Your Personal Checklist: 10 Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a New Car

When buying a new car, it’s easy to let yourself be entrapped in the dream of cruising down the beach street while the sun sets down. You can almost see it turning into reality with the keys in your hand and the sales clerk telling you how much your life is going to change for the better. However, if you don’t want to regret your decision later on, you should never purchase a new car on impulse. Instead, it’s best to the following 10 principles:

1. Give it a spin first

Going for a test drive will give you a better feel for how well the car really sits with you. Maybe you like its looks, but after driving it for a couple of blocks, you might find that it’s not really that comfortable or just doesn’t feel right. Most, if not all car dealerships, will let you do this without raising an objection.

If you’re planning on buying a used car, testing it out becomes that much more important, as you want to make sure there are no rattles, scratches, funny noises or anything out of the ordinary. Obviously, this is not going to be a concern when buying new, but to put your mind at ease, be sure to check how long the insurance you’re getting with it covers you.

2. Compare prices online

According to www.car-buying-strategies.com, comparing prices online is one of the most important things you should be doing. You’d be surprised how often the same model can be found at a more affordable pricing somewhere else. Oftentimes, you’ll see online price comparison tools, which is what you should be looking for; these have been designed to make your search as simple and time-efficient as possible.

If you’re just scouting the marketplace, these types of engines also make it incredibly easy to search for a specific brand, model, year of production, etc. Furthermore, many sellers are willing to match the prices if you can show them that another dealership is offering the same car for way cheaper. Therefore, knowing the cheapest prices will give you a good leverage when negotiating.

3. Discuss the purchase with your insurance agent

Before making the purchase, you should probably discuss it with your insurance agent first. The reason being is that no two cars are the same and the costs are different when it comes to insuring each individual one. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’ve already purchased one, only to find out it costs much more to insure than others.

While you’re there, you can learn many useful things such as knowing the options which car insurance types are available to you, as well as vehicle service contracts. Don’t forget to make some price comparisons here as well; only that way will you be able to secure the best insurance deal possible.

4. Don’t get pressured into buying what you don’t need

In order to make more money, the dealerships will often try to sell you expensive add-ons you don’t really need. Despite being valuable in their own merit, you shouldn’t just take everything bundled with your purchase. Instead, evaluating everything they offer you separately is the right way to go about it.

Ask yourself this: do you really need paint protection or key insurance? Even if the answer is affirmative, you might not be offered the best deal out there. In case you feel the salesman is trying to pressure you into it, you should be varied – this is often a red flag. Some of them try to hide the real cost of the product behind monthly payments; don’t get suckered into it. Bring a calculator and determine how much it’s going to cost you in a year or so.

5. Decide on the type of transmission

What do you prefer – automatic or manual? If you’re unfamiliar with how to drive a car with the latter, now might not be the best time to make the switch (unless you’re willing to go the extra mile to learn the ropes). Those who find themselves driving their car often might prefer the automatic transmission, since it’s much less of a hassle to operate. In fact, those who used to drive cars with manual transmission and upgraded to the automatic ones, later on, are seldom willing to go back due to getting used to the extra comfort.

There is a drawback, however; cars with automatic transmission are known to consume more fuel, so if you’re traversing longer distances often, they might not be the best choice. If you tend to get stuck in traffic often, on the other hand, they can be a true life-saver. So always make the choice based on your preferences, level of experience, and the intended usage of your car.

6. Petrol or diesel?

There are notable differences between these two main types of cars. While covering every single detail is beyond the scope of this article, knowing the main differences between them could potentially be the single most important thing you’re going to learn today.

For starters, diesel cars are a more cost-effective solution if you’re traversing long distances. If you’re driving for less than 50 kilometers a day, however, the opposite may be the case, especially since diesel cars are more expensive to maintain in comparison. Also, try to keep in mind that most people find petrol cars easier and more comfortable to drive; their diesel counterparts feel a bit stiffer in comparison. Finally, diesel cars produce more toxic emissions, which is detrimental to the environment.

7. Safety is a consideration

In case you live in a dangerous area with a ton of reckless drivers, it’s of utmost importance that your car is fitted with the latest safety technology. This is also true if you often find yourself driving on highways where the speed meter can reach mind-numbing heights. Having a good safety system installed can be the difference between you surviving a potential accident or not.

Make sure that the car you’re eying has a good safety bag. If you want to take additional steps to guarantee your safety, make sure that the car has rear set airbags installed as well. Modern safety systems like ABS are also a must; luckily, the cars that you can find nowadays pretty much have it installed by default.

8. Don’t succumb to the sales consultant’s pressure

Yes, buying a new car is an experience packed full of emotions and excitement. We get it. Allowing yourself to be emotional for a bit is fine, as long as you don’t compromise your best judgment in the process. So if you’re feeling pressured by the sales consultant, take a step back and re-evaluate the situation, because chances are they’re trying to do what’s best for the interest of the company they’re working for and not yours.

Don’t be too kind and submissive, but there’s no need to be rude either. Simply walk a fine line between being kind and assertive. A smile will get you quite far. Do know, however, that you always have the option to walk away if you believe you’ve been offered a bad deal. Not being confident enough to do so is the only way you can be defeated (but this can be prevented as long as you keep your senses focused).

9. How strong does the engine need to be?

Don’t believe that picking a car with a smaller engine will lead to money savings. This is a myth! Yes, a smaller engine will consume a smaller amount of fuel… in theory that is. The fact of the matter is that in order to make them withstand the workload that’s being thrown at them, they need to be heated more, which leads to not-so-economic fuel economy.

Higher displacement engines mostly remain idle, which sort of averages out the fuel economy. In order to get them performing their best, there is no need to put excess pressure on them. So what’s the takeaway? Without making it too complicated, you should always pick the engine based on what you’re going to be using the car for and what type of environment you’ll most often encounter.

10. Check the resale value

Generally speaking, new cars are not that great of an investment, since their value quickly goes down after the initial purchase. However, cars produced by certain manufacturers have higher resale value than others. In the end, you need to be the judge – do you quickly get tired of your vehicle and feel the need for some fresh air? Then this might be more relevant to you than the other drivers.

In general, bear in mind that European cars are not the best when it comes to preserving value. Japanese cars, on the other hand, are the complete opposite. Those who cannot bear the notion of seeing their cars lose so much value in so little time should consider buying a used car instead.

Conclusion

While this is by no means the end of the story, these 10 guidelines should be more than enough to cover the most important things you need to know when buying a new car. And when you finally do, you’ll be able to treat yourself to a good night’s sleep, knowing that you’ve made a choice that you won’t regret anytime soon.

Types of Business Loans

Whether you run a new business or an established one, most business need to take out a loan at some point. Businesses need loans for many different reasons and have different needs so there are different types of loans available to meet those needs. The amount borrowed, the term borrowed for, the purpose of the loan, and rates all vary between business loans. Besides the large banks, online lenders are available to make the loan process easy. Below is an outline of loans that can be applied for and received by businesses.

Term Loan

A standard form of small business financing is a term loan. This type of loan is when you get a lump sum of cash up front and you repay with interest over a predetermined period. This type of loan is typically best for businesses looking to expand who need the cash to grow. They are also good for business’ that have good credit and a strong business model that will allow them to get the money fast and not have to wait long for funding. Term loans allow you to get cash up front with larger borrowing amounts that other loan types. If you use an online lender you can typically get faster funding than a traditional bank. The only downfalls of term loans is that they may require collateral and they may have higher costs.

Line of Credit

A business line of credit is like a credit card. You apply and are given a credit limit and you have access to and can borrow UP TO that limit. You are not given a large cash sum. You pay interest only on the money that you have used and not the whole sum. This type of loan is best for short term loans or unexpected expenses and financing needs. They may also be well suited for seasonal businesses who have high and low points in the year and may need extra funds at times. Lines of credit are unsecured, so they typically do not require collateral.

Invoice Factoring

If your business has a large list of unpaid customers and have a large number in accounts receivable, then you may consider an invoice factoring loan. You can get money for unpaid invoices. You sell the invoices to a factoring company who are then responsible for collecting the debt from the customers when the invoice is due. This allows you to get paid up front and then relinquish the responsibility of waiting to collect the funds from your customer. The fact that you can get fast cash for your business is a huge plus. Because you have the invoices to back up the loan as collateral, the approval faster is easier than most loans. However, they are often costly because they are doing the work of collecting the money for you and you lose control over the collection of your invoices.

These are a few examples of business loans that are available to you and your business. Do some research and shop around to find what would work best for the needs of your business.

Newark: get around without breaking the bank

Newark, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, as Alicia Keys didn’t sing. But while Newark might be close to New York City, it doesn’t quite have the same cultural cache.

Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful place to visit and it’s brimming with things to see and do. There’s the Staten Island Ferry if you want to sail into NY in style, Branch Brook Park for leisurely walks, and MetLife Stadium if you want to watch a game of football played by the big leagues.

This is small city life for those who can’t quite stomach the hustle bustle of New York City, but that doesn’t make it cheap.

The median home price of in Newark is $223,400 while the median household income is $33,139. Thanks to the cities’ close proximity to New York City, this is a city that’s becoming an increasingly expensive place to live.

Travel is one of the biggest burdens on a household, especially as many people in the area regularly commute into New York City for work or leisure.

To ease the strain on your wallet, here are a few ways you can cut the costs on travel, whether you’re heading to the airport or taking a short trip on the bus.

Newark Liberty International Airport

There are a variety of ways to travel to Newark Liberty International Airport. A train ticket from Penn Station to the airport will cost you $5.50 when you purchase a ticket from NJ TRANSIT or Amtrak at their train stations, ticket offices or ticketing machines.

But if you need to drive to the airport, we’d recommend a private parking company like Looking4.com. This will allow you to park your car directly at your terminal to be picked up by a personal valet. Prices will vary depending on the number of days you need your car stored, but three days should set you back less than $100.

Bus

Public transport around Newark is notably efficient, combining train and bus systems in a similar fashion to Amsterdam and other international cities.

The bus is your best (and cheapest) bet if you’re commuting around the city. Ticket prices depend on the number of zones you’re travelling through. If you’re over pension age, a student, military personnel or a child, you’ll also enjoy sizeable concessions.

Newark City Subway

The Newark City Subway system is connected to all major zones in the city, whether you’re looking for leafy suburbia or buzzing nightlife. The price of a regular one way ticket is $1.60, although you can expect to shell out a little more if you’re travelling to Manhattan.

Those are our travel tips. Have you got any good suggestion for travel around Newark? Then let us know in the comments below!


5 Reasons Why Safer Driving Should Be Your New Year’s Resolution

You’ve probably heard some statistics about how driving is as a dangerous activity. The reality is that driving in itself isn’t dangerous. Humans make it that way. We’re not perfect. All of us make mistakes behind the wheel from time to time—some more egregious than others.

But instead of accepting this as a fact of life, you should do whatever you can to do better when behind the wheel. Here are five reasons why safer driving should be your New Year’s resolution.

Lower Your Insurance Payments

The monetary consequences around driving safer should really be secondary to saving lives. Then again, it’s hard for many people to conceptualize the actual risks to life and limb because they don’t think an accident will happen to them. However, most folks are well acquainted with increases to their monthly bills and how frustrating that can be. If you get into an accident or are ticketed by a police officer, your insurance rates could increase.

This is something very tangible that immediately gets people’s attention. Taking classes to learn safer driving skills can help lower your rates if you do get a ticket. People under the age of 21 can take a driver’s education course. Adults, and especially senior citizens, might be able to lower their rates by completing a defensive driving course.

You Should Want to Be Safe

Money isn’t the most important concern when thinking about why you should be safer on the roads. Driving is an inherently dangerous activity. Over 40,000 people died in car accidents in the U.S. in 2017. That’s about how many people it takes to fill a sports stadium. But a far greater number are injured every year—about three million. You should do anything in your power to reduce the risky aspects to driving. If everyone does their best, fewer people will find themselves as statistics.

Driving Conservatively Uses Less Gas

Defensive driving is one of the best ways to keep yourself and other people safe on the road. But it’s also a great way to save gas!

This is good for a couple reasons. First, saving gas is another way of saving money; which is always wise to consider. After all, what’s the point of searching for low APR car loans if you’re just going to blow your savings with your lead foot? Furthermore, using less gas is better for the environment. Keeping a consistent speed, as opposed to accelerating and decelerating continuously, will help you reduce your carbon footprint.

Other People Will Follow Your Example

The things you do on the road don’t only affect you. They also impact all the other people out there. If you’re driving recklessly, it’s putting other people in harm’s way. But there’s another aspect to this. Your actions will also play a role in determining how other people behave. Being overly aggressive will inspire other drivers on the road to do the same thing in retaliation.

However, if you’re safe and defensive, this will also lead other people to follow suit. You especially want to set a good example for younger drivers, who typically haven’t had time to develop good habits. New drivers who are 16 or 17 years old get into three times as many fatal accidents as adults. It’s important to show these young people how to be safe on the road.

You’ll Be Less Stressed Out

Being unsafe behind the wheel doesn’t just endanger you physically, it’s bad for your mental health as well.

Starting, stopping, weaving through traffic, and getting all pumped up about people not going fast enough are all going to make you stressed out. Just take a deep breath, slow down a bit, and pay attention to what’s happening in front of you. Driving recklessly doesn’t typically pay off with you getting places any faster. It just puts everyone in danger, while causing you to feel hectic. You also won’t need to get so much anxiety about tickets or accidents if you just take it easy.

It’s just not worth it to be unsafe behind the wheel. Whether it’s driving while texting, too aggressively, or while impaired, you’re just not doing the right thing. There are plenty of reasons why you should make driving safer a New Year’s goal.

7 Ways to Organize Your Finances

As with any aspect of life, a certain amount of organization skills is needed if you want to succeed. This is just as true when it comes to your finances. Your finances are like your house. They need to be kept in order to avoid many pitfalls like over spending, incurring debts, and even bankruptcy. Knowing how much money enters into your bank account and how much you need to shell out for your day-to-day expenses can help a lot in making sure you are on stable ground.

Financial stability is key to a secure and comfortable life. You do not need luxury, of course, but it will not hurt if you won’t have to endure sleepless nights thinking how you can make both ends meet. The times also dictates the need for you to organize your finances as the economy dwindles and the likelihood of losing it all and living out in the streets becomes more and more possible each passing day. You can dodge this misfortune by making sure you are on the right track when it comes to your finances.

Create a Set Budget

Setting a budget is the most important step in organizing your finances. In order to do this,you need to determine how much you earn so you can draft your projected expenses. What are you current and recurring bills? Do you have investments and mandatory savings? If you have student or car loans, mortgage, utility bills,and other liabilities, you need to list them all down and prioritize them on your budget scheme. After determining your goals, you can then calculate your income and expenses. Make sure that the latter does not exceed what you earn.

Track and Monitor Accounts

Make it a habit to track and monitor your accounts. It does not make sense to create a budget list and leave it at that. You need to follow up as the current month rolls by.You can do this by choosing a sound system that will organize everything in one place. It can be done through the use of the good old pen and paper, a spreadsheet, an online software, or a financial software. Pick one that will suit you best and commit yourself to tracking every transaction you make that involves money.

Analyze Your Spending Habit

This brings you to the importance keeping your spending habit in check. Many use the tested and proven method of listing down all your daily expenses, even if it is just cheap coffee from a vending machine. Seeing your expenditures after a month can help you determine why you exceeded your current budget and which aspects you should cut down. It will also help you stop and think before you go on a shopping spree on your pay day.

 Weigh Your Wants and Needs

In relation to tracking your spending habits, you should also take a closer look at your wants and needs. How much are you shelling out for items that you barely use? By segregating those you indulge in from the things you really need, you will find it easier to stick to your budget. Do not be afraid to adjust and forego your mere whims.

 Keep FinancialDocuments

Every transaction you make, whether it has to do with the bank, credit card, or bills, should be well-documented. Make sure your financial documents are saved and kept in one place so that you can consult them when problems and complications arise in the future. This includes your bank statements, copy of tax returns, and insurance statements.

Save for the Rainy Days

Of course, you should not only track your expenses but also your savings. Commit a certain percentage of your income for savings. Sure, getting an insurance can take care of your future should anything bad happen, but it is different if you also set aside a fund that you can easily access during emergencies. It is advisable to save at least three months’ worth of your usual income as a cushion for rainy days. Life is unpredictable and you might lose your job or get sick without warning.It is sensible to be able to stay afloat should you face trying times.

Find Additional Means of Income

Organizing your finances is not limited to budgeting and tracking down your expenses. You should also be able to prepare for challenging days by finding ways to get extra income. This will help you organize your finances better because with additional income, you will have a solid source of fund for your savings. You will not need to make your head ache trying to fit in all the expenses on your limited budget every month.

 The best way to earn extra money is through doing freelance jobs or launching your own online business. The latter is possible by using an online e-commerce platform that suits your business model best at minimal cost. Some of them allows you to take advantage of the power of social media by integrating them into your social media pages and turning them into an eCommerce store.

Organizing your finances is easier than you think. As long as you know the basic steps and apply them diligently, you are on the right path. It is a good idea to remember, however, that constant practice and commitment are needed if you want to reach a stable financial ground and safeguard a secure future.

Image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/LTxCtKYw-_E

Holiday Activities

The holidays are a time of year that are very busy and hectic, but it is also a time of year that brings much happiness and joy. When you have children in your lives you do everything you can to show them the magic of Christmas. Even though winter brings cold weather and darkness, there are a lot of things you can do with your family during this time of year as well. Try not to focus on the big ass junk removal that may be necessary after Christmas day when all the new toys arrive in your house, but focus on the reason for the season.

Tree Lighting

One fun (and fee) even that occurs in a lot of towns are tree lighting ceremonies. In small and large towns alike, there is usually a ceremony to turn on the town Christmas tree. These events are typically filled with Christmas cheer by including music, children’s activities and food. Appearances by Santa are common as well which would make any child smile. A family friendly event like this is great for all ages.

Lights

Christmas lights are obviously popular during this time of year. It can be simple as getting in the car and driving around to spot the nicest display in your neighborhood, to driving a distance to see a particular display. Some tourist attractions may require a fee to come view lights. Places such as zoos and gardens may use this time of year to bring in extra income by creating a christmas attraction. Some families have even made a business into creating a christmas light experience.

Santa

Kids and families often partake in the obligatory christmas photo with Santa. Santa can often be spotted in the nearest mall or shopping center, but also local christmas events. A popular activity is to do a breakfast with santa. These events involve a sit down meal where santa attends and is available for a photo opp. It is nice to document time with Santa photos annually.

Decorating

A fun winter and christmas time activity that can be done at home is decorating. It is an annual tradition in our house to decorate our house for the holidays the sunday after thanksgiving. This is when the tree goes up and all of the christmas decorations are put on display. The kids get involved and it typically is finished off with a christmas movie for the kids and a festive cocktail for the adults. Besides house decorations, it is often popular to decorate cookies and make gingerbread houses for the holidays. This is a favorite in our house.

Charity

This time of year calls for charity and giving. It is when you want to help those in need the most. You can get your family involved to help give to those less fortunate. You can collect food for shelters or even coats and winter gear. There are organizations that allow you to adopt families or children in order to help them have the Christmas they deserve but may not necessarily be able to afford. It is important to show your kids the concept of giving and charity, this time of year is a perfect excuse to do so.

With all of the activities discussed above, the month of December will fly by like a breeze! Happy Holidays!

How to Manage Your Monthly Debt Payments

There’s very little you can do to make managing debt fun. Maybe the only fun prospect is knowing that every payment you make will bring you closer to stability. This is not the case for those with insurmountable debt.

Balancing monthly debt payments with your living expenses is the most challenging part. You don’t want to cut back to the point where you’re at the edge of poverty. It’s even worse to keep spending and borrowing like there’s no tomorrow. What you need to strive for is a sense of balance. During that search you might be surprised to find a comfortable, but affordable, quality of living. Listed below are some methods to help you get started.

Set a Budget

An unpleasant thing about owing so much debt is how some of it can sneak up on you. It’s possible to head them off at the pass by taking the time building a budget.

Knowing what debts and due and when they’re due will help you set money aside. Start by determining your immediate goals-groceries, health care products, transportation. Calculate those numbers to factor into your long-term budget for the entire year. After that, tally up your yearly income. Include everything you earn from work, special event gifts, and anything else that would be listed under bankruptcy exemptions.

Halt Credit Card Spending

Chances are that most of your current debt was incurred by credit card spending. Next time you go shopping leave the cards behind.

Cancel your current credit card plans, and adopt alternate payment options. Debit cards function the same as credit cards, but funds are immediately withdrawn at checkout. If the ease of withdrawal is a concern, then just focus on your cash flow. Using cold hard cash gives you a solid measure of your available capital. There’s also no risk of repossession.

Avalanche Debt

When it comes to paying your debts, you might be tempted to use the “snowball” method. Snowballing debt begins with paying-off the lowest debt amount owed and working your way to the highest. This doesn’t account for interest rates which may make this process take longer.

The “Avalanche” method suggests the opposite of the “Snowball.” Avalanching involves calculating the interest rates of each debt to determine the highest amount. After that, throw most of your money onto the highest and work your way down. Those who’ve done this were surprised by the fast pay-off rate.

Balance Transfer Cards

If you really need to have one credit card available for emergencies, then make it a balance transfer card. With a balance transfer, you can consolidate all of your balances on a card with a 0% interest rate.

The zero sum interest owed on the card will only last for a set number of months. A service charge of 3% will apply when you move your balances to the card. Be sure to pay-off all debts on your previous cards. Once you do that, a sizeable chunk of your debts will have already been paid.