The 6 Best Cars you can Purchase Used for Under $10,000

These days, the “average” American can’t exactly afford to go out and purchase a new car every three or four years. Heck, even every seven or eight years is a little bit of a stretch .

Recently, Cars.com determined that the “price gap” between the cost of an average new car and the cost of a used one is around $20,000. That’s a huge difference and prices of many Americans completely out of buying a used car.

On the other hand, there are literally millions of used cars on the market for sale and, as most people know, buying used can sometimes be a much better deal than buying new. The reason is simply that, when you buy a new car, approximately 20 to 25% of its value is literally erased as soon as you drive it off of the dealer’s lot.

That’s a lot of money to waste just for the sake of having a car that’s new, especially when there are so many excellent used cars waiting to be purchased.

“There are a lot of great used cars on the market, and with a significant price difference between new and used cars, we know that many shoppers choose to go the used route,” Cars.com Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder said.

For those consumers who might be priced out of purchasing a new vehicle, they recently released a list of the Top Buys for cars around $10,000. (That’s give or take a few hundred dollars, depending on the model, where you purchased it and the year it was made.)

If you’re needing a new vehicle, but can’t afford to purchase an actual ”new” car, the automobiles listed below were rated by Cars.com as some of the best on the market for that price.

The 2007 Honda Civic isn’t really a surprise on the list, as Honda has always manufactured excellent vehicles. Cars.com said that the Civic has “Nimble handling, impressive cabin materials and good fuel efficiency make this Honda an excellent choice for compact-car shoppers.” That sounds like a pretty good deal to us.

Another car on their list is the 2009 Hyundai Sonata. Hyundai hasn’t been around for a long time but their cars are considered to be some of the best on the road. Cars.com said that the Sonata has a roomy cabin and a list of excellent safety features that make it a good choice not only for first-time drivers but also for families.

Mazda made it on the list with their 2008 Mazda6. This is more of a “sporty” car and Cars.com said that, for the price, the Mazda 6 is a “compelling” choice for families searching for a family sedan but don’t need a ton of space and so can give up a little for some extra sportiness.

As for this next car, Cars.com said that it combines both excellent power and fuel efficiency. It’s the 2007 Nissan Altima and, if you can find one, $10,000 is definitely an excellent price for this dependable automobile.

Of course no list of Top Cars would be complete without at least one Toyota, and the 2007 Toyota Prius made the list due to its excellent gas mileage and the standout reliability, according to Cars.com.

With a mix of excellent safety features, including six airbags, the 2008 Scion XB is, according to Cars.com, an excellent choice for first-time drivers due to its plethora of safety features.

And you have them. Six excellent automobiles that, if you can find them, will sell for approximately $10,000 and give you a combination of safety features, excellent mileage and dependability that make them some of the best values on the road today.

4 Tips for Getting a Better Car Loan Rate When You Have Good Credit

You have spent the last several years working on your credit and now you are ready to go apply for a car loan and take advantage of your pristine credit profile. Your good credit is certainly going to help you get a great car loan, but you can do even better if you take the time to put together a deal that will get you a low interest rate and better loan terms.

Shop Around For A Good Lender Deal

Car loan lenders often have special promotions going on that they use to bring in new clients and expand business. Your good credit would make it easy for you to take advantage of low interest rates or any other kind of promotion that a lender is offering, like an instant car loan, which would save you even more money in the long run. A simple drop of one percent in your interest rate can save you hundreds of pounds over the life of the loan.

Talk To The Dealers About Financing

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to buying a car is they run away from dealer financing. If you are considering the purchase of a used car, then you may be justified in avoiding the financing that the dealer is offering. But if you are trying to buy a new car, then the dealer may have a better financing offer than the lender. In some cases, car manufacturers are allowing dealers to offer financing with no interest attached to it, and they may also add in a rebate as well. When you are taking your good credit out to buy a car, make sure you investigate what the dealers have to offer as well.

Negotiate The Car Deal First

Getting pre-approved for your car financing is a good idea, but it should only be done to secure the fact that you will be able to finance your purchase. You should leave the actual interest rate and terms negotiations alone until you have found the car you want. If you go to a dealer and manage to negotiate a deal on a car that is well below the book value of the vehicle, then your good credit could score you an extremely low interest rate. Lenders like it when there is a lot of value in an car, which is why lenders would be more open to lowering your financing interest rate if you get a great deal on the vehicle. Here’s a guide to negotiating a car purchase that’s well worht looking into.

Put Down Money Of Your Own

Yes, the lender told you that you could get your car loan without a down payment, but think about it before you sign the deal. When you put down money of your own on an car loan, then you can negotiate for a better interest rate and save yourself money in the long run.

A good credit score is just the beginning of a good car loan deal. If you want to save money on the overall cost of your car loan, then use that good credit score as leverage for an even better deal.

Picking the Right Auto Policy

Having the right kind of auto insurance is akin to having the right kind of health insurance, in most cases they can be equally as important. Unfortunately, when most people are out there car shopping they are too caught up in the excitement of owning a new vehicle that they spend too little time considering the long term costs to insure that vehicle and whether or not they have the proper coverage.

What do I mean by proper coverage you ask? Well, in just about every corner of the world there is a legal requirement for a driver to carry insurance. This is typically for the safety and protection of others so that if you happen to cause an accident then there is some form of recovery for the other party. What the law doesn’t require is that you carry extensive coverage that can help you in a time of emergency. This could include using your auto insurance as secondary medical coverage to pick up any costs that your primary health insurance didn’t cover in case you were involved in an accident. Furthermore, if you miss time from work due to an accident there are certain policies that will pay you for time missed at work. Those are more extreme types of coverage, but there are even more simple add-ons that the everyday driver doesn’t consider.

There was a time or two that I had a minor accident and no car to drive while mine was being repaired. Today’s policies often come with rental coverage so that you can have an automobile to drive whiles yours is being fixed. The additional coverage for something like this usually isn’t very much either. Your deductible is another important factor to consider. Too often people will opt for the overly high deductible so that they can pay a much cheaper premium. That sounds like a good idea until something unexpected happens, and that often does, and all of a sudden you are paying an arm and leg to have some simple repairs done. Sometimes it pays off to pay a little more throughout the year and not have to dole out a ton of cash in a time of emergency.

For what it’s worth I hope I gave you some food for thought. Automotive insurance is important and is not a topic that should be overlooked. Spend some time online comparing quotes and looking for policies, in this day and age it couldn’t get any easier.

Why you should Avoid These New Car Features

Every year and with every new model, automakers from Kia to Toyota try their best at creating new and innovative features that they can put into the cockpit of their new automobiles. In many ways this is a good thing and has brought about quite a few changes that have made driving easier and, more importantly, safer. On the other hand, many of the features that have been coming out lately might make you scratch your head and wonder what exactly the designers were thinking.

There will always be features that are extremely popular and, even in the super low budget 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage DE, which costs just under $14,000, there’s going to be air-conditioning and automatic climate control. What we’re going to be looking at today are not features like these that everyone wants but features that, for one reason or another, are either distracting, frustrating or, in many cases, simply redundant. The features that were going to be featuring “no pun intended” have all, for one reason or another, missed the mark as far as we’re concerned in terms of usefulness. The way we see it, if it’s hard to figure out what exactly the benefit of a car’s feature is, it probably shouldn’t have been included in the first place. Enjoy.

  1. Tailgate release buttons that are operated by foot seem like a fundamentally good idea and, in those catchy commercials, look like a good idea as well. The problem however is that, if you’ve got your arms completely loaded with groceries or other goods (groceries and a baby, for example) trying to balance on one leg to use your foot to tap a relatively small button on the back of your car isn’t nearly as easy as you might think. In most cases you’ll have to actually lean backwards to keep your balance and, if you’ve got fragile groceries or your precious baby in your hands, it’s rather difficult to see where taking the extra risk is a benefit.
  2. With gas prices at an all-time high all over the country, many tire manufacturers are coming out with low rolling resistance tires that, at least from what the manufacturer will tell you, will add an extra few miles to every tank of gas. While it may seem like a good idea to lower a tire’s resistance, less lowering friction and possibly increasing gas mileage, what’s been found by most people who use the tires is that, in the rain, they have a serious problem holding the road. The question thus becomes, is it worth saving a few extra dollars on a tank of gas if it means cutting down on your cars ability to safely maneuver in the rain? We have to say “no”.
  3. Capacitive touch sensors are being used to replace buttons in, for example, the 2013 Lincoln MKS. While we can see why a designer would want to create a clean, stylish auto interior, substituting a touch surface that’s unreliable, legs quite often and sometimes works better with one person’s fingers than on others, isn’t really an upgrade. The way we see it, if a feature actually adds to your distraction while you’re driving (like these often do) what’s the point? Like the low rolling resistance tires above, this is a feature that actually lowers the safety factor while adding very little value.
  4. If you’re a fan of cute little jingles that play every time you start your car’s engine or turn it off, then you’ll be a fan of the “hello“ and “goodbye” chimes that manufacturers like Hyundai and Kia have started putting in their vehicles over the last few years. While the noise that they make isn’t what you would call offensive, the fact is that after only a few days they become tiresome and, even though you can actually turn down the volume, we’d suggest that this feature be turned off completely.
  5. Our last added feature that doesn’t add much to your driving experience are USB ports that are located in inconvenient or just plain strange locations in your car. We’ve seen one that was actually located in the glove compartment and others that are so inconveniently placed that connecting your USB device means taking the risk of spilling your cup of coffee all over the place. While we love the extra convenience of being able to plug our smart phones in, we also appreciate car designers who located the sports in a spot that was a little less ridiculous.

Next time you’re out searching for a new car, keep your eye out for these five “extras” that, while they might cost extra, aren’t actually going to add any extra value to your driving experience. Extra cup holders, anyone?

Car Buying Tips for Young 1st-Time Buyers

Purchasing a car, while not a great long-term investment, is certainly an important short term investment. It needs to be done with patience, due diligence and future maintenance and usage costs in mind. If you’ve never purchased a car before it can be a little daunting too so, nice folks that we are, we put together a blog with some excellent car buying tips for first-time car buyers. Enjoy.

One of the first things you need to consider if you’re buying a car for the first time is whether you’re going to finance it or pay for it in cash. Both have their positive and negative sides. For example, a new car loses about 25% of its retail value as soon as you drive it off the lot, but being approved for a car loan (and paying the loan off on time, of course) can build your credit history.

That being said, if you have the cash to pay the car completely or pay off a large chunk of it your monthly car loan expense will be much smaller and easier to swallow.

Remember that you don’t have to get financing from a dealership but can apply for it at your local bank. Even if you are buying a used car you can sometimes qualify for a loan at your bank and many times the interest rates that they offer will be better than any dealer’s rates.

Would you buy clothing or electronics without taking a look at them first and making sure that they fit right and worked correctly? Probably not, so why would you consider buying a car without having it inspected first? You shouldn’t and, since a car can appear perfectly normal on the outside but have severe mechanical problems hidden on the inside, getting any used car inspected before you purchase it is absolutely vital.

While we realize that younger people prefer sporty cars with stronger engines and rear wheel drive the fact is that these cars are much more difficult to drive in hazardous weather conditions like rain and snow. It is for that reason that you should seriously consider purchasing a front wheel drive automobile for your first car because you’re probably still learning how to drive and it will be safer.

As far as warranties are concerned, if you’re purchasing a used car that has less than 60,000 miles the original manufacturer’s warranty will still be in effect. If the car you are considering has more than 60,000 miles you may want to purchase an extended warranty but keep in mind that that’s going to cost quite a bit of extra money.

One item that many new car or first-time car buyers forget is what affect their car purchase will have on their automobile insurance costs. Generally speaking a new car will cost more to ensure, especially since you have to have full coverage on it. Your best bet would be to check with your insurance company before purchasing any car to find out what your approximate cost per month will be to insure it.

Finally, with gas prices going through the roof you would do well to know exactly what type of mileage your car is going to get, whether new or used. This can have a huge effect on your monthly bills, especially if the car you purchase gets lousy mileage, so make sure you do your homework.

No matter what you buy best of luck in your search and with your new automobile. Make sure to drive back here to our website on a regular basis for more excellent tips on all sorts of financial topics. See you then.

 

The Best Tips for Saving on Car Insurance

Car insurance is a necessity that people certainly love to hate. It definitely eats up a good chunk of everyone’s pocket change and the premiums, depending on which state you live in, can be quite high. With that in mind we went looking for tips on how to save money on car insurance for you, our dear readers.  What we found were quite a few that will give you the opportunity to save in various ways. Keep in mind that car insurance laws, rates and rules vary from state to state and make sure that you check with your state on anything that you plan to do. Aside from that, sit back and take a look as we present  the best tips for saving on car insurance. Enjoy.

  1. One of the quickest and easiest ways to save on car insurance is to get a higher deductible. This is especially true if your car is less than 10 years old.
  2. If your car is newer, well-maintained and a brand that isn’t prone to breaking down you can usually drop towing from your insurance policy without too much risk. Of course maintaining your car is vital  for this to work so make sure that you do that. Also do your best to make sure that you never lock your keys in your car or run out of gas.
  3. Many automobile insurance policies have a  car-rental rider that will pay if you need to rent a car. Unless you’re a frequent traveler or you spend hours on the road every day you can probably drop this also.
  4. If you’re in the market to purchase a new car make sure that you do the research to find out if insurance rates for your particular model are within reason. There is no real formula for determining what it will cost to insure a particular car so, before you make a final purchase, inquire with your insurance company what the costs will be. Many times the automobile that you thought would cost less will cost more and vice versa.
  5. Unless you have money to burn don’t waste any of it on aftermarket extras for your vehicle. While wheels, spoilers, an awesome stereo or a new exhaust may give you a small amount of pleasure, the fact is that if your automobile is totaled or stolen you’ll get back much less from your insurance company than you actually paid for the extras. In our opinion it’s just not worth it.
  6. If you are insuring more than one vehicle or a combination of different types of vehicles such as cars, boats and motorcycles, it would be best for you to ensure them all at the same place.  In most cases doing this will allow you to take advantage of volume discounting.
  7. If possible don’t pay your insurance premiums on a monthly basis. The average insurance company will charge anywhere from 2 to 4% extra when you pay monthly rather than paying every six months. If you have no choice but to pay monthly you should set up an auto-pay service with your insurance company as they will usually charge less when you do this.
  8.  A factor that is becoming more important in the decisions that you will make determining your automobile insurance is your credit rating. As such, it would behoove you to keep your credit rating high. (Duh.) That being said, it is illegal for an automobile insurance company to change the rates on you mid-policy so don’t worry if you have a sudden drop in credit for some reason. Also keep in mind that you are allowed to request that your insurance company check your score once a year. If your policy was written when your credit wasn’t so wonderful  and it has improved since then this would be a great idea. (Just remember that it works the other way too.)

While we realize that paying for automobile insurance is a fact of life that doesn’t mean that we have to overpay for it. Automobile insurance companies, like any business, cater to the needs of their customers. If you have proven yourself to be a good customer, have good credit and have few or no accidents you should be able to negotiate automobile insurance terms that are more to your benefit.

We hope you enjoyed this blog and that the advice and tips that we gave were helpful. Make sure to come back and join us soon for more excellent money-saving information and tips that you can use in your daily financial life.

In the Market for a New Car?

If you’re in the market for a new car and you want something that gets great gas mileage but you’re not really keen on getting a hybrid vehicle there are still a lot of cars on the road that get great mileage but aren’t hybrids. Some offer 40+ miles per gallon stats on the highway and close to that city, which isn’t bad at all if you think about it. They may not match hybrids in city driving but they won’t suck down the gas like many other models.  Here are four of the best.

The Volkswagen Passat TDI is at the top of the heap when it comes to traditional cars that still get great mpg. It comes with a 2.0 liter turbocharges engine, just as the Jetta, Golf and Audi A3 do and uses less diesel that most of its counterparts.  If you do a lot of highway miles the strong low down torque, excellent fuel economy and super quiet engine will make you very happy.  It’s also not unusual for a diesel to get better mileage than the EPA estimate so cross your fingers.

The Chevrolet Cruze Eco is the highest rated of the non-diesel cars and gets 42 mpg.  Many owners report that they’re averaging 41 mpg in total (highway and city) while the actual EPA number says only 33 mpg. The fact is, with its downsized engine and aerodynamic body the Cruze proves that the Volt isn’t the only car in Chevy’s fleet that is highly fuel efficient.

The Honda Civic HF  barely missed beating the Chevy Cruze by only 1 mpg and matches the Cruze as far as combined ratings are concerned. Just like the Cruze the Civic is beating  the EPA numbers.  The HF is a little bit less refined than the Civic Hybrid but has had tweaks to its 1.8 liter engine and some aerodynamic alterations as well that let it slip cleanly through the air.  It also has low rolling resistance tires and is a great alterative to Honda’s Civic Hybrid.

The new kid on the block Dodge Dart Aero just inched its way into the 40 mpg club on the highway with a 1.4 liter turbocharged engine.  This model has the engine that is used in Chrysler partner Fiat’s Alpha Romeo and uses Fiat’s MultiAir Technology as well to get the best air to fuel mixture and the best economy and performance.

As far as miles per gallon is concerned you can’t do much better than these 4 excellent choices.  They may not be hybrids but, for the money, they are possibly a better deal in the long run as they will cost much less than their hybrid counterparts (if they have them) and will use the least amount of gas to get the job done.

 

Trip Tips for Saving Gas

One of the best ways to save fuel is to plan car trips, even the little ones that you make every day.  Planning trips means that you will use the car less, avoid stops and delays that waste fuel and get the best mileage out of every single tank of gas. Read below to see what you can do to better plan your trips and start saving gas today.

First and foremost you’ve got to plan ahead, even for the small trips that you normally make every day to school, the grocery store and anywhere else that you need to go. For longer trips it’s even more vital that you plan ahead.  Doing this will not only allow you to take the shortest route but also to take bigger highways where you’ll encounter less traffic and less stops.

When taking shorter trips make it a point to listen to traffic reports and pick routes that help you to avoid traffic and construction areas.  Sometimes they might be a bit longer but you’ll still save fuel as there will be less stop-and-go traffic and less time wasting gas while your car idles. It’s also a great idea to give yourself plenty of time so that you aren’t forced to drive faster and accelerate faster from stops.

Combining trips and tasks is another excellent way to reduce fuel consumption and also wear on your vehicle. By combining smaller trips you will save gas by driving less miles and also your engine will be warmed up to an optimal driving temperature that uses less gas.

Driving a car that matches your needs is another way to save gas and fuel.  Let’s face it, if you’re a parent of multiple kids you’re going to need a big SUV or van to get them all wherever they need to go. On the other hand if you’re a single person you might be better off with a mid-size sedan than an SUV or a big pick-up truck. The simple fact is, the bigger the car the more gas it uses and the more money you spend. Use the smallest, most economical car that you can and you’re guaranteed to save money on gas.

Finally, tracking your car’s fuel consumption will enable you to see what you’re using and try and decrease it.  By using the tips above and driving less you can in many cases lower your fuel needs by as much as 10 to 20%, a difference that can mean hundreds of dollars in the long run.

 

How to Save on Your Next New Car

Buying a new car may not actually be the best way to spend your money on a car (I buy used) but the fact is that many people still love the look, smell and ‘feeling’ of a new car and, if that’s you, you’re in luck.  We’re going to look at 2 great ways that you can save money the next time you buy a new car.  Keep reading and the next time you buy new you’ll be in the driver’s seat, not the car salesman.

One of the first tasks that you have is to check the internet and compare prices online.  It helps of course to know exactly the car you want before you start.  You can always go to a dealer and test drive a car to find out if you like it.  (It helps if you don’t mind telling a little white lie occasionally.) Whatever the case know your prices and start doing some searches, noting the sites and the prices.Once you have your homemade price guide you’re ready to start.

Call the dealers and start going over prices with them.  Keep in mind that these guys and gals usually sell on volume which means that, to them, the price of the car isn’t a factor in their paycheck, the amount of cars that they sell is.  They will give you a rock bottom price because of this, and most experts agree that if you buy a new car from a dealer over the internet you will save at least $1000.00 to $2000.00 over a brick and mortar dealership.

Another great reason to use the internet to buy your next new car is that, when you buy a car online, you avoid the dealer’s financing and insurance department and all of their extra fees. Even better is that you can negotiate your price on your time when you buy online, from the comfort of your own home.

Want to go even further? Call the dealers and tell them all that they are in competition for your money and whoever gives the lowest price gets the deal.  Sneaky? Maybe a little but it’s certainly not illegal and will get you the rock bottom new car price that you want.

Once you have found the cheapest way to get your new car, make sure you save enough money as well!  Put away a set amount of money into an account specifically for your new car.  This will do wonders for reaching your goal in a quick and efficient manner.  If you’re a little short on funds when the time comes, then you can always make up the difference and apply for an online loan.

That’s some great info right there.  Use it when you buy your next new car and drive away a winner.

 

Mediation as a Means to an End

People have been disagreeing on just about every issue since the beginning of time.  Be it how the world was created, which religion is the most righteous, which car drives the best, or which country is superior to the others.  You name it, people have disagreed on it, but sometimes there are issues that can’t simply be brushed off.  Lawsuits are a commonality when two parties disagree strongly enough on an issue.  Unfortunately, lawsuits can be costly to both parties, they can needlessly use up public dollars when tying up a district or judicial court, and they are often quite difficult to collect money on.  In cases like this an alternative dispute resolution works well, or a mediator.

Mediation has become quite popular over the years.  Companies, like the one found at http://www.globalmediation.co.uk/, have had a lot of success at dispute resolution. The techniques that these companies use are wide ranging, and they offer many types of benefits.  First and foremost, they are a great tool for mitigating costs during the dispute.  Because resolution often happens at a much quicker pace than through legal channels, the cost is often much lower going this route.  Another great benefit is the confidentiality of mediation.  Because you are behind closed doors with only three parties involved, you can avoid the public eye of a courtroom.  Also, you maintain a higher degree of control than you would otherwise in a courtroom.  In a public court the judge and jury have all the power, whereas in a closed door mediation both parties have an equal footing and control all the power themselves.  Collection and compliance is something else that has a much higher success rate in mediation.  If a party feels they were wronged in a dispute, they may not pay out a judgment issued against them, which can lead to longer and more costly legal battles.  However, if both parties feel they have reached a mutually beneficial agreement then the chances of compliance is much greater.  Lastly, mediators are a great source for ideas that think outside of the box.  Often times people are too focused on the monetary awards of judgments, whereas mediators are trained to think of alternative solutions that will satisfy both parties in other ways.

Regardless of the disagreement, and methods attempted at resolution, do yourself a favor and consider mediation.  You may find it financially beneficial, and quite a bit less stressful.

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