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Things to Think About Before Buying a New Car

Things to Think About Before Buying a New Car

In my 13 years of licensed driving, I’ve been lucky enough to only have gone through two cars. I’ve watched many friends go through one automobile after another for a variety of reasons: the cost caught up with them, it didn’t fit their needs, or it broke down beyond repair. A lot of the time, these issues could have easily been avoided if they had taken the process of buying a car a little more seriously.

I don’t consider myself a “car guy” by any stretch, but because of this I tend to go overboard when researching a new vehicle. When I invest my hard-earned money into a new car, I want it to last me a while. Knowing this, I’ve always taken the following into consideration:

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Purpose

What are you going to be using your new car for? Will you be the only one using it? Do you have children who constantly need a ride to events, parties, and practices? Will you need to drive long distances for work? Do you need to transport tools and other equipment for your job or hobbies? These are all questions you should ask yourself before you buy a new car, truck, or van, rather than going for what feels right at the time. Think about what you’ll be doing with your new automobile, and you’ll avoid having to give it away for much less than it’s worth when you realize it doesn’t fit with your lifestyle.

Need it or want it?

Along with figuring out why you’re in the market for a new car, think about whether you absolutely need one, or if you’re simply looking for an upgrade. On the one hand, if your current car is on its way out, you need to lower your standards at least a little bit when looking for a replacement. You don’t want to end up stranded with no way of getting to work, so you unfortunately don’t have the luxury of “shopping around.” However, you still don’t want to settle for “what works for now,” as it’ll likely end up costing you in the long run. On the other hand, just because you’re in a position to buy a new car because you want one doesn’t necessarily mean you should hold out for whatever is considered the absolute top of the line. In either case, make sure you make an informed decision and avoid splurging on the first thing on four wheels you see in the lot.

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Monthly cost

It shouldn’t come as a shocker to you that your car makes up a large part of your monthly expenses. Whether you’re buying or leasing a new car, don’t let a low monthly payment blind you to the hidden costs that come with an automobile. You’ll have to pay interest on your loans and monthly insurance costs, not to mention gas and other maintenance fees over the years. Failure to take all of these into consideration will almost certainly result in you giving your car away for less than its worth, while opting for something “a little more manageable.”

Safety features

This should actually be the first thing you take into consideration when buying a new car. Automobiles come with more safety features than ever before nowadays, so there really is no excuse for buying a car that you don’t feel safe driving. Seatbelts and airbags are commonplace nowadays, and the newer features – rear-view cameras, alert systems – are becoming more and more prevalent as well. Even with these accommodations, you should still check out the crash rating for your potential new automobile. While ignoring the other items on this list might set you back monetarily, ignoring the safety rating of your car could cost you much more.

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Add-ons

In addition to all the new safety features new cars come with, they also include a bunch of other extras that make one model more appealing than another. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi hotspots, iPhone connectors… all of this seems really awesome – and, well, it kind of is. However, is “awesome” worth the extra cost? Make sure you analyze the difference between the base price and the price for an all-included model, and think about whether or not you actually need your text messages to be read aloud to you on your ten minute drive home from the store. Then again, like I said: If you can afford it, and you’ve earned it, then go for it!

Featured photo credit: 2014 Proton Perdana 2.4P / Manoj Prasad via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on April 3, 2019

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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6. Get Aggressive About It

Consider these points:

Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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Finally (and most importantly)…

8. Keep Trying

Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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