What kind of insurance do drivers like me buy?

Watching every penny is the starting point for getting rich slowly. But there are also big moves you can make that will earn or save you a lot of money. Big wins include refinancing your mortgage, negotiating your salary, improving your credit score or evaluating your car insurance. Your car insurance probably comes up for renewal every six months. When was the last time you compared insurance carriers or revised your policy to see if you could save a few hundred dollars? I thought so.

Des Toups, senior managing editor of Insurance.com (a QuinStreet site, like GetRichSlowly.org), has a lot of good information and statistics about car insurance that we wanted him to share with the GRS community. So, here's Des!

Car insurance has only one real purpose: To stand between you and financial disaster.

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More about...Insurance

How much are you willing to spend to save a sick pet?

This article is by managing editor Ellen Cannon.

Four years ago, my beloved kitty Zito developed kidney problems. She was only five years old, and her littermate, Mikey, was fine and healthy. But Zito had stopped eating and wasn't drinking much water. I took her to the vet.

An x-ray by the veterinarian showed that one of her kidneys was tiny and the other was not the normal size it should have been. The vet said most likely the little kidney wasn't functioning at all and the other was working overtime.

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More about...Health & Fitness, Home & Garden

Ask the readers: High-deductible health insurance: yea or nay?

Last week reader David posted a question on Get Rich Slowly's Facebook page, asking what our thoughts are on high-deductible health insurance plans. We turned to Barbara Marquand, staff writer at Insure.com, to answer his question. Here's her answer:

High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) have become more prevalent in the last few years, but whether one is right for you depends on your health care needs and financial situation.

The reason we're seeing so many of these plans boils down to one thing: cost. Generally the higher the deductible, the lower the health insurance premium. As health care costs climb, employers seek ways to save money on benefits, so a growing number are turning to high-deductible plans.

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More about...Insurance

Post-divorce — buy out wife or sell house?

This reader question comes from Rick. He's asking for the readers' advice on this common dilemma that many divorced people face.

My wife and I had a pretty good handle on our finances and were on track for meeting all of our major financial and life goals...college for the kids and retirement for us. We are both 43 and have two kids, ages 10 and 8. My wife went through a mid-life crisis last year and told me she wanted a divorce. I didn't see it coming. We have been divorced for four months. We had it in the decree that I could continue living in the house for a few months.

At this point, I am supposed to tell her whether or not I want to buy her out of the house or if we should put the home up for sale together. Zillow says the home is worth $344k; we paid $400k. We have a mortgage principal balance of $260k. Right now, our monthly payments are $1,200. I'm bringing home around $4,500 per month. Property taxes are $5,000 per year. If I were to move into a town home in the area, it would cost around $200k.

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More about...Home & Garden, Planning

5 ways to cut costs to save more for retirement

David Bakke is an author and blogger for the personal finance resource Money Crashers, where he discusses tips for saving money for retirement and generating long-term wealth.

When it comes to saving for retirement, many Americans are woefully behind. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 56 percent of those surveyed said they had less than $25,000 in retirement savings, and 30 percent doubted they'd have enough money to retire. However, regardless of your situation, it's never too late to start making or increasing monthly contributions -- and you'd be surprised at how many ways there are to free up extra money to put toward your golden years.

1. Refinance your mortgage

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More about...Retirement

Your credit score and credit card rewards: 10 tips

This is the second post from Hilary Stockton, who is the founder of TravelSort, which helps savvy travelers earn millions of miles without flying, redeem them for first-class flights, and stay in luxury hotels at wholesale prices. Follow her on Twitter @TravelSort.

I often get asked about the impact on one's credit score of churning or signing up for multiple rewards credit cards, especially by those new to earning a million or more frequent flyer miles and points via credit cards. It's definitely important to protect your credit score, and no one should sign up for a slew of new credit cards without taking the time to understand how your credit score works and whether you should be applying for new credit cards at all.

1. Only sign up for new credit cards if:

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More about...Credit

I bought a duplex to save money on rent

This story is from Karl Boericke. He is the author of The Frugal Berry, money-saving tips of all kinds for home, office, and small business.

In 1990, I was honorably discharged from the Navy and quickly found a job in an electronics manufacturing company as a technician in their test department. While renting an apartment at the time, I wondered how I would ever be able to afford to buy a house with my meager salary. I had heard that buying a duplex was an inexpensive way to live and build equity in a home.

After looking at a few mobile homes and quickly realizing the long-term downside to such an "investment," it became clear that buying a duplex was my best realistic ticket to home ownership. I lucked out in finding a great real estate agent who gave me some sage advice. Even though I could buy a duplex with a VA loan with almost NO cash up-front, she advised me to use an FHA first-time buyer mortgage. This would cost me some money at purchase, but it would give me the possibility of using my VA loan in the future for my "next duplex." This thought stimulated my imagination, and seemed like an impossibility at the moment, but I followed her advice and kept this long-term idea in storage for another time.

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More about...Home & Garden, Investing

How much rent should I charge my in-laws?

Money issues among family members are difficult, to say the least. A reader named The Lessor wrote to us recently about his sticky family situation:

I have a brother-in-law who decided to pursue ministry work overseas. He is married to a European girl and they live with her mother most of the year. Each year they return to the U.S. to keep citizenship/residency, visit with family, and fundraise for additional money to keep them living overseas. They usually spend three to four months in the U.S., living in my spare bedroom.

My wife misses her brother greatly when he's gone and likes for him to stay with us. I, however, can become annoyed when guests stay for an extended period, especially since they eat a lot of food, use a lot of utilities, are often messy, and generally put a lot of wear and tear on items in my house during these long visits. For the first time in over five years, they have offered to pay us some money to offset the costs associated with their stay.

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More about...Home & Garden

A few things to consider before becoming an expatriate

This post is from Justin Boyle. Justin is an experienced English tutor and writing coach who works as a designer in the tech industry. He lives in Austin, Texas, and finds a lot of things interesting, especially food, finance, education, gadgetry, software, art and travel. He never stops thinking about food. He is probably eating right now.

There are plenty of possible reasons you could want to leave the U.S. Perhaps you've always dreamed about making the sand and surf your front yard or longed to master a foreign tongue. Maybe you've been offered a job abroad. Maybe you feel your taxes are too high. I'm not here to question your motives, traveler. I'm just here to pass along what I know and help you get to your new home with your personal finances in order.

Settling Your Accounts

You're going to need a bank account when you first land on that once-foreign soil. Common expat advice is to set up an online savings account before leaving. Start out by keeping your money with a well-established and nationally available bank -- at least until you get a good sense of the banking landscape in your new home.

Be aware, though: If you're still a U.S. citizen while living abroad and ever wind up with more than $10,000 in your new accounts, you'll need to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts with the stateside IRS. You can be hit with serious penalties for neglecting to do this, so do the paperwork or renounce citizenship before you start making any serious money.

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More about...Retirement, Investing, Planning, Travel

Do you repair your own car to save money?

This post is from Ollie Geiger, a personal finance writer who contributes to MoneyRates.com.

As a former auto mechanic and service manager, my dad's car expertise has saved our family from countless binds.

Over the years, he's done everything from replacing my wife's broken timing belt in the parking lot of her apartment complex to rebuilding our truck's toasted alternator at a motel high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. A master of seeing mechanical possibilities, he replaced the alternator's seized bearing with a wheel bearing from a motorcycle we happened to be carrying.

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More about...Transportation