January – 2019 – Frugal Novice
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January 2019

Why Buying a Used Vehicle is the Way to Go

This is a sponsored post partnered with Newark Chrysler Jeep Dodge. All opinions are honest and are my own.

We’ve bought both new and used vehicles in our house, and there are pros and cons to each. My father always said buying used was the smart way to go, though, so in his memory, here are reasons buying used can be a really genius idea:

Less depreciation of value. A new car can depreciate about 30% in value within the first year you own it, but if you buy a one-year-old car you can take advantage of getting a lower price and minimizing your loss of value. This isn’t a detail that you notice when buying a new car, but a few years later (or even just one year later), trying to trade this new vehicle in towards a newer model will most likely affect its value by as much as 30%!

You can afford a better car with more “extras.” Many people buy used luxury brands that they could never afford new, or can get packages in vehicles that would just cost too much for budget in a new car. We have friends who bought a used minivan that came with a great DVD player system, and they never would’ve been able to get that in a new vehicle. By saving on the depreciation mentioned above, you can move your selection criteria up to a new tier of vehicle.

Better insurance rates. Can’t beat that, right? If you have a newer car, it has greater value, and higher insurance costs. On the flip side of that, a lower value vehicle costs less to insure. Not only that, registration renewal rates are cheaper for a used car, going down in price each year.

Broader choice. With used cars, your pool is opened up to makes and models from a variety of years rather than what’s currently out. You’re more likely to be able to find exactly what you’re looking for. It may add to how long the process takes, but you’ll end up completely happy with your find.

How to Save on Gas Purchases

This is a sponsored post partnered with Robert’s Chrysler Dodge RAM Fiat. All opinions are honest and are my own.

The cost of gas can add up quickly, right? Even when we’re not driving our car out of town we can blow through a tank of gas way more quickly than seems possible. You can’t always help how much you’re driving, of course, but you can take steps to make your dollar stretch just a little bit further. Try these tips today to see a difference in your spending on gas! 

1. Don’t have a lead foot. Rapidly accelerating your car can guzzle gas quickly. Many vehicles now have a light that turns on when you’re driving in a way that uses gas economically. If you press on the gas pedal to speed up, you’ll notice that light turn off. Try to drive at a consistent speed and not accelerate quickly at lights or on the freeway to pass someone, and your tank of gas will last longer.

2. Avoid unnecessary idling. I’m guilty of this often, especially during the school year! When I’m waiting to pick up the kids from school I sit for 10-15 minutes with the car – and air conditioner – on. Idling can use a quarter to a half a gallon of fuel per hour, and if you’re using your air conditioner while you sit like I do it can use even more fuel. Turn your engine off when you’re parked, and roll down your windows. If it’s the fall and a little chilly, keep a jacket in the car  rather than keeping your heater running. 

3. Look for fuel savings opportunities. Our grocery store lets us accumulate points, and we can earn up to $1.00 off per gallon. There are other savings card programs through gas stations and credit cards, too! My in-laws use points they earn on their credit cards to buy Sam’s Club gift cards and get “free” gas that way. So smart!

4. Drive less! Sounds simple enough, but think about what all you need to do next time you need to drive somewhere, and how you can best plan your route, along with what all you need to do in the near future. Any way to chain together a few errands at once?

5. Purchase your fuel either late in the day or early in the morning. This works especially well in the summer months. When you puchase your gas during the cooler hours of the day, the density is higher, so you will pump more. Also, if you time your fill up in the first part of the week (Sunday-Tuesday), traditionally those are the days with lower pricing. Later in the week/weekend is when prices are raised for more weekend travel.

6. If you are waiting for someone outside in the parking lot, turn off your vehicle. Sitting idle while waiting is another waste of the fuel, not to mention it is just adding more harmful pollution to the atmosphere that can be avoided easily by turning off the engine.

7. Keep an eye on the tire inflation. Driving your vehicle on underinflated tires significantly uses more fuel while driving, not to mention it also adds avoidable wear and tear on your tires, thereby adding yet another cost to your budget that could’ve been avoided.

Be Road Trip Ready!

This is a sponsored post partnered with King Chevy Buick GMC. All opinions are honest and are my own.

If you’re like many other people, you’re likely planning a road trip of some kind or another for the upcoming holidays. Before you get on the road, make sure you’re prepared with an emergency kit in your vehicle. It’s easy to put one together, and you’ll sure be glad you did – as my mother would say, it’s better to have one and not need it than the other way around! You can buy pre-assembled kits at many big-box stores, but you can save money by purchasing just what you really need – and then you have something that fits your family perfectly, so you’re more likely to have what’s crucial rather than extraneous items. Consider including these items when you’re putting your kit together:

First-aid kit. You might be thinking “duh!” but the majority of you reading this post now probably don’t already have one in your car, do you? It’s one of those things we know we need, but we never get around to purchasing. Do it now before you get on the road! You can find really basic first aid kits, or – like this emergency kit we’re putting together – you can assemble your own. Neosporin, band-aids, antiseptic wipes, gauze, adhesive tape, and aspirin are all great things to include. Think about kids’ versions of medicines, and consider any medical needs specific to members of your family. 

Fire extinguisher. Make sure you get one rated for Class B (those that involve flammable/combustible liquids, like gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene) or C (those involving electrical equipment like switches and batteries) fires. If your engine catches on fire, you’ll be glad to have this on hand.

• Jumper cables.  This is one of the most basic must-haves for any vehicle; even when NOT on a road trip we’ve had to use these to jump our vehicle or to help other people out. Jumper cables are inexpensive and compact, so it makes sense to have these in your vehicle.

Blankets and water. If you get stranded you’ll be thankful for the warmth. In the summer, if you get caught in a hail storm a blanket might be your only line of defense between you and the hail. Blankets can be used to cover expensive items in your car, too. Water is important to have if you get stranded on the side of the road (you don’t want to get dehydrated)!

Foam tire sealant, a spare tire, and all the necessary tools for changing a tire. Foam tire sealant is an inexpensive temporary solution when you get a flat, and it could mean the difference in you being stranded in the middle of nowhere or making it to the nearest town for help. We’ve had several flat tire issues on road trips over the years, so I can’t stress the importance of this one enough. Make sure someone on the trip knows how to change a tire, too!

Five Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Used Vehicle

This is a sponsored post partnered with Mullahey Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. All opinions are honest and are my own.

It can be intimidating making a car purchase of any kind, but when you’re purchasing a used vehicle there’s the added uncertainty of what has happened to the car before your purchase. We’ve bought several used vehicles, and here are a few questions you can ask to make sure you’re making a good choice with your purchase:

Was the vehicle ever involved in an accident? This is probably my number one question; if it has that can mean there are underlying problems as a result. Small fender benders wouldn’t scare me away, but a major crash in a car’s history could spell trouble. Not only that, some damage to the car could render it undrivable legally, so its best to know before you go.

Can I see service records? Find out if the car received regular oil changes and tune-ups; if any parts that wear down over time have been replaced. You want to make sure the used car you’re purchasing has been taken care of so you don’t have unforeseen problems down the road. You might also ask what work has been done on it since the dealership/person selling it prepped it for sale.

What’s the mileage? An average of 12,000 miles per year is considered the norm, so break down the total mileage by the age of the car to figure out if the car has a low or high average. Its always good to also ask what the majority of the miles on a vehicle are from, be it city traffic or longer road trips. 12,000 miles on the highway affects a vehicle much differently from 12,000 city miles.

Is this a certified pre-owned vehicle? Many dealerships offer these, and it can definitely bring peace of mind; it means that it’s been through an extensive & detailed inspection. Ask if you can see the inspection. Typically these require the vehicle only be a certain amount of years old, meet a maximum number of miles on the vehicle, free of any issues on the history report, and a clean title.

How many previous owners has the vehicle had? The more owners, the more likely it is that there is some problem with the car causing people to want to get it off their hands. And if the vehicle has had multiple owners, you might question why its been passed to new owners so many times?

Always be prepared before negotiating towards a new (to you) vehicle. By having the right questions prepared to ask, you are showing the seller you mean business in this transaction, and that you are serious about this process.