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Tips for Buying a Reliable Used Car

A person’s car is one of the most beneficial and helpful assets that an individual can own. Millions of Americans drive their vehicles several miles a day and use their cars to help transport kids to school, themselves to work, groceries home, and other needful and helpful tasks of everyday life.
But, as most already know, the family or personal car with all of its benefits can still cost a person loads of money in breakdown repairs, standard maintenance costs, and the ever present burden of the cost of fuel. And all of those expenses come after the giant expense of purchasing the car in the first place.

Facing The Initial Cost

It should not come as a surprise that this initial purchasing cost will likely make up the bulk of the expenses related to car ownership, as a new car can cost tens of thousands of dollars. It should likewise not come as a surprise that buying a used car instead of a new car will typically cost far less than if a person decided to buy a new car off the local lot.

Buying Used Can Be Tricky

But buying a used car can be a tricky situation for most people as they rarely know if they are buying a lemon that will break down on them in a matter of months and end up costing them even more money than if they had purchased a new vehicle. It is for this reason that a person must know how to buy a used car the right way so that they can be assured that they are buying a used car that will last.

Check The Title History

One of the first ways to be assured that the used car one is looking to buy will not go out on them in the near future is to request or order a title history on the vehicle. A title history will show all of the work that has been done to the vehicle as well as record any accidents that the specific car has been involved in.

Check Service Records

Closely related but not kept on the title history are the car’s service records. Service records will show how often the car had regular maintenance done, like oil changes and other needful service, and will allow a potential buyer to see if the vehicle has been properly cared for, as a car that has been properly cared for over the years is far more likely to continue running well than those cars whose owners have been negligent in the vehicle’s maintenance.

Along with saving money on their car expenses by choosing to purchase a used car over a brand new vehicle, a person can make effective use of their vehicles by taking out a title loan if the need for a micro loan ever arises, as the title loan can be borrowed against the value of the car.
Saving on car cost by purchasing a used car instead of a new car is often the right choice to make for those who are trying to save money on their overall car costs.

Common Habits that Ruin a Car’s Value

Every driver develops their own set of driving habits. Some of those driving habits are good, others are downright dangerous and other driving habits can actually lower the value of your car. Spoiler alert: dangerous driving habits will ruin the value of your car.

Good driving habits include double checking both ways before proceeding, glancing into the blind spot before switching lanes, and buckling your seat belt. Some driving habits are neither good nor bad, like wearing driving gloves. Dangerous driving habits are things like texting while driving or operating the GPS system while the car is in motion.

Each individual cultivates their own driving style and car maintenance habits. While some driving habits are fine, there are a few common habits that a majority of people fall into that can actually have a negative effect on the value of that person’s car.

Watch Your Driving Style

defensive driving

Driving habits that lower a vehicle’s value are more common than people would like to admit. Some of these value-ruining habits are actually so ingrained that it may take some personal effort to stop these bad habits. But working to get rid of these habits is worthwhile because the better care you take care of your car now, the higher value you’ll get when you go to sell it or get an auto title loan. Your style of driving is one of the first aspects of your driving you’ll want to reevaluate.

Are you an insecure driver?

You might be insecure behind the wheel if you’re new to driving, new to driving stick, driving an unfamiliar car, or were recently in a car accident. Insecure drivers are not defensive drivers, and tend to have a driving style of avoidance. Being insecure behind the wheel can actually make you more likely to get into an accident with your car, so take your car to a secluded lot and practice basic driving maneuvers to get comfortable behind the wheel again.

Are you an aggressive driver?

You might be an aggressive driver if you find yourself getting angry or stressed out whenever you’re behind the wheel. You also might be a more aggressive driver if you find yourself not stopping completely at stop signs, riding the bumpers of other cars, beeping at other vehicles around you too much, or running yellow and even red lights. Aggressive drivers are also more likely to get into accidents. The key to fixing an aggressive driving style is to work out the stress levels in your everyday life, and learn to have more patience on the road.

Be a Defensive Driver

Some people like to describe defensive driving as “driving as if everyone else on the road were drunk.” If you don’t have expectations for the drivers around you, then you’ll be more patient with other drivers, and you won’t make harmful assumptions about their actions. The American Society of Safety Professionals has lots of guidance on how to develop a healthy defensive driving style.

Keep it Clean

car wash

One of the most common bad habits concerning car care is not keeping your car clean. It can be very east to procrastinate cleaning your car, especially during the winter months. The time, effort, and expense of car washes can also keep car owners from regularly cleaning their car’s exterior as well. But keeping the inside and outside of your car clean is important in retaining the value of your vehicle. If you don’t, then your car will deteriorate faster. Before you know it your car will need more than just a new paint job to look new again. Not cleaning the inside of your car will also make you have to replace the upholstery before you can sell.

Schedule a semi regular car wash trip, and pencil in some time once a week to clean out your car, vacuum the seats and flooring, and wipe things down. It’s also a good idea to plan some time every so often to shampoo your car’s interior as well to really keep it fresh.

Easy on the Throttle

Another common mistake that car owners often make is thinking that their new car is as invincible as it is powerful. Driving a new car with aggression, top speeds, and a lead foot are some of the best ways to damage a vehicle from the inside and therefore lower the total value of the car.

Other habits that lower a car’s value are less obvious. Some additional ways to ruin a car’s value include customizing the vehicle, getting work done on the side by a free-lance repair man, failing to keep accurate records, and messing with the body of the vehicle (aka adding body kits). More than likely the car you’ve bought isn’t the car you’ll have forever. Eventually this car will run it’s course for you, and you’ll want to sell or trade it in for a fresher car. Remember to maintain your car’s resale value as you care for it and drive it.

 

If you or anyone you know is guilty of taking part in one of the above habits then you should be aware—the value of your car is ever decreasing. Ensure the value of your car by not falling victim to these common and value-reducing habits when you drive and care for your car so that you can keep you car as a high value asset.

With a higher value car, you can easily resell your vehicle for more than the listed price or gain a greater title loan from Check City. Title loans from Check City are quick, easy, and safe loans that are borrowed against the value of your car, so keeping the above harmful habits away from your driving style could not only mean an increased value of your vehicle, but an increased value in the amount you can borrow against the title of the vehicle as well.

Top 5 Cars that Thieves Love

car thief

It’s well worth it to protect your property because not only can having your car stolen be devastating, there are also a lot of hassles that go along with it that most people don’t think about.

What is it that you love about a car? What are its characteristics that make you want to own it? It might be the speed, towing strength, leg room, color, or manual transmission.

Or perhaps you prefer the safety features. Maybe you want something that’s great in the snow during the winter months, but great on gas mileage. The different qualities of a vehicle that you’re looking for varies widely based on your personal preferences. Indeed, it is this wide range of vehicle preferences that allows this many makes and models to exist in the first place.

A car thief is wearing a different set of glasses though. They look at the “car market” from a different perspective. Where the car owners could look at any one of hundreds of choices, the car thief is really only looking at about five. What this means for you is that if you own any of the vehicles we’ll be covering in this post you’ll need to take extra precautions to protect your property.

It’s well worth it to protect your property because not only can having your car stolen be devastating, there are also a lot of hassles that go along with it that most people don’t think about. For example, there are the insurance claims, there’s the loss of personal possessions within the vehicle, and getting the loan paid off if you have a traditional loan or an auto title loan on your vehicle.

In order to get a better idea of why thieves might want your car let’s take a second to get inside their heads and cover the top stolen cars and why thieves love them.

#1: Honda Accord

First up is the Honda Accord. Far and away, the Accord was the most stolen car in 2012. In fact, the National Insurance Crime Bureau did their most recent study on most stolen vehicles in 2014 and found that Honda Accords ranked first on the list, with 51,290 Honda Accords stolen in 2014 alone.

#2: Honda Civic

The second most popular stolen car is Honda again. This time, it’s the Civic, bringing in an estimate of 43,936 stolen Honda Civics in the year 2014.

So what’s up with Honda? The next closest car on the charts rates in at about half the number of the Civic alone. So while the lists goes on, Honda vehicles are still more than twice as popular to thieves than any other car on this list. Why are they the most stolen cars in America?

There are ultimately two reasons for this. The first reason is because they are old and easy to break into. The majority of the models stolen in 2012 ranged from 1990 to 2000. They were 12 plus years old and there’s hardly any security on those older models. Thieves don’t want to get caught so they look for the easiest, not the most expensive, targets.

The second reason is that thieves break the cars into pieces and sell the individual parts. Hondas are some of the most commonly owned cars in America. Since these vehicles are still puttering around in abundance (the Japanese really know how to make them last forever), there are plenty of customers out there that just need a door, or a radiator to make the car run for another 50,000 miles. Since Honda doesn’t make certain older parts anymore or the prices for parts are far too expensive to be worth it, customers look for cheaper used parts. Thieves provide those used opportunities, unbeknownst to the buyer.

That said, Honda has definitely learned from their mistakes (having been at the top of this list for a couple years now). If you look at the most commonly stolen newer vehicles, Honda doesn’t come close to the top.

#3: Full Size Ford Pickups

The third favorite car among thieves was the Ford pickup (full size). It weighed in at 28,680 stolen cars. Turns out it was a 90’s truck that thieves were targeting so often. Why were these stolen? Parts and convenience. Again, the thief is never going to make it hard on himself for fear that he might get caught. He’s also going to always target more common vehicles so the parts will sell quickly and easily.

#4 & #5: Full Size Chevrolet Pickup & Toyota Camry

Fourth is the Chevy pickup (full size) coming in at 23,196 reported missing cars, and fifth is the Toyota Camry at 14,605. The vast majority of these statistics have to do with older car models. They present such each targets that it makes sense they would be the most popular cars to steal.

How to Protect Your Car from Thieves

Fortunately, if you have one of these top 5 cars, there are steps you can take to deter thieves.

Park in a Garage

car security

Don’t leave your car on the street if you can help it. If you can’t avoid parking on the street, then park it in a well-lit and populated area, especially at night. Thieves prefer the cover of darkness to accomplish their deeds, but if you park in a well-lit or busy area then you’ll deter thief activity.

But if you do have a garage, work on cleaning it out so you can use it for its intended purpose.

Keep Your Car Empty Inside

Leave the inside of the car bare boned. Don’t leave anything within sight as that can be the main source of temptation for thieves. This is a great tip too because keeping the inside of your car empty can give you an incentive to keep your car clean as well. If you do need to leave anything in your car put it under the seat, in the trunk, or in the glove compartment so that a thief scoping for items inside cars won’t see anything in yours.

Don’t Keep Your Car Title Inside Your Car

Never leave your title to the car in the vehicle itself. It’s almost a no-brainer to do this because if someone steals your car, and your car title is inside, then not only do they have your car but they now have it’s title too. A thief can then forge your signature and sign it over to themselves. Instead keep important documents like this in a safe lock box inside your house.

Lock Car Doors

Lock the car always. Even if your car is in your own garage, you should still lock the car doors before leaving it. Even if you are in your own familiar neighborhood, lock your car. Even if you are only going into the store for a second, lock your car. You never want to make a thief’s job easier by leaving your car unlocked and extra vulnerable.

Watch Your Keys

Keep a careful eye on your car keys. Losing your keys, or leaving them out where anyone can pick them up is a great way to lose your car forever. And you never want to lose your car all because you were careless. One way to help you never lose your keys is to use Tile essentials: devices that you can attach to your keychain so that you can track them using GPS if you ever misplace your keys. Another trick to help keep track of your keys is to use a lanyard of keychain that will make your keys bigger and thus harder to lose.

Use a Wheel Lock

Since a lot of stolen cars tend to be older, it can be useful to update your car’s security system yourself. You can also take advantage of old safety measures. Ever use a wheel lock before? It’s a device that literally locks your steering wheel. It can be a great tool to use as an extra precautionary measure when your car is older and therefore easier to steal. Thieves aren’t always ready to tackle things like wheel locks in a day of alarms and auto locks.

 

In 2012, the FBI estimates that about 724,000 cars were stolen. Assuming that each vehicle retained an amount of about $5,000 each, that equates to 3.6 billion in hard earned cash (some of which was still owed to the bank) that car owners lost when their cars got stolen. That’s quite the haul. Don’t become a victim of that statistic this year and keep these car safety tips in mind.

Saving Money by Buying the Right Insurance

Americans today are always looking for ways that they can save money. Some people think that they need to make more money.

But a better way to solve financial issues is to redistribute the money that you are already making so it will cover your financial needs. There are many, many ways to save money in our modern society.

It may not necessarily be easy to save money all the time, but it is most definitely always worth it. One great way to save money is to buy the right insurance.

It is an accepted fact that we must all buy insurance. It is the only wise and smart way to live.
People who don’t buy insurance often find themselves in binds that they cannot get out of financially. The types of insurance that most people buy are life, auto, health, and homeowner’s.

The way to go about buying insurance is to shop around. Compare and contrast different insurance policies before you settle on one.

Don’t Let Yourself Get Sold

If you are a person who does not like to disappoint people, maybe you should let your spouse or a family member go shopping for insurance without you. Insurance salespeople can be very persuasive and it may be difficult for you to say no to them.

When buying insurance, you need to stand up for what you want and need and what your price range is, and not give in to a salesperson because they are persuasive. If you are easily persuaded, you will either want to be extra tough skinned when you go shopping for insurance or have someone else go for you.
People often just renew their insurance contracts each year and keep with the same company over many decades. While this is not necessarily a bad idea, it can be a bad thing when companies decide to change their rates and don’t notify you.

Always Check Rates vs. Coverage When Shopping Around

The reason why it is good to shop around for insurance policies before you renew yours is because you may find that another company can offer you a better deal for the same coverage. If you hadn’t shopped around and had just renewed your contract, you would be losing money.

This is why it is so important to continuously check up on your insurance policies and make sure that you are getting the best possible deal that you can get. Another great tip to lower the cost of your insurance is to raise your deductibles for both auto and homeowner’s insurance.

If you are willing to pay a little more per claim, you can usually reduce your annual premium by a few hundred dollars. This could save you quite a bit of money in the long run.

Of course, the tricky thing with insurance is that there is no way to know how much insurance coverage you will actually need throughout the course of your life. Life is unexpected.

Sometimes things happen, and sometimes things don’t. But you definitely want to be protected in case things do happen.

Do You Need All That Coverage?

This is why having adequate insurance coverage is so important as you go throughout your life. Another great thing you can do to save money on insurance is to decide if you really need the extensity of coverage that you currently have.

Perhaps your children have all grown up and moved out of the house. If they are getting on their own insurance with their own families, you do not need to include them on your insurance plan anymore.
Even if they are still on your plan, they may not need as much life insurance protection because they are older, wiser, and more mature. Children tend to need a lot of life insurance protection because they tend to get into more accidents.

If you do not need to pay for your children’s life insurance any longer, you will probably be able to save enough money to completely fund an emergency fund. If you do not have an emergency fund, this could be a great time to start.

Collecting any extra money here and there can be put into the emergency fund. Before you know it, you will have quite a healthy emergency fund up and running.

Sometimes people go a very long time without needing to use their insurance. They may be a family who is very careful and does not get into accidents often and does not need to use their insurance often.

While it may seem that people like this do not need insurance, it would be very unwise for these people to need buy insurance. Insurance is necessary, even if you never use it.

7 Tips to Purchasing an Affordable Car

Fall is a great time to buy a car, the body styles for the next year have been announced and if there is a change in sheet metal that usually means HUGE discounts for people looking to buy. In addition to the fall being a great time to buy, it’s also a time that families are left looking for new cars, whether it’s kids going off to school and taking a car with them, or high school students wanting to drive the family car to school the fall is definitely a time of year that leads people to their local car lots. In this post we’ll cover 7 tips that you can follow to save money as you head out car shopping.

First, always buy used. A brand new car depreciates by hundreds of dollars for just driving it off the lot. By the end of the first year, you’ve often lost a couple thousand dollars on the vehicle. By the end of the second, you’ve lost even more.

The first couple years of paying off your car (assuming you got an auto loan to help purchase it) are spent simply paying extra for something that likely isn’t worth as much as you owe on it. It’s called being upside down in a vehicle. That’s just not worth the hassle. Not to mention the fact that if you end up needing to get an auto title loan sometime in the future when your vehicle is paid off, that’s a lot less equity you’ll have available to use.

Purchase your cars used instead. Getting a vehicle that’s 2-3 years old will depreciate less quickly and only have about 30,000 miles on it. You could easily own the car for the next ten years, allowing you to completely pay off the loan (which was significantly cheaper) and enjoy the vehicle without debt for a while.

The quality of the car is generally still very good, even if it is used. There’s no question that it’s a more affordable purchase.

Second,
determine how much you can afford to spend before you begin shopping. Take a look at your budget. How much can you afford to comfortably spend monthly? How much do you have saved up right now for a down payment/taxes/registration? Write these numbers down and commit to yourself that you won’t go over them. It’s easy to get enthralled with the look and feel of an out-of-budget vehicle and justify the loan. Those that do that though suffer for the coming years and often regret the decision when they can’t afford things they want.

Third, shop around for a loan and insurance. Don’t feel like you have to stick with a certain insurance company or bank. If you can get cheaper prices elsewhere without reasonable restrictions go to them. Fully investigate the company for quality and reliability before signing. You can often lower your total financial responsibility at the end of the day by shopping around.

Fourth, don’t settle for long-term, low monthly payments if you can afford it. The longer it takes to pay off the loan (at softer monthly payments), the more you’ll end up paying in interest. The short-term loans will require a bigger chunk of your paycheck every month, but they’ll get you out of debt faster, and you’ll spend less in interest than you would have otherwise.

Fifth, talk to insurance companies about what aspects of a car will raise or lower their prices. Insurance companies charge more to insure cars that are stolen a lot, are newer, are more expensive, etc. Each company has its own price range for these kinds of things. Ask them what kinds of cars are the cheapest to insure. Find out those characteristics and begin searching your local listings/car lots for cars that meet those descriptions. This will save you money in the future.

Sixth, always check the Kelley Blue Book rating on a car before you purchase it. Ole Kelley can give you fair estimates on a vehicle no matter its condition. Learn the values for the vehicles you’re looking at and bring that price up in your negotiations. If the seller isn’t willing to meet Kelley Blue Book’s price, seriously consider walking away from the deal. There are so many cars on the market that you could get just as good of a car for a fairer price.
Seventh, look for rebates and incentives. Car lots abound across the United States. If they didn’t offer incentives to get you to come to their lot, they wouldn’t sell nearly anything. It’s a buyer’s market so look for good deals.

If the dealership has what you’re looking for but no incentives, continue shopping around. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, consider something else or waiting for an incentive to show up. Most companies run specials 2-4 times a year. Often you just have to wait for the right time to purchase. According to press.autotrader.com, some of the best times to shop could be at the end of the quarter/month (when salesmen are trying to reach goals), end of the day (when they want to go home), or days with bad weather (when no one else is shopping).

Do your homework when it comes to buying a car. You can save yourself a lot of money by following each of these steps. Don’t overpay for any part of your vehicle. Save yourself money by shopping smart.

3 Tips to Wean Adult Children into Independence

With the new school year starting young adults are moving out on their own all across America. If done incorrectly the process of teaching your young adult how to be self-sufficient can be difficult. In this post we’ll cover three of the best ways to wean your young adult or adult children into independence.
Many adult children are still extremely reliant upon their parents for financial needs. Even into their mid-twenties, mom and dad are still paying for absolutely everything. And although this can be helpful to get through college, it isn’t always the healthiest approach.

Many students don’t take their education seriously when they’re not paying for it themselves, and others find it difficult to adjust to independent life after they graduate.

If you’re one of these parents but want to help your kids become independent, the following are three great ways to help wean them off of your bank account.

First, the joke, “he probably lives in his mother’s basement” is truer than a joke these days. Considering how cheap it is to live at home, many adult children default to a parent’s basement rather than pay for an apartment. It’s easy to do because mom loves to have her kids around, and it saves them a lot of money. The crazy thing is that it’s not just single children who are doing this either.

Many children move in with their spouses. It’s true that they first years of marriage can be difficult, especially where finances are concerned. These children will sometimes nest in for years to come. They have children and stay at home. Their children head off to elementary school, from their grandparent’s home. These families should be sheltering their kids under their own roofs, especially when they have a job that could be paying for their lives.

If you’re housing a single guy, a girl’s not going to want to find out that he’s still living with his mom. He has a much better chance at a social life outside of the home than he does where he’s at. He may even get married.

If this has happened to you, and you’re ready to have your kids get a move on with their lives, be up front with them. Reaffirm your love, but make it clear that they should be working on finding a place for themselves. It is your house. These are your rules, and you can still lovingly talk to them about how much better it is for them to seek their own life style.

After they move out, a great way to show love for them is to invite them over for dinners once a week. Show them that your home can still be a safe haven from the worries of the world with a free meal and familiar company, and that can give them encouragement during their time of adjustment.

Second, if they still rely on you to pay for their lifestyle, adjust that. You don’t have to drop every financial responsibility in the book on them all at once. That kind of adjustment would be extremely hard. It can be extremely good for them, but they might resent you for it and you might even hate the idea.

Wean them off instead. Set up a plan. Tell them that in three months from today, you no longer intend to pay for an expense: tuition, books, car, food, or cell phone bills for example. In six months you will no longer pay something else. In a year, you won’t pay for something else, etc., etc. until they are finally financially independent.

You can help them find ways to support themselves though. If they’re not working, they will need to learn to find a job. If they have a job that isn’t making enough, encourage them to find a better one. If they are going to school and aren’t sure how they’re going to pay for tuition, encourage them to get a scholarship or grant. Student loans are always another option. You can guide them on a path to financial independence, helping them to grow up and helping you to gain financial independence as well.

Three, sit down to discuss their long-term goals. Have a good chat with your son(s) or daughter(s) about what their future goals are for independence. Ask them questions. When do they see themselves becoming independent? How long do they intend to live with you? What do they want out of life? See what goals for independence they’re trying to achieve and offer your help to get them there. Sometimes just talking about the issue can help them meet future goals much sooner than you expected. They might just need a bit of support from an interested parent.

Take these three ideas to heart and give them a shot. Your kids will have the best chance of success in this world when they’re introduced to financial independence, not sheltered indefinitely. Although you don’t need to kick them out and cut them off, you can go a long way to help your adult children seek complete financial independence starting today.

Saving Money on Transportation

Whether you identify as rich or poor, or anywhere in between, you are probably always looking for ways you can save money. Even if you do have a lot of money, it is wise to be frugal because you don’t know when your money could suddenly run out.

Some of the best ways you can save money is through your transportation. Many people do not realize how much money they can save by keeping their car in top condition.

While it may seem like you must pay a lot to keep your car in good condition, you will be grateful that you did because you will not have to spend as much money on gas. The reason why you will not have to spend as much money on gas if you keep your car in good condition is because your car is running more efficiently.

When your car runs more efficiently, it uses gas more efficiently as well. This is why it is a great idea to keep your car in great condition. Try to have your car tuned up and checked on as often as the manufacturer of your vehicle recommends. In addition to saving you money in the long run, it will help you maintain more equity in your vehicle which will help you if you ever end up needing to get an auto title loan.

Certain cars need more maintenance than others. For example, if you have an older car, you’re going to need to keep a close eye on it to make sure that it stays in good condition.
Older cars have been around for longer so they have a higher chance of breaking down or having something go wrong with them. You should not feel like you have to go and buy a brand new car just because your car is a little bit older.

Keep Those Tires Inflated

However, you should realize that usually older cars require a bit more maintenance than newer cars; this is just the way it is. Another great way to save money is to keep your tires inflated to their correct inflation.

If you do not know how to check your tire pressure, you can ask someone you know to teach you. You can also ask your local auto mechanic how to do it; they would most likely be happy to teach you.

Tire pressure is not hard to check; all you have to do is learn how to check it. Once you learn how to check it yourself, you will save money because you will not have to ask someone else to check it for you.

Save On Gas

Another great way to save money is to shop around when you are filling up your car with gas. If you go to gasbuddy.com, you can find the gas stations in your area that offer the cheapest price for gas.

Oftentimes, grocery stores like Smith’s or Costco will offer special deals on gas if you buy your groceries from their store. These deals can really add up and can save you a lot on the gas you buy for your car.

You Don’t Need All That Octane

It is also recommended that you use the lowest recommended octane for your car. Many people think that buying the highest octane available will be the best for their car, but the fact of the matter is that the amount of octane you need is related to the compression of your cars engine so unless it’s a higher performance engine (turbo charged, supercharged, or luxury), you most likely don’t need higher octane fuel.

However, studies show that buying the lowest-octane gas for your car will be just fine for your car. Unless you are swimming in money, buying the lowest-octane gasoline will be great for your car.

If you notice your car is acting up, you may want to take it to an auto mechanic and see what the problem is. If they tell you that the problem is related to the level of octane of gas that you’re putting in your gas, then you should probably consider putting a higher octane gas in your car.

If this doesn’t happen, though, you should be good with the lowest-octane gas recommended for your vehicle. There are also several other things you can do in order to decrease the amount of gas you have to buy.

Ease on the Gas, Ease on the Brake

You should avoid starting and stopping quickly while you are driving. Starting and stopping quickly while driving only uses up more gas.

You may make the people around you a little bit angry because you are driving more slowly, but that does not matter. While you’re driving, you make sure to do what’s best for you and your car.

Another great way to save money is to carpool. If you can carpool to school or to work, you can save tons of money on gas.

You will save tons of money on gas because you will not be buying as much gas. Try to find a friend at work or school and carpool; your bank account will thank you.

5 Things You Probably Spend Too Much On

The world is full of purchasing opportunities and everywhere you turn, there’s an ad telling you to purchase something else. The sad truth is that many people are spending far too much for some of the “traditional” expenses.

These are the top 5.

Number 5: Cars. Purchasing a car off the lot kills your investment. You overpay for a car that is going to lose half its value in the first five months. Purchase used cars that are a couple years old. You’ll usually get them at about 25 – 30,000 miles and get a much cheaper price for them. Don’t overpay on your car. By overpaying on your car now, you will have that much less equity later on down the road incase you ever need to utilize the equity in your vehicle via an auto title loan.

Number 4: Phones. How often is the public sucked into a new phone? Is it fair to say every 6 months or so? Apple releases new phones/software packages every August. Samsung releases new Galaxies every year too, not to mention every other phone competing on the market. Some people buy into this addiction and purchase a new phone within a year. It’s an expensive and unnecessary habit. Purchasing one smart phone and using it for two years will get you much of the same enjoyment of calling people and internet access as the one switching them out every six months. Why spend money on something you already have?

Number 3: College. Some think that college is worth any price. But is it really worth tens of thousands of dollars extra in debt if you can get the same education at a cheaper school? Much of the quality of your education comes down to your dedication. A BYU law student has the potential to get a very similar education and have just as successful of a career as a Harvard graduate. They just have to put in the work to make it happen, like the students at Harvard.

Carefully research your options before choosing a school. You’ll likely find a cheaper option out there for you that can give you similar opportunities.

Number 2: Clothes. Clothes are extremely overpriced. Shop at any of the chain stores in the mall and you’ll be paying the company approximately 500% of the cost it should. Clothing stores make a fortune off of consumers that need the newest brand clothing. Since fashion is an extremely popular subject, people are willing to pay for their fashion, even if the quality is no better than a shirt you would buy from Walmart.

Look for cheaper alternatives for clothing. Look to Kohl’s, and other more customer-minded stores that care more about providing deals, than making an unfathomable profit. Although they still can make a profit off of you, they aren’t going to overprice their clothing as much, meaning you spend less for new clothing.

If you need cheaper than that though, you can always look to the used stores. Some shops exist—such as Plato’s closet—that will buy lightly used clothing from people, clean it, and then turn it around for your perusal at extremely discounted prices. Like rich car fanatics, some people have the money to buy clothes, wear them for a year, and then dispose of them. And they end up in places like Plato’s for your consumption at a much cheaper price.

With so many options abound, don’t go to the mall. Don’t shop at the mainstream, popular stores. You’ll walk out with a much bigger bill for half of the product available elsewhere.

Number 1: Credit Cards. A continual open line of credit feels like having an increase of a couple thousand dollars in your salary. Instead of being limited by what you make every month, suddenly someone else wants to give you money too. And since that money doesn’t have to be paid off for another month, it’s easy to fall into the habit of imagining yourself being responsible with your money, next month. That mentality combined with neglecting the current balance can drive you into more debt than you would want to be in at the end of every month. Even spending $100 extra every month will amount to $12,000 of accidental purchases over a decade. Imagine what you could have been doing with that $12,000 instead of purchasing meaningless extras.
People spend far too much on credit cards because they’re not keeping track of what they can afford. Keep a close eye on your finances (daily) and don’t let balances slip your notice.

So beware when approaching a car dealer, phone salesman, college admissions, clothing retailers, and your bank account. If you watch each expense carefully, you can keep yourself from many of these traps.

3 Expensive Mistakes College Freshmen Make

College is an exciting time of life. For many, it represents the freedom of living on your own: a chance to be independent. Many of those have really been given the boot too, expected to survive on their own without the financial aid of parents. Consequently, many of these students are thrown into the sometimes frightening world of financial independence without the experience or knowledge to find the most frugal opportunities out there.

Common Freshmen Mistakes

They make mistakes. They invest in apartments, insurance policies, and other necessities that they don’t realize are costing them a financial arm and a leg to pay for.

There are so many opportunities out there for cheaper living that they don’t often catch on to until it’s too late. They sign a year contract before playing the field for better opportunities. It hurts at first, but the students learn in the long run.

Wouldn’t it be better if they could be armed with this knowledge before they sign their contracts though? Shouldn’t they know what to bargain hunt for and how to identify a good deal? They’d definitely be happier in their first year of adjustment if they did. The following are five of the most expensive mistakes college freshmen can make coming into their first year at the university.

Don’t Pay Too Much For Housing

First, they sign at the first place that looks nice. They pay way too much for their first year of housing.

Coming from a home where the parents paid the bills, it can be easy to fall into the financial trap of caring about appearances first, and then bills later. They think they need the apartment with the new couches, built-in big screen TV, and private bedrooms. They feel they can’t live without the finer things in life and turn down some of the more “shabby” opportunities, preferring to pay the extra $50 to $200 a month for a better place to live.

It’s only a hundred or two extra a month right? It’s not that hard to come up with? It’s worth the price for not boarding up in that “dump” across the street that merely provides a solid place to live (not of repute), clean quarters (that aren’t clean enough that you can see your reflection in), and a lousy 20” TV (that doesn’t even get ESPN2 or the Bachelorette).

What they miss with this mindset is that the thing they called a dump will turn out to be a palace in the coming years, because they realize that the bare necessities of living don’t require the finer things in life (nor the higher rent that comes with them). In the end, they may find themselves needing the help of a cash advance or two to help make ends meet.

It’s College, Forget the Car.

Second, they take out a loan for a car. Paying just a hundred a month for five to ten years doesn’t sound bad when you don’t have to pay for everything else quite yet. Once you get into the heat of tuition, books, housing, food, entertainment, gas, and car insurance though, it becomes far too expensive to maintain easily.

Unless you have enough money to buy it outright, it’s in your best interests to hold off on purchasing a vehicle quite yet. Wait until your finances are stable and then look into it again.
Luckily you are surrounded by people that have access to a car in your first year. You also likely have access to a public transportation system that for an affordable flat fee and a bit of patience, can get you anywhere in the city.

Save on Insurance

Third, those that do own their car don’t do much digging on their car insurance opportunities. If you are a good student, then it is a buyer’s market for you. Start by shopping around every insurance place you know of, seeking quotes. For each quote, ask about a “good student” discount opportunity and see what companies can offer you. Drop that monthly premium as far as you can so you can save money over time.

These are among the most common financial blunders that incoming freshmen make when they’re trying to find their way in the world. They sign for too nice of an apartment, too big an auto loan, or too expensive of auto insurance that they end up spending $300 – $400 more than they could have been. That may not seem like much to one that has never been financially independent before, but in the long run, that’s going to cost them $2,400 – $3,200 extra for an eight year span. And when you’re counting pennies to meet tuition and book needs, you just don’t have money to be wasting that much.

Keeping Your Car on a Regular Maintenance Schedule

When you take care of a car, it will always take care of you in return. You can keep a car running for decades when you give it all of the proper maintenance and care it needs to keep going. To new vehicle owners, it can be hard to know what to do when. Can you trust what the mechanic recommends? What can you do to know what needs to be serviced when? The following are a few things you should do regularly to keep your car in tip-top shape for the years to come.

Change the Oil

Change the oil. There seems to be quite a bit of skepticism on whether or not this should be done once every 3 months or not. Some experts will tell you that your car can last much longer than the recommended 3 months or 3,000 miles. They say that oil companies and maintenance shops use that as just an excuse to get your money into their wallets sooner.

It’s hard to tell which is true. The thing you can count on is that it can’t hurt to change your oil that often. The longer your oil stays in the engine, the better the chance it has to spread dirt and grime everywhere. Replacing your oil every 3 months or so will keep it cleaner than waiting would. Cleaner oil means a better engine for the coming years.

Check Your Brakes and Brake Fluid

Check your brakes every six months. Make sure your brake pads aren’t getting too thin, otherwise you risk grinding metal on metal, damaging your car. Also, metal doesn’t stop metal, meaning you won’t be able to stop.

The symptoms of brakes going bad include a longer braking time to stop and high-pitched squealing. As they get really bad, you can feel the car shake as it attempts to stop. This last sign means you need to get to a mechanic as soon as possible.

Conduct a brake fluid check every 6 months as well to make sure it is full and good. You can often check this out in the brake fluid reservoir without ever having to open the cap. Markings on the side help you know if it’s full or not.

Check Your Spark Plug Wires

Every 6 months, check out the quality of your spark plug wires. They should last you for a long time, but check to be sure. Check the insulation (or rubber) for any breaks or cracks. Breaks or cracks can cause a cylinder to not fire at all. As long as that is fully in-tact, you should have no problems.
Check all other fluids about every 3 months. Top them off to make sure that every liquid that needs to be getting to your car is getting there.

Keep the Battery Charged

Finally, clean your battery when corrosion appears. Corrosion kills the life of your battery and can keep it from starting at times. Get a brush and an official battery corrosion kit and follow the directions. You want to keep these connections as clean as possible.

Some of the more long-term recommendations require the suggestions of your dealer. Your dealer has made a timeline on when they think certain belt or hardware checks need to be made. The suspension should be checked after a certain amount of miles. So too should a number of important parts. Listen to your factory/dealer recommendations for advice on these more long-term items.

Your vehicle is a valuable asset that can be used to help you and your family for years to come. If you didn’t know already, it can also be used to help you get the cash you need quickly with a title loan.

A title loan is loan given based on the value of a vehicle that you own outright. The car title is given as collateral for a loan you take out to handle certain financial obligations that come your way.

The company you take a title loan out with will determine the terms of your agreement: i.e. interest rate monthly payments, and life of the loan. Some are to be paid off within just a few short weeks. Others will be paid off in up to a year.

Unexpected expenses come up all the time: a carburetor needs to be replaced, a medical bill needs to be paid, or you children need a significant amount of financial help for back to school supplies. Providing that each of these has to be paid in a limited amount of time, fulfilling these financial obligations can be a bit difficult at times.

Title loans are excellent ways to get the money to take care of your immediate needs, and then return the debt as money begins coming in again. Consider a title loan the next time you are in a financial bind.

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