Wednesday, September 19, 2007

SEPTEMBER 19, 2007

If you're into this kind of thing, today is the annual "Talk Like a Pirate Day". And if you want to talk like a pirate, here's the official website, with a guide to some of the key pirate words and phrases. . .

Feel like your hard-earned cash leaves your wallet faster than it should? Don't blame the lattes. Chances are you're blowing through money on ways you have been told are better for you... Here are five ways we waste cash:

1. New Cars
Because cars depreciate fastest during the first two or three years of ownership, that new-car smell probably costs you 30% or more than if you bought the same car used. On top of that, used cars typically have lower insurance premiums, mainly because they cost less.
2. Brand Names at the Supermarket
At the drug store or supermarket, some brand items are simply not worth buying. The generic versions are just as good and cost much less. In some cases they're even made by the same companies.

3. At the Office
Are you taking advantage of all benefits your employer offers? We don't just mean your 401(k), but perks with more immediate gratification, too. Take your flexible spending account, which lets you use pretax dollars for medical expenses.

4. Cell Phone Early Termination Fees
If you're lucky, you'll never have to cancel your cell phone contract before it expires. Consumers have spent a whopping $2.6 billion on early termination fees. The good news: You can avoid paying early termination fees thanks to companies that help you transfer your contract to someone else... check out

5. Homeowners Insurance
Homeowners in some coastal and hurricane zones are about to see their home owners insurance premiums as much as double this year, but you don't have to take the full hit. If you haven't already asked your insurer for discounts you may qualify for, now is the time to do so. If your home owners and auto insurance policy are from the same company, for example, you could get 5% to 15% off your homeowners premiums.

Another reason you're lucky to live in Bakersfield... the traffic's not that bad. A new study looking at traffic congestion says in L.A. the average driver waits 72 hours a year in traffic. They also waste 57 gallons of gas during rush hour. Plus, a 20 minute trip during non-rush hour would take 25 minutes during rush hour.

For Bakersfield, the numbers look like this. The average driver only wastes 14 hours a year in traffic, and only 8 gallons of gas. And a 20 minute trup during non-rush hour would take 24 minutes during rush hour.

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