dcsimg

Cars


  • How to save big with a salvage title (15 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. What was your first reaction when you saw “salvage title” in the headline? Cringe and shudder? Outrage, that anybody could seriously suggest something so risky on a respectable site like this? In mixed company, no less? Step away from the ledge, slowly, exhale, and then hear me out. I used to feel the same way … until my friend Peter showed me his “new” 4Runner. Peter is…

  • Don’t let your emotions drive your car-buying decisions (35 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Sam, the Financial Samurai. I was in the 6th grade when I first laid eyes on her. She was a 1989 BMW 635i Coupe that did donuts in the school’s parking lot after class thanks to an obnoxious, rich 11th-grader who got the car as a birthday present. I was immediately smitten and promised myself one day I’d be able to buy such a car too. The new 6 series…

  • One expense you have control of in ways you never thought (38 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. What do you spend most of your money on? For most people, their two biggest expenses are their home and car(s). If you remember the post comparing expenses in 1913 to 2012, you might recall the three things that Mr. Average spent most of his “raise” on were: Housing (36 percent of the raise) Income taxes (28 percent), and Transportation (24 percent) A majority of the increase in…

  • Deals on wheels: Should you buy your child a car? (82 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. As far as I know, only one reader of Get Rich Slowly knows me personally. And last week, I was having lunch with my one-person fan club. (Actually, I am not sure she’s even a fan, but she did buy my lunch. Thanks, Lisa!) “You really stirred up some controversy with one of your recent posts,” Lisa said, a forkful of salad in hand. “You must mean…

  • 5 car maintenance services you can get for free (26 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. We get a lot of pitches at Get Rich Slowly. Despite the underlying marketing agenda, sometimes these pitches contain useful information that is worth sharing. Case in point, Pep Boys emailed us a whole array of free services they offer. My ears perked up for a few reasons: I was impressed with just how many services they offer. It made me wonder about other places that offer free…

  • Big wins: The quickest way to wealth (106 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money, where he recently wrote about the difference between tenacity and talent. There’s a divide in the world of personal finance. On one side are the folks who offer advice for scrimping and saving your way to financial success. On the other are the experts who scoff at frugality and champion big…

  • Saving money with my feet: The joys of a walkable neighborhood (73 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money, where he recently wrote about the regrets of the dying. On Saturday, I bumped into Rhonda at the local natural food market. Rhonda is one of Kris’s co-workers and friends. I haven’t seen her much since the divorce, although we live only a mile-and-a-half apart. For 20 minutes, she and I…

  • Ask the Readers: Would you let your insurance company monitor your driving for a discount? (103 comments)

    Privacy is a big issue for people these days, what with every website able to see where you go, what you’re searching for and serve up ads. With the NSA looking at emails and phone calls from regular folks, the issue is bigger than ever. But would you elect to be monitored if it would save you money? You’ve probably seen the commercials for Progressive insurance’s Snapshot pay-as-you-drive device. State Farm has a similar program…

  • That time I got hit by a drunk driver (55 comments)

    This post is written by staff writer Kristin Wong. I’ve never liked Sundays. Especially Sunday evenings. They feel like denial to me. It’s like I’m clinging on to the last bit of weekend, and sometimes I actually convince myself that Monday isn’t just a few hours away. But then the shops close early, I realize I can’t stay up late, and there’s no escaping the inevitable: the weekend is over. Sundays are the worst. But one…

  • Why I plan on driving my car into the ground (147 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Kristin Wong. Over the weekend, a friend and I were enjoying a couple of beers in my neighborhood. As we sat outside people watching, he drooled over every fancy car that drove by. “That’s a whatever-whatever,” he would tell me. “It costs $100,000.” I live in Los Angeles, where these symbols of affluence are common. “I can’t help it,” I told him. “All I can think of when I…

  • Reader Stories: Starting to see financial fitness muscle! (31 comments)

    This story comes to us from reader EmJay. EmJay’s story is the epitome of getting rich slowly, and readers can learn from her effort. This post is part of the Reader Stories series. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. Although we…

  • Driven crazy by car loans (95 comments)

    My long commute means my car has a lot of miles on it. Right now, it’s cruising up to 180,000 miles and still going strong. While we’re hoping to make it to 250,000, approximately 30,000 miles goes on the odometer each year. My car-buying philosophy In a rare piece of verbal financial advice from my father, he told me to always pay for my vehicles with cash. He said, since they depreciated, I should pay…

  • Ask the readers: Do you repair your own car to save money? (82 comments)

    This post is from Ollie Geiger, a personal finance writer who contributes to MoneyRates.com. As a former auto mechanic and service manager, my dad’s car expertise has saved our family from countless binds. Over the years, he’s done everything from replacing my wife’s broken timing belt in the parking lot of her apartment complex to rebuilding our truck’s toasted alternator at a motel high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. A master of seeing mechanical possibilities,…

  • When Seizing the Day Backfires (55 comments)

    A little over a month ago, I experienced one of those moments in life where everything was as it should be. You know those moments—when work, love, friendships, etc., are all operating smoothly, in a brief but perfect alignment that allows you the rare luxury of total peace. In that moment, I was able to breathe, smile and remember that life is happening, and life is good. And then the car troubles came. These car…

  • Tips for the Introverted Negotiator (80 comments)

    In my last article, I talked about saving money on the big things, like cars and houses. Multiple readers contributed good reasons why we don’t save as much money as we should on cars and houses. But one of my favorite comments was from Tracy: See, it would never even occur to me to negotiate on a car, nor do I have any desire to. I realize this costs me extra money and it would…

  • Cutting Costs on Transportation (Even When Biking and Walking Aren’t Options) (83 comments)

    Until the end of this week, we’re sharing “audition” pieces from folks interested in being new staff writers at Get Rich Slowly. Your job is to let us know what you think of each of these writers. Pay attention, give feedback, and after a couple of weeks we’ll ask which writers you prefer. This article is from Lisa Aberle, who promises she could contribute stories on DIY projects and rural living. Her first audition piece…

  • Reader Story: Saying Good-Bye to a 16-Year-Old Car (91 comments)

    This guest post from Joel Berry is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how. I’m writing this post as a follow up to my first post about why I drove a 13-year-old car. In…

  • The Best Way to Buy a New Car (44 comments)

    Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is the author of The Predictioneer’s Game, a book about using game theory to get what you want in day-to-day life. Mesquita argues that we can predict and engineer the future by understanding the self-interest of those involved in making decisions. What does that all mean? Well, over at Big Think, Mesquita has provided a short video explaining how to use these ideas to buy a new car. Here are the…

  • Transportation: Friction Versus Finance (71 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sarah Gilbert. Though I’ve been car-free for years, I was recently left to ponder how we make transportation decisions when my local transit authority unveiled a new plan to fill a $17 million budget hole by making a pretty major series of changes to its fare structure. Because, as the agency’s analysts mused, only 5% of its ridership used transit for errands — going out and coming back on…

  • Consumer Reports Auto Issue: Best and Worst Cars for 2012 (58 comments)

    If it’s March, it must be time to talk about cars. The annual auto issue of Consumer Reports landed in my mailbox this week, and I spent some time skimming the pages. I’m not nearly as interested in car info as I used to be, but I know that many folks are in the market for a new car, and I think Consumer Reports is a great source for info. Plus, it’s fun to review…

  • Reader Story: How to Buy a Car at Auction (59 comments)

    This guest post from Jacq is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Woot! I just bought a new-to-me SUV at the local auto auction. It’s a 2008 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS 4WD and is loaded. I don’t…

  • Why I Love the Megabus: A Closer Look at a Seldom-Used (but Cheap!) Way to Travel (128 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money. She also writes about frugality, intentional living, and life in general at her own blog, Surviving And Thriving. I’m in the middle of a month-long trip to the East Coast: a little work, but mostly tourism. Although the conference I attended was in New York City, I flew to Philadelphia because it’ll be easier for me to…

  • Ask the Readers: Is a Used Car Still a Good Deal? (138 comments)

    Because new cars tend to lose value rapidly, the conventional wisdom is that it usually makes more sense to buy a used vehicle instead of a new one. But is this rule of thumb always true? Has it changed in the past few years? That’s what Lily wants to know. She writes: Time Moneyland recently reported that used vehicle prices have hit a 16-year high. On the radio, car companies are asking people to trade…

  • Biking vs. Driving Calculator (111 comments)

    For the past two months, I’ve been conducting an informal experiment. Spurred by the high cost of gas — $4 per gallon to fill my Mini!?! — I decided to use alternate transportation: my feet. In May, I walked over 200 miles. In June, I’ve walked less but biked more. Walking and biking takes more time, it’s true, but not as much as I’d feared. Besides, walking and biking give me additional exercise, so there’s…

  • Traffic Violations and Your Auto Insurance (60 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. California newspaper The Daily Breeze recently published an article about a man who was issued a $35 ticket for failing to come to a complete stop, which became a $234 ticket after added penalties. (State legislators have been adding new penalties, such as a “state conviction fee,” since 2009, thanks to a $10 billion budget deficit. The base fine for running a red light is $100 in…

  • Reader Story: The Costs and Savings of Bicycle Commuting (186 comments)

    This guest post from Duran Valdez is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. For the past two years, I’ve been riding a bicycle to work. Mostly because I’m cheap. My commute is a 12-mile round trip…

  • How to Dispute Your Mechanic Bill (106 comments)

    This article is by freelance writer Roger White and staff writer April Dykman. It originally appeared on Roger’s blog in a different format. April As many GRS readers know, last year I quit my job to become a full-time freelancer. The hardest thing about moving on was leaving coworkers like Roger White, a magazine editor and author of the funniest interoffice e-mails ever. Roger and I teamed up to bring you his story about a…

  • Save on Gas with Auto Maintenance (49 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. I’m awful at maintaining my vehicles. Spectacularly bad. I have always relied on someone else to take care of oil changes, check tire pressure, and whatever else cars need to have done on a regular basis. When it rains, I congratulate myself for having washed the car. I’m not into cars, obviously — never have been. Vehicles simply get me from point A to point B. The…

  • Consumer Reports Auto Issue: Best and Worst Cars for 2011 (61 comments)

    It’s that time of year again! The annual auto issue of Consumer Reports landed in my mailbox yesterday, and I spent some time browsing its pages. I’m not nearly as interested in car info as I used to be; I’ve had my beloved Mini Cooper for two years now, and am quite pleased with it. Still, I know that many folks are in the market for a new car, and I think Consumer Reports is…

  • Ask the Readers: Should I Sell My Car? (180 comments)

    The Friday “Ask the Readers” column generally follows a set format: I introduce the topic, share a reader e-mail, give my best advice, and then ask for your feedback. Today’s column is a little different. Sarah sent me a 1000-word question, and rather than write any sort of response, I’m just going to let her have the entire space. Everything that follows is from Sarah. I have a question for other GRS readers. It’s a…

  • Reader Story: Pedaling Toward Financial Freedom (82 comments)

    This guest post from Tammy Strobel is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Tammy blogs about simple living at RowdyKittens, and is the author of Simply Car-Free and Smalltopia: A Practical Guide to Working for Yourself….

  • Reader Story: How We Bought a New Car (87 comments)

    This guest post from Nicole is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Nicole is an active GRS commenter. She’s also half of the blog Grumpy Rumblings of the Untenured, where she and her partner-in-crime write about…

  • How Much Should You Spend on a Car? (52 comments)

    There are all sorts of rules of thumb about how much you should spend on a home, but what about that other major expense in your life — your vehicle? Have you ever wondered how much to spend on a car? I’ve thought about this question before, but never really considered that there might be an answer. (Well, no answer other than “as little as possible”.) But the folks over at BeFrugal have put together…

  • How to Sell Your Car on eBay Motors (15 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Baker recently released a guide to help people attack and sell their excess clutter entitled “Sell Your Crap“. Several weeks ago, I wrote about the early stages of my quest to sell a family car. While I had always used either the local newspaper, word of mouth, or Craigslist to help sell my automobiles, I’ve recently run across several stories from people who successfully sold their cars…

  • Insurance Basics: How Car Insurance Works (59 comments)

    This is the third part in a short series about insurance basics. In the first part, I explained how insurance works. In the second, I shared some general tips about how to save on insurance of all types. Today’s article offers info about auto insurance. You’ve had car insurance since you were old enough to drive, but how much do you really know about it? At its heart, your policy probably contains a few basic…

  • Should I Sell My Car On eBay? (43 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Follow Baker on Twitter @ManVsDebt or connect with him on Facebook. Over the last few months, I’ve spent countless hours researching the process of selling items online for a large project I’ve been compiling. It’s taught me that as much as I thought I knew about selling online, there’s so much more that I have no clue about! For example, a family member recently asked for my…

  • Planning for Budget Busters: Transportation (42 comments)

    This video post is by staff writer Adam Baker. Baker previously featured a post on his own blog entitled, 67 Ways NOT to Sell a Car. Courtney and I apply a fun name to any expense in our lives that we should’ve planned for in our budget, but didn’t. We call them Budget Busters. Even with persistent effort, we find it impossible to account for every irregular expense. As I note in this week’s video,…

  • Ask the Readers: Should I Take Out a Loan to Buy a Car? (114 comments)

    If smart money management were just about math or opening the highest interest savings account, this stuff would be easy. But there are a variety of complex factors that come into play when we have to make financial decisions. For example, Alyssa wrote recently to ask for advice. She needs to buy a car at the end of the summer, but she doesn’t know whether to take out a loan or pay cash. Here’s her…

  • Ask the Readers: Sell the Car or Keep It? (141 comments)

    I love the sometimes-weekly Ask the Readers feature, even if I’m not great about sticking to my intended schedule. And usually I’m able to work with folks to condense their questions to a small space, which leaves me plenty of room to share my thoughts. This week, Martina sent me a lengthy e-mail that does a better job of laying out the pros and cons of her situation than I could. Read on to hear…

  • Consumer Reports Auto Issue: Top Cars for 2010 (40 comments)

    It’s that time of year again! The annual auto issue of Consumer Reports landed in my mailbox last week, and I spent some time leafing through it over the weekend. (You can read my summaries of past auto issues here: 2007, 2008, 2009) Fortunately, I’m not a victim of the new-car itch right now; the used 2004 Mini Cooper I bought last year is running like a champ, and I have no urge to replace…

  • When to Replace Your Car (124 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Over the holidays, we said good-bye to an old family member. It was definitely her time to go. She leaked, she conked out at odd times, and she stank. Of course, I’m talking about…

  • Frugality in Practice: Alternate Modes of Transportation (118 comments)

    I’ve always been a car guy. It’s not that I’m mechanically inclined or that I get into the latest makes and models — neither of these is anywhere close to the truth — but that a car has always been my primary mode of transportation. When I was a boy, my family lived in rural Oregon, six miles from the nearest town. Automobiles were our only real option for getting around. Even when I went…

  • Common Car-Dealer Tricks (107 comments)

    When I bought my used Mini Cooper in April, things didn’t go exactly as I’d planned. Part of this was because I hadn’t done enough research. But a lot of it was because the dealer had some tricks up its sleeve and I did not. At Car and Driver, Jared Gall has compiled a list of car dealer tricks to watch for when buying a vehicle. He says that the following are common practices: Juggling…

  • Reader Story: The Secret Millionaire and the Mathmobile (43 comments)

    I keep telling myself I’ll share reader e-mail more often. You folks send me great stuff. For example, here’s Ruth’s story about her own millionaire next door. I loved reading about J.D.’s “secret millionaire” neighbor. This is a story about my own “secret millionaire” neighbor. He actually lives in the next suburb. This local middle-school math teacher retired about five years ago, and became a private tutor. Since retirement, he works seven days a week…

  • Using Fuelly to Track Your Gas Mileage (50 comments)

    With gas prices rising, people are beginning to talk about fuel economy again. This year, there’s an added wrinkle to my own concerns. In April, I ditched my 2000 Ford Focus for a 2004 Mini Cooper. The old car used regular unleaded, but the new one uses premium. This is the first vehicle I’ve owned to use premium gasoline, and the price difference came as a shock to me. But am I really paying more…

  • A Very Small Adventure: Riding the Bus (119 comments)

    I had a big day today, though I’m sure many of you will laugh: I rode the bus for the first time. Actually, I’ve been on buses many times before. I rode a school bus as a child, and I’ve used public transportation in other towns. I’ve even used the light-rail trains here in Portland. But I had never used the city’s bus system until this afternoon. Brave new world I took my new-used Mini…

  • My Mini and the Power of Saving (225 comments)

    For the past two years, one of my top financial goals has been to save for a Mini Cooper. Just like a child with a toy catalog, I’ve spent hours on the Mini website playing with colors and options packages, building my own dream vehicle. Whenever I’m tempted to buy small indulgences, I ask myself, “Would I rather have this or a Mini?” Until the beginning of last week, however, I thought I still had…

  • The Consumer Reports Auto Issue: Best and Worst 2009 Cars (44 comments)

    The Consumer Reports annual auto issue was parked in my mailbox on Monday. As in past years (2007, 2008), I spent the afternoon leafing through it. This year, I think I managed to avoid the new-car itch. I’m not fond of my 2000 Ford Focus, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m going to drive it until it dies. Here are the Consumer Reports top-rated vehicles in ten categories (with previous years’ top…

  • Why I Drive a 13-Year-Old Car (266 comments)

    This is a guest post from Joel Berry. I recently had a talk with a friend about why I haven’t purchased a new car. He can’t understand why I still drive a 1995 Geo Prizm. I can afford to buy a new car, but I choose not to. The fact is, driving an older car saves me money! To prove my point, I ran some numbers. I was surprised by how much money I’ve saved…

  • Cost To Drive: A Simple Web Tool for Budgeting Road Trips (29 comments)

    Are you making a long road trip for the holidays? Curious about how much it’s going to cost you? Cost To Drive can help. When Kris and I took our short vacation in early October, I did something a little different. Though I’ve never been a budget guy, I set a budget for the trip. I knew how much I wanted to spend before I left. As part of my planning, I needed to find…

  • Thoughts on a Scooter-Based Lifestyle (68 comments)

    This is a guest post from Stephen Popick, administrator for the Get Rich Slowly discussion forums. Two years ago when I bought my People 150cc scooter, I was teased ceaselessly by my car-loving friends. It wasn’t so long ago that gas was under two dollars a gallon, and the need for more efficient wheeled transportation wasn’t as “in your face” as it is now. Today, when my friends talk about my scooter (or my wife’s)…

  • Car Talk (22 comments)

    “Go away,” Kris tells me every Saturday morning. “This is my time.” She turns on the radio in the kitchen, busies herself with some kitchen-y task (baking, canning, crosswords), and she spends the next couple hours listening to her favorite National Public Radio shows: Car Talk and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. I’m happy to leave. Ray and Tom, the Car Talk guys, drive me crazy. They’re like a couple of loud geese with Boston…

  • Quick and Easy Car Maintenance: Change Your Oil and Inflate Your Tires (37 comments)

    “The value of proper car maintenance is priceless,” writes Liza Barth at the Consumer Reports auto blog. “Regular maintenance of your vehicle can save you money on vehicle repairs and keep it running smoothly for many years to come.” In particular, Barth encourages readers to keep on top of two easy (but critical) components of car care: oil changes and tire pressure. Change your oil The “quick lube” places want you to change your oil…

  • The Inner Workings of a Car Dealership (and How To Use Them to Your Advantage) (87 comments)

    Yesterday a reader named Dave Black left a long comment on an old article about how to buy a new car without getting screwed. This is his glimpse into the inner workings of a car dealership. I’ve edited Black’s comment to make it a little more readable, but the advice is all his. I sell cars, and believe me, there are lots of opportunities for a car dealership to make money.   Front of the…

  • Are High Gas Prices Changing the Way We Drive? (138 comments)

    My friend Craig rides the bus to work every day. His family gets by with just one car. “Do you do it to save money?” I asked him recently. “Well, owning just one car certainly does save money — car payments, gas, insurance, parking — and that’s a major reason I do it,” he said. “But I also do it because it helps the environment, and because it gives me a chance to unwind before…

  • Use Fuelly to Track Your Fuel Economy (26 comments)

    How fuel efficient is your vehicle? Do you ever get the suspicion, as I do, that your car’s gas mileage is getting worse? Have you ever wondered how your mileage compares to other drivers? And what about the estimated mileage touted by the car companies? Does a Mini Cooper really get 37 miles per gallon? Matt Haughey and Paul Bausch have launched a new site called Fuelly, which allows users to track their vehicles’ fuel…

  • Richie Rich and the High Price of Oil (39 comments)

    You gotta love it when two hobbies come together. In this case, it’s my love of personal finance and my love of comic books. Here’s the cover of a 1978 issue of Richie Rich Inventions, in which Richie seems to be predicting the world of 2008. Of course our vehicles don’t really run on money, but right now it feels that way. The newspapers say that the record fuel prices could soon decline. I hope…

  • Ask the Readers: Buy a Car or Pay Off Debt? (124 comments)

    Earlier this week, April wrote with a personal finance predicament. She and her husband need to buy a car, but it’s not something they’d budgeted to do any time soon. Fate intervened: My husband and I are trying to pay down our debt and to save money. This morning he called to tell me that he had been rear-ended in traffic. He’s fine, thankfully, but he thinks they’ll total his car, which was paid for….

  • Motor Trend 1971 — 40 Cars Under $2500 (29 comments)

    While cleaning my office last Saturday, I stumbled upon a pile of old magazines. Most of these are copies of Modern Mechanix from the 1930s and 1940s, but the issue that caught my eye was the July 1971 edition of Motor Trend. Who wouldn’t be tempted by a Buyer’s Guide that offered “40 cars for under $2500″? I took a break from cleaning to see what I could learn. Some industry experts [forecast] a small…

  • Drama in Real Life: Wrecked Rental (184 comments)

    When we arrived in San Francisco on Thursday, I rented a car. It was the first time I’d ever done so — we’ve never used one on vacation, and this was my first business trip. The whole car rental thing was a mystery to me. When the man at the rental counter asked me what sort of insurance I wanted to purchase, I told him I had my own. In truth, I had forgotten to…

  • What’s Not to Love About a New Car? (104 comments)

    This is a guest post from Katrina Ramser, a freelance writer who contributes new-car reviews for various websites, newspapers and magazines. She also writes about swimming at SquidKid. I love new cars. From the luxury mid-size utilities to the efficient little guys, all have that new car smell — clean, pure, new. I can get wrapped up and taken away with an SUV’s strength and sleekness in the snowy mountains of Tahoe, or just bullying…

  • Consumer Reports Auto Issue: Top Picks for 2008 (30 comments)

    The Consumer Reports annual auto issue landed in my mailbox on Saturday. Like last year, I spent the afternoon leafing through it. Unlike past years, I think I managed to avoid the new-car itch. Here are their top-rated vehicles in ten categories (with last year’s top cars in parentheses): Pickup Truck: Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab (no pick in 2007) Fun-to-drive: Mazda MX-5 Miata (2007: Mazda MX-5 Miata) Small sedan: Hyundai Elantra SE (2007: Honda…

  • How to Buy a New Car Without Getting Screwed (29 comments)

    As a follow-up to yestereday’s discussion, if I had decided to get a new car — which isn’t the case — I would have had to face the daunting Car-Buying Process: the haggling, the scheming, the underbody protection. This can be intimidating. The game feels rigged against the buyer. Lifehacker recently unearthed a five-minute video that explains how to buy a new car without being screwed. For those of you without video capability, here’s a…

  • Shaking the New Car Itch: A Tale of Priorities (109 comments)

    When I went to the street to get the mail on Saturday, the latest issue of The New Yorker was in the box. Walking up the sidewalk to the house, I idly began to remove the subscription cards. I stopped, though, when I came to a full-page cardstock advertisement. I read the front of the ad. I read the back. At the kitchen table, I carefully removed the ad from the magazine, carried it upstairs,…

  • How to Drive a Great End-of-Summer New Car Deal (8 comments)

    While scouring the web for personal finance stories, I found some time-sensitive advice. The Consumer Reports Car Blog notes that Labor Day weekend can be a great time to buy a new car, especially if you’re looking at last year’s models. As the model year transitions from 2007 to 2008, a slew of clearance sales compete for car-buyers’ attention. Choosing the right car from hundreds of available models is complicated by the big decision to…

  • Free Crash Test Videos from Consumer Reports (5 comments)

    On the morning of December 1st, 2000, as I was driving to work, a tractor-trailer rig sideswiped my car on the freeway. The lugnuts of the truck’s wheel gripped the side of my car, lifted it, and threw it off, casting the 1992 Geo Storm headlong into the guard rail at 50 miles per hour. Without proper safety equipment, I’d be dead right now. Instead, the airbag and seatbelt did their jobs; I escaped with…

  • Edmunds True Cost-to-Own Calculator (15 comments)

    During our ongoing discussion of buying a car, somebody pointed to a handy little tool at Edmunds.com. (Edmunds is an excellent resource, sort of like Bankrate, but for cars.) Here’s how their site describes this tool: You’ve narrowed your choices to two new cars, but you can’t seem to decide which one is really the better deal. The purchase price of each car is nearly the same. The features are similar, and you like the…

  • Ask the Readers: Should You Carry a Loan When You Can Afford Not To? (76 comments)

    Monday’s collection of car links sparked more discussion than any link dump I’ve ever posted. A lot of you have strong opinions on the subject. Katie writes that all the talk about cars made her think about her own situation. My husband and I have both saved enough money to cover the price of the new car that we want (plus taxes and fees) and have a comfortable amount left over — at least three…

  • Daily Roundup: Cars, Cars, Cars (45 comments)

    Alfonso Piñate has cars on the brain. He didn’t just forward one car-related article — he sent me three! And they’re all good. From Jalopnik, here’s an “Ask the Readers”-type question: “Your car recommendations for broke, flakazoid car-ignorant friends?” Author Murilee Martin says: “I always recommend the same three cars.” Those are, in order: 1987-1990 Nissan Sentra 1987-1990 Toyota Tercel 1984-1987 Honda Civic But don’t stop there. This thread is loaded 101 reader comments on…

  • Reader Story: Necessity is the Mother of Frugality (34 comments)

    Daniel wrote with the following story: I work across town, which means I have to fill up my tank at least once a week. With the rising cost of gas, this comes to about $50 a week. What can I do, though? Work is too far to walk or ride my bicycle. Recently, while riding my bike, I was hit by a car. After the doc fixed me up I had my arm in a…

  • How to Improve Your Fuel Economy: 23 Top Tips for Better Gas Mileage (83 comments)

    digg_url = ‘http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2007/05/30/how-to-improve-your-gas-mileage-23-top-tips-for-better-fuel-economy/’; Fuel prices have been hovering at record levels around the United States for the past few weeks. Now is a good time to review of the best ways to improve your gas mileage and save money at the tank. I scoured dozens of web sites and read hundreds of tips — these are the best of the bunch. >> Save Money With Your Vehicle << Purchase a fuel-efficient car The best way…

  • Extreme Personal Finance: The Most Fuel-Efficient Driver in the World (23 comments)

    I don’t usually think of Boing Boing as a source for money hacks, but they just posted a blurb about Wayne Gerdes, who “may be the most fuel-efficient driver in the world”. Through tricky coasting, careful acceleration, and driving without breaking, the “king of the hypermilers” can apparently squeeze 59 MPG out of a non-hybrid Honda Accord and more than 100 MPG from a Toyota Prius. I read the original article about Gerdes and listened…

  • Consumer Reports Auto Issue Round-Up: Top Picks for 2007 (21 comments)

    The Consumer Reports annual auto issue landed in my mailbox on Friday. I spent the afternoon leafing through it, at first looking for tips to share with you, but gradually being seduced by the Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible on the cover. “I want one,” I thought. But I forced myself to focus. Until now, I’ve been wary of posting information from Consumer Reports — they’re overly litigious, much more concerned with profit than with consumer…

  • Ask the Readers: Escaping from an Upside-Down Loan? (29 comments)

    Many of us are in similar positions: we’ve discovered sound personal finance skills, but only after making some dumb decisions. I’m still paying down a $16,000 home equity loan that represents my residual credit card debt. John writes with a similar problem, one that he hopes he might escape. A little over a year ago, I bought a new VW Jetta. I now have a hefty car and insurance payment, which I’ve been making every…

  • Dave Ramsey Says ‘Drive Free, Retire Rich’ (70 comments)

    Dave Ramsey‘s site has one of the best money hacks I’ve seen recently. Drive Free, Retire Rich explores the impact of carrying a car payment, and offers ideas on how your money can be used more wisely. Though the sentiment is familiar, I find Ramsey’s approach novel. You want a brand-new sports car that would normally cost you $475 a month. The car you’re driving now is worth around $1,500. If you take that $475…

  • Reader Story: Two Approaches to Car-Buying (11 comments)

    Earlier I posted a link to a story that indicates that new cars are more affordable than they have been since 1980. This prompted a couple of you to e-mail me your car stories. An anonymous reader wrote to share the following: I’ve purchased two new cars in the past six years, but the experiences couldn’t have been more different. The first car was a Honda Civic purchased in 2000 just as I was finishing…

  • Follow-Up: Buying a Part at the Junkyard (7 comments)

    Several weeks ago I shared Matildaben’s question about junkyards. Should I get a car part at a junkyard/salvage yard/auto recycler, and how do I go about it? I need a side mirror assembly for a 1998 Nissan Sentra. Should I get it at a junkyard? Both AskMetafilter readers and Get Rich Slowly readers told her, “Yes, go to a junkyard. It’s worth it.” Matildaben wrote the following update: I went to Nix Auto Wrecking in…

  • Reader Submission: Fritz Buys a New Car (16 comments)

    Fritz wrote to share his experience buying a new car yesterday. This story illustrates a number of principles, including the ever important: “it never hurts to ask for a lower price”. Last year, my wife was forced to get a new (used) car. Her ‘96 Caviler was on the verge of death, and she needed a reliable car to drive to her new job. Since we were in a rush, and neither of us had…

  • An Easy Way to Save on Auto Parts (9 comments)

    Here’s a tip from Israel in SoCal: Last time I was at Kragen Auto Parts I was charged around $30 for a set of spark plug wires. Online they were priced for 18. It turns out that the price online is cheaper for most of their retail items. Also they have a “buy online and pick up at store” function to their website. Once time before, one of their reps told me to print out…

  • Flipping Cars for Fun and Profit (128 comments)

    The No Limits Ladies have posted an article on how to flip cars — how to buy used cars for cheap and sell them again for a profit. I find used vehicles for sale, often times through Cars.com, and I price them using KBB.com. When I find one that I know is in more demand, with a motivated seller at or below private party pricing, I go look at it and sometimes buy it. Then…

  • How to Buy a Part at the Junkyard (13 comments)

    I grew up next to a wrecking yard. But can you believe it? I’ve never bought anything from one. GRS-reader matildaben wrote to share a question she posted at AskMetafilter: Should I get a car part at a junkyard/salvage yard/auto recycler, and how do I go about it? I need a side mirror assembly for a 1998 Nissan Sentra. Should I get it at a junkyard? [...] Would it be worth it to drive over…

  • The Extraordinary Price of Dents (1 comment)

    Rob Cockerham at cockeyed.com (whom I’ve already mentioned twice today — he’s got lots of good funny money stuff), has a profile on the extraordinary price of dents. In Early May, my friend Tim got into a car wreck. It wasn’t his fault. A gal popped out from between two stopped cars and put a large crease into his front fender. Luckily, the woman’s insurance paid for the repairs. Tim took the car to Cozz’s…

  • 10 Expert Tips for Saving on Car Insurance (18 comments)

    My friend Lynn works for a major U.S. insurance company. I recently asked her for tips to help people save money on auto insurance. I expected maybe a few quick ideas, but she went above-and-beyond with the following detailed list. If you own a car, you should read these tips. For readability’s sake, I haven’t blockquoted this, but it’s all Lynn. Note that every insurance company is different — not all of these ideas work…

  • How to Sell a Used Car (15 comments)

    An AskMetafilter user recently asked for tips for selling a used car: I’m selling my car. Help me not be stupid. What’s safe? How do I handle a test drive? Do I go with them? If they buy, do I insist on cash, or some sort of check? (What sort?) What are the safest ways to not be taken? Do I let people come to my home, or meet them somewhere? Any other hints? Most…

  • A Real Fighting Chance (17 comments)

    Yesterday I mentioned Fighting Chance, a service designed to help consumers get the best price on a new car. Here’s one reader’s first-hand experience using their techniques. VinTek writes:

  • How to Extend the Life of Your Car (4 comments)

    The true cost of car ownership is greater than most people suspect. But you can get more life out your vehicle, can reduce your cost per mile, by following a few simple suggestions. eHow offers twelve tips to extend the life of your car. Change the oil regularly. If you’re frugal and handy, do it yourself. Otherwise pay somebody to do it every few thousand miles. (Check your owners manual for recommended intervals.) See also:…

  • The Best Way to Buy a New Car (12 comments)

    You probably pay more for your car than for anything other than your home. Though personal finance mavens advise us to buy used vehicles, many people — including myself — feel more comfortable buying new. But how can we be sure that we’re getting a good deal, that we’re not getting ripped off? Fighting Chance is a web site devoted to giving consumers the information they need to negotiate a good deal on a new…

  • Is the 3,000-Mile Oil Change a Scam? (74 comments)

    Want to save some money on your vehicle? How often do you change the oil in your car? If you listen to advertising from Oil Can Henry and Jiffy Lube, you’d think a change every 3,000 miles was essential. You’d be wrong. Last winter, an AskMetafilter user wondered: Is the 3,000-mile oil change a scam? My wife, like a good American driver, goes for an oil change every 3,000 miles. My dad, like a good…

  • Luxury Car or Practical Car? (24 comments)

    Another AskMetafilter user wonders whether she should buy a new luxury car: Should I buy a luxury car or a practical car? I’m a 27 year old female. I’m single and have no kids. I want to get a luxury car (nothing ridiculous, probably a BMW 325 or IS 250) but I’m wondering if I will regret buying it, as I don’t really NEED it… but I just want it. I don’t have any obligations…

  • The True Cost of Car Ownership (43 comments)

    The American Automobile Association (AAA) says that, on average, it costs 52.2 cents to drive one mile. To drive a Ford Focus like mine 20,000 miles per year, the average cost is 37.6 cents per mile. How close are the AAA estimates? I ran some numbers. Based on the purchase price of my vehicle ($16,500), the interest paid ($1,300), and the number of miles on the odometer (81,762 in 66 months), I calculated that for…

  • Frugality in Practice: Shaking That New Car Itch (19 comments)

    I want a new car. An Audi. Or a BMW. I’ve got that New Car Itch. I’ve never been a fan of my Ford Focus. I like the leather seats, it’s true, and I know it’s relatively safe, but the car just doesn’t suit my style. It’s no fun to drive. Acceleration is unresponsive. Every little piece of it rattles and squeaks. Sometimes the road noise is oppressive. The whole car just feels cheap. It’s…

  • Auto Insurance Tip: Monthly Sucks (4 comments)

    While doing my finances last weekend, I realized that my monthly auto insurance check hadn’t cleared. I have a frugal friend who works with the local agency, so I dropped her an e-mail to ask what I should do. She volunteered this bit of additional information: Monthly sucks. You’re paying an extra $36 a year in fees for them to “handle” your account. Also, you have a “month in reserve” that you never get to…

  • Ten Ways to Drive Down Your Car Insurance (4 comments)

    I certainly don’t intend to turn this into a “how to save money on transportation” blog, but there’s a lot of interest and information out there right now due to increased gasoline costs. Suze Orman has a list of ten ways to drive down your car costs. These are all methods of reducing your auto insurance costs, and they include: Boost your deductible — a higher deductible produces lower costs. Get less mileage out of…

  • What Really Saves Gas? And How Much? (1 comment)

    Gas prices seem to reached a plateau at around $3.00/gallon for regular unleaded in the Portland area, but they’re expected to rise again before summer. With the high gas prices, people begin to look for ways to achieve better fuel economy. Edmunds.com has an article from last fall that seems more useful now: What really saves gas? And how much? All we did was take several of the most common tips out there and put…

  • Everything You Wanted to Know About Hybrid Cars (0 comment)

    The Car Talk guys have a sub-site devoted to hybrid cars. Topics covered include: How do hybrids work? Frequently asked questions about hybrid cars Should you buy a hybrid? Where to go to get a hybrid serviced. The 2006 hybrid buying guide In addition to the Car Talk information, automotive.com has a guide to the latest new hybrid car specifications. Cars.com points out that hybrid pricing may offset gas savings while also noting that the…

  • Tips on Saving Gas (2 comments)

    Today’s Sound Money Tip is a list of common-sense ways to improve your gas mileage: Keep your vehicle in good repair. Check and replace your air filter at regular intervals. Keep your tires properly inflated. Use the recommended grade of motor oil. You can further improve fuel economy by driving at a constant, moderate speed. Many people have forgotten that the old nation-wide maximum speed limit of 55mph was a government-mandated measure designed to impose…

  • What is a Reasonable Offer for a New Car? (3 comments)

    New automobiles are generally poor investments for a number of reasons. That’s a topic for another post. Some people don’t want the hassle of buying a used car, or prefer the features of a new model. If you’re going to buy a new car, how much should you pay? There’s some great advice to be found in this AskMetafilter thread, including the obvious “check with Consumer Reports“. When we bought my wife’s Civic a decade…

  • GasBuddy (2 comments)

    Gas prices are rising, and there’s no end in sight. Thankfully, you can find the cheapest gas prices in your neighborhood with GasBuddy. Gasoline prices change frequently and may vary by as much as twenty percent within only a few blocks it is important to be able locate the service station with the lowest priced fuel. GasBuddy web sites allow motorists to share information about low priced fuel with others as well as target the…

  • Confessions of a Car Salesman (2 comments)

    What really goes on in the back rooms of car dealerships across America? What does the car salesman do when he leaves you sitting in a sales office and goes to talk with his boss? What are the tricks salespeople use to increase their profit and how can consumers protect themselves from overpaying? Find answers to these questions and more in Confessions of a Car Salesman at edmunds.com. Edmunds sent one of their new hires…

  • Fix It or Junk It? (3 comments)

    There’s a good thread at Ask Metafilter thread this morning: At what point is a car not worth repairing? My ten-year-old 130k-mile Saturn is showing its age pretty badly — leaking oil, disturbing noise coming from the front end, crumbling exhaust system. I’m having a tough time coming up with a satisfying way to determine if it makes financial sense to pay for the repairs or to just ditch the car and buy a new…