Common Sense Ways To Save Money On Car Expenses

CAR AND MONEY
Beside owning a home, a car is the second largest investment made by consumers. Cars come with a lot of out of pocket expenses like repairs and maintenance that you might not be thinking about when you drive off the lot. Below are some savvy ways you can save money and maintain your vehicle for years to come.

Save With Repairs & Maintenance

Know what your car needs and when. Be sure to read your owner’s manual. This will help you avoid hefty upcharges at the service center. You find reputable service centers and dealers on www.cars.com. You’ll never overpay on repairs again with their fair price estimate guarantee. They won’t pitch you unnecessary maintenance like a transmission flush for $120, unless you really need it. Other repairs and maintenance that can help you save:

  • Rotate your own tires.
  • Avoid heavy braking to maintain the life of your brake pads.
  • Replace your air filter to improve fuel economy.
  • Replace wiper blade, light bulbs and fuses yourself. Your car manual will have detailed instructions.
  • Avoid over oiling your car with too many oil changes. New cars can run longer on synthetic oil, so you should only need an oil change every 10,000 miles.
  • Spend the extra cash on a high mileage oil change for your older cars. They need to be well-lubricate and will last longer with the added benefit of high mileage oil.

Cut Cost With Fuel Economy

Did you know aggressive driving costs you around $477 annually? Driving sensible can actually help you save money on gas. When it comes to fuel economy you should avoid rapid acceleration, speeding and hard braking. Gas mileage also decreases when you drive at high speeds, so if you can cruise around 50 mph you will save a bundle. Quit idling while you wait. If you are parked, or idling in traffic for long periods of time, simply turn your engine off. For winter months, don’t turn your car on to heat up. Simply drive it slowly for 30 seconds after you start it to get the engine going in cooler climates.

Slash Prices With Your Insurance

Start by shopping around. Insurance can come with a hefty price for everything including collision coverage. For cars 10 years and up, drop some of the more expensive items like collision coverage and you’ll save a bundle. You should also bundle your insurance policies to save all-around. Insuring your home and auto with a single provider can help you save on average at least 10% each year. Let your insurance company monitor your driving habits, and save up to an additional 30% each year. If you work from home or ride your bike to the office, you might be able to save by asking for a mileage discount. You can save up to $100 a year if you travel less than 5,000 miles annually. Did you also know that your credit score can factor into your insurance rate? Keep an eye on that credit score, and every time it improves ask for good credit discount. Also, be sure you know when to claim. Be sure to carefully consider reporting minor collisions as they can skyrocket your premium up by 41% annually.

Online Lending Options

Online Lending Options

If you’re looking for a loan, you’re not limited to banks and credit unions anymore. While both of those types of financial institutions are still a good loan choice if you can qualify, there are plenty of online lenders available, as well. The lender you choose will depend on the type of loan you need and your financial situation. Here are the most popular online lending options and what you can use them for:

Loans Through an Online Lender

These are the most similar option to a loan from a bank or credit union, and you can get a personal loan or a business loan. The process is very similar, except you’re applying for the loan online instead of in person at a branch. The lender processes your application, chooses whether to approve you for a loan and, if you’re approved, sets an annual percentage rate (APR).

Most online lenders allow you to fill out an application and see the APR you could get with them while only going through a soft credit check. This allows you to compare your options without affecting your credit score before making a final decision. Once you’ve chosen a lender, you’ll go through another application, at which point the lender will run a hard credit check on you.

Peer to Peer Loans

You can also get personal loans or business loans with peer to peer loans. The application process is the same as it would be with an online loan. You can still check your APR without going through a hard credit check. The difference is who finances your loan. Instead of an online financial institution financing it, investors can choose to fund your loan on a peer to peer lending marketplace. After you finish your application, the peer to peer lending site puts your loan request on their marketplace where lenders can see it.

Invoice Loans

An invoice loan is only available to businesses because you’re getting a loan on the value of your unpaid invoices. If you have outstanding invoices from your clients, you can get most of the money early through an invoice loan. The lender pays you a set amount, such as 85 percent of your outstanding invoices. You then turn those invoices over to the lender and they collect on them.

One thing to keep in mind with this type of lending is that your customers will know that you’ve used an invoice lender because it will be a different company than your own collecting on your invoices. It’s up to you whether you feel this impacts the image of your business.

Revenue Based Financing

A revenue-based loan is another type of loan that is only available to businesses because you’re getting a loan and paying it back through a percentage of your business’s revenue every month. Instead of having a loan for a set term, you have the loan until you hit the repayment target, which is usually between 150 to 250 percent of the loan amount.

This type of loan provides more flexibility regarding your payments since they’re a percentage of your revenue. If your business is doing well, the payment will be higher ad this will be a more short term loan, but if revenues take a hit, you won’t pay as much. This makes revenue based financing less risky than a traditional loan, where you would need to pay the same amount regardless of how well your business is doing. For that lower risk, you usually end up paying more.

The best thing to do if you’re looking for a loan is to figure out what type of loan you need, and then apply with a few lenders to see what your options are and how much APR you can expect to pay. You have the ability to shop around, so take full advantage and find yourself the best deal.

5 Reasons Why Your Next Car Should Be A Green Ethical Hybrid Car

Green, ethical, hybrid cars certainly do have a way of turning your head. If you are in the market for a new car, you may have spent some time peering into the window of a hybrid car at a local car dealership in recent weeks, but you may not have considered all of the benefits associated with owning one of these cars. There are five key reasons why your next car should be a green ethical hybrid car (not to mention the cheaper electric car insurance costs).

1. The Environment

Hybrid cars are designed to use a rechargeable battery coupled with gas as a backup energy source. The battery is designed to recharge itself each time you step on the brake, so you don’t have to worry about wasting energy by charging it at home. It is designed to use less gasoline, and through this, it is also designed to have drastically reduced carbon emissions compared to other vehicles. This is indeed a car that you can feel great about driving.

2. Your Wallet

If you spend a considerable amount of time driving in your vehicle, you can save a lot of money by investing in a hybrid car. There are different styles to choose from, and the fuel economy on the models varies considerably. However, you could enjoy increased fuel economy by two, three or more times what you are enjoying now. In fact, depending how you drive your car, you may rarely have to fill up your gas tank.

3. Sleek, Stylish Models

When hybrid vehicles were first introduced to consumers, there were only a handful of cars to choose from. Now, most car manufacturers have at least one or two hybrid models available. Furthermore, these vehicles continue to be available in compact models, but there are now midsize, full-size and SUV hybrid models available to choose from.

4. Affordable Technology

Years ago, the first hybrid vehicles available for purchase were small, compact cars with a price tag similar to what you would find on a high-end, luxury sedan. The technology has become more affordable over the years; India have approved a new £2.5bn plan to spur the production of electric and hybrid cars over the next eight years. While there is still a mark-up on the price when you choose to buy a hybrid, you can find many hybrid models with a rather affordable price tag.

5. Bragging Rights

If you are like most drivers, you choose the vehicle you drive based in part on the style. You want to look great in your vehicle, and you may be aware of the social statement your vehicle makes about you. A luxury car, for example, may tell the world that you are sophisticated or a professional. A hybrid car tells others that you care about the environment and are taking steps to protect it. It also tells others that you are budget-minded and innovative. If you want to enjoy bragging rights over your friends, this is a type of car to buy.

If you haven’t looked at the hybrid models available recently, take a closer look. You may be surprised at what they have to offer.

 Photo by: Pchow98

Are discount clubs worth it?

BJs, costco, discount clubWe just renewed our membership to BJ’s and I started thinking are discount clubs really worth the money that we pay to be part of them?  I think it was $53 for the year to renew, which allows us to go into the club and purchase merchandise, it also allows us to book travel at discounted rates.

Do they actually have better prices?

There are some products that we buy just at BJ’s and some that we buy at the grocery store.  If you like Olive Oil, it is definitely cheaper at BJ’s.  I have also noticed that it has prices lower for baby products too such as formula.  When you have a baby it is very convenient to drop in and buy the larger tubs of formula or diapers rather than having to go out to the grocery store weekly and stock up.  Is there anything that you go to BJ’s or any other club like this for?  I know some that go there for their meats.

Does the membership pay for itself?

That is a good question.  The amount that we shop there we probably break even.  This was up until a few months ago when my wife wasn’t working and we couldn’t go to the store and drop 200 on a trip to BJ’s.  Now that we have a little more flexibility with our cash flow that will be something that I let you know about next year.  A great thing about BJ’s is that they allow you to use manufacturer coupons as well as store coupons so you can end up saving a decent amount.  The BJ’s that we go to has a gas station attached and the gas is usually a few cents cheaper than the local pumps.  So I guess if you only fueled up here you could end up making up a good size chunk of your premium paid for the membership back.

Free Trial Membership?

Yes sometimes they offer a free trial membership, make sure you read the literature very closely.  Sometimes they say it is free and you may be hit with a surcharge when you go through the checkout.

What do I think?

I have decided that you need to evaluate your own situation to see if it is worth it to you. I know we could probably go to the local store and pay a little bit more for each product but we enjoy the peace of mind being able to shop at the discount club whenever need be.  Having a party, no problem go to BJ’s and score some great deals on soda, stationary and other materials for the get together.  Evaluate your own situation to see if it would be advantageous for you to become a member.  If you do make sure to capitalize on your use of coupons!  Everyone’s situation is different and if you think spending a few bucks to save a few bucks is not worth it to you, then there are lots of other ways out there to save!!!  Are you a member?  What is the main item that you go there for?

PHOTO BY: MattHurst

Rent vs. Own: What is the call for you?

chess, this that and the mba, mbaThe following is a guest post from Steph Medeiros with Californiamortgageblog.com. She covers trends in real estate, home financing, and jumbo mortgage loans.

Comparing the Costs of Renting and Owning A Home

To rent or to own…that is the question. Whether you’re thinking of ditching the renter’s lifestyle for a home you can call your own, or you’re tired of the financial and physical responsibilities that come with home ownership, you might be wondering which option is right for you.

In today’s market, buyers can find some great bargains – but what about the overall cost to own a home? Is it worth it? Depending on your situation, it may be financially wise to buy a home. Or, it could be smarter to rent for a while.

Take a look at these factors to help you determine whether you should buy or rent:

1. Investment

Buying a home is an investment. Probably one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make in your life. Since real estate typically appreciates over time, if you buy a home for a fair price today you can reasonably expect that it will be worth several years down the road. In the meantime, you need to be capable of paying regular, monthly payments.

Renting, on the other hand, is sometimes equated to “throwing money away”, since you’re not building equity or receiving a tax break. It might not be fair to say renting is a waste of money, as many people prefer the carefree lifestyle, and you are receiving a place to live in exchange for your monthly rent payment.

2. Financial capabilities

Many of the people who got into trouble during the housing crisis bought homes at prices they couldn’t really afford. This all too often resulted in foreclosures and major financial losses for the owners. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy a home – it simply means that if you do decide to buy a home, make sure it’s priced within your means. Have an emergency fund built up that will cover three to six months worth of living expenses in case of an interruption in income.

Renting is much less of a financial commitment. If you lose your job or have some other type of financial hardship the worst case scenario would be that you need to break a lease in order to move to a less expensive home. In many cases, landlords and property managers will even work with you in a situation like this.

3. Long-term costs

Owning a home is expensive. In addition to the upfront costs of a down payment, fees, and the purchase itself – a homeowner will spend a lot of money on maintaining their home over time. Unlike renting, if something attached to the house breaks, you have to pay to fix or replace it.

Estimate that you’ll spend about one percent of your home’s value on maintenance, assuming it’s not a fixer upper and you’re not making any major renovations. Some years it’s likely to be less, and some years more. For example, painting your home’s exterior, replacing the roof, or replacing the siding could each cost several thousand dollars, even for a modest-sized home.

So, to recap:

It could be financially wise to rent if you…
* Do not have the capability to pay for the long-term costs of a home
* Prefer not to have the responsibility that comes with owning a home

It could be financially wise to buy if you…
* Have the financial capability to make regular, monthly payments on a home priced within your means
* Want an investment that could pay off in the future

Your grandfather used to do it why not you…

this that and the mba, thisthatandthembaHave you ever noticed the price of razor blades keeps going up and up?  What is the deal with that?  It is not World War II when we were rationing the use of metals.  I am not sure how many blades Gillette is up to now but I have been using the Mach 3 as of recent.  My wife went to the store to pick up a pack of them the other day and I was shell shocked at the price of a 5 pack it was close to $15.  I checked out some of the other blades and saw the Fusion Proglide Power for close to 19 bucks for a 4 pack. 

Have you ever tried shaving with a straight razor?  Well it may be time to pull one out.  A while back I purchased a straight razor that you could interchange the disposable safety razor blades. 

The great thing is they are a few bucks for 10 blades.  Sure it is going to take you a little bit of time to get used to but as soon as you pick one up and shave with you will not want to put it down.  Not only are you saving yourself a bundle of money, you probably spend about $50-60 a year in cartridge costs if you use the Mach 3.  Considering that is old technology out in the marketplace today if you use one of the new fancy ones you are probably spending more. 

Why not be more budget conscious and pull out a single blade to shave your face.  It is just like what our grandfathers and great grandfathers used to do.  It is not hard, but the first time I used one it looked like I was in a knife fight.  After that I rarely nick myself and you will notice an improvement in your skin as well.  The shave is much closer than those 10 blade gadgets claim to get your face!  It will give you a reason to put on aftershave as well; your wife will certainly appreciate your attention to your skin. 

So are you with me?  What do you think; do you want to give it a try?  Any other ideas on ways to cut down on the cost of a shave?  I have tried those cheap blades but they rip up my face!  Consider the savings over a lifetime!

PHOTO BY: superde1uxe