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5 Worst Mistakes When Selling Your Car

5 Worst Mistakes When Selling Your Car

It’s time for a new set of wheels. Maybe you’re ready for something newer, faster, bigger. Or maybe your current ride is collecting problems faster than your paycheck can cover. Either way, you need to get as much money as possible from your old car. But stumble into one of these common pitfalls, and you could lose hundreds of dollars or blow the sale entirely.

Here are five of the worst mistakes to make when you are selling a car, and how you can avoid them:

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Skip the Wash


If your car is full of dog hair, stale cheerios and food wrappers, the trash distracts a potential buyer from seeing your car’s actual condition. A washed car always looks better and a clean interior always smells better, making your ride more enticing all around. This also shows the buyer that you take care of your car.

At the very least, do a thorough vacuum and scrubdown. With this illustrated guide, washing and drying will take you about an hour. Plan on a full detailing if your asking price is more than $5,000. This includes shining the interior, washing the windows inside and out, and applying a glossy new coat of wax.

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Head Straight to the Dealer


One of the easiest ways to unload your old car is to trade it in at the car dealer, where selling and buying happen in one step. However, this gets you the least amount of money for your car. Trading in a 2009 Hyundai Elantra (for example) nets you a $5,400 credit at the dealer, but puts $6,800 in your pocket if you sell the car yourself. Overall you’ll save several hundred dollars, even if you need to rent a car for a few days before you buy your next set of wheels.

Use the Wrong Price

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Tips for selling your car

    Many people don’t realize there is more than one blue book — using the right price from the right book makes a big difference. The well-known NADA Guide lists retail prices for dealers and banks but isn’t a good source when selling your own car. Use a site like Kelley Blue Book to find the private party value (the term for selling your car directly to another person). Enter in your zip code, select your car’s options and estimate its condition to determine fair market value.

    Forgetting the Paperwork


    Before you list your car, get all of the paperwork together. Make sure you know where the title is and get two copies of a bill of sale (one for you, one for the buyer). These are often available for free at your local DMV office; if you use a blank template, make sure it’s valid for your state. Keeping a copy of the bill of sale is important for two reasons: first, it helps protect you from liability if the buyer is in an accident before they transfer the title into their name. Second, the “as-is, where-is” clause reiterates that you aren’t including any warranty or making any promises about the condition of the car.  Ultimately, it’s up to the buyer to inspect the car for mechanical issues before they buy.

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    Take a Check

    Tips for selling your car

      Scams with cashier’s checks have been in the news for years. If you aren’t familiar with this rip-off, it goes like this: You get an email from someone that’s living in another town or out of the country or otherwise unavailable. They want to buy your car sight unseen and send you a cashier’s check for the full asking price. It sounds too good to be true because it is — resist the temptation of this seemingly quick sale. But even if a buyer meets you in person, it’s generally not a good idea to accept a cashier’s check (which may be forged) or a personal check (which can have the payment stopped after they drive away). It’s best to take cash only. If you feel uncomfortable driving around with thousands of dollars in your pocket, have the buyer meet you at your bank to finalize the sale.

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      Last Updated on June 26, 2020

      25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

      25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

      “How to save money fast?” This is the question asked by all of us not in the top 1% of rich people.

      If you are looking for ways to drastically reduce your expenses immediately, first look at what you need to spend money on every week. And I mean really need.

      You don’t really need to order in food. You don’t really need to buy expensive perfume.

      Building from that, you can work out how your regular expenses can be reduced.

      As for irregular expenses, they can also be deceptively costly in the long run. Once-off buys can also be tackled with some prudent planning and a little extra research.

      And remember: a budgeted lifestyle does not mean a bad or boring one!

      But first, understand what budget you can cut down on daily:

      • Regular expenses for the average adult (can be trimmed but not eliminated):
        • food
        • rent/mortgage
        • cell phone
        • insurance
        • socializing/entertainment
        • transportation
        • hygiene products
        • household bills
      • Irregular expenses for the average adult (can be eliminated or cut down a lot):
        • travel
        • clothing
        • medication (*depends)
        • grooming (hair, nails etc.)
        • gifts

      Now, let’s dive right into the 25 ways to save money fast:

      Save Money on Food

      1. Bring a stock of food to the office/work

      Instead of popping out for an overpriced salad and a smoothie, leave a set of basic utensils at the office as well as a stock of non-perishable goods such as tinned fruit, tuna, rice crackers and so on (try to avoid the junk food and this can turn into a pretty great diet!).

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      Stocking up means you won’t forget or say “I didn’t have the time” when you rushed out to work in the morning.

      2. Buy the store-brand version

      Many basic foods, such as bread and milk, will taste exactly the same as their branded alternatives. Go for stuff with minimal additives and preservatives. Meat in a tube is probably insanely unhealthy!

      3. Eat cheaper cuts of meat

      Learn how to tenderize and flavour cheaper meat and fish, and save on the (typically) most expensive item on your grocery bill.

      4. Have group dinners

      If 10 friends put $5 each in the kitty, it’s pretty easy to make a giant lasagne and get refreshments, as well as hang out with your favourite people.

      Save Money in Transport

      5. Get a bicycle

      Save on gas money and bus/metro fares with this underrated mode of transport.

      6. Use public transport and/or don’t get taxis

      Some places can only be reached by car. But as a good practise, check your public transport website and see if any routes pass nearby where you need to get to. Walk as much as you can.

      7. Find the cheapest gas

      Regularly check out where the cheapest gas can be bought.

      Save Money in General Shopping

      8. Shop online

      Not only will you save on the gas or transport fares from going to the shopping mall but you will also find better deals

      9. Sell your old stuff

      Get your unwanted belongings up on eBay ASAP and earn a few dollars.

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      Here’re more ideas for you: 25 Things to Sell to Make a Lot of Money

      10. Bulk buying stores

      For regular non-perishable/slow perishable purchases such as toilet paper, cat food, pasta, washing powder and so on, do an epic stocking-up trip to a co-op or equivalent (my mum used to go to a place that restaurants buy from).

      Be wary of supermarket “deals”, as some have been found to be fraudulent after working out a simple calculation.

      11. Become a flea market/car boot sale/street market guru

      You can find original gifts and develop good negotiation skills at these places.

      12. Generic brand medication

      More often than not, the generic version of paracetamol and other basics work the same as the branded version.

      13. Choose deodorant, not perfume

      It blows my mind when someone drops $70 on a bottle of spray. Stick with a nice deodorant, and not only will you smell just fine but you’ll be sweat-free as well!

      Cut Down on Household Expenses

      14. Printing

      Ink is one of the most expensive substances in the office and coloured ink is doubly so. B

      e more efficient and choose black and white, and if your printer doesn’t have a print-both-sides options, just print odd pages first, re-insert the paper and print even pages.

      Expand the margins of what you are printing as often as you can to save on paper.

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      15. Minimize SMS and phone calls

      A combination of a free chat service such as WhatsApp and a free call service such as Skype can reduce your bill to nothing (so long as you have a decent Wifi connection).

      16. Shop around for insurance

      Most people don’t spend enough time searching for the best insurance deal.

      Keep a watchful eye out for deals and new competitors in the market.

      17. Try re-negotiating your rent/mortgage

      If you have built up a good credit history or a good rapport with your landlord, then chances are a frank chat about needing to tighten your spending could result in lowering your payments. You’ve nothing to lose from trying.

      18. Don’t get a TV

      Invest in a computer/laptop and an internet-only package. You can watch more (and often better) entertainment on the web, and skip the advertisements as well.

      19. Pool your internet bill with a neighbour

      My apartment building is basically a big old house split into three apartments. There are five of us in total. We pool the internet bill, making it crazy cheap.

      Save Money in Socializing, Entertainment And Travel

      20. Have house parties

      Instead of paying for overpriced drinks, set up a series of in-house get-togethers with your friends. Everyone takes a turn, so it’s not always your house that needs cleaning.

      For sound insulation, hang heavy drapes on the walls and windows. For music, invest in a good second-hand set of speakers which you can connect to your computer. Let Spotify or Grooveshark playlists do the rest.

      21. Open festivals, meetups and events

      It never fails to surprise me how much underground stuff goes on around me for free or for very cheap. Find out who runs the blogs and websites that list all the less well-known cultural activities.

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      22. Volunteer

      If you can’t pay for a ticket, volunteer and get to be there anyway.

      23. Housesit

      There are multiple housesitting websites offering you the possibility to avoid paying hotels and skip the discomfort of crummy hostels.

      Save Money on Hygiene and Beauty

      24. DIY beauty

      French manicures, pedicures, waxing, eyebrows… pretty much all of these can be achieved at home (and done well) with some practise. There are plenty excellent blogs and YouTube tutorials to help.

      25. Fewer haircuts/volunteer at a trainee hairdresser

      If you can’t bear the risk of a trainee touching your locks, learn more ways to manipulate your hair as it grows and get haircuts sparingly. Women’s haircuts are outrageously priced in many cities.

      Bonus: Effective Money-Saving Tips for Everything

      Here’s a summary of what you can generally do to save more money:

      • Share/pool resources. Organize a neighbourhood sharing scheme, common resources for your apartment block or with your friends. Not everybody needs an individual lawnmower.
      • Buy energy-saving everything. The easiest way to lower your bills – replace those lightbulbs!
      • Buy in bulk. Be sensible about it (i.e. make sure you have space!), and drastically reduce weekly expenditure.
      • DIY. Skill up using YouTube tutorials on plumbing and many other essential services so you never have to pay for simple problems again.
      • Research a lot before making a decision. Most money-wasting is the result of poor preparation and planning. Don’t shirk this part just because you don’t like it!
      • Use your network. Your network is full of resources that can ease the pain of budgeting. Ask for help.
      • Stop and think. Do I really need it?

      Unfortunately, there are some things that require plain ol’ giving up for the time being. This can include high-cost sports such as skiing, the latest versions of some technologies, the finest brands of food/drinks, premier seats at the opera and most other indulgences.

      What is important to remember during lean times is that when you look back on your life, it will be the experiences that stand out, not the extra comforts.

      Living on a budget can teach you a lot about how much you can really get out of your paycheck. We only live one life, so make the most of every penny you earn!

      More Tips for Personal Finance Management

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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