Depreciated Value for your Vehicle

You might be excited to purchase a new vehicle, but at the same time, question how to handle the sell of your current vehicle. Different options are available, such as trading in the car and selling the vehicle yourself. There are pros and cons to both options. And if you need to act fast, you need to consider what it takes to sell a car.

Some may argue that it’s quicker to trade in a vehicle. This is when a dealership purchases your old vehicle. It’s a straightforward and simple transaction, but not necessarily the best choice. Talk to anyone who has traded in a car and they’ll tell you that dealerships don’t give top dollars for trade-ins. And if the dealership’s offer is less than what you owe on the car, the negative equity is attached to your new car loan.

Selling the car yourself in one way to avoid this hassle. Sure, it’ll take longer and you’ll have to meet with several people. But in the end, this can equal more cash in your pocket. But don’t sell a car without knowing a few tips and tricks. Educate yourself on how to sell a car to increase your chances of a quick sale.

What Is Your Car Worth?

Knowing the actual value of your vehicle is the first step to selling your car. Whether you decide to sell yourself or trade in the car, you’ll sell yourself short if you don’t understand the car’s value. Granted, this isn’t easy to determine. However, several tools can help you acquire an accurate figure.

You might go online and check websites like and provide basic information about your vehicle. This includes your make, model, year, mileage and condition. This website also provides information on trade-in value – in case you decide to go this route.

Additionally, you can contact dealerships to learn the value of your car. Several dealership websites, such as, feature online forms where you can request a trade-in appraisal. If the resale or trade-in value of your car is less than expected, understand that cars depreciate differently. Certain cars hold their value longer than others. These include Hondas, Toyotas, Cadillacs and Acuras.

Tips to Maintain the Value of Your Car

Your car’s worth determines how much you’ll receive from a sale. The more you profit, the better. You can put this extra money toward the down payment on your new car, or save the cash.

Here are a few tips to help your car hold it’s value.

  • Limit customizations. Make the car your own, but don’t go overboard. A custom interior and exterior might suit your taste, but not others. This not only turns off future buyers, but lowers the value of your vehicle.
  • Fix repairs. Scratches and dings can hurt your car’s value. Make needed body improvements before selling the car, and only use trusted auto body repair shops. Preferably shops that can provide factory parts.
  • Keep it clean. A nice exterior wash and a detailed inside can add value to your car. Besides, people are more likely to purchase a car that’s been well maintained.

The decision to sell yourself or trade in the car also depends on your availability and desire. If your schedule doesn’t allow constant test drives, or if you don’t want to handle the transaction on your own, a trade-in is your best bet.

The Best Tips to Get the Most Fuel Economy Out of Your Car

OK, for those of you that are looking to get the most out of every single gallon of gas that you buy the Tips below are the very best.  Follow them and you should increase your mileage by about 20%.


  1. Plan your trips. Do all your chores, pick-ups and everything else in 1 big trip rather than several smaller trips.
  2. Lighten your car. Take all the junk out of it except for vital equipment.
  3. Don’t fill up the entire tank and don’t wait until it’s empty to get gas.
  4. Slow down.  Above 60 mph your car will use 15% more gas.
  5. Use cruise control.  The more you speed up and slow down the more gas you use.
  6. Accelerate smoothly and evenly from a stop.
  7. Short shift.  Skip from 2nd to 4th gear on the highway to save fuel.
  8. Plan your route to be the shortest or have the least amount of stops.
  9. Instead of braking just take your foot off the gas and coast when you can.
  10. Inflate youth tires to their proper PSI always and check them often.
  11. Keep your engine tuned.
  12. Change your oil regularly.
  13. Change the air filter or clean it regularly.  Your engine performs better when it has oxygen.
  14. Replace the fuel filter when the manufacturer suggests it.
  15. Don’t idle for more than 30 seconds.
  16. If you can handle it don’t use the AC in stop and go driving conditions.
  17. Use overdrive on cars with automatic transmissions except when towing.
  18. Keep an eye on the road and see what’s happening so that you can stop and go less.
  19. When you enter a parking lot find a spot and park rather than looking for a ‘better’ spot.
  20. Maintain a large enough following distance so that you don’t have to keep stopping and starting.
  21. Use the narrowest possible tires for your make and model of car.


There you have them.  These are the absolute best Tips for increasing your mileage and using less gas.  If you can even manage to follow half of them you should see a significant increase in your mileage.  The fact is, you should be able to do almost all of them except maybe not using the AC in stop and go traffic.  Hey, what can we say we hate sweating and breathing in that foul air.  Best of luck with getting your mileage up.

Top 6 Tips When Buying a Fuel Efficient Car

Buying a fuel efficient car isn’t rocket surgery but there are a few things to consider before you buy one that can save you much more money over the life of the car and not just on your initial purchase price. The next 6 Tips will give you a lot to think about before you make this large, important purchase.

First you should consider what you need the car for. Is this a car to go back and forth to work with just you driving or is it for the family? How many people will be in it most of the time? If you get a car that’s much bigger than you really need you won’t save nearly as much gas as you could.

That being said, the right size and model is important. If you have 3 kids in high school a minivan is probably better than a sports car even though the sports car may get better mileage. On the other hand if you’re single and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon a smaller car may be your best bet and will save you a lot on gas.

Sports car or compact car?  Let’s be honest; if you’re young and impulsive a sports car may look ‘cool’ but it’s going to suck up gas like a kid sucks up candy and, in the end, who are you really trying to impress?

Do your research and check out the best mileage models. If you go online you can find out which cars in the type of model you want get the best mileage.  Unless you have other criteria the one with the lowest mpg number is your best bet.

A Hybrid vehicle is a viable option and important to consider.  What you may want to do is figure out approximately how many miles you drive each year and see if the higher cost of a hybrid is going to save you money over the length of the car’s life. Consumer Reports says that the average time to recoup the extra cost is 5 years.

Consider Diesel if possible but remember that you’ll pay more at the pump per gallon and the amount of extra miles that a diesel gets may not be worth the extra cost of the fuel itself.  If you don’t do excessive amounts of driving it may be worth it however.

If you use these 6 Tips wisely you will be able to make a better choice and save some real money in fuel over the life of your new car.

Presentation is the Key to Success

I may be a blogger by night, but by day I’m a corporate professional that very much understands the importance of appearance.  When I’m blogging I’m afford a certain level of anonymity, you have no idea what I look like, or perhaps if I’m even a man or a woman.  However, when it comes to my day job I’m in a highly visible position.  You may have often heard that looks and appearances aren’t everything, but unfortunately in the corporate world that just isn’t the case. I need to make sure my clothes are the utmost professional, that they are clean and nicely pressed.  I have to ensure that my hair is always cut, that I am always cleanly shaven, and I even use aftershave balms as well.  Success comes in many forms but self-presentation is almost always a sure way to achieve any type of success in life.

Even if you don’t buy into what others think of you, sometimes your own confidence is derived by how you look.  If you think you look good, then you will look good, likewise if you feel messy and unclean then that is how others will begin to perceive you.  If you have a business meeting that morning wear a suit and tie, even if you aren’t required to do so.  If you have casual day at your office go that extra mile and dress in a business casual manner.  Sometimes going with the status quo will only allow you to achieve status quo results.

Despite everything I said above, please don’t misconstrue my meaning.  Nobody said you have to be a supermodel to achieve success, only that you need to be professional and well-kept in order to achieve the right results.  You don’t need to be the best in the world, just the best that you can be.

Why Real Estate Agents are Still Necessary

In this day and age you will find a lot of people adverse to spending money they feel they don’t have to.  I don’t blame, I like a deal just like the next guy, but I also know my limitations as well.  I was proud of myself for hanging window treatments throughout my home, I even ordered them online, but you won’t find me fixing our plumbing or doing any electrical work.  I leave those types of tasks to hired professionals, it may cost me a bit more, but in the long run I can rest easy knowing that it was done correctly.  This is the way I feel about real estate agents, there aren’t any laws that demand we use them, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t either.

People often cringe at the thought of paying a real estate agent to sell their homes, but theirs is a profession like any other and should be treated as such.  Granted the more expensive the home your selling, the greater the commission paid to the agent, but if they have done their job then they deserve as much.  In fact, some agents are offering very attractive incentives and specialized programs for homeowners that really want to get out of their current homes while rates are still low.  Think of the numerous companies with the we buy your home motto, in fact I have several agents in my area that guarantee just that if they are unable to sell your house within a predefined period of time.

While incentives like the one above are great for attracting buyers and sellers, there are many other qualities you should look for in a real estate agent.  I personally like any company I deal with to have a reputable and up-to-date website that explains their services and fees.  Perhaps their site has a ‘featured homes’ section, or something of that nature, after all this agent is going to be listing and attracting buyers to your home if you agree to work with them.  Another important quality is their knowledge of the area you currently live in.  If potential buyers are going to be asking them an array of questions about the area you want to know that your agent will be making intelligent well informed answers.

Lastly, don’t forget that their commissions are always negotiable.  Don’t go out there expecting to pay them pennies for doing a thorough job, as you wouldn’t want to be compensated that way either.  However, that doesn’t mean you need to pay the first percentage they offer you either.  Even with a recovering market they are anxious to get every buyer and seller they can.

Tips for Saving Money on Your Electric Bill

One of the biggest monthly bills that most people have besides their mortgage is the electric bill.  Depending on where you live and how much AC or heat you use the electric bill can be quite hefty but there are a lot of ways that you can lower it if you’re a bit conscientious.  So without wasting any more time let’s look at a few different things you can do to lower that bill and save some money.

If you’re going to be leaving a room for more than 5 minutes turn off the lights.  It may sound silly but even a few minutes an hour extra can save you up to 10% on your electric bill which can add up to a lot of cash at the end of the month.

Putting lights on timers if you want to keep the house or apartment lit at night is a much better idea than leaving them on all the time, especially if you go away. This will save you money and give criminals the idea that you’re there, especially if you have them in different rooms and set for different times.

Power surge strips that turn off appliances after a certain amount of time are an excellent investment and will pay for themselves within a few months.

Invest in the new LED lights. Yes they cost a lot to begin with but they last 10 times longer (at least) than the old incandescent bulbs and will drop your energy consumption by at least 20% if not more and are well worth the investment.

Invest in energy efficient lighting fixtures.  My wife and I recently purchased a new chandelier for our dining room.  These days they offer many efficient options that can help lower your bill as well.  Make sure you browse modern chandeliers for stylish enegery efficient options.

Shut down your computer completely and unplug it every night.  This one piece of electronic equipment can suck up lots of extra energy even when it’s turned off. Unplugging it is the only way to stop this waste.

Replace any appliances that are over 10 years old as the savings will usually offset the cost within a year or so due to the savings on electric.

Use the AC in the summer with caution.  Does it need to be like the Arctic in your house?  Probably not, and as long as everyone is comfy at night you’d be better off using window shades and shade trees more to keep the house cool than electric sucking AC.

And there you have them.  Lots of excellent, money-saving electricity-sipping tips that should cut that next electric bill down to size.  Enjoy.

The Importance of Debt Management

Debt is simply an ugly word, after all it represents all that is wrong with our economy, and far too many households to fathom.  There are several examples of this being true.  Consider this, cash that goes towards paying down interest laden debt will amount to decreased cash flow, in which case you are left with less money to save and invest.  Debt often carries interest and finance charges, at which case the simplest of goods and products could end up costing you much more than their sticker price.  What makes debt even worse is that it tends to spiral out of control, once you lose visibility to your debt it can cause missed payments, late charges, and negative impacts to your credit score.

While debt carries many negative connotations there are actually certain types of consumer debt that are considered perfectly acceptable to carry.  For example, I would venture to say that a majority of people have a mortgage on their home.  Also, many people have student loans long after they graduate college.  Personally, I have both of these types of debt even though I have long since freed myself from credit cards and other types of harmful loans.  There are certain schools of thought that consider any and all forms of debt to be toxic, but I still draw a line between the types of debt that are tax deductible and then everything else that isn’t. 

If you are already burdened with a ton of debt then at the very least you need make sure it is being efficiently managed.  Effective debt management is important regardless of whether we you are talking about safer consumer debt, or the more harmful kinds.  You should consistently be aware of all debts owed, the interest percentage they carry, their tax implications, and especially the due dates on the monthly payments.  This way you can set manageable monthly goals on how to go about paying down this debt.  You simply start with the debt with that carries the highest finance charges coupled with the inability to use it as a tax write-off, and then start paying that debt down first.  From there on it’s a snowball effect on your debt, and you pick up steam each month as your balances decrease at an exponential rate and more of your money is put toward paying down the principal.

Obviously, the most important aspect of debt management is to avoid it altogether, though I understand this isn’t always a realistic point of view.  So when you find yourself in a bind, put your responsible foot forward and get a handle on your debt.

How to Save Money on Car Insurance

One of the biggest expenses that come with having a car is the insurance.  Depending on the State that you live in and your driving history this could be a monthly expense of over $120.00 or more that you need to pay every month.  The good news; there are many ways to lower your car insurance bills.  Some of them may be  obvious and some you may never have heard of.  Take a look below and see which ones may be able to help you.

One of the biggest ways to save is to increase your deductible. Simply by raising it from $250. to $500. Can save you anywhere from 10 to 30% a year. Increase it even higher to save even more money but keep in mind that you need to also drive well and avoid accidents.

Let your insurance agent know as much as possible about your good habits and safety features of your car.  This can potentially save you 5 to 15% a year if you don’t drink, don’t smoke, have automatic seat belts and so forth.

Dropping collision and comprehensive coverage on an older car is an excellent way to save 20 to 30% on your car insurance bill.  If you car’s value is less than a few thousand dollars letting those fall away is worth the risk of an accident.

When you purchase a new car make sure that it doesn’t have a premium surcharge on insurance because of the fact that it’s more stolen or costs more to repair. Depending on the make and model this could save you a few hundred dollars a year.

Like any purchase shop around for the best rates.  This may seem silly but rates do vary from one insurance company to another. If you could save a few hundred bucks a year it would be well worth shopping around, am I right?

Obviously you should avoid speeding and other traffic violations at all costs, especially DUIs.  These can increase the cost of your insurance substantially so always make sure to obey all traffic laws and stay off of the cops’ radar.  (Pun intended.)

And there you have it.  A nice bunch of excellent ideas for saving money on your car insurance.  If you can put all of these into effect you may well save hundreds of dollars a year, money that can go towards building your wealth and increasing your savings account.




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, 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.

Have You Considered Renting Your Home?

As the real estate market slowly rights itself we are finding that many homeowners are left underwater when it comes to equity within their home.  We are seeing some improvement with continuously low rates and lower inventories on the market, but it will be along time before the value on homes purchased in the heart of the uptick in the mid- 2000’s is fully recovered.  Though not all is lost, sometimes we have other options than going bankrupt if we can’t meet our mortgage payments, or selling our homes if we want to buy a new one.

My wife and I have been considering our options for our own home as we have a strong desire to move to a lakefront property.  Waterfront homes are usually in high demand and short supply, so they can be quite costly.  That beind said, we can’t afford to take a negative hit on our current home, so we have naturally considered renting out our home instead.  There are many benefits to this; no closing or brokerage fees, rental income, asset diversification, retirement savings.  Right now we have a 20 year mortgage on this property, so if we kept this home and rented it out, we can essentially be mortgage free on the home by the time I am 50 years old. To me this is an ideal investment for retirement.

Now as we discuss all the benefits of owning a rental property, we have to be careful to consider all the potential negative consequences involved as well.  There are certain tax benefits involved with a mortgage on your first home, however, those same benefits don’t often apply to a second home.  Next, you have to be prepared for all natural and routine maintenance expenses that will arive over those years.  A roof will eventually need to be replaced, a hot water heater will break, the furnace could go out, and as a landlord you have to take responsibility for replacing these items.  Quite honestly, landlords insurance is becoming more common these days as landlords  focus on protecting these income generating assets.  In this instance, not only is the value of your home protected against inclement events, but the income you generate is protected as well.

Regardless of your decision to rent or sell your home, make sure it is an educated one.  With the fluctuating tax laws, interest rates, market climate, what works right now may not work next year.  I’ll try and pop back in next year and let you know what I decided to do.

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