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 …

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 & 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 Frugal 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

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

How to Save Money When Buying a Car

Many car-buying guides tell you how to save money beforehand – how to research the right car for you, how to negotiate, how to get the best car loan deal – and then they leave you right as you sign your name on the dotted line and walk off the lot, keys in hand. The …

Categories: Automobile

How Much Extra Should You Pay for Fuel Efficiency? Here’s How We’re Calculating It

Over the past few weeks, my wife and I have begun seriously shopping for a replacement for my truck. There are two big reasons for this: first, my truck has a long shopping list of repairs that need to be done to it in the next six to twelve months, bills totaling about $5,000 according …

Categories: Automobile

Low Monthly Car Payments? Look at The Long Term

One of my friends bought a 2008 Cadillac CTS about a month ago. In order to pay for the $32,000 in debt he incurred, he needed to take out a sizable loan. The credit union he worked with gave him several options – a 36 month loan at 6.75%, a 48 month loan at 6.875%, …

Finding an Auto Mechanic That You Trust

Over the last few months, I’ve been documenting in depth the various mechanical problems that my truck has been facing and how it’s affecting our decisions with future car purchases. In short, my truck has had four significant breakdowns in the past three months, adding up to a bill totaling about $3,000. When you’re spending …

Categories: Automobile

When Should You Downgrade Your Car Insurance?

One of the common nuggets of financial “wisdom” tossed out there by personal finance writers is the idea of downgrading one’s car insurance to save money. “Cut your collision or comprehensive coverage or raise your deductibles and save a mint!” they’ll say, but such comments don’t take into account the current status of the car …

Categories: Automobile, Insurance

A Vacation Disaster and What to Do Next

Last week, I spent seven days in northern Wisconsin at a cabin on Shell Lake, owned by a friend of a friend. It was truly wonderful – so rural that we were out of cell phone range, but with plenty of outdoor stuff to do. My wife and I went on a long canoe trip …

Categories: Automobile

The Big Debate #2: Leasing, Buying New, or Buying Used?

This week, The Simple Dollar is taking a deeper look at five common personal finance debates. Going to the car dealership always feels like a game of roulette. You go in there, hoping to put your money down on a car that’s a winner, and walk out of the lot with something you actually want, …

Categories: Automobile

Downsizing Your Automobile Count

Over the last month or two, my wife and I have seriously discussed going from a two car to a one car household. She’s a seasonal worker, and during her work season she can take the car to work, which would leave me at home without an automobile. During the off season (which is ongoing), …

Categories: Automobile

How To Buy a Car As a Good Investment For The Future

Automobiles are some of the worst investments you’ll make in your life. They immediately start losing value the second you drive them off the lot. They require constant additional cost to stay on the road (in the form of gas, oil, insurance, and repairs). They’re prone to breaking regularly. They’re a potential physical danger. Best …

Categories: Automobile

Hyundai’s “Dollars and Sense” Ads

Recently, Hyundai has begun airing car ads for their “Dollars and Sense” campaign, in which they’re offering a “cash back” promotion on new purchased Hyundais. To get across the idea that buying a brand new Hyundai is a financially sound decision, the commercials feature various personal finance and investment writers offering suggestions on how to …

How Important is Fuel Efficiency When Buying a Car?

Julia wrote in a few days ago with the following questions. My question is about cars, inspired in part by your post this morning. We have a gas guzzling 2004 Ford Expedition in very good condition. There is about $3,000 left on the note, leaving us with about $10,000 in equity, should we sell it …