How to reduce car maintenance and repair cost

Mechanical equipment in general deteriorates with time, the main reason is friction, heat, and the environment such as air, temperature, and humidity. Cars and trucks are no exception, after many years of driving they start to deteriorate, performance isn’t the same as when you first bought it. However following these few simple recommendations you can keep your car in top shape, and save money on repairs and maintenance.

 

Oil Change

The engine and transmission are the two most important part of your vehicle, and the two most expensive to repair if they fail. Keeping them well lubricated will prolong the life of your vehicle and reduce or even eliminate repairs. Changing oil at the factory recommended interval is crucial.If you have an oil leak get it fixed immediately, an engine or transmission cannot run properly at low oil levels, and will fail without warning, leaving you stranded and with a large repair bill, in addition to towing costs, taking time off of work, and frustration. In brief change your coil frequently and repair oil leaks.

 

Wheel Alignment

Getting your wheels aligned (not to be confused with tire balancing) is important to keep your tires running on their entire surface as opposed to being at an angle, which will not only speed up tire wear, but could also cause an accident.

 

Tire Pressure

Driving with un-inflated tires causes your engine to work harder and use more gas, your tires will wear off much sooner, and your car will not corner correctly. Check your tires once a week using a simple tire pressure gauge you could find for about $10, and will probably last you longer than your vehicles.

 

Car Wash

Although it it important to keep your windshield and side mirrors clean for safety, a clean car makes us feel proud of it. Check the weather report for rainy days, and avoid washing your car the day before or during those days. Find an inexpensive car wash, or if you can wash your car yourself at one of those personal manual car washes you could probably do the same job for half the price.

 

 

 

Auction sites tips and tricks

Ebay and auction sites in general are excellent for finding products at discount prices, you can buy virtually anything at a discount and often get free shipping, you would be surprised to find that buying soap in bulk can save you $100 per year if you have a family or three or more, that’s a $100 you can use to buy movie tickets for example (also at a discount), or simply deposit the saved money into your savings account. Sometimes these discounted items are limited in quantities, and with millions of users shopping at any time the trick is finding these discounts before everyone else does, and one way to do this is to search for a product with a Buy It Now option and sort results by listed most recently, this will allow you to see products as soon as they are listed, thereby giving you the advantage and allowing the opportunity to buy that product at a discounted price. You can also setup email alerts for products which you normally buy, such as soap, cleaning products, cereal, virtually anything that you normally use, and that can be shipped without the risk of damage.

When searching auctions most people look for ending auctions, for famous products you will see many bids and chances are the price will reflect the market price. Another method is to search for products using misspelled keywords, for example if you are looking for “automatic watch”, search for “automatic wacth” instead, some sellers inadvertently misspelled the title or description and many people only buy products by clicking through categories instead of searching by keyword, they will not find listings with the misspelled title, and if the price is right you will have the advantage and buy a product at a discount.

How to get a low APR car loan

More often than usual, car dealers finance your car at a high interest rate, this is because they get a kick back from the lender or providing the loan, it is up to you to shop around for a better rate by going to your bank or a credit union, the process is a little more time consuming but no complicated, and it will save money in the short and long term. Some car dealerships provide in house financing at low interest rates, again do your shopping to see which is best rate available. Your credit score will definitely be a factor, so if a dealer advertises 1% interest rate on new vehicles it is probably based on an excellent credit score, if you don’t have excellent credit try your credit union, you may get a loan that is a half percentage less than you would at a car dealership.

To help figure out payments, interests, and affordability, you should use online financial, loans, or payment calculators such as the ones found at BankRate or other websites, using those calculator you can better plan your loan payments and test different payment schedule scenarios.

Money Saving and Travel tips

Travel is probably the most complex and expensive activity you will ever experience, and hopefully the most enjoyable, with plane tickets, car rentals, meals, hotels, local transportation, museums, parks, planning is essential, and searching for deals can save you quite a bit of money. Here are a few tips that will help you in money saving.

 

vacation_planning Travel Date

Schedule your trip during an off-peak season, plane tickets are less expensive and you will have more choices in choosing a hotel room, tourist attractions will be less crowded and less expensive, all in all you will have a nicer experience.

vacation_plane  Plane Tickets

Buy plane tickets at least three months in advance, Kayak is a good website to search for tickets and hotels, they even show you a graph which shows you date and price fluctuation with a prediction on possible increase or decrease in prices, definitely a great tool!

vacation_currency  Currency Exchange

When traveling abroad you will need to exchange your local currency to that of the country you are traveling to, the best place to exchange is usually in the country you are traveling to, this is where you will get the best exchange rate, however beware, some exchanges are not legit and you might end up receive fake or counterfeit currency! The worst place to exchange is probably at your bank, you will most like get the worst exchange rate. It is best to search online for the best exchange places depending on your destination country. Another important issue to look out for is the amount of cash you are allowed to bring into the destination country, there are limits, and strict laws. You must declare how much cash you are bringing into a country. The other option is to carry a small amount of cash and mostly use you credit card for purchases, restaurant, hotels, however beware that you will incur foreign transaction fees.

vacation_hotel  Hotel Reservations

Make hotel reservations three months in advance, again Kayak is a great website to search through, make sure to read the hotel reviews before deciding. Use Google Maps street view when researching hotels, it isn’t worth saving $20 per day if you have to use transportation to get to a convenient store late at night, or if your hotel is located far from public transportation. Make sure your hotel is strategically located and that your savings are actually worth it.

Credit Card use abroad

Find out which of you credit cards charge charge less for foreign currency transactions. Most credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee, some charge a percentage charge on top of the foreign transaction fee, make sure to read the fine print and don’t hesitate to call your credit card travel specialist to negotiate rates and fees while abroad, you would be surprised what a simple phone call can do.

vacation_transportation  Transportation and Car Rental

It is always best to get around using public transportation, just make sure it is safe, and familiarize yourself with schedules, including local holidays. Always carry a small amount of cash in case you need to take a taxi back to your hotel or residence. Car rental can be expensive abroad, mileage and gas rules can differ greatly from what you are accustomed to. Make sure that the car is equipped with a GPS guide.

Parks and Museums

If you are interested in visiting parks and museums, search for ticket booklets which are sold online, that allow you to visit multiple sites at a lower price than you would pay if buying them locally and individually. Be sure to research the website and read reviews to make sure they are legitimate.

vacation_calls  Calling home

If you need to call home don’t use the hotel phone service, it could be very expensive, it is best to buy calling cards, or sign up for a service before traveling that will allow you to call home at a very low rate, you would receive a local access number use can use in the country you are visiting, and instructions on how to dial your home number.

Coupons and Groupon

Groupon (http://www.groupon.com) is a great way to save money on restaurants, services, trips, etc.. Many merchants use Groupon to draw customers in, it is a great marketing idea which works for both you and the merchant. Savings up to 20% are fairly common although sometimes there some restrictions, so it is best to research and read the fine print to avoid surprises. Groupons are also a great way to try new restaurants, and in fact this is what restaurants’ goal in the first place, they want to draw in new customers like yourself.

Traditional coupons are still used at grocery stores, department stores, and consumer product outlets, online merchants have replaced traditional coupons special discounts or promotion codes, those are normally applied towards the total balance during checkout, you can find these promotion codes by searching Google, Bing, or your favorite search engine, and often save 10% to 15% on your favorite product and often get free shipping.

This history of coupons dates back to 1888, the Coca-Cola representatives distributed complimentary coupons for free Coca-Cola drinks, this transformed marketing campaigns for many large corporations. In 1930 during the great depression, coupon usage grew dramatically and benefited both corporations and consumers.

Appraise and score your domain before you buy it

Before you start investing in domains you need to evaluate them to determine how much money you should spend, there are many tools and websites that will score or appraise your domains. EvoSix.com is by far the easiest, and straight forward website to use, they not only score your domain, they also analyze it and tell you how they arrived at that score. They point out the positive and negative factors which affected your score. Another great tool on the website is the Score Simulator, which allow you to use sliders to simulate how other factors can affect your score. You will be able to see how your domain score compare with others. Evosix has a limit of 50 domain scores per day per IP address. Other websites like Estibot.com appraise your website and give it a monetary value, they limit their queries to 5 per day. These tools will help you save money and help you avoid overpaying for your domain.

How to pay down your credit cards

Many of us have had difficulties some time in our lives with credit cards, it is so easy to buy stuff, charge it, and forget it. We buy things we really don’t need because we feel the power of the credit card. It is a piece of plastic after all, and with that piece of plastic we can buy an expensive watch, designer clothes, take our friends to dinner, or even use it to put a down payment on a car! Then we get more credit card offers, and start collecting them, and in no time our credit card balances have reached $10,000 or even $20,000 dollars. Some card have exorbitant interest rates, 20% or 30% in some cases, and the worst part is that credit card companies don’t want you to pay them down quickly, they only want you to pay a minimum, I have seen a $2000 credit card bill with a minimum payment of $25 per month, this barely pays for the interest, at that rate you can be lucky to pay it off after 5 or 6 years.

 

Here is how to pay down your credit cards quickly. This comes from personal experience, I am currently credit card debt free. Here’s how I did it. I had 6 credit cards, so I sorted them by the highest interest rate, not by balance, I paid as much as I could on the one with the highest interest rate, while only paying the minimum on the other cards making sure I am paying at least the interest incurred plus $5. Once I paid down that credit card, I moved to the next and paid as much as I could on that one, I did that until I paid down the other credit cards. It took a few months but it felt good to pay down a high interest credit card and close the account. More on that later..

 

Here are a few things to keep in mind: If you have an offer from a card company with 0% interest until a certain date, make sure you pay that down quickly as well. Most of these offers are very well studied to get as much interest from you as possible. Credit card companies know your financials very well, and they know when to send you these offers, do not fall for these traps. Not only will your credit score drop if you have more credit cards, but you will be tempted to charge more on the ones you just paid off. Just stick to paying down your existing cards as quickly as possible.

 

Should you close your credit card account? Yes! Absolutely! Your goal is to get out of debt. Do not worry too much about how your credit score is affected by closing your cards. Would you rather have a 720 FICO score and be $10,000 in debt, or a 650 FICO score and bet $0 in debt? Once you pay down your credit cards, you will start saving money and get out of the credit card trap. I currently have a single card which I have to pay off by the end of the month. I am happy, do not worry about credit cards, or loans. It feels great! I don’t owe anything to anyone! I am free!

Money saving advice for your teenager

Let’s face it, we are a consumer society which means that we buy products, use them, and dispose them, and then buy more of the same product, this is mostly due to advancing technologies and strong marketing campaigns. MoneySaving will show your teen how to save money. Teenagers are responsible for a big percentage of tech product purchases, and as a teenager you are being trained to become a long term consumer of products that you don’t necessarily need, and by the time you reach the age of 25 you would have accumulated at least two credit cards and are already in debt. A better way to manage your financial life is to start saving money at a young age, ask your Mom and Dad to open a savings account for you and contribute $100 per month into it, if you start at the age of 14 by the time you graduate from high school you would have saved $100 x 12 months x 4 years = $5,000, that is enough to buy yourself a very decent used car that will take you to college, and out with your friends. Being a saver is a positive thing, it may not be “cool”, but the long term benefits are way cooler. Here is some money saving advice and a few tips that will give your teen a financial head start:

  • Open a savings account for your child, and teach them to save money, no matter how little, this will train them that money should not all be spent.
  • Show them financial news and learning websites, and train them to shy away from shopping websites.
  • Make them understand that they can make money by selling products, and be the more profitable side of the shopping experience.
  • Give them weekly financial advice, this will help them as well as help you, and train them to give other financial advice.

 

MoneySaving would like to thank you for reading this article. Please feel free to post comments and feedback.

Money saving tips at the grocery store

How to save money grocery shopping

There are two important things you should do before going to the grocery store, which should help reduce your bill and save you money in the short and long term.

1) Have a good meal before going to the grocery store, this will prevent you from buying unnecessary foods and products, I’m sure you’ve heard that shopping while hungry will lead to excessive and unnecessary buying, the food which will stay in the fridge or cupboard for months, and eventually go to waste.
2) Prepare a list of food items you need, do not buy in bulk as you will overeat, or will throw away after expiration. Buy for a week, or maximum two.

Now that you are at the grocery store there a few things you can do to save money.

Only buy groceries for the coming week, some people buy for a month and sometimes more, food will end up staying in your fridge for months, expire, and you will throw them away, this is a waste of food and money.

Buy good quality foods. Junk food will cause you digestive problems or worse and you will end up spending money on over the counter medication, and in some cases medical bills, doctor visits, prescription drugs, time off of work, etc…

Foods which are on sale are usually about to expire, or of not such great quality, again think about the quality of food vs quantity. It is better to pay $5.00 for a small steak, than $25.00 for a package of 10 large steaks. Cheap food is cheap in quality and you will end up paying the cost in medical bills.

Buy heavy duty grocery bags and reuse them, this will reduce cost for the grocery store, or you if you have to pay for them.

Your trip to the grocery store should be planned on the way back from other trips, this will save gas.

Finally do not let advertisers and coupons dictate what you are going to eat, you will eventually go back during the week and buy the items that you wanted in the first place.