Automobile

Car Insurance: Value Beyond Merely “Insuring” You

There’s already a ton of great information from Jeff in The Simple Dollar’s guide about shopping around for auto insurance – how to choose it and how to optimize it. Rather than just rehashing my own experiences with auto insurance, I wanted to look at it from a different angle. Obviously, my choices helped define …

Categories: Automobile, Insurance

Six Reasons Why I Don’t Want a Luxury Car – Ever

A while back, I read a “wonderful” article over at Forbes entitled “Ten Reasons to Buy a Luxury Car.” Such important factors as “prestige” and “horses under the hood” were bandied about. Personally, I didn’t really find any of the reasons to be compelling ones for buying a luxury car. Instead, here are six reasons …

Categories: Automobile

Is Renting a Car Cheaper for a Long Road Trip?

Monica wrote in with a question that I thought deserved a detailed answer. I’m going to be driving from northern Minnesota to Dallas, Texas for a week this summer, then returning home. I own a 2008 Toyota Corolla with 34,000 miles on it. I’m trying to figure out if it’s more cost effective to rent …

Some Thoughts on Higher Gas Prices

I’m lucky. I don’t commute to work, unless you consider a stroll across the house to be a commute. I don’t put daily miles on a vehicle, though I do need to travel to the library and the post office for different work-related tasks. My wife, Sarah, does commute to work, though. She drives about …

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Going Below Speed Limit

Saving Pennies or Dollars is a new semi-regular series on The Simple Dollar, inspired by a great discussion on The Simple Dollar’s Facebook page concerning frugal tactics that might not really save that much money. I’m going to take some of the scenarios described by the readers there and try to break down the numbers …

Car Finance: The Math on Why You Should Pay Cash for Your Next Car

Quite often, I get emails from readers asking about car finance. What is the “best” way to purchase a particular car that they want? They have their eye on some new model and want me to essentially tell them that it’s okay to purchase it. When Is It Ok To Finance A Car? I rarely …

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

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

Transportation – gasoline, motor oil – $2,384/year The average American family drops $200 a month on gasoline and motor oil – and that’s at early 2009 prices for gas, which were significantly lower than prices today. However, this is one of the easiest numbers to trim in your entire budget. There are several simple steps …

Trimming the Average Budget: Other Transportation Expenses

Transportation – other expenses and transportation – $3,130/year This unlclearly-defined category includes vehicle finance charges, maintenance and repairs, vehicle insurance, public transportation, vehicle rental, licenses, and so on. In other words, besides buying a car and putting fuel in it, every automobile expense goes into this category. With such a varied caetgory that speaks to …

Categories: Automobile

Trimming the Average Budget: Buying a Car

Transportation – vehicle purchases – $3,244/year The average American family spends almost $300 per month simply on car payments. What’s stunning is that this is the average, since $300 per month would be roughly the payments on a brand new car without a down payment. This is a number that can easily be cut with …

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