with kidney disease.

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If you aren’t familiar with the SDMA test from IDEXX let me tell you: its revolutionary. Veterinarians are able to screen for and spot early signs of kidney disease in your cat – while there is still time to do something about it!

It’s just like any type of preventative testing that you or I may get – if you’re at risk, your Doctor sets a plan into motion. It’s the same with kidney disease in your cat and your vet. If the SDMA levels are elevated, your vet can prescribe a plan to help preserve your cats kidneys.

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If you love your cat keeping them happy and healthy is important – if you are like me, you will do what you can to make sure your pet lives a long happy life (hello 3 a.m. emergency vet appointments – been there, done that when little Ms. Alley Cat (pictured above) decided she was a bit too curious about the fishing poles sitting in the corner of my basement – and tried eating a hook! Thankfully surgery was able to get it out of her lip, and she’s a happy sassy cat!

My kids are young and our cats are their best friends – their confidant, cuddle buddy, and favorite part of coming home. Whatever I can do to make sure that they are around for my kids, I will do. So really taking them in for a kidney test seems kind of a no brainer.

Be sure to take your cat to the vet today so you can help them live a better- longer – life!

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of IDEXX. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Beautiful Decor That Can Help Keep your Home Clean And Tidy

If you are a busy mom like me, then anything that will help you in keeping your home clean and tidy is a bonus. It’s a double bonus if its actually looks good too! So let’s forget all the faddy home decorating trends that are doing the rounds at the moment. Ignore the brass pineapples,  the rose gold terrariums and the hot pink flamingos. Let’s look instead at some simple and stylish elements that will not only make your home look good but make it easier to clean as well!

 

Patterned Surfaces

 

In the kitchen and the bathroom, you’ll want to go for a pattern worksurfaces. This is because they show the marks and dust a lot less that a block colour. Avoid gloss finishes on worktops and cabinets doors. Yes, these look lovely and sleek and modern, but they show marks and fingerprints so easily, especially if you have kids! This will take up valuable time cleaning and polishing. Speckled patterns are also good. Go for the lighter colours too; that will help disguise any mess that you haven’t got round to tidying yet.

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Shower Screen

 

Many people perfect to use a shower screen instead of a curtain in their bathroom. You can choose decorative options or plainer ones depending on your own sense of personal style. They don’t get mouldy like a shower curtain would, so it means that they have to be replaced less often, and they look much cleaner when in use too. To keep them sparkling and hygienic; spray with a leave on shower cleaner after each use.

 

Blinds

 

I always find that binds like these bali roller shades are a good choice when decorating. They look neat and tidy, and they are mush easier to manage and care for than full-length curtain or Venetian blinds, which can attract a lot of dust. All they need it a quick dust and by rolling them all the way up, the entire window and frame are easily accessible for cleaning and dusting regularly.

 

Easy Iron Duvet Sets

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One of the best investments you can make for a more beautiful and a cleaner home is an easy iron duvet set. They come in all sorts of patterns and colours like these. The great thing about them is that because they are so easy to iron, it makes getting them washed and put back on the bed a quick, and simple process. You don’t dread it as much because they are so quick to do, and that mean you’re more likely to keep up to date with it. Why make things harder than they have to be?

 

Rugs

 

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Rugs are another home decor element that can enhance the look of a room. They can give it a cosy, homely feel, perfect for the cold weather. They also serve a practical purpose as they stop the carpet underneath getting dirty. This makes them ideal for a high use area such as a hall or walkway. To clean them you can beat them out regularly, use the vacuum or even get them cleaned like carpets which should make them look as good as new.

 

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ONE DAY ONLY! Join Planet Fitness for $1 down and then $10 a month

It’s Back to School – which means it’s time for you to get back on track! I always have a hard time sticking to my schedule when the kids don’t have a routine for the summer (that’s why they call it lazy summers right?) But it’s August and it’s time to start thinking about getting into shape and being prepared for all those holidays that are right around the corner. I don’t know about you, but I’m already thinking about next summer! Right now is the perfect time to start preparing for next years summer bod!

With three kids in school – this Mama doesn’t have a whole lot of money or time for herself. With school supplies, school and sports fees, not to mention backpacks, tennis shoes and fall clothes – my budget is pretty tight. That’s why I love Planet Fitness.

planet_fitness12 On August 15, new members can join any Planet Fitness location for just $1 down and then $10 a month with no commitment.

The low monthly charge fits right into my budget – and with over 1,100 locations across the US, you are bound to find one near you.

Not to mention Planet Fitness fosters a Judgement Free Zone® – a non-intimidating, hassle-free, welcoming environment that makes everyone feel comfortable. AND.. wait for it…there aren’t any high pressure sales people. (I think that alone makes this membership worth its weight in gold!) I love my local Planet Fitness – there are gym buffs that I see almost every time I go (I think they might live there!) But there are also regular everyday people like me – working on or making sure, they stay healthy.

Most clubs are open 24/7 – so no matter how busy your schedule might be – they are there for you! My favorite time to go is after the kids are in bed, the dishes are done, and lunches are packed. I can relax and concentrate on me for a bit. Some time on the treadmill, the bike and sometimes the weights – and I come home to sleep like a baby!

planet_fitness_gymIf you have a bit more budget to spend, the PF Black Card® membership, is $19.99 a month and includes additional amenities such as the ability to bring a guest every day at no additional charge, use of massage chairs and tanning beds, and more. (I think it’s worth the extra $10 bucks – I bring a friend to help keep me on track!)

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