Friday, April 21, 2017

Paying your Tricare Dental Bill with a Credit Card

Starting May 1st, Tricare is switching my family Dental Plan from Metlife to Concordia.

This post goes over how to switch your Tricare Dental Bill over to your credit card so you can get credit card rewards points instead of having the payment deducted straight from your paycheck.

First lets briefly go over what the Tricare Dental Plan is about:

  • As an active duty military member, the military gives me free dental coverage that includes basically everything I would need to get done
  • For your Family/Dependents, you can purchase the Tricare Dental Program for a minimal monthly fee (Single-$11.10/month,  Entire Family-$28.87/month). See table below for full details.



This provides free yearly checkups, and discounts on all dental procedures (see costs here)

The payments are normally automatically deducted from your LES.


Here are the steps to switching it over to your credit card
Step 1 - Visit the United Concordia Website and log in ---> LINK
Step 2 - Update "My Preferences"
Step 3 - Click on "Manage my Billing Preferences"
Step 4 - A new window should open up (see pic below). You may have to enable "pop up boxes"

Step 5 - Click the payment tab. Then on the bottom right you should see a box that says "add". Click the "add" Box
Step 6 - Click on the tab "Payment Method List"
Step 7 - Click on the add button under the credit card section
Step 8 - Enter in all your credit card info
Step 9 - Go to the "Recurrent Payment List" tab
Step 10 - Click Add. Select the credit card you just entered. Change setting to "ongoing" or until a certain date
Step 11 - Done

Example
Family Plan would be $28.87/month = $345year. You put this on your USAA's new 2.5% cash back credit card and that's an extra $9 bucks a year. Not much but it takes like 5 minutes to set up. I'm going to be in the military at least 7 more years so that's an extra $60 in credit card reward points for logging in and changing my information. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Ford Military Discount $1000

I recently bought a new F-150 truck from Ford. I personally hate car dealerships and think they are pretty dishonest/shady establishments so I share my story and suggestions to try and help you save some money. I also bought a new Minivan from Honda earlier in 2016 (Click the link to be taken to that post).

Ford has a standard $500 Military Discount (keep reading on how to get $1000). The discount is available to the follow personnel:

  • Active Duty
  • Reservists serving on active duty
  • Veterans within 24 months of separation
  • Retirees
  • And spouses of the above categories. 

To get your $500 certificate, you go to https://www.fordsalutesthosewhoserve.com and print out a certificate which you bring to the dealership with your military ID

There is also a $1000 and $750 discount that are occasionally offered. In the last 6 months, Ford has sent me the $1000 offer twice. The key to qualify for this offer is be patient or to register for the standard $500 offer, typically within 2-3 months they will send you a personal increased offer. I think it is a way to incentivize you to come back and buy their car incase you forgot about them. No matter the reason, its an extra $500 in your pocket above the standard offer. 


I wrote about my personal experience and all the discounts I was able to get applied on a F150 Forum. Here is the link for full details. I ended up getting about $12,000 below MRSP using various discounts. It also describes how to get a better auto loan quote. I wouldn't settle for the first offer you get. USAA originally quoted me 3.5% then I got a better rate and asked them to beat it and they counter-offered 1.87% (HALF the original offer)!




Best Strategy
I was able to get my F-150 at a great deal. Here are a couple of suggestions. 
  • Check out online car forums beforehand. I searched through several "what did you pay for your truck" forums to find out what the cheapest price other people were walking away with on the same model I wanted. That way you can walk into the dealership with a hard figure you want them to beat. You want to walk out of the dealership with the lowest price anybody has ever gotten on the vehicle.
  • Call multiple dealerships in multiple cities. For example, Fresno (CA) and Seattle (WA) are on average 8% higher then the national average. It may be worth driving 40 miles in order to save $1500. Here is a list of the 10 cheapest and most expensive cities to buy a car in
  • Once you have a price from one dealership, ask the next dealership if they will BEAT the price. Dont just say they offered me "20k" will you match it, SAY they offered me "20k" I need you to beat it by $500 for it to be worth my time. Be specific with them. If they beat it ask the next dealership or the original one to beat it by $200, etc. I contacted/negotiated with 7 different dealerships.
  • TrueCar is okay, but Costco pricing is even better. Costco will often have specific incentitives like an extra $1000 off. 
  • HOWEVER, Dont settle for the TrueCar or Costco estimate, I got an additional $1400 off the Costco pricing and $2400 off the TrueCar estimate by asking for additional money off. 
  • When using TrueCars estimate, don't include your $500 Military Discount or Graduation bonuses in the cost because you are just cheating yourself. 
  • I don't recommend telling them about the Military Discount or Graduation Discount until the last second when you have already come up with a final price. At that time then say "Okay and i'm Active Duty Military so that will be an extra $500 off". They don't lose any money on the military discount but if you tell them about it at the beginning they will try and use it to their advantage saying they are giving you $500 off when they really aren't doing anything
  • 99% of the crap they say are lies. After this recent experience I am convinced Car Salesman are one of the most dishonest professions out there. They all say they exact same crap. "We'll throw in tinted windows and nitrogen in your tires. We are the only dealship that will do that". What they don't tell you is that comes pre--installed on every new minivan. Evey dealership has that in 100% of their cars. When you try and negotiate with them and say the other dealership gave you a better deal, they say crap like we'll thats what they said now..but when you get there they will tack on $1000 of dollars of extra fees. Not true. Salesman just love to lie.
  • When you negotiate talk about "price out the door". Thats the price you want to be comparing between all the dealerships. All cars have Title/Tax/License fees. Taxes can be a ton, depending on what state you live in. I live in Texas so the tax is 6.25% which his riduculously high. 
  • I made a google spreadsheat so I could keep track of all the different offers and update it when they gave me a lower price
  • If you call them on the phone to get a quote, give them your email and ask them to email you their total quote out the door. Don't fall for their trick of saying you have to come into their store to get a quote. Just another sales tactic. 

There are alot of other companies that offer military discoutnts (Here are a few examples)
Crystler - $500 off (link)
Honda - $500 off (link)
GM - discount varies (link)
Hyundai - $500 off (link)
Toyota - $500 off (link)