Recap: Post-Thanksgiving Sales

“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” – Bo Derek

Once the turkey and stuffing have been devoured, it will be time to start planning your post-Thanksgiving shopping ventures. Do you plan to brave the crowd of Black Friday, support the community on Small Business Saturday, or shop from the comfort of your home on Cyber Monday?

No matter whether you’re doing your shopping in one day or spreading it out, there are a few things that you can do to make your job less hectic. The first and most important is to make a list of the things that you’re looking to buy. Shopping without a list is a practically guaranteed way to buy things that you don’t need and miss items that you could have used. If you’re purchasing gifts, make a list of who you’re buying for and what you could get them, as well as your budget for each person. As you shop, you can check off your list knowing that you’ve saved a bunch by buying when the items were on a deep discount!

Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is a great place to support local businesses all year round. We are a local independent insurance agency that offers Boston residents excellent home insurance, renters’ insurance, car insurance, and beyond. Call 617-298-0655 or visit our website for a free quote today!

Cancelling Auto Coverage Can Affect Future Rates

Most of the time, car insurance is a ‘set it and forget it’ purchase. Once you have a policy, you can schedule the payments and rest easier knowing that you will be covered for all the perils listed on your policy. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to consider cancelling your policy.

The reasons that people cancel their auto insurance are plentiful. Some cancellations are due to the covered car being sold or pulled off the road for extended maintenance, others are due to major life events such as moving, marriage, or divorce. Some people will cancel their current auto insurance policy because they are dissatisfied with their current insurance provider and want to make a change. No matter what the reason is that you are considering cancelling a current insurance policy, you shouldn’t make the decision lightly – what some people don’t realize is that cancelling your current policy could have repercussions on your future insurance premiums!

Why would it affect your future insurance payments, you ask? Well, that is simple. When you sign up for an insurance policy, you agree to pay a certain amount depending on how long you will receive coverage. The price for a six-month policy is usually more expensive per month than a twelve-month policy because you get a discount based on the extra commitment of a longer contract. This is like saving per ounce or pound at the grocery store when buying larger sizes of food items – the bigger your commitment, the less you pay per unit.

Because of this, insurance providers will sometimes look at your insurance history when deciding on your next premium amount. If they see that you have prematurely cancelled a policy in the past, they may be more likely to increase your cost – since your history reveals that you could need another early cancellation, making you a payments risk for their bottom line.

It is also worth noting that you should never drive a vehicle that is uninsured. Not only are you required to have auto insurance when driving in the state of Massachusetts, driving without insurance is a huge financial risk. Could you imagine the financial impact of causing a car accident without any kind of coverage? The costs to repair your vehicle could be very expensive, let alone fixing damage to the object you ran into (whether it is another car, a mailbox, etc). The cost of an accident also skyrockets when someone is injured, if they miss work, or if there is a lawsuit. Think about these potential costs before you get behind the wheel without any insurance!

Remember – you never think when you’re heading to work or going to run a quick errand that you will get in a major car accident, but it can happen to anyone at any time. There are estimated to be an average of 6 million car accidents in the US every year, and more than 90 people are killed in car accidents every day. In 2016 alone there were 359 fatal crashes in the state of Massachusetts. In addition to letting Vargas and Vargas Insurance make sure that you have the proper auto insurance policy to be protected on the road, make sure that you know the potential perils of driving while distracted, and don’t speed or drive while intoxicated. Driving is a privilege, and you are responsible for the safety of yourself and other drivers while you operate a vehicle.

If you are considering cancelling your auto insurance (or any of your Massachusetts insurance policies) for any reason, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency and talk to an agent. They will be able to explain any and all repercussions that may arise because of a cancelled policy and can advise you on your decision, and potentially come up with an action plan that will fit your needs. Remember – one quick call to 617-298-0655 can get all your insurance questions answered, so don’t stress… talk to a Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent today.

Already cancelled an auto insurance policy and looking for a new one? Vargas and Vargas Insurance is an independent insurance agency – that means that we can search several insurance providers to find you a great policy, even if you have cancelled a policy in the past. No matter your insurance needs, we will find some way to help you and ensure that you are protected, so call 617-298-0655 today.

Morning Motivation – Week of November 12, 2018

Happy Monday again, friends!

When was the last time you did something new or challenged yourself? That is the theme of the day, as we start with this week’s motivational quote:

I went WAY outside my comfort zone last month – I was the keynote speaker at a mastermind group of plumbers, A/C and heating folks from around the country that met in Boston. You can watch the video here, if you like.  If you knew me 5 years ago, you would say “That’s not Carlos! He does one-on-ones well, but in a group or even standing up in front of a group, no way. He will never do it.”  Well, after hundreds of presentation to real estate, mortgage and closing attorneys over the past 5 or 6 years, I stood up in front of this huge group and talked about community marketing and getting freedom in business while the telephone rings with quality people who want to use their business. I also talked about how these people could spend more time doing what they want to do with the people that they love. (Do you want the same thing?)

The presentation went well (as you can see at the end of the video), and the high that I walked away with after the presentation lasted into the next day. When I walked into the house my wife Kathy asked how my presentation went, then she said “I see how you are, you must have done well!” She said the next day, “You should do more of these, you are still floating on air.” For the last couple of years I have lived for presentations!

As I talked about in my message last week, like when we learn how to ride a bike, play a new video game, or try a new marketing technique, you need to do it over and over and over again to master it. The more you can do that “new thing” to make it into a habit, the more it will truly stick and become a natural part of your life. When you try something, give it (and yourself) a fair chance. For example, say you want to try taking just one small step forward toward overcoming procrastination. If that is your goal, use you new trick each day for at least a week in school or at work before you evaluate whether it will work for you.

Thinking, hoping and expecting that positive results will come quicker than may be possible can hold you back from making real progress.

The question now is: In what aspects of your life do you want to improve? Stay tuned for my email next week to read about a challenge that I have been taking on in my life.

Carlos

Winter Motorcycle Safety Considerations in Dorchester

Cold weather in Massachusets comes early in the fall, so motorcyclists will be able to enjoy the fall foliage in the chilly air. When it changes to icy and even colder there are some safety considerations for drivers that must be considered. At Vargas & Vargas Insurance we want all drivers to be safe throughout our beautiful state. We deliver quality insurance to clients in Dorchester, MA and the surrounding areas. 

Winter Motorcycle Safety Tips

  • Wear your helmet. Helmets are required under Massachusets law, however, in the winter they offer more than a lifesaving exoskeleton. In the winter helmets protect your face and head from the extreme elements that your face can be exposed to on a normal daily ride. 
  • Layers are a necessity. Many bikers will wear motorcycle gear to protect their skin however in the winter a bit more is needed. Layers to hold your own warmth to your body on the underside in addition to the layers to block the icy wind on the outside can feel like a lifesaver in frigid months.
  • Handguards are needed in the winter months because riding gloves are not enough to block the brunt of the wind and thicker gloves can decrease your hand’s mobility putting yourself at risk while driving. 
  • The roads in winter also present their own hazards due to the ice patches, snow, and the salt used to melt the ice. These things can present safety hazards and affect the workings of your bike so driver beware of the road as well as yourself. 

Call us as Vargas & Vargas Insurance for quality motorcycle insurance, and remember to keep safe on the roads this winter while you travel in and around Dorchester, MA. 

Recap: Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

“Thanksgiving Day is a good day to recommit our energies to giving thanks and just giving.” – Amy Grant

Are you going to be hosting your family’s Thanksgiving this year? It’s never too early to start preparations, so here are a few things you can start to consider. Just think of them as advice from your favorite Massachusetts insurance agents!

  • Start working on your guest list and planning what dishes will be a part of your meal.
  • Account for any guests with food allergies or special dietary needs.
  • Review food safety tips to avoid food borne illnesses.
  • Make sure that your frozen turkey has enough time to thaw in the fridge or a cold-water bath.
  • Prepare some foods ahead of time to relieve some Thanksgiving Day stress.
  • Ensure that your home is free of tripping hazards to prevent a home insurance claim.
  • Have entertainment ready, including festive music, football, and Thanksgiving activities and games.
  • Make cleanup a breeze by soaking dishes as you perform other tasks.

In the end, remember that Thanksgiving is a holiday about togetherness and being grateful for what you have. If at the end of the day you have to order a pizza, it’s not the end of the world… it will be a great story for years to come!

If you need help with an insurance claim during the Thanksgiving holiday, call the Vargas and Vargas Insurance 24/7 emergency line at 617-322-5289. And, as always, you can call us at 617-298-0655 during regular business hours with your insurance questions or to get a free insurance quote.

Ready to Shop? After Thanksgiving Sales are Coming!

Thanksgiving is next week, and that can only mean one thing – stores are getting ready for the after-Thanksgiving sale season! Bargain hunters will be ready to hit the road to take advantage of the savings opportunities at stores across the greater Boston area… will you be one of them?

As you plan out your Thanksgiving dinner, you can also start to plan your upcoming holiday shopping excursions. Make a list of who you’re shopping for, as well as some ideas for things that they might want or need. Then, you can figure out the perfect day to get them the right gift. You have three main options when it comes to getting a great deal:

Black Friday

Arguably the most well known of the Thanksgiving shopping holidays, Black Friday is when many big box retailers will offer significant savings on both small and big-ticket items. This makes it a perfect time for anyone looking for, for example, a new television to do some personal shopping. Many people also take the opportunity to make their gifting budget for the year stretch further with the significant savings. However, if you want to reap the benefits, you will have to put up with the drawbacks of shopping on Black Friday – namely, the massive crowds.

To get the most out of Black Friday, it is critical that you have a plan. Browse store advertisements to figure out which stores you want to visit, and plan your outing based on when they open – be careful, though, since some will start their sales on Thanksgiving afternoon and others will wait until the more traditional pre-dawn on Friday.

Small Business Saturday

A more recent addition to the post-Thanksgiving shopping lineup is Small Business Saturday. Only officially observed since 2010, this holiday of sorts is a celebration of the community-based businesses that we love here in the Boston area. In fact, it was here in Boston that the celebration started thanks to a partnership between American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, as well as Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Roslindale Village Main Street.

If you want to patronize your favorite small business on Small Business Saturday, snap a picture while you’re out and use the hashtag #shopsmall to tell your friends that you are choosing to support our local community as you make your holiday purchases. Spending your money at small local businesses is a great way to make sure that our community thrives, and that you are getting high quality products and great customer service from local business owners. At Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency we are dedicated to showing our support to the small businesses here in Dorchester – that’s why we pride ourselves on offering top of the line business insurance policies!

2018 Lower Mills Holiday Stroll

One of the best ways that you can celebrate Small Business Saturday here in Dorchester is by attending the Lower Mills Holiday Stroll. It is a favorite of the Vargas and Vargas Insurance staff every year. Local businesses that participate will offer hot cocoa, host giveaways, and much more!

So, if you’re free on November 24th from 4:30 until 7:30, consider dropping by. The trolley will be running up and down Dorchester Avenue and Adams Street all afternoon, and you might even be able to catch a glimpse of Santa Clause!

Cyber Monday

Quickly becoming one of the biggest shopping days of the year, Cyber Monday has been celebrated on the Monday after Thanksgiving since 2005. Last year (2017) people shopped online in record numbers on Cyber Monday, bringing in $3,364,000,000 – yes, that’s over 3 billion dollars – in sales.

Cyber Monday is a great time to cozy up at home in your pajamas and do lots of comparison shopping right from the comfort of your own home. If you want to take advantage of this year’s Cyber Monday sales, first make sure that you subscribe to the newsletter and follow on Social Media the retailers that you might buy from on Monday. You never know when they might offer extra savings or put a spotlight on a great deal that you could have otherwise missed.

Whether you choose to participate in one or all of these post-Thanksgiving shopping days, we hope that you get a great deal on what you purchase, and make sure that you stay tuned to our blog for more great winter and holiday tips, as well as advice on how to get 2019 off to a great start!

At Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, you don’t need to wait until Thanksgiving to get a great deal on your insurance policies. Call 617-298-0655 to speak to a great Massachusetts insurance agent about your home insurance, auto insurance, and business insurance needs. No matter what type of insurance you need, we can get you a free quote at Thanksgiving and all year round.

Morning Motivation – Week of November 5, 2018

I hope that you had a great weekend! Did you like my last motivational series about how to gain Freedom in your business?

As you know, I start every week with some positive words of wisdom and today’s are:

Today I’d like to share one mistake I used to make (especially when I first got started in sales and marketing). It was a mistake that held me back quite a bit from making progress and that dragged my self-esteem down.

That mistake was that I often tried something – like a personal development strategy or tip – once, twice or just a few times. I thought that would be enough to see results. I have since learned that this is not the case. These tips are not a light switch you can just hit once and then your life is different. Instead, i have learned that it often takes a whole bunch of tries. You may need to work on it for months (or even years!) to get something to work and start seeing results.

When it comes to trying something new, don’t be distressed if the road ahead seems tough. Resist the urge to lower your self-esteem and beat yourself up because something isn’t working for you and it works for others. You could start thinking that there must be something wrong with you when it works for so many other people in the world. Don’t continue on that downward spiral of being down on yourself. There’s nothing wrong with you! Just give what you’re trying out (and yourself) a bit more time.

Carlos

Recap: Savings Account

“Do not save what is left after spending; instead spend what is left after saving.” ― Warren Buffett

Do you put some of your household’s money into a savings account every month? You would be surprised by how many Americans aren’t ready for a potential significant loss in income. Approximately 7 in 10 Americans would feel the weight of a loss of income in a month or less.

Most financial experts recommend that a person or family have at least three months’ (and up to six months’) worth of expenses in an interest-earning savings account to be ready for unexpected financial hardships. Savings above and beyond that amount should be in a retirement or investment account.

Check out our full blog post with more information, including detailed explanations of ways you could be saving more of your money, including:

  • Instituting a waiting period to avoid impulse purchases.
  • Tracking spending to identify savings opportunities.
  • Cutting back on unnecessary expenses.
  • Taking advantage of free entertainment in Boston.
  • Reducing or eliminating recurring expenses.

One easy place to save money is on your insurance policies! Call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655 to ask about how you could lower your insurance payments. While we’re chatting, let us recommend a financial advisor to you. With our help, you could be well on your way to bolstering your savings and being ready for any unexpected future expenses.

Hosting the Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is a time for celebration. No two families Thanksgiving festivities are the same, but most consist of some combination of good food and the joy of togetherness. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner for your family (whether that means two or two hundred people) you want it to be perfect. Here are some tips from the Vargas and Vargas Insurance staff on some of the best ways to make Thanksgiving 2018 the best one yet.

Start Preparations Now

Thanksgiving may be more than two weeks away, but that is no excuse for not preparing as much as you can in advance! The most important thing you need to do is make two lists: your guest list and your shopping list.

Choosing your guests can mean the difference between an intimate affair and a huge gathering. When you invite everyone, let them know when you would like to know whether they will commit to coming for dinner – after all, you will need to know how much food to have on hand!

When you choose the dishes you will make, you will need to consider a few things, including what you will ask your guests to bring (if anything) and whether there will be anyone with dietary restrictions or severe food allergies present. Otherwise, you will need to ensure that you have a wide variety of dishes that will please all palates. Many people choose to do a variety of plates with a mix of both traditional dishes and new additions to the Thanksgiving table.

Review Food Safety Tips

Before you even think about dealing with food this Thanksgiving, consider reviewing the basics of food safety – after all, you will be responsible for the continued health of all the people that you host, and the last thing you want is for your guests to get food poisoning!

Thaw the Turkey!

Don’t forget that if you purchase a frozen turkey, you will need to let it thaw fully prior to cooking. According to Butterball’s website, there are two ways to do this. The first is by submerging the wrapped turkey in cold water for 30 minutes per pound of weight. The second is to put the turkey into the fridge ahead of Thanksgiving Day, allowing 1 day of thawing for every 4 pounds of weight.

“Make and Freeze” Foods

Once you have all your recipes picked out and the shopping is done, it’s time to figure out how much of the Thanksgiving meal that you can make ahead of time. You might be surprised at how many things can be made a day or more ahead and then frozen. And they taste just the same when reheated as they did when they were fresh.

Foods that can be made ahead include rolls and even mashed potatoes and gravy. While you’re at it, remember that many ingredients can be chopped and measured ahead of time (think the celery for your stuffing) or made the day before and left on the counter overnight (pumpkin pie).

Before Guests Arrive

When the big day arrives, you’ve undoubtedly got a lot to do. Enlist some help if you can to check the following non-cooking activities off your list. First, make sure that your home (including the walkways outside) are well-lit and free of tripping hazards. You should also make sure that anything fragile is put out of sight, especially if you will have young kids around.

During the Gathering

Oftentimes, hosting Thanksgiving means much more than just serving a meal. People tend to come and hang out for most of the day, so you will need to provide them with entertainment. In addition to putting on some festive music and/or turning on the obligatory football game (the Patriots don’t play until Sunday, but the three Thursday games won’t disappoint), you can also break out family-friendly Thanksgiving-themed games and activities.

After-Party Cleanup

All your guests may have left, but the party isn’t over! You probably still have some cleaning up to do – after all, Thanksgiving tends to be a very messy holiday, especially in the kitchen. Instead of using excessive elbow grease, let tough dishes soak while you do other tasks like taking out the garbage and wiping down the table.

Do you have any more Thanksgiving tips that we missed? Leave a comment and tell us – we would love to hear your cheats, hacks, and secrets for hosting. And, as always, remember that Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency has all the secrets for the best home insurance in Boston. Call 617-298-0655 before Thanksgiving to make sure that your Massachusetts home insurance policy is ready to protect you and all your guests this holiday season.

Take the time now to do one more thing in preparation for the holidays: program the Vargas and Vargas Insurance 24/7 emergency line into your phone. It is 617-322-5289, and it is the best way to begin an insurance claim outside of our office hours.

Morning Motivation – Week of October 29, 2018

Ready for this week’s words of wisdom? Here you go!

For the last several weeks, I have emailed you to discuss the steps that you can take to gain Freedom in your business. For a reminder of my tips, click here.

To recap, here are the three steps to freedom:

  1. Release yourself of tasks you don’t like doing
  2. Release yourself of tasks you don’t know how to do
  3. Release yourself of tasks you feel you shouldn’t be doing

To succeed:

  • Have desire
  • Overcome self-doubt
  • Push out of comfort zone
  • Learn and apply Pareto’s Law
  • Get help by hiring an assistant

Have you been implementing any of my advice into your daily routine? I would love to hear how it has been working for you!

If you need help getting started and want to see how you can do this in your business, let’s set up a strategy session so that I can answer any questions you may have and see if I can help your design your own roadmap.

To do so, click here: https://meetme.so/InsuranceAgencyFreedom

Look out for my email next week, when I will start my next Monday Morning email series all about how to try new things and push your personal limits in order to grow.

Carlos