I really value my free time these days. Truth be told, almost all of my time is free and since I retired, I say “every day is Sunday” these days. That’s how it really feels most of the time. So having that time means my mind often wanders to thoughts that otherwise may never come into my head. Like, oh say, writing about the SST Awards (Super Saving Tips Awards).
These are the savings awards that I give to the businesses and products that save you, the consumer, the most money or offer the best deals that will earn you the most in cash and rewards! Oh, you haven’t heard about them? Hmmm, that’s strange. It was in all the papers. 😉
Well, no problem with that. If you did happen to miss the news about the winners of these prestigious awards then let me recap them all right here for you now. It will save you some time and money too. So here are the 9 “Best of” winners for the first half of 2017 and 1 huge loser to be aware of, in my opinion of course.
By the way, just to be perfectly clear, SST received absolutely no compensation for any of these awards. You’re getting the total lowdown on what I really think are the best of the best!
The 2017 (Mid-Year) SST Awards
Best Credit Card Free Cash Offer
The award goes to the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. This card has no annual fees, low APR, and offers 1½% cash back on all your purchases plus it has an introductory deal that’s very lucrative for those of you with good credit. You’ll get a $150 cash bonus after you spend just $500 in the first 90 days, and you’ll also get a no interest deal on all your purchases for 15 months. That’s another of the cash grabs that I did this year. I couldn’t help myself if Chase wants to give me free money!
Runner up is the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa card. You’ll net $200 in this one but you will have to spend $1,000 within the first 90 days. The no interest period is 12 months.
Best Internet Bank
And the winner is Synchrony Bank. Of all the banks, either internet or brick and mortar, Synchrony Bank is offering the best overall interest rates you will find. They have been at the top of that list for some time and are currently offering such deals as a 12-month CD at 1.40% with as little as $2,000 deposited. Almost all of their products lead the pack and most products have no fees attached.
A great runner up choice and close second is GS Bank (Goldman Sachs Online bank). They have great CD rates and even have a savings account online paying 1.20% APY interest savings that has a no minimum to open and that even beats Synchrony which offers 1.15%!
Best Office Supply Retailer
For all your home office or personal supply needs and guaranteed to save money over all the competition, the winner is Staples! Staples has an incredible assortment of products from pencils to state of the art computers and electronic devices to office furniture and pens and paper. The stores are well organized and their regular and sale prices are super. But their best thing is the Staples Rewards program that gives you special discounts, rewards, and cash back to an almost unreal degree! I have saved hundreds of dollars by signing up for their card and often during the year I get deals that allow me to get free stuff by using the mailed bonus discount cards they send me. I don’t know of any better place to shop for all of your supplies.
The Best Cell Phone Service Provider
And the winner is Verizon Wireless! If you are a user of your cell phone for more than just an occasional call or to have just in an emergency, Verizon has it all and more! When picking a great cell phone provider, you should look at who offers the best coverage area, most flexible plans, the best selection of phones, and the price structure. But how do you decide when to draw the line between price and coverage performance? With Verizon, compared to the other top ten companies, you’ll find the best coverage and performance in the nation. Their pricing structure is also very competitive. While I know price is important, reliability is something that matters to those who are very dependent on their cell. I have had the experience of not being connected and let me tell you it’s really frustrating.
A great second choice is runner-up T-Mobile that offers very good reliability and a lower price. Check them out and see which is best for your specific needs.
Now, for seniors like me who don’t use that much, a great choice in cell phone services is Consumer Cellular. They have the best-priced deal around and even more so if you are a member of AARP (you’ll get a 5% discount every month if you are a member)! They offer great reliability, no contracts, and a cheaper price starting as low as $10 per month. I have a plan with 2 lines, 200 minutes each per month, 2,000 texts plus 200 MB of data and with taxes, fees, and my AARP discount it comes to just $35 a month total!
One really neat feature is this: if for some reason you exceed your limits on usage, Consumer Cellular will automatically adjust your plan so that you will not be charged the “extra usage” fees. You will be bumped up to the next level plan, which does cost a little more but is less than the amount you would pay otherwise. At the end of the month, you can simply adjust back to the plan you had before, all at no fee.
There are lots of different plans available so check them out yourself and see which is best for you.
The Best Free Family Attractions to Visit in America
My favorite (I’m a history buff after all) and the 2017 award winner is Washington DC, our nation’s capital! Besides the fact that it’s all about our history and great leaders, it is a beautiful and inspirational place that everyone should experience.
I know that this one might be too expensive to visit for some of you, if for no other reason but your geography. Knowing that, I have linked you to a great list of top 24 free attractions located all over the USA. No matter where you may live, you are near one or more of these great family experiences that are fun, educational, and all freebies too!
The Best Ice Cream Brand in The USA
Ok, I’ll admit I haven’t yet tried every single brand of ice cream in the world as of yet (although I am working on it!) but my personal favorite as the best deal in price is the 2017 winner, Turkey Hill! Summertime and ice cream are total naturals and there are literally dozens of makers of great ice cream all over the USA. Many of them are truly awesome. My pick is based not only on the taste, but also on the great variety and choices of premium, low fat, yogurt, all natural, and sherbet choices. However, the biggest thing for me is the great value and pricing of Turkey Hill products which are frequently promoted and priced at bargains like $1.99 for a “1/2 gallon” (actually 1½ quarts but you get the idea and that is a whole other topic).
I’m guessing your choice might be different than mine depending on your locale. That’s the beauty part of ice cream. There’s something out there for everybody!
Best Auto Insurance Company
The award goes to Liberty Mutual. Having tried just about every insurance company around (and I am not kidding here!), I have returned to Liberty Mutual for a number of reasons. Yes, I know they have those annoying commercials, but I forgive them because they actually worked with me to get the best coverage at a super low price. This past year alone I reduced my cost by hundreds of dollars without giving up any of my previous coverage.
While I still recommend you shop around each year to make sure you get the best deal, I found them very honest and helpful and with numerous discounts for me. I also like that they have a 1 year policy and not the crazy 6 monthers that cause rates to go up at midyear. Check them out, you will be pleasantly surprised.
My runner up in this category is Geico. They have good rates and are very reliable as well. The best part of shopping around for the best deals for any car insurances is that you can do it all online and even get a discount for doing just that!
Best Car Rental Company
The winner is Enterprise Car Rental. Why? For one, I love that they will pick you up and take you home whenever you use them, for free. They also have great reliable cars priced right plus they have lots of deals and coupons that you can use too. I especially love the deal they offer from time to time on weekends for just $9.99 a day from Fridays to Mondays. It’s perfect if you just want to cruise around on your weekend getaway in a fancy sports car or a family sized van and not run miles up on your own car. That’s a deal that cannot be beaten. I have even used them on my business and vacation travels away from home and been upgraded frequently just because of my loyalty.
The Best Online Stock Trading Company
The award goes to Robinhood Markets. This stock trading site allows you to trade for free – nada – zippo! There are never any fees for commissions for a stock trade. How do they make any money? There is a monthly fee ($10) for after hour trades but that’s your option. No one else can beat that deal!
A close second is Scottrade! While it is true you can find slightly cheaper trade fees at other online traders (like Ally and Schwab), for the last 3 decades, Scott has been an industry leader in making trading easy and affordable. Their online site is easy to navigate and gets the trade done with ease and insight. Overall their fee structure is among the lowest of all the major competitors. It’s perfect for you if you want safe reliable affordable access to investing. Check out their special offer incentives to get started.
The Worst Airline in the USA
Hands down, it’s United Airlines! With all of the recent negative stories about United Airlines, I wouldn’t fly them even if it meant walking to my destination. Customer service is so critical when it comes to flying and service should be their middle name. It’s obviously not. Thank goodness that here in my area, I do have choices when I fly. I am not particularly brand loyal anyway and I do try to get the best deal. But I can tell you this, United is failing miserably to gain any of my business and it’s totally self-inflicted. They will have to go a long way to rebuild their reputation and thus far I haven’t seen that happen or frankly any effort at improvement at all.
Try American, Southwest or some other more respectful air service. I do and so should you. By the way, United also paid no federal income taxes last year, if that matters to you like it does to me!
So what are you thinking? I’m sure you have your own favorites and I’d love to hear about them and your reasons why. These are my choices for the SST Awards for 2017 and it’s ok of course if you differ in your choices, but I will stand by mine!
When you are sitting around the house (as I do frequently these days) you should have ample time to evaluate all of this stuff. Hmmm, I wonder if the SST awards can earn any fame and fortune for me. I guess for the time being my brain will have to percolate a little bit more. But when Super Saving Tips becomes a household legend, you just wait and see. I see it now in big lights…“Ladies and gentlemen, live from New Jersey, it’s the SST AWARDS!”…and, well maybe not. 🙂