Automobile

Steering Clear of Car Insurance Scams

You are probably already a victim of insurance fraud, whether you realize it or not: The average family pays between $400 and $700 a year in higher premiums just to cover the more than $40 billion cost of non-health insurance fraud, according to FBI estimates. About half of that comes from auto insurance alone. The National Insurance …

Categories: Automobile, Insurance

Eight Strategies for Fuel Efficient Driving

A few weeks ago, I found myself following a strangely erratic driver while rolling along on US-163 here in Iowa. This driver was doing several very noticeable things. For starters, this person was driving several miles an hour under the speed limit, going about 57 in a 65 MPH area. Whenever we reached a dip, …

Categories: Automobile

Best Car Insurance Companies of 2014

You’ve seen auto insurance ads cluttering every commercial break, no doubt. Sometimes they’re funny (talking animals, anyone?), sometimes they’re sobering (shocking crashes, sobbing families), and sometimes they simply appeal to your bottom dollar by promising the best possible rate. The barrage of ads underscores that there’s no shortage of competition among the nation’s car insurance …

Best Auto Loans for 2014

Unless you’re lucky (or disciplined) enough to be sitting on a small pile of cash, chances are you’ll need an auto loan to buy your next vehicle. But who should get your business? The list of options is staggering. You can nab a car loan at your local credit union, a behemoth bank, car dealer, …

The Rise of Black Box Car Insurance

Car insurance companies have always looked for ways to maximize profits by minimizing their risk. Insurance companies make money by taking in more in premiums than they pay out in claims. It’s hard to raise premiums in a competitive market, so reducing risk is the easiest way for them to become more profitable. Making money would …

Categories: Automobile, Insurance

How to Get Cheap Car Insurance in 2014

Whether you have a set of shiny new wheels or a decaying rust bucket, cheap car insurance is a must for staying legal on the road. The good news? You have more control over factors that influence your car insurance rates than those that affect other types of coverage, such as life insurance or home …

How to Switch to Paying Cash for Your Car

In 2003, I purchased a 1997 Ford F-150 pickup. Given the financial disaster that my life was at the tiem, I “paid” for it entirely with a loan, which saddled me with car payments for the next three-plus years. In 2010, the Ford F-150 needed to be replaced, so we bought a 2004 Honda Pilot. …

Are Ethanol Fuels a Bargain?

Ethanol Added and Premium Fuels Are a Questionable Bargain Over the last year, I’ve been keeping careful track of the fuel efficiency of my 2004 Honda Pilot. You know the vehicle – it’s the one I bought off of Craigslist a few years back. My driving in the vehicle is an almost equal mix of …

Categories: Automobile, Frugality

Should I Lease or Buy a Car? 3 Situations Where Leasing Makes Sense

In general, I’m pretty strongly opposed to the idea of leasing a car. In most situations, a car lease is a long-term financial mistake. Compared to a cycle of buying late model used cars and driving them to their replacement point, auto leasing is very expensive. Still, there are exceptions to every situation. A recent …

Categories: Automobile

Road Trip Tips: Keys to a Cheap Summer Adventure

This summer, my family is going on a very long road trip to multiple national parks, a stop at Disneyworld, visits with relatives, and many little side trips and journeys along the way. We are going to see large parts of the United States and do it all in an automobile. No matter how we …

The Problem with “Driving It Into the Ground”

I subscribe to the philosophy of driving a car into the ground before you replace it. I’m thirty five years old and over the course of my entire life (since I was sixteen), I’ve been the primary driver of only three automobiles – and the third one is going to last several more years. With …

Categories: Automobile

Looking Ahead at Automotive Decisions

Every once in a while, it’s useful to look at the state of the automobiles that your family owns and ask some hard questions about upcoming costs, both in terms of repair and eventual replacement. I thought I’d walk through these questions as they relate to our own cars to provide some ideas of what …

Categories: Automobile

Is Premium Gas Worth It?

You’re standing at the gas pump. There are multiple fuel types available – a low-cost type that’s marked with an 87 octane rating that also has 10% ethanol, a medium priced gas that’s 87 but more expensive than the ethanol gas, and a premium fuel that has a 91 octane rating. (Note that you may …

Categories: Automobile, Frugality

Car Insurance: Liability or Comprehensive Coverage?

When you’re shopping for car insurance – something that’s a legal requirement in most areas when you own a car – one of the biggest questions that comes your way is whether or not you should have liability coverage or comprehensive coverage on your automobile. Liability coverage is usually cheaper, but comprehensive coverage covers more. …

Categories: Automobile, Insurance

Do Your Own Car Maintenance, Save Hundreds Per Year

Many people settle into a route of convenience when it comes to the maintenance on their automobile. They take their car to the dealer or to a car servicing business every 5,000 miles or so, generally following their manufacturer’s recommendation, and they just pay that business to take care of car maintenance for them. Here’s …

Categories: Automobile, Frugality

The Teenager’s Car Conundrum

Sometimes, I get questions that are perfect for the Reader Mailbag, except that when I actually start writing out the answer, it turns into a full post. This is one of those times. Leslie writes in: My daughter is turning sixteen this August. We’re going to buy her a used car as a gift, but …

Comparing Costs Between New and Used Cars

The best way to maximize your value from a car, regardless of when you buy it, is to drive it until the problems become overwhelming, then trade it in for whatever value you can get out of it. I consider that the first rule of frugal car buying. The tough question is whether or not …

Categories: Automobile, Frugality

What Is Fuel Efficiency Really Worth?

A few days ago, I posted an article on saving money on fuel during your commute. While all of those tips were useful, one in particular can really reduce your fuel costs when commuting – buying a more fuel-efficient car. But what does that really mean in terms of dollars and cents? Before you even …

Categories: Automobile, Frugality

14 Ways to Save Money on Your Commuting Fuel Costs Without Giving Up Your Car

Whenever I see advice on saving money on commuting fuel costs, the suggestions often revolve around completely giving up your car. I’m as guilty of that as anyone else. It’s a great way to drastically trim your finances. Let’s be honest, though: a lot of people simply aren’t going to give up their car. They …

Categories: Automobile, Frugality