• Traveling To Family Events: Ten Tips For Saving Money

    This weekend, my wife and I are traveling to see her younger sister graduate from college and also attend a small family reunion. We’ll have to drive at least seven hours this weekend and also spend three nights away from home, which in the end implies a lot of extra expenses. Here are ten things …

  • Ethanol Blends: Are They Worth It In Your Tank?

    In Iowa, E10 gasoline (fuel composed of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline and safe to use in normal engines) is typically $0.10 per gallon cheaper than 100% gasoline. However, the E10 fuel is less efficient than pure gasoline, enough so that it is noticeable over a long sustained trip – we typically drive three hours …

  • 42 Ways That Going Green Saves A Ton Of Money

    I admit to being an environmentalist, and a pretty “far out” one, too – I was raised with a Mother Earth News / Organic Gardening type of father who instilled a ton of basic environmentalism in me, and I try very hard to reduce my environmental footprint. Let me put it this way: one of …

  • The Economics of Speeding, or How I Got A Ticket This Morning

    This morning, on my way to drop my son off at daycare, I was pulled over for speeding (61 in a 55) on an empty road. The police officer must have been waiting somewhere, because he came almost out of nowhere to tag me and produce a ticket. The ticket will set me back $75 …

  • 25 Things You Should Always Have In Your Car

    Having grown up rural and now living rural, I know first hand the types of experiences people can have when they’re caught out in the middle of nowhere and something goes wrong with their car with no help in sight. The end result was expensive towing, lots of time wasted, and in one case, one …

  • The Long Trip: Five Ways To Save Money On A Multi-State Road Trip

    A few months ago, I wrote about four techniques for saving money on road trips: performing maintenance before you leave, minimize your distance, pack snacks before you leave, and research gas prices before you leave. These are useful for planning your trip in advance, but here are five additional ways to maximize your cash while …

  • How To Transition From Car Loans To Paying Cash For Automobiles

    Continuing the conversation with my readers on the auto insurance issue, in which I recommend switching to liability insurance once your car’s value gets low, Kellie makes a point that’s worth covering: I couldn’t get a loan for my vehicle unless I had full comprehensive on it. So, I can’t switch to just liability until …

  • A Quick Look At An Auto Insurance Question

    Yesterday, I posted a nice story about an individual who saved a great deal of money by reading his auto insurance policy. I posted the story as an example of why you should read your policy in more detail, nothing more. However, my readers (as they often do) took the post into a completely different …

  • How The Simple Dollar Just Saved Someone $2,850 (And A Personal Finance Tip To Boot)

    Last night, I was contacted on instant messenger by an individual who had an interesting question about his automobile: My entire engine is going to have to be replaced and the cost of it is more than the remaining monthly payments on my car. Should I try to sell off the car now or should …

  • Five Minute Finances #7: Air Up Your Tires

    Five Minute Finances is a series of tips on how you can save significant money or reorganize your financial life in just five minutes. These tips appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on The Simple Dollar. According to CarCare.org, underinflated tires can reduce gas mileage by 0.4% for every 1 PSI below the recommended maximum in …

  • A Fresh Look At Auto Leases: Does A Savings Account Help?

    Recently, a reader left this comment on an earlier post about the auto lease trap: What if you lease a car like a jetta that can be leased for $248 a month and take the difference between what you would be paying if you bought it and put that in a savings account? In other …

  • Five Minute Finances #1: Clean Your Car’s Air Filter

    Five Minute Finances is a series of tips on how you can save significant money or reorganize your financial life in just five minutes. These tips appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on The Simple Dollar. Tip #1: Clean your car’s air filter In general, most cars should have their air filter replaced every 15,000 miles. …

  • Time To Buy A Car? Follow These Ten Steps To Maximize Your Deal

    Car salesmen are no dummies. They love nothing better than to see a “smart” buyer come wandering onto a lot, married to the idea of buying a specific model that they’ve researched. They get this person in the back room and quote them some “wonderful” monthly payment price, but stretch it out over plenty of …

  • Mother Jones: This Guy Can Get 59 MPG in a Plain Old Accord

    I was reading the latest issue of Mother Jones magazine when I stumbled across an article entitled This Guy Can Get 59 MPG in a Plain Old Accord. Beat That, Punk. Normally, Mother Jones focuses on progressive political topics, but I still read it even though I’m not really interested in leftist or rightist propaganda. …

  • Is An Auto Loan Good Or Bad Debt?

    This is an issue that I continue to hear contradicting perspectives on. Is an auto loan considered to be “good debt” or “bad debt”? Let’s look at the viewpoints. An auto loan is a “bad debt” because Automobiles depreciate quickly When you borrow money against an asset that depreciates rapidly, you’re simply purging money. Automobile …

  • 25 Rules to Grow Rich By #21: Auto Leases

    The Simple Dollar is running a series in which we re-evaluate Money Magazine’s “25 Rules To Grow Rich By”. One “rule” will be re-evaluated each weekday until the series concludes; you can keep tabs on the action at the 25 Rules index. Rule #21: Lease a new car or truck only if you plan to …

  • 25 Rules to Grow Rich By #20: Automotive Purchases

    The Simple Dollar is running a series in which we re-evaluate Money Magazine’s “25 Rules To Grow Rich By”. One “rule” will be re-evaluated each weekday until the series concludes; you can keep tabs on the action at the 25 Rules index. Rule #20: The best way to save money on a car is to …

  • Ten Ways To Save Money On Your Evening Commute

    If you’re reading this at work just before leaving, you might want to think about the many ways you can save money on the way home with almost no effort at all. Here are ten useful ways to save cash during your evening commute. Clean any junk out of your car before you go This …

  • Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Car (And One After Buying)

    If you’re going through the process of buying an automobile (as I am right now), there are many thoughts that are likely to pass through your head – and none of them should involve kicking tires. To avoid being suckered into buying a certain car when you get on the dealer’s lot, it’s a good …