Quantcast

Would you buy a new car?

car-828860_1280

I did.  In 2007 I bought a new car and swore it was the biggest financial mistake I ever made.  I sold it three years later and now five years after that BF and I are thinking of getting another new car.  So here’s my question, do you have a car and if so did you buy it new or used?

There are several advantages of buying a new car such as the warranty on parts and service as well as the peace of mind that comes with something new – and of course there’s the new car smell.  I will never forget the day I picked up my car from the dealership and sat in it for the first time.  I was 27 years old and felt like a true adult for the first time in my life.

Buying a new car is a big girl purchase

Buying a new car was the biggest purchase I’ve ever made and I was more than happy to parade it around in front of my family and friends whenever I could.  My parents didn’t really seem to care too much, but to me buying a car was a really big deal.

A new car comes with new financial obligations that I definitely wasn’t ready for.  The car payment alone was $500, then I was paying $125 in parking, $50 every two weeks in gas and $100 a month for car insurance. Overnight BF and I suddenly had a newfound $775 in monthly expenses that we definitely couldn’t afford.

A new car costs a lot of money

I would love to tell you that it was all worth it because our brand new Honda Civic was just that awesome, but unfortunately the cost wasn’t worth the benefit for us.  Since we lived in the city and both worked less than 30 minutes away on foot we always walked to work.  Of course it would be easier to drive, but I refused to pay $125 for parking in our apartment building and another $250 per month for parking at the office.

We really only used the car on weekends to run errands, get groceries and for weekend road trips.  We sold it three years later with less than 30,000 kilometers on it.  I was sad to see it go, but I love saving the extra money every month.

The case for buying a used car

A lot of people who have bought both new and used cars say that they will never buy used again.  For some people the inflated cost just isn’t worth it.  I like the idea of having something new, but then again having something that’s only a couple years old and saving thousands of dollars is O.K. too.

It took a long time for our Honda to become fuel efficient.  The dealership says that this usually only happens after 10,000 kilometers.  It took us over a year to reach that point on the speedometer and until that point it seemed like our car was drinking gas.  Now remember this was back in 2008-2009 when gas prices were very high.  Buying a used car means this is already worked out.

So what would you do?  Buy a new or used car? Photo from Pixabay

How to Maintain Good Credit

Maintain Good CreditThis post is a contributed post from USA.gov.  See their Financial Self-Defense Kit for advice on how to build financial confidence as well as safeguard your finances.

“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”

— Benjamin Franklin

Your credit history is your financial reputation. And just like your professional and personal reputations, your credit history takes many years to cultivate, can be easily damaged, and will follow you for the rest of your life.

Sound intimidating? Good. Are you scared? Don’t be.

Yes, maintaining good credit is important. Nearly everyone will need to borrow money from a lender at some point — say, for buying a car — and your credit history determines whether you qualify for a loan and, if you do, what interest rate you pay. It can make or break your application for a credit card. A prospective landlord can check it to judge whether you’ll be a responsible tenant. Potential employers may request your credit reports to see if there are any red flags.

Luckily, many resources are available to help you learn how to successfully establish — and maintain — a healthy financial reputation. Here are three tips for creating a stable foundation for good credit:

Monitor your credit reports

Understanding your financial habits — such as payment history and spending patterns — can help you improve them! Your credit score is generally based on information in your credit reports. Mistakes on your credit reports could hurt your credit score, so check them regularly. Make sure to check that your reports don’t contain any errors, such as incorrect contact information, closed accounts listed as open, or an item like an unpaid debt listed twice.

If you find something wrong in a credit report, you should contact both the credit reporting agency that produced it and the creditor that provided the information.

Pay your bills on time

This is one of the simplest ways to keep your credit score strong — yet, with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be easy to lose track of time and miss payment deadlines. Set up auto-payments or electronic reminders to ensure that you won’t be hit with late-payment penalties. Paying bills late can also hurt your credit score, which in turn can raise your interest rate — meaning that you’re out even more money.

It’s a common misconception that the best way to improve a credit score is to pay off all of your accounts and close them. Get up to speed on your payments and stay on schedule, but be careful when closing accounts. Doing so eliminates some of the credit available to you, making balances appear higher when compared with the combined credit limit of all of your accounts. Also, if you managed that account well and made payments on time, closing it will remove all the positive benefits of your responsible credit behavior on your report and score.

Don’t get close to your credit limit

Credit scoring models look at how close you are to being “maxed out,” so keep your balances low in proportion to your overall credit. Experts advise keeping your use of credit at no more than 30 percent of your total credit limit. That means that if you have $12,000 of available credit, you shouldn’t use more than $3,600.

You can decrease your credit utilization ratio over time by paying as much of your credit card balance as possible each month. If you can, pay more than the minimum balance due; this will increase your available credit and decrease your utilization ratio faster.

Just as a shining professional reputation can take you far in your career, your credit score can make or break your financial status. To learn more about how to establish a stellar financial reputation, visit FinancialProtection.USA.gov.

 

The Thrifty Businessman’s Mini Guide to Brochure and Leaflet Printing

b5618c1f05584ad4abe196604afc0858Regardless of the size of your business, anything you do has to be cost-effective and that is why some business owners feel they have to compromise on their marketing efforts to stay within budget.

There is actually no reason why you can’t find a cost-effective way to create a brochure for example, which is attractive and persuasive but doesn’t cost you as much to produce as you first envisaged.

Here is a look at how you can produce the marketing material you want but at a cost that represents great value for money.

Compact but not cramped

If you are wanting to produce your own brochure and print it out using your own resources, the temptation is always to try and fit as much content and images as possible onto each page, in order to save money on printing costs.

Regardless of whether you manage to secure a good deal on your printing supplies from someone like stinkyinkshop.co.uk in order to keep the cost of your brochure down, you need to resist the temptation to pack as much into each page as possible, as this rarely results in an attractive brochure because it just looks cramped.

A brochure that is cramped and cluttered will often be perceived as unprofessional so aim to produce clear and concise copywriting and aim to only include information and images that are entirely relevant, so that you end up with a brochure that is compact but definitely not cramped.

Choice of paper

Your choice of paper can make quite a substantial difference but there are different scenarios where you can keep costs under control by varying your selections according to the target market you are aiming at.

A prestigious project demands high quality paper but if you are producing a brochure for something more informal, you could choose a grade of paper that is thinner and cheaper without it having a detrimental impact.

Matching the paper to the project is a great way of keeping costs under control without it costing you any loss of face or impact.

Affordable printing

One of the best ways of ensuring you regularly achieve affordable printing solutions for your brochures and leaflets, is to make sure you choose a printer that is designed for job you intend to use it for.

Look for models which are within your price range but have the required capabilities to print your material efficiently and at the lowest cost per page possible, meaning you should invest in a printer that offers bulk printing if that is what you intend to do.

Advertising message

Another way to keep costs under control is to ensure that you take the time to work out exactly what you want your leaflets and brochures to say and how to present the information in order to achieve your goal.

Deciding whether you require a small flyer with a relatively simple advertising message or a brochure with more detailed information, will help you to print more efficiently and not waste any resources or money by producing something you subsequently decide doesn’t work for you.

Being thrifty doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the power of the impact you can achieve with your marketing material.

John Sollars has been in business for many years now. Whenever he has the time, he enjoys sharing what he has learned with others online. You can read his helpful posts on many websites and blog sites today.

How to Start a Garden Without a Backyard

vegetables-752153_1280

Good morning Loves.  Just in case you missed it last week – we have an awesome giveaway going on right now.

Enter here to win a  one year savings club membership to Jet.com.

If you are like me you love everything fresh.  I grew up in a corner-lot-home that was surrounded by flowerbeds and vegetable gardens.  I spent my summer days watering flowers and picking fresh veggies from the garden.  Cherry tomatoes and snow peas were by far my favorite.

Now I live in an apartment and long for the days when I could walk outside bare foot and pick fresh vegetables from my dad’s garden.  Don’t get me wrong city living is absolutely amazing, but I do miss the fresh fruits and vegetables that come with having a backyard in the suburbs.

So what did I do? Well just like any grown adult who longs for something from her childhood I called my dad for comfort and advice.  It turns out there are actually quite a few vegetables that can be grown in a pot.

This goes out to all my fellow apartment (and condo) dwellers out there who don’t have a backyard.  NEWS FLASH: You can still grow fresh vegetables…as long as you  have a balcony.  I haven’t tried any of these yet, but it has given me a summer project.  I am going to plant some basil (or maybe tomatoes) so follow me on Twitter to see how life works out while trying to grow fresh veggies in an apartment.

Basil and herbs

According to my dad, a.k.a. the self proclaimed best green thumb in the Northeast, most herbs can  be grown in a pot.  If you want fresh chives, thyme and basil all you need is a lot of sunlight and a pot.  One of the biggest mistakes people make is putting their plants in too small of a pot.  So take my dad’s advice and give your green some room to grow.

Tomatoes

Yes folks, believe it or not you can grow tomatoes in a pot.  “Make sure you have a structure” says my dad.  When you go to Home Depot to buy the pot, dirt and tomatoes seeds don’t forget the gate that the vines grow on.  Just ask the representative at the store, they’ll know what you’re talking about.

Cucumber (Patio)

If you love an ice cold fresh cucumber like I do you don’t have to pay $1.99 at the grocery store any more.  You can grow Patio Cucumbers right on  your own balcony thanks to this helpful tip from my dad.  Now I’m not sure what Patio Cucumbers are or how they differ from regular cucumbers but you can grow them in a pot a.k.a. in an apartment. Could you think of anything better than cooking with fresh produce?

Lettuce

OK so this is kind of a trick.  You probably won’t be able to grow a head of lettuce in a pot with much success, but you can grow Masculine Mix Lettuce.  According to my dad masculine lettuce takes about two weeks to grow in a pot and tastes just as good as lettuce picked fresh from a garden.  I’m not sure I believe it, but I don’t want to call my dad a liar.  If you try it please let me know how it works out.

Photo from Pixabay