Automobile

Minimizing the Cost of Holiday Car Travel

Like a lot of people this week, our family is traveling by car to a number of Thanksgiving dinners. As I taught the children to sing recently, “On the interstate and across the bridge, to Grandma’s house we go!” Of course, when you’re traveling during the holiday season, you’re opening the door to some potential …

Is It Really Cheaper to Ride the Bus?

Aaron writes in: I love your cost breakdowns when you calculate the real truth behind some financial choice. I’ve got one for you. Is it really cheaper to ride public transportation to work? I have a bus stop about a block from my house. For about $2 each way, I can use public transportation to …

Our New Car: A 2004 Honda Pilot (Bought Off of Craigslist)

Meet our new automobile, a 2004 Honda Pilot, which we purchased as a replacement for our ailing, rusty 1997 Ford F-150 pickup: We purchased it a few weeks ago, paying cash, while simultaneously selling off our truck. Perhaps most interestingly of all, we found the vehicle on Craigslist, bought it locally, and got a very …

Categories: Automobile

Optimizing the Value of Your Commute

Kelly writes in: For the first time in my life, I have a daily commute to work. I drive about 45 minutes each way to work each day of the week. According to my math, I’m going to be spending about $125 a month just on gas, let alone maintenance, upkeep, and so on. When …

Categories: Automobile

Starting a Carpool

Jenny writes in: I work at an office park about forty five minutes from where I live. I live in a highly populated suburban neighborhood. In order to save some money on gas and wear and tear on my car, I want to start a carpool, but I don’t know anyone who lives near me …

Categories: Automobile

Trimming the Average Budget: Gasoline and Motor Oil

This is part of an ongoing series about how to trim the budget of the average American. As this series focuses on such broad-based tips, some will work for you and some will not. You’re invited to mention in the comments the tips that you found to be the most useful for inclusion in a …

Trimming the Average Budget: Other Transportation Expenses

This is part of an ongoing series about how to trim the budget of the average American. As this series focuses on such broad-based tips, some will work for you and some will not. You’re invited to mention in the comments the tips that you found to be the most useful for inclusion in a …

Categories: Automobile

Trimming the Average Budget: Buying a Car

This is part of an ongoing series about how to trim the budget of the average American. As this series focuses on such broad-based tips, some will work for you and some will not. You’re invited to mention in the comments the tips that you found to be the most useful for inclusion in a …

How Much Is Fuel Efficiency Really Worth?

Jim writes in with an interesting question: I’m in the market for a late model used car. I’ve narrowed my desired model down to a handful of choices, each with different gas mileage data. How can you really figure out how much fuel efficiency is worth in terms of dollars and cents? I know how …

Categories: Automobile

Fifteen Things to Have in Your Car This Winter

As Christmas approaches, my wife and I will be doing quite a bit of driving to visit various people for the holiday season. With winter conditions and three young children in the car with us, we’re going to be quite cautious about our trips. The first step in that journey is to make sure that …

What Are You Buying When You Buy a Car?

Over the last few months, I’ve been slowly shopping for a minivan to replace my truck. Since the truck will not seat three young children safely (I could jam them in there in an illegal fashion), I will have to replace the vehicle by April at the latest. That’s on top of the fact that …

Categories: Automobile

How Much Is Your Time Worth? Thoughts on Speeding

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the costs and benefits of speeding. Is pushing the pedal a bit actually worth it? Or are you better off staying inside the speed limit? In order to start cranking the numbers on this, I had to use a few assumptions. Let’s walk through them. First, I figured …

Categories: Automobile

Is Renting a Vehicle for a Long Road Trip Worth It? Our Math Says Yes

In the next few weeks, I’m going on a lengthy road trip with my wife, my children, and my parents. We’re going to visit several relatives that are spread out all over the southern part of the United States. Along the way, we’re planning longer stops in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the New Orleans area, …

Categories: Automobile

Car Purchase 2: Judgment Day

A few months ago, I posted about our decision to buy a Prius after the fact. Although I’d mentioned for months that we were actively car shopping, I waited until after the purchase to discuss it. And the flame war was mighty potent. The post currently sits at roughly 174 comments, about equally divided between …

Categories: Automobile

Help! I Owe More On My Car Than It’s Worth!

“Michael” writes in with a common question: What do you do when you find your car is worth less than you owe on it? This is a pretty common question, particularly given the current state of the economy. Some people are out of work. Others are looking to seriously cut back. Thus, there are a …

Categories: Automobile, Debt

Lessons in Fuel-Efficient Driving

One of the interesting features of our Prius is that it keeps a running tab on your current gas mileage. You can see both the mileage at any given moment or the average over your trip. Having such easy access to this information while you’re driving subtly teaches you how to drive more efficiently. Here …

Categories: Automobile, Frugality

The Hows and Whys of Our Car Purchase: A 2009 Toyota Prius

If you had told us a year ago when we started our research that we would wind up settling on a new car for our car purchase, I would have laughed at you. We’ve been strongly committed to buying a late model used car for a long time, since we viewed it as the best …

Categories: Automobile

Twelve Tips for Cheap, Low Stress Christmas Travel

As you read this, my wife and kids and I are in the midst of a lengthy Christmas trip. We’re visiting friends and family strewn all about the Midwest, and that means lots of hours in the car with two small children. Much like everyone else, we strive to minimize both the time spent in …

Categories: Automobile, Frugality

Gas Price Deflation: Should It Affect What Automobiles We Purchase?

In just a few short months, the price of gas at the station I regularly use has dropped from $4.09 per gallon to $1.49 per gallon – an absolutely amazing drop. Not long ago, I spent $82 filling up my truck (which has a 20 gallon tank) – just today, I filled the tank for …

Categories: Automobile