EPISODE 46 ~ SAVE MORE: Interior Design: How To Save Thousands on Professional Interior Design Services

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Welcome Alessandra Wood, Director of Style at Modsy, who is joining us to talk about how Modsy can SAVE people money.

We’ve heard how great Modsy is for your designers.  Now let’s talk about the client side.  How does a client start a project with Modsy?

  • They just take Modsy’s fast, free Style Quiz and share their Pinterest or moodboards to give Modsy designers an idea of their design tastes and preferences.
  • And then they Submit just 8 photos & measurements for the room they want to redecorate.

How much variety is there among retailers Modsy works with?  Can you provide decor to fit anybody’s style?

Modsy partners with 100+ top retailers to provide customers with fully shoppable catalogues of their own rooms. With a breadth of retail partners, room designs can be customized to fit each customer’s unique combination of style, space and budget. Partners range from furniture giants like Crate & Barrel and Design Within Reach.

It sounds so good that people are going to want to know cost.  Let’s put the savings in Save More, since that is the segment of the podcast this is for!  Can you briefly lay out Modsy’s two pricing tiers?

The Modsy Design Experience is $69 per room. What you get:

  • 2 custom designs laid out in your 3D room + 1 Modsy-revised design
  • Unlimited use of the Modsy 3D Style Editor.  (in beta) to swap Plus much more.

The Modsy Plus Design Experience is $199 per room. What you get:

  • 2 custom designs laid out in your 3D room + unlimited Modsy-revised designs
  • Access to your dedicated Modsy designer throughout the process to make changes and recommendations for you via phone, chat, or video
  • Unlimited use of Modsy 3D Style Editor.  Plus much more.

Alessandra Wood, Director of Style for Modsy, thank you so much for being my guest on Easy Money.  And, folks, Alessandra and Modsy have provided both a guest blog post AND a video to tell you AND show you more about how the service works.  You can find that at EasyMoneyShow.com/46.

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EPISODE 45 ~ SAVE MORE: Hospital: Reduce Your Medical Bills By Consulting Your Doctor Before Entering The Hospital

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Let’s dive into our SAVE MORE topic for today: How to negotiate a better deal when you need to go to the hospital.

If it’s an emergency, you get a free pass. But if you know in advance that you are going to the hospital, you should ask for an itemized estimate of the charges.  I know this sounds crazy.  And yet, when I re-tiled my bathroom, I insisted on a written estimate. When I got the tie rod ends in my car replaced, I demanded one (not that I understood it). We need to do the same thing before we head to the hospital for elective procedures. We should act like consumers —not patients. No more blindly following “doctor’s orders.”

You can even find out if your doctor has privileges at multiple hospitals and could perform this procedure at any of them. If so, you can shop around and see which facility has the lowest charges for all the support your doctor needs when treating you.  I’m talking about the operating theater, the recovery room, the nurses, and so on.  A pointer: Often community hospitals are less expensive than university teaching hospitals.  Just make sure the cheaper hospital still has a good reputation.

Once you’ve identified the least expensive hospital, ask the people there if they are willing to offer you a flat fee or a percentage discount for the procedure you need.  Flat fees are usually the best deal of all because then your rate is locked in. A flat fee may even include anesthesia, if needed.  If you need to bring the price down even more, offer to pay cash in advance if you can afford it.  Hospitals spend a lot of time and money tracking people down to get them to pay.  Trust me.  Paying cash up front will be attractive to the hospital execs.  A Harris Interactive poll showed that 70 percent of people who ask a hospital for a break, do get a discount. So, go for it!

And get this: Sometimes it’s even cheaper to pay cash for a procedure than to cover your part after insurance.  One patient who needed a Knee Xray at a hospital, found out it would cost $600 if she paid with insurance, and SHE was going to have to pay that full amount because she hadn’t met her deductible yet.  So she offered to pay cash on the spot.  The hospital was willing to take $70 bucks there and then for the same x-ray.  Now THAT’s a deal!  AND the power of negotiating with hospitals.

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EPISODE 43 ~ SAVE MORE: Online Shopping: Find Better Online Deals For Anything You Could Image With This Great Site

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What if there was a more targeted, refined way to sell stuff you no longer need?  And to BUY stuff you want, at a good price, from people you trust?  There is!   It’s called Facebook Marketplace and it is both my make more AND save more topic for this show. For the Facebook Marketplace user perspective, let’s turn to Katie Mundo.  Katie is an interior designer in Bergen County, New Jersey whose business is called Highwood Home.

Here’s a sample of questions I asked Katie:

  • I understand you have had great success purchasing unique home goods for your interior design business.  Is it just that they’re unique?  Or is it also sometimes that they’re delightfully cheap?
  • Can you give us a couple of specific examples of unique finds that were also good deals?
  • Any tips for people listening, as to how to find great things at great prices on Facebook Marketplace?  There must be tricks for sorting through the thousands of things offered and honing in on what you want.

You can find Facebook Marketplace here.

To find out more, tune check out EasyMoneyShow.com/43!

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EPISODE 42 ~ SAVE MORE: Gift Card Exchange: Learn How To Buy Other People’s Unwanted Gift Cards For 30% Discounts

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I love it when one guest can help me with two topics. George recently taught us how to make money selling gift cards and now he’ll stick with me, because now we’re going to talk about how Raise can help people SAVE money!

First off, How does Raise assure the gift cards people buy are legitimate?

Raise has multiple protocols in place to detect and prevent potential fraudulent behavior on our platform by analyzing all cards, sellers and buyers on the marketplace. We’ve also developed leading technology to compare customers’ behavioral attributes against merchants’ data to prevent many forms of gift card abuse. Buyers and sellers who engage in fraudulent behavior are removed from the platform. Unlike other gift card marketplaces, Raise offers a 1-year money-back guarantee on all gift cards with every purchase, so you can rest easy when making a purchase on our platform.

What is the biggest benefit of BUYING gift cards on Raise?  

By buying discounted gift cards on Raise, consumers can save money on everyday items from 3,800 national brands.  All of these savings add up fast, so you can make your money worth more in every facet of your life.

What kinds of discounts are we talking about?

Our gift cards go for as much as 30 percent off, which means you save 30 percent when you shop with that gift card.  Users can combine our deals with sale prices and store coupons to save even more.

Do I have to wait for a gift card to arrive in the mail or can I use the gift card number and cash in immediately?

Users can redeem their gift cards immediately by opening the Raise mobile app and either typing in a code online or showing the barcode on their phone at checkout in-store — no need to worry about forgetting gift cards at home in a drawer.

In addition to providing a marketplace for people to buy and sell gift cards to each other, you also partner directly with some retailers, right?

Raise also partners directly with 400 retailers, including Dell, Barnes & Noble, Subway, Overstock.com and many more, who provide cards directly to buyers through Raise.

How much have Raise gift card buyers saved so far?

Raise members have saved $140 million to date.

George Bousis, founder and CEO of Raise, thank you so much for joining me on Easy Money.  And George also provided a guest blog post and a video that show you the big bucks people are making and saving using Raise.  Those are available now at EasyMoneyShow.com/42.

George, before I let you go, the other topic we talk about on Easy Money is how to find your unclaimed money.  So I often search for my guests, just to show how common unclaimed money is.  And guess what?  I found some unclaimed money accounts for you! 

The state of Illinois is holding money for a George Bousis, from DePaul University.  I checked and you did go to DePaul, right? 

Congrats, DePaul University turned over at least a hundred dollars for you.  Could be $101 or could be much more because Illinois only posts online whether your unclaimed money is more or less than $100.  Any idea what that could be from?

But wait, there’s more!  There is also unclaimed money waiting for you from AT&T.  This one is less than $100.  To claim your money, just go to the free website MissingMoney.com.

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EPISODE 40 ~ SAVE MORE: Go Green: News flash! Clean Electricity is Now Cheaper Than Traditional

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People in 30 out of 50 states have the option of switching their gas provider, electric provider or both.  That can save you green and be more green because there may be an alternative supplier that costs less and does more for the environment.  A startup called Arcadia Power has created software that tracks the power companies in many areas and helps you find a better deal.  My guest is Kiran BhaTRAju, CEO of Arcadia Power.  Kiran, welcome to Easy Money.

The majority of states now have some level of deregulated power, which means you can switch providers and potentially save big money.   I’m going to list off the states real quick so people will know their options.  First, states with deregulated gas AND electric:

• California*

• Connecticut

• Illinois

• Maine

• Maryland

• Massachusetts

• Michigan*

• New Hampshire

• New Jersey

• New York

• Ohio

• Pennsylvania

• Rhode Island

• Virginia

• Washington, D.C.

Those are the states that you work primarily with, right?  Now states with deregulated electric only:

• Delaware

• Oregon

• Texas

And, finally states with deregulated gas only:

• Colorado

• Florida

• Georgia

• Indiana

• Iowa

• Kentucky

• Montana

• Nebraska

• New Mexico

• South Dakota

• West Virginia

• Wyoming

Arcadia can help you find an alternative in the 15 states with deregulated gas AND electric and I know you’re always looking to expand.  Meanwhile, if a listener does not live in one of the deregulated states, does Arcadia Power still have options to help them save money and save the planet?

• Yes! Absolutely. By connecting your local utility account to Arcadia Power, you are automatically supporting clean energy, for free.

• We also offer efficiency tips on our dashboard that can help anyone save on their monthly bills.

• Everyone can also sign-up for our community solar program, and sign-up to get home efficiency products – such as a Nest Thermostat – through us at no upfront cost

for consumers to tap into what Arcadia Power offers, they need to become Arcadia members.  Is there a cost for that?

• Not at all. Signing-up for Arcadia Power is completely free.

• Anyone can connect their local utility account to our online energy platform to get free access to clean energy, improve their home efficiency and find ways to save.

You’re called Arcadia Power, but are you a power company?  A utility yourselves?

• Great question, we are neither.

• We integrate directly with utilities, but Arcadia Power is an online energy platform, not a power provider.

• We built Arcadia Power to bring homeowners and renters across the U.S. a cleaner, better and more affordable energy experience.

 Once somebody joins Arcadia Power, they can sign up for your Price Alert software.  What does this software do for them?

•  Prices for renewable, clean energy has been dropping for years, but utilities still rely mostly on fossil fuels.

• With Price Alerts, we monitor the energy market in your area for the best rates for clean energy. Companies like Google and Amazon have been benefitting from these declining costs for year. Now we are able to pass those lower rates onto consumers.  

• When your contract is up with your current provider, we will have already looked to see if there is a new, lower rate available for you. If we have find one, we’ll switch you to it.  We do give people a chance to opt out, but most people want the new plan that will save them money.   

• The coolest part about Price Alerts is that as more and more people connect their utility accounts to Arcadia Power, the amount of savings for everyone will go up.

• We use the collective purchasing power of all of our members in a given state to negotiate and find them lower prices for power in the market.  

I know green energy is Arcadia’s goal.  But will Arcadia tell its members about a cheaper power option, even if it’s not greener?

• We only work with power providers who we trust, and who we know use renewable resources.

• We make sure that everyone who has an Arcadia Power account is automatically supporting renewable energy – regardless of what plan they are on.

 Does Arcadia continue to monitor power prices for members and re-switch them again if necessary?

• Absolutely. The process is continual, as long as you are connected to the Arcadia Power energy platform.

• Once a contract that you are on runs out, we will let you know if we have found you another, lower clean energy rate.

Once Arcadia switches me to a different power company, do I get my power bills from that company or from Arcadia?

• From the moment your sign-up for Arcadia Power, you will start receiving a monthly clean energy statement from us and will no longer pay your power bill through your utility company.

• We manage your utility account for you, so that we can provide you with a better energy experience.  

What kind of savings are most Arcadia members seeing thanks to your Price Alert software?  Give it to me in percentages and dollars!

• Right now, average homeowner savings with Price Alerts is 5-10% a year, but some people have saved as much as 30 percent. And as more people connect their utility accounts in your area, that savings will continue to go up.

How does helping customers save money on power further Arcadia’s goal of promoting green power?

• “Green” or clean power is cheaper than fossil fuels and has been for a while. Large companies have been benefitting from these declining costs for years.

• Our mission is to make these lower costs accessible for the everyday person.

• By saving people money on their energy bills, we hope to make it easier for them to support clean energy. Lower monthly costs and cleaner energy should go hand in hand.

Speaking of investing in clean energy, let’s talk about your wind power project. Arcadia gives clients a way of investing in wind power without putting a windmill in their backyard.  Is this project meant to save people money or more to save the planet?

•  Our wind plan is not a savings plan, but it’s the only nationwide free way that homeowners and renters can access clean energy.

• Again, in the same way that companies like Amazon and Google have been “purchasing” clean energy, we are able to purchase clean wind power for our Arcadia Power members.

• We do this so that anyone, whether they rent or own, or live in an apartment or house, can know that their monthly electricity bill is supporting renewable energy.  

You are trying to help customers save power and money any way you can. Tell me about your on-bill financing idea.

• Our on-bill financing will allow anyone to purchase energy-efficient products, such as smart thermostats and LED lighting, at no upfront cost.

• These efficiency products will help you save on your monthly energy costs, and we want to make it as easy as possible for anyone to purchase them for their home.

OK, important question I ask of all companies I interview: How does Arcadia make money?

•  We have a shared savings model, meaning that every time we connect a member to a lower-cost clean energy plan we make a profit.

• Those profits are what enable us to provide free clean energy for anyone.

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EPISODE 39 ~ MAKE MORE: Opinions: Get Paid Extra Cash Simply By Sounding Off

Many thanks to entrepreneur.com where I first spotted these “make more” ideas.  Let me take these in order from least to most involved. 

#1: Give your feedback on new websites and apps. You know, let them know if you spot misspellings or if their navigation system is confusing.  Some of these jobs only take 5 minutes but pay $10.  Some websites that offer this opportunity: UserTesting.com, UsabilityHub.com, and validately.com.  As always, I will link you to these resources so you don’t have to remember them.  You just have to remember EasyMoneyShow.com/39, which is the Show Notes page for Episode 39.

#2: Take online surveys. You register and they contact you when you fit the demographics a survey is looking for.  Tons of companies do this.  Here are a few: SurveyJunkie.com, OpinionOutpost, and SurveySpot.  Again, you can find all of these later at EasyMoneySHow.com/39.

#3: Sign up for focus groups. This is the classic scenario where you and a group of other consumers sit around and express your opinions about some product or service, while the nervous clients watch through a one-way mirror hoping you really, really like them.  These gigs used to be very local, but now there are websites to sign up.  Try FocusGroup.com, Global Strategy Group or SIS International.

#4: Give video opinions.  I touched on this in Episode 29 and did an in-depth interview about it on Episode 37 and I’ll mention it just one more time right now.  Promise!  Companies like DScout hire people to give short video insights into their consumer habits and opinions.  These digital scouts can make hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. Check it out at dscout.com.

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EPISODE 38 ~ SAVE MORE: Credit Cards: Negotiate To Decrease The Interest Rate On Your Credit Cards And Save Thousands

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Let’s talk about negotiating a lower interest rate on your credit card as a way of saving hundreds or thousands of dollars.

This strategy applies to people who carry a credit card balance.  Negotiating a lower interest rate, which will also help you pay off your debt more quickly and cheaply. All you do is call up your credit card company and politely ask them to lower your interest rate. Naturally, you will also mention that other card companies have offered you a lower rate, so if this company doesn’t help you, you will take your business elsewhere.

A few years ago, I tried this with a bunch of young Good Morning America employees and it was a grand success. We showed off their results live on the show. Here’s what a few five minute phone calls accomplished:




Cardholder 1



Cardholder 2



Cardholder 3



Why do banks go for this? Simple.  It’s easier for them to keep a current customer than to get a new one so the bank will probably work with you, too. 

Those simple phone calls can make a big difference in how much and how long it takes to pay off your credit cards.  Let’s say you have $15,000 in credit card debt (I see it all the time) and you want to pay it off in two years. How much would negotiating for a lower rate help you? Let’s use the numbers from Cardholder 2 since it’s a real interest rate reduction I’ve seen with my own eyes. Here’s the math:

Interest rate

Amount due







Wow!  By simply negotiating a lower interest rate, you would be able to save $1,272 over two years.  Interest is one of the biggest things we spend on, so any  time you can reduce the interest rate you pay, you are doing yourself a big, fat favor.

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EPISODE 37 ~ SAVE MORE: Commute: Pay For Parking At Your Work On A Pretax Basis

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Did you know that you can pay for parking that’s part of your work commute on a pretax basis?

I used to do this myself when I worked at ABC News in the Washington DC bureau.  According to Wageworks, the dominant company that administers this federal program, you can get this benefit if you pay to park at or near work OR if you park somewhere remote, like a metro parking lot, and then take the train to work.  

For 2018, you can contribute up to $260 per month on a pre-tax basis to pay for your parking.  A definition here might help: Paying on a “pre-tax basis” means that the money you pay for parking comes out of your salary before you pay any taxes on it.  This reduces the amount of income you are taxed on, which means you pay less in federal taxes.

Once you set up this special commuter parking account, you can either use the money to pay your parking garage directly, or you can pay for parking yourself and get reimbursed.  In addition, some employers provide prepaid parking cards, kind of like debit cards, that you can use to pay for parking.

Many cities are now mandating that employers must offer mass transit or parking benefits like this.  If your employer does not, you should form a group and request this benefit.  After all, it’s your money.  The only expense to the company is the cost of administering the program. 

Wageworks seems to have cornered the market on offering commuter parking benefits, so I will link you to Wageworks’ parking page where you can get all of the information you need to pursue this perk!

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EPISODE 36 ~ SAVE MORE: Mattresses: Save Thousands By Buying a Quality Mattress Topper Instead of a Mattress

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Americans spend 15-billion dollars a year on mattresses.  The queen-sized models rated highest by Consumer Reports cost 13-hundred to 23-hundred dollars, but there are even some fancy mattresses that sell for 60-thousand dollars apiece!  My guest calls that “shady” and says only the top 3 inches of the mattress really matter.  That’s why he started a mattress topper company called Kloudes. Omar Alchaboun, welcome to Easy Money.

Omar, make your argument.  Why do you believe only the top 3 inches of the mattress matter?

The mattress industry makes it seem like they’re changing the game when they’re really just playing a game. Their favorite game is to deem a mattress new and innovative even if all they’ve done is simply rearrange layers of foam. Mattresses with more layers, cool names, and flashy technology are not worth the high cost.  There is very little variation in how mattresses are made. Don’t get sucked into the mattress industry’s silly battle of the bulge when the top 3 inches are all that matters.

To really answer this question, I need to tell you a little bit about my bedding background. The previous business I was involved in focused on wholesale for a variety of bedding products. I was mainly responsible for sourcing and product development.  We started out selling pillows mainly and expanded gradually into other products. When we decided to make a memory foam mattress, I took a trip to our factory and began discussing the options to design our own mattress. In the manufacturing process, they have a few options to choose from for the base layer and middle layers and then a huge selection for the top layer or “comfort layer”. So basically, I was just searching for different top layers. Then I began researching many different mattress companies to notice that most of the time they are just rearranging top layers. From this experience and from our research, we realized that the top layer was most important.

So you say the solution is a good mattress topper, specifically the one your team developed.  Describe it.

Kloudes is an innovative, patent-pending mattress topper designed to transform your existing mattress into a brand new one. Kloudes can enhance or restore the comfort level of new and old mattresses alike, whether it’s a worn-out mattress that has flattened out after years of use, a mattress that is too hot or too firm, or a recently purchased mattress that just isn’t quite hitting the spot. Kloudes uses patented Air Foam technology and patent-pending Micro-Kloudes technology to ensure a cool, ultra-comfortable night’s rest.

So since the base and middle layers rarely change in mattresses, we began our process by researching different top layers of mattresses and mattress toppers. Developing a product like a mattress topper isn’t rocket science. Don’t believe what anyone tells you, there isn’t much technology in sleep products. The effort it took to develop our mattress topper was a lot of research on materials, combinations of different materials and a lot of sleeping. We had a simple goal when developing our topper: To make the most comfortable mattress topper that improves any existing mattress. We want to create an alternative to replacing your mattress.

Our topper basically can be broken down into 2 parts:

The first is a solid piece of ventilated gel infused air foam. Air foam is a patented type of foam produced by the factory that makes our Kloudes topper. We basically searched for the best type of foam we could find and we found that air foam was the best hands down. It stays cool and is breathable and is not temperature sensitive like regular memory foam.

The 2nd part of the topper is our channel stitched organic cotton cover that is embedded with what we call “Micro-Kloudes” When a memory foam mattress is produced, they take a large block of foam and cut out the size needed. The excess pieces of foam are then shredded and embedded into the organic cotton cover.

When we combined “Micro-Kloudes” with an organic cotton cover and wrapped it around the air foam, we found that this unique combination was unlike anything on the market. We believe we’ve created “The World’s Most Comfortable Topper”

How did you get the idea to develop a mattress topper and try to disrupt the mattress industry?

Kloudes is more than just a mattress topper – Kloudes is a wake-up call. This is our way of calling out the mattress industry on their shady marketing practices and unfair pricing schemes. This is our way of changing long-held, yet incorrect beliefs surrounding mattress buying. At Kloudes, we intend to disrupt the mattress industry one aging mattress at a time.  Kloudes was created by consumers for consumers.  We aren’t sitting in a high-rise, in designer suits, trying to find new ways to rip people off. We aren’t some Silicone Valley-esque startup disguised as a tech company, but selling completely ordinary products.  We’re just 4 normal people committed to creating a product that makes lives better.

Going back a few years when I realized that the top layer was most important, I began researching all these mattress companies.  And Rarely do they ever sale a topper. Why would they? They want to get you to buy a larger ticket item, it doesn’t make sense for their business model to down sale you. As I started researching mattress toppers, I noticed that no one was creating a topper good enough to replace your existing mattress but more as an accessory to your mattress. This is what inspired Kloudes. We want to be an alternative to replacing your old mattress or improve your existing mattress that may not be as comfortable as you want.

I did this a few years ago myself with a latex foam topper.  Apologies!  Your toppers weren’t out yet.  What makes your Kloudes mattress topper any better than others on the market?

The Kloudes Topper features two ventilated layers that work together to form a “convection-cooled” sleep system. The bottom layer is composed of patented, ultra-breathable Air Foam, and the top layer features our innovative Micro-Kloudes technology. The layers are encased within a channel-stitched organic cotton cover.  Kloudes’ upper layer features our innovative Micro-Kloudes™ technology which was invented with comfort and eco-design in mind.  Kloudes’ ventilation system allows air to flow freely, creating updrafts within the layers to ensure heat won’t get trapped. The updrafts cause warm air to expand leading to a drop in temperature as the air rises. The result is a cool, comfortable night’s sleep. You’ll feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud.

We slept on a lot of different mattresses and toppers while we were developing ours. From all that sleeping, we developed what we believe to be the World’s most Comfortable topper. Simply, it does not compare to any other toppers because it is unique. No company has dedicated the time to perfect the mattress topper, but that’s what we did. With that being said, everyone sleeps different and we get that. We designed our topper to work for most people and offer a 100 night trial. If you’re shopping for a new mattress or your mattress is just not as comfortable as you want, give the Kloudes topper a try. If it doesn’t work for you, you’ll get your money back. It’s that simple.

Again, a quality new queen-sized mattress can cost a thousand to 2-thousand dollars.  How much does a Kloudes topper cost?

Twin: $149

Twin XL: $159

Full: $179

Queen: $199

King: $249

California King: $249

In addition to an attractive price compared to a mattress, you also say consumers can be satisfied knowing Kloude toppers are environmentally friendly.  How so?

We created a unique upcycling process that uses surplus, high-quality memory foam that would have been tossed out by mattress manufacturers. We shred the memory foam, and embed it into a channel-stitched organic cotton cover. This stitching technique keeps the Micro-Kloudes ™ in place, making sure the topper is fluffy throughout.

We’re just trying do our part. Our cover is made with certified organic cotton. So no pesticides, formadelhyde or things of that nature.  Our biggest contribution comes from our Micro-Kloudes technology. We upcycle foam that would of simply just gone to waste.

What if your existing mattress has deep body indentations in it?  Won’t the Kloudes topper sort of fall into those?  If so, what’s the solution?

This question has come up a lot to us. Most of the time these indentations happen to the top layer of the mattress so you are essentially adding a new top layer with our Kloudes topper. However, we ask people to use their best judgement. If your mattress is 15 years old with indentations to the ground, then you are probably going to need a new mattress. If your mattress has deep indentations but you think that a topper would fix that then try out a Kloudes topper. Again, use your best judgement and try us out.

Let’s make sure people understand the difference between a mattress pad and a mattress topper, so they can understand what you’ve created.  Can you explain?

A mattress topper is thicker than a mattress pad. A good mattress topper can extend the life of your mattress, and make it feel brand new. It’s a great option when you are not ready to replace an aging mattress. Mattress pads are generally used for the purpose of protecting a mattress (which mattress toppers do as well)Not only is Kloudes more affordable than buying a new mattress, but it also extends the longevity of your current mattress. With Kloudes, you’re purchasing the only part of the mattress that actually matters.

Kloudes is part of a trend, where people are buying mattresses —or in this case toppers— online.  You and other innovative companies offer a trial period and a money back guarantee to make consumers comfortable making a purchase like this over the internet.  Describe that.

We want to make sure you love your new topper so we give you 100 days from the time you receive it to test it out. If, within 100 days, you decide Kloudes isn’t right for you, we will provide you with a refund on your original form of payment.  Sleep on it, have breakfast in bed on it, binge-watch your favorite shows on it – if you don’t love it, we’ll give you a full refund. No return shipping costs or hidden charges.

if the product is unused, we will send a return label. If the product is used, we are looking to establish relationships nationwide to donate the toppers. We’ll start delivering in about 28 days so we are trying to secure these beforehand.

Kloudes is a brand-new company that came to life thanks in part to a Kickstarter campaign.  Your goal was to have your toppers ready for shipment in February 2018.  Did it work out?

Our Kickstarter campaign ended on January 11th and we reached 151% of our goal! We are aiming to ship out all pre-orders around February 15th. We’ve received great support so far and are excited to officially launch soon.

I should make it clear to everyone that I am receiving no compensation for interviewing you about Kloudes, Omar.  I just thought it made a great money-saving topic since I, myself, have used a topper to make a crummy mattress better and avoid buying a new one.  Do you think people —other than me— are going to be ready for your product?

First off, I would like to thank you again for having me on your show. We have received great feedback so far with people like yourself wanting to use our Kloudes topper to make their mattresses better and save the hassle of buying a new one. With millenials changing their mattresses more often than previous generations, we feel like we’ve come at the right time to offer a long term money-saving alternative.

Omar Alchaboun, CEO of Kloudes, thanks so much for joining me on Easy Money.

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EPISODE 35 ~ SAVE MORE: Car Insurance: Shopping Around for It And Save $1000+

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I like to save money on the boring things, so I have more for the fun things. And perhaps the most boring thing of all that we spend money on is insurance. Fortunately, with car insurance it’s possible to save BIG bucks just by shopping around. Consumer’s Checkbook magazine did the hard work of shopping around for dozens of policies and Executive Editor Kevin Brasler is here to reveal what kind of savings they found.

How much can people realistically save by shopping around for car insurance?

Our comparisons of prices charged by the Washington area’s largest auto insurers found that most area drivers will save $500 or more a year by making a better auto insurance choice. Many will save $1,500 or more.

Our illustrative couple with two cars living in the District with clean driving records would pay $568 with GEICO, compared to $1,955 with State Farm, $2,033 with Farmers, $2,577 with Allstate, and $3,219 with Nationwide.

Although it’s a bit of a pain to shop for auto insurance, most consumers would agree that spending a few hours to save $500, $1,000, or more every year is worth the effort.

Do you need to wait until your policy is about to renew?

No, when you switch to a lower-priced company, your old insurance company will refund the unused share of your premium.

I think people worry that switching to a cheaper insurance company means they won’t get good service or get their claims paid if they get in an accident.

You also don’t have to forsake service for a better rate: We found that some highly rated companies offer low rates.

Which companies had the best rates?

we found dramatic company-to-company rate differences for all of the profiles and locations we looked at—several hundred dollars a year in every case, and several thousand dollars in several cases. For almost all our profiles and locations, GEICO charged very low premiums. Other companies that charged low rates for many, but not all our profiles and locations were Erie, Esurance, Progressive, and USAA, but other companies charged low rates for specific policyholder profiles and locations.

Which companies had the best customer service?

Our ratings reveal big differences in how customers rated companies. For “speed of claim payment,” for example, scores range from 54 percent to more than 90 percent for Amica and USAA.

Should consumers buy their car insurance directly?  Or through agents or online or what?

•For auto insurance, we find that most agents can quote accurate rates, but problems still exist.  Some agents quote wildly inaccurate rates, while others persistently push more coverage than requested. 

•Online comparison sites only quote rates from the companies that pay them commissions and some of the most affordable insurance companies may not participate with the site.

How do insurance companies decide what to charge each of us for car insurance?  is it all about accidents and tickets?

Insurers increasingly are offering their best rates only to customers who meet criteria that have nothing to do with their driving histories. For example, most companies offer their lowest rates only to customers with excellent credit scores and who are college graduates and homeowners.

For example, we found that if you have:

•Fair credit you’ll pay $903 more than somebody with excellent credit.

•If you’re 20 years old you’ll pay $890 more than somebody who is 38

•If you’re 80 years old you’ll pay $431 ore than somebody who’s 38.

•And If you drive a BMW 5 series instead of a Honda Accord, you’ll pay $500 more

You can save even more money by dropping coverage you don’t need.  What kinds of coverage should people drop?

When you buy more insurance than you need, or insure against small risks, you are wasting money.

Decline rental car coverage:

Although most insurers push this add-on, the problem is that even a modest level of coverage—typically $30 per day with a limit of $600 per claim—usually costs $20 to $60 per year for each car on your policy. Since the additional premium over time is likely to greatly exceed any benefits you can collect, our advice is to decline it.

Decline roadside assistance:

Under many policies, this optional coverage will reimburse you only for $25 per claim, but for $3 or $4 more per year you can get coverage for up to $75 per claim. Though towing and road service coverage is inexpensive, joining AAA will be a better deal if you use other club benefits.

Skip Accident Forgiveness:

With this option, if you have an accident your premiums won’t change.But most companies charge an additional premium for accident forgiveness (and most other advertised add-ons), and with some companies you pay $100 or more per year to buy it.

You heard it here. Shopping around for a new car insurance policy is the easiest way to save a thousand bucks or more. Kevin Brasler of Consumers Checkbook, thanks for being here and providing it to us.

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