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Cars


  • How to buy the right car for your wallet (36 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    The odometer on my car is nearing 223,000 miles. While I am hoping the dented-on-all-four-sides sedan is going to make it to at least 250,000 miles and beyond, realistically, we need to plan for a replacement. But before we go car shopping, we need to decide what we are looking for. There are a lot of things to consider here like the manufacturer, style, color, etc.,…

  • How to save big with a salvage title (20 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…

  • 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…

  • Deals on wheels: Should you buy your child a car? (94 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 (32 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…

  • 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…

  • 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 (157 comments)

    This post is from contributor 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 see…

  • 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? (86 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,…

  • 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 (45 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…

  • Consumer Reports Auto Issue: Best and Worst Cars for 2012 (59 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 (67 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…

  • 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 (113 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…

  • How to Dispute Your Mechanic Bill (119 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…

  • 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? (181 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: 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…

  • Should I Sell My Car On eBay? (45 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…

  • Ask the Readers: Sell the Car or Keep It? (142 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 (133 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Robert Brokamp.

    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 our old vehicle: a minivan with 182,000 miles on it. I didn’t let go of her easily; after all, we didn’t get rid of our previous car until it had 264,000 miles…

  • 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 (115 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…

  • 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 (273 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…

  • 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)…

  • The Inner Workings of a Car Dealership (and How To Use Them to Your Advantage) (89 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…

  • Motor Trend 1971 — 40 Cars Under $2500 (30 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…

  • 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…

  • 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: 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…

  • 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…