As I’ve written before, my husband owns a Prius. The funniest thing is that we didn’t actually buy a Prius to conserve gas. In 2008, my husband wanted a small SUV in order to haul around his reffing supplies and Curling gear, but then he saw a Prius in a supermarket parking lot and peeked in the back. He was surprised by the storage area and the Prius was cheaper than the Hyundai Sante Fe he had in mind. That is how we ended up choosing to buy a Prius - it ended up being $21,500 for a 2007 Toyota Prius with a ton of extras and the Sante Fe was about $30,000-$35,000 depending on what options he wanted. That said, making double the miles per gallon is pretty great too. Here are the pros and cons we see of owning a Prius:
- It makes 44-47 miles per gallon on road trips and 47-52 miles per gallon with in-city driving. Yep, that seems backwards but it isn’t since the breaking system is part of the battery re-charging process.
- It has the perfect amount of storage space in the back for all the stuff my husband takes around – reffing duffel bags, Curling broom and shoe bag, and our bowling ball bags for our bowling league.
- It is very comfortable for up to 4 adults and semi-comfortable for 5 if a couple of the adults are not large, lol.
- It drives fairly smooth – a lot smoother than my Chevy Aveo.
- It is a quiet ride since it only makes noise while it uses gas to recharge the batteries.
- It doesn’t require much maintenance at all since all of the systems are enclosed. So far, we just have its oil changed every 5000 miles and it will need a closer look when it hits 100,000 miles.
- The push button start and backup camera are great! Other cars have those too, so keep an eye out.
- There is a big blind spot thanks to the slope of the rear window area.
- It is so quiet that we’ve accidentally left it running in the garage for a few hours until we went to investigate the periodic vacuum cleaner sound.
- It seems to run through good tires every year or two and it costs about $450 to have them all replaced at Discount Tire.
- If something breaks that shouldn’t – it would be expensive to replace. The battery pack alone is $3000. So far, we haven’t had any issues at all though.
Can You Save Money in the Long Run on Gas Alone?
Before you yell at me about a Prius being a bad deal, I will beat you to the punch. It isn’t a great deal for everyone. I know. It was an awesome car for us since it saved me from owning an expensive SUV that makes 22 miles per gallon on a good day, but it isn’t the car for everyone. If you are ever in the market for a basic sedan, it would take years for the Prius to pay you back for its extra cost through gas savings alone. Here is a quick breakdown.
A Prius vs Basic Sedan Breakdown
Let’s say you drive 15,000 miles a year (like my husband). Let’s also say a Prius makes 50 miles per gallon and cost $23,000 to buy and the other car you have in mind makes 25 miles per gallon and cost $18,000 to buy (a standard sedan). That means you would need to fill up the other car twice as much but it cost $5000 less up front.
At gas being $3.00 a gallon, the Prius would cost $900 in gas and the other car would be $1800 in gas. You’d only be saving $900 a year in gas. It would take you a little more than 5 1/2 years to pay back the extra cost of the Prius in gas alone. So in our example, if you usually own your cars for 6 years or more, the Prius may make sense for you. If not, the sedan may end up being cheaper if all other things were equal.
The Gas Savings vs Bigger Prius Cost Equation
Basically, here’s how you can use to see if a Prius would save you more in the long run:
1. (Your Average Annuals Miles / Comparison Car Miles Per Gallon) * $Gas Price Per Gallon = Cost of Gas for Comparison Car (CC)
2. (Your Average Annuals Miles / 50) * $Gas Price Per Gallon = Cost of Gas for Prius (P)
3. CC – P = Gas Savings Per Year (to use below)
Extra Cost of the Prius / Gas Savings per Year = Years it Would Take to Break Even
Example – 2011 Prius at $25,000 vs 2011 Corolla at $18,000 (based on prices I found online at a nearby Toyota dealer)
1. (12,000 / 30) * $3 = $1200
2. (12,000 / 50) * $3 = $720
3. $1200 - $720 = $480
$7000 / $480 = 14.6 Years to Break Even
That number of years would go down as gas prices go up and vice versa. But in general, I wouldn’t make my car choice based on miles per gallon alone. Would I think about getting a Prius myself? Yep. But I like it because of its versatility. Keep in mind though, my other favorites are a Mazda Miata or even a Mini Coupe…cuteness can beat out usefulness, lol.
Look at me getting my math on for you.
What do you like and dislike about your vehicle? What do you like and dislike about a Prius? Any Prius owners out there with one 5 years and older? What can we expect?
The following is a guest post.
Selling a used car is not as easy as it once was so you need to come up with a way to differentiate your car offering from the selling crowd.
Run an Ad
One of the tried and true methods for selling a car is to use local advertising. An advertisement should effectively communicate that I want to sell my car immediately. Highlight all of the positives about the car. List the make, model, mileage, and condition of the car. Classified ads can be run in newspapers, flyers, and local magazines. Online advertisements are another option as well. The cost should be minimal as long as the ad is direct and to the point.
Use a Sign
Face to face selling is still a very popular medium. The best advertising of your car could be your very own driveway. Wash, wax your car, and clean up the interior. You want your car to be as presentable as possible so that it makes a great impression. Place a For Sale sign in the back window of the car with a contact number. If your car is in great shape, you just might find that you have a ton of buyers in a short amount of time.
Use Online Sites
Car sellers should use the power of the Internet to their advantage. You can list your car on online websites and open up the selling process to thousands of potential buyers. This way you are not just limited to the people in your local area. There are lots of online sites that will enable you to get in contact with buyers everywhere. Depending on the type of car, you could find a ton of global buyers. Websites like sell my car London have a ton of professional car cash buyers. You could also use wewillbuyyourcar.com.
Auction your Car
If you just want to get rid of your old car as quickly as possible, you can auction it off. You can use sites like eBay or trade it in to a dealer. You won’t get as much money as you would from a private sale but you can get your used vehicle sold a lot faster.
Post provided by Anthony King.
To many people, owning a car is a great achievement. True, it really is one of the best things you can wish for in life. However, the down side is the expenses associated with car ownership. Sometimes some car owners wish they never spent their cash on the machine. If it is the insurance coverage that are continuously eating into your pocket, the solution lies in getting cheap car insurance coverage and save your cash for other activities.
One mistake that many car owners make is purchasing insurance from some of the most popular insurance companies. It is logical because you get the best services, but the down side is the high expenses. You do not want to spend all your fortune on car insurance and assume other more important necessities like food, do you? So why not exercise your freedom of choice and look around for other existing insurers that people may know little about? Search the Internet for car insurers today and take advantage of the competition amongst online insurers to get the most reasonable price.
Searching for the cheapest auto insurance can also help you unearth savings you didn’t even know about. Many insurance companies offer various discounts to clients on different grounds. There is a discount for purchasing insurance in a group that a given insurer has an agreement with. That is, if you are an affiliate of recognized alumni groups, business operations or professional clubs, you are eligible for such discounts. Find out from your employer or club if such incentives are possible and if not, join any of such groups. You will realize how affordable paying for insurance can be.
Moreover, you can first calculate the worth of a car before buying it oven purchasing its insurance cover. The price of the vehicle, the cost of repair and its safety, are some of the elements that determine a vehicle’s worth. A car dealer can calculate this for you or you can as well do it online. Knowing your car’s worth will enable you shop around for insurance more efficiently. You will be keen to compare the deals and the worth of the car so as to get a reasonable balance.
I had no idea how to jump a dead car battery until a couple of weeks ago when my neighbor needed a jump. I have only been driving for about 10 years. That doesn’t sound like much, but I have either needed a jump or assisted in giving a jump at least 5 or 6 times in that 10 years. The thing is, I never was the one who used the jumper cables. In case I am not the only person out there that missed this particular life lesson, here is how to jump a dead car battery without killing yourself or your battery.
How to Jump a Dead Car Battery
1. Turn both cars off.
2. Pick a color on the jumper cable and connect each side to the positive feed of the batteries. For example, we clipped each red clip to the positive feed out of each of our car batteries.
3. Repeat for the negative side of the batteries. We each connected the black clips of the jumper cable to the negative feed out sections.
EDIT: It has been brought to my attention that it is even safer to attach one clip to the negative side of the live battery and the other clip to the frame of the dead car to ground it.
4. Turn on the car with the good battery and start revving to juice up the dead battery.
EDIT: Also remind the person next to the dead battery to back away a bit just in case there is an issue with the dead battery.
5. Try turning on the dead car. My neighbor’s car started almost immediately but my husband said it sometimes will take a lot longer to feed in enough juice.
6. Turn off the car that had the working battery.
7. Leave on the car that had the dead battery so the alternator can charge it a bit.
8. Disconnect one color at a time and do not let the jumper cable clips touch. For example, we removed the red clip from each of our batteries and then the black clips, but we made sure to keep those far apart while we were removing them. It they touch while live, you create a short circuit. I am not 100% sure what happens, but I am assuming it is bad.
That’s how we successfully started her car without hurting ourselves or our cars, which saves us money (in case I had not explained why I am putting this on my personal finance blog, lol).
I also have printed out these instructions and are keeping them with my jumper cables. If I ever need to know when I’m not actually around my car, I’ll use my smart phone to look up this post.
Did I miss any important steps or state anything incorrectly? Am I the only one who really did not know how to do this?
Hey everybody! Today I am actually asking you all a question instead of really answering any. How long have your cars lasted?
It just dawned on me that my stupid car is already 6 years old. My husband’s Prius is 4 years old. We only ever really expected for our cars to make it 7-8 years overall. That means that I will hopefully be quitting my day job to blog full time at the same time my car is hitting the big 7 year mark.
My Car History
I know, you are going to ask me why I only expect 7-8 years out of a car. Honestly, I don’t know. The car I drove the first part of college, a 1999 Mazda Protegé, was very badly abused before I owned it, so I shouldn’t use its sad 4-5 year existence to judge cars as a whole.
Plus, the 2003 Chevy Cavalier I borrowed the year after that is still going strong with my sister, so that’s good news. In short, I really don’t know why my husband and I only really expect 7-8 good years…
Of course, the crappy parts they used to build my Chevy Aveo don’t hold much of my esteem. I mean, what sort of car company builds a car with a plastic thermostat housing?! For those of you who may not know, the thermostat housing keeps the radiator fluid enclosed…it’s a part near the engine. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that plastic is probably not the best material to use next to a searing hot engine! Even Chevy must have figured it out since the replacement part was a metal one. But there was no recall…grrr…
My Husband’s Car History
So, I do not have high expectations about my car. On the other hand, my husband’s 2007 Prius hasn’t has even one little problem in the last 3 years that we’ve owned it (it was 1 year old when we bought it). We’ve had its oil changed and have replaced the tires, but no parts have broken or seem to be dying. Overall, it truly impresses me with how easy it is to own. I did not expect that out of a hybrid – I just assumed the technology would give us problems. I’ll let you all know if/when it does.
But, we sold my husband’s last car, a 2003 Hyundai Sonata, after 5 years since it started sounding funny. It never really was the same after a huge wreck we were in when it was only 6 months old. The other guy’s insurance company “fixed” it instead of totaling it, which I thought was truly awful since there are just some things that can’t be fixed. Like a completely crumpled front end…engine and everything…
Of course, I should base the life of a car off of something like that either since our current cars have never been in a wreck.
So, what kind of cars have you owned? How long did they last in general or just with you? What do you think I should reasonably expect out of my 2005 Chevy Aveo and my husband’s 2007 Toyota Prius?
The following is a guest post about the true price of a new car by Derek from Life And My Finances. He has his degree in Finance and loves to help people win in life with their personal finances through stories from his own life! He’ll teach you how to get out of debt, save money, and be rich!
Have you ever gone to a dealership and sat in a brand new car? You step inside, close the driver door, and suddenly all of your anxieties and hardships from that day melt away. The dash is illuminated with light, the radio looks more like a big screen TV, the sounds from outside are hushed, and every feature that you can think of (and beyond) can quickly be performed with a single push of a button. A smile comes across your face and you get the feeling that if you owned this car, you’d be happy for the rest of your life.
You want to know the truth? Yes, this car is probably nicer than anything you’ve ever sat in, but after a few months, it’s just a stinkin car, just like all the others. The only difference is, if you decide to purchase this new vehicle, it could set you back for years financially. Is it really worth it? Well, let’s take a look and find out.
The New Car Stats
Let’s say that this new car of your dreams has a sticker price of $25,000. Like many others, you don’t have $25,000 in cash, so you put $1,000 down, and you trade in your $6,000 Jeep for $4,000 (the trade-in value is often a couple thousand dollars less than the actual value of the car). Now, you have earned the right to the keys, but there’s still $20,000 that needs to be paid over the course of 4 years at 2.9% interest (remember, car financing is negotiable).
- $25,000 new car
- $1,000 paid up front
- $4,000 for your trade-in
- $20,000 owed over the course of 4 years
The New Car – 4 Years Later…
Alright, it’s been 4 years, and you own your car completely! I would say congrats… but let’s take a look at the numbers first.
How Much Was Paid For the $25,000 New Car?
- $1,000 down-payment
- $6,000 vehicle value(unfortunately, you only received $4,000 in credit for you new car…)
- $20,000 in principle payments
- $1,206.55 in interest payments (assuming a rate of 2.9%)
- $28,206.55 – AMOUNT PAID FOR YOUR NEW CAR
But What’s Your Car Worth Now?
You might not think that $28,206.55 is that bad. I mean, your car is super sweet. However, it’s been 4 years since you bought this car, and the average vehicle value goes down 60% in the first 4 years. That means that your super-sweet car is really only worth $10,000 today. You just threw away $18,206.55….and you’ll never see that money again. How do you feel now?
Here’s What I Would Do Instead of Buying a Brand New Car
Since it seems that you enjoy a newer car rather than an antique, I’ll advise that you buy one that’s only 4 years old. At this point, it probably doesn’t have more than 50,000 miles on it, and it’s still driving like a dream!
For that new car of yours, the payments were $441.80 a month. I would advise that you simply save that $441.80 (which you have because you didn’t buy that new car) for 24 months. After 2 years, with no interest whatsoever, you’ll have saved $10,603.20!
It’s time to head out and buy that 4 year old car for cash – buy from a private party, and you might strike yourself a pretty sweet deal too!
Let’s say you spent all of your $10,603.20 on that car, but remember, you still have your Jeep (now probably valued at about $5,000 instead of $6,000). Let’s sell that car and put the money in savings.
Amount of Extra Money, Plus You Own a Fairly New Car
After two more years, you continue to save that $441.80 a month, which amounts to another $10,603.20, plus you have $5,000 from the sale of your Jeep, which means you now have $15,603.20 in savings, AND your car is probably still worth $8,000. That means you have a net worth of $23,603.20.
Do you remember what you had after paying off your new car? Only $10,000 (the value of the car).
So, because you bought a car that was slightly used rather than new, you are now $13,603.20 richer.
Did you have any idea that a new car could be so costly? Wouldn’t you rather have an extra $13,603.20 after the course of 4 years?
Crystal’s Comments: Yes and no. I hate errands and most used cars are going to have a few more issues than new cars. But, my husband bought a used car – a 1 year old Prius – in 2008 that hasn’t given us any problems at all, so I know all used cars aren’t problematic. So, from here on out, we’ll probably buy used and pay off any loan as fast as possible, but I will be having my mechanic check out the car from tip to tail to make sure it won’t give me a headache, lol. I’m also not replacing my car until my stupid Chevy Aveo gives up on me completely. Great post Derek!
Now that gas prices in Houston, TX are over $3.50 a gallon, I’ve come to the realization that the “cheap” gas stations are actually a worse deal for me.
Kroger Gas Stations
I usually spend at least $100-$200 a month at Kroger for groceries. Since they give you a tank of gas at 10 cents off per gallon anytime you hit $100 in grocery costs using your Kroger card, I usually get one or two car fill-ups at their gas stations at 10 cents off per gallon. Now that gas is so expensive, I’m skipping the Kroger station.
PenFed Visa Gas Rewards
Remember when I mentioned that my husband and I switched over to using the PenFed Visa? It gives us 5% cash back at normal gas stations, 2% cash back at grocery stores, and 1% cash back on everything else.
Well, when gas was around $2.50, 5% cash back meant that I was getting back about 12 cents a gallon I still used the Kroger’s gas station when I had earned the 10 cents off rewards and then received the additional 1% cash back by using my PenFed Visa.
Gas at Shell with Kroger Rewards and PenFed
Now it just makes more sense to skip the Kroger gas station altogether. When I do earn my 10 cents off rewards, I go to a Shell gas station instead. Then I get the 10 cents off per gallon AND the 5% cash back from PenFed. That usually means I’m saving 27 cents per gallon or more – that’s about $3 a tank on my little Chevy Aveo.
If I don’t have Kroger gas rewards, I go to the cheapest stand-alone gas station I can find, which is usually the Exxon near my Kroger. Then I just get the 5% cash back, which is about 17 cents per gallon or more anyway now.
Now I Buy Gas Elsewhere
In short, more expensive gas has actually made the slightly cheaper discount gas station a worse deal for my husband and me. We more than make up for the extra 2-3 cents per gallon using our PenFed Visa’s 5% cash back. And I really rack up the savings now that Kroger and Shell have teamed up.
I know I shouldn’t be too happy with this newfound “savings” since it means I am ultimately spending way more than I’d like to on gas, but I’ll take whatever positive news I can get out of all of this.
Have you made any strange changes due to the new price increases on gas and other goods?