Automobile

Eight Things You Should Do Immediately to Save Money When You Buy 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

If You Ask “What’s the Monthly Payment?” You’re Asking the Wrong Question

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 Six Thoughts About 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: WalkScore.com and the Resources Around You

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

Twelve Ways to Make Your Car a Better Investment

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: My Take

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 Purchasing 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 …

How Big Should My Car Down Payment Be?

Jimmie wrote in with a good question over the weekend: I’m going to buy a new car in several months and I’m trying to figure out how much down payment I should have. I’ve heard tons of different answers from different people. What’s your take? My initial take was to give this an off-the-cuff response …

Eight Frugal Ways to Prepare for Winter Driving

Yesterday, I spent seven hours on the road in Iowa. When we left, the weather forecast looked rather clear and we figured the trip would be relatively easy (well, as easy as a four hour car trip with a toddler and an infant will ever be). About an hour into it, we ran into a …

Categories: Automobile

Planning Ahead For Our Next Car Purchases

With my previous car purchases, I did very little planning ahead. My first car was discovered in a semi-functioning state in the yard of an old friend of my parents – we put in some work and got it going. My second automobile was a pickup truck – I just got the type that my …

Categories: Automobile

Starting The Thought Process Behind Buying A New Vehicle

As the months pass, it looks more and more likely that we’ll need to buy a new vehicle sometime between now and next summer. My wife’s Mercury Sable, that with almost 150,000 miles on it, is starting to show lots of little issues wrong with it – most notably, a recent severe issue with the …

Categories: Automobile

When Should You Trade In Your Car? Don’t Listen To What Others Say – Run The Numbers Yourself

A reader writes in describing a debate she’s having with her husband: I’m not sure but someplace on your site I think I saw something about how often to trade in your old car. Our SUV is a 2005 with 55,000 miles on it. My husband says its time to trade it in. He says …

Categories: Automobile

The One Hour Project: Basic Car Maintenance

This post is part of The One Hour Project, in which you can spend just one hour to put your finances in a better place without a big lifestyle change, through frugality or other financial choices. A few very simple auto maintenance tasks that anyone can do can end up saving a lot of money …

Auto Insurance Bill Got You Down? Here Are Seven Things To Consider

My wife and I switched our auto insurance coverage recently and paid our full annual premium up front. It was a painful little payment, even though we had shopped around and such. This led us to both researching various methods with which one could save money on auto insurance. Here are seven useful and applicable …

Categories: Automobile, Insurance

A Down Payment Dilemma: Buy A Car Or Keep Saving For A House?

Jerry wrote in recently with the following problem: I and my wife are both graduate students; we recently paid off all our debts and started on a savings plan for the next few years that I am hoping will be our big downpayment on our first home. With our current salaries, we have been saving …

Categories: Automobile, Debt, Housing