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

A few very simple auto maintenance tasks that anyone can do can end up saving a lot of money over time by improving the gas mileage of your automobile. You should be able to run through this checklist in about an hour and improve the efficiency of your car by quite a bit. I also …

7 Tips on How To Save Money on Car Insurance

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 …

Seven Ways To Save Money Preparing For Houseguests

For most of this week, a small invasion of my extended family is staying at our new house. This, of course, means that there’s a lot more mouths to feed at meal time and a lot more distractions. The end result is often a lot of unnecessary spending, simply because we didn’t think ahead a …

Categories: Automobile, Frugality

Buying A Car: How Much Down Payment Is Useful?

A reader wrote to me recently asking the simple question “How much of a down payment should you put on a new vehicle?” The thumbnail answer is as much as you can, but let’s go down the rabbit hole a bit and see how deep it goes. Using a simple auto loan calculator, you can …

Categories: Automobile

Save Time, Effort, And Money With A Monthly Home and Auto Maintenance Checklist

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 …

Categories: Automobile

How 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 …

Categories: Automobile

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 …

Categories: Automobile, Money

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 …

Categories: Automobile, Travel

Transition From Car Loans To Paying Cash For a Car

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 car loan for my vehicle unless I had full comprehensive on it. So, I can’t switch to just liability …

Should I Switch to Liability Car Insurance?

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 …

Categories: Automobile, Insurance

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 …

Categories: Automobile, Money

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 …