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Hometown Hybrids IS AWESOME! Bought Us Time and Money!!!

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This is an amazing customer service story! Shopping around for car batteries and Prius maintenance can save so much money on owning a car. These people are great and would totally get my loyalty for life.

After writing my last post about our car accident problems with our 2007 Toyota Prius, I really couldn’t believe Geico decided not to cover the hybrid battery – it just coincidentally started dying the same day of an accident. At that point late Tuesday night, we had paid out $1000 for our deductible including the repairs we already had covered, would be receiving a $1600-$1700 check from Geico for the cosmetic damage, and were going to pick up a battered 2007 Toyota Prius with a malfunctioning hybrid battery Wednesday afternoon. The dealership quoted us $3800 to replace the battery and that just wasn’t going to happen for a car worth, at best, $4600 even before the accident. Also, our Prius with a dead hybrid battery could only be traded in or sold for $500-$1000 just for someone to part it out. Problem was that we couldn’t find our ideal used car to buy this week – a 2013 or 2014 Certified Pre-Owned Prius 3 with 36,000 or fewer miles. Sleeplessness I ended up staying awake until 2-3am researching what makes a “Certified Pre-Owned “ Toyota and got sidetracked by a Forbes article on a company started in Houston that literally … Read more

Car Accident, Dead Prius Battery, Total Coincidence – NOT

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As I mentioned, we are on the hunt for a new-to-us Prius because my husband got into an accident with his 2007 Toyota Prius last Thursday.  He was fine physically but the car needed two new tires ($22, done), a straightened out engine cradle ($385, done), and then the hybrid battery started crapping out.  Poop. Insurance Cries Coincidence Our Geico car insurance claim experience was chugging along just fine until SPLAT.  The insurance adjuster gave us a call yesterday afternoon. “I have some bad news.  The dead battery won’t be covered.” You know, the $3800 hybrid battery – the whole point of the insurance claim itself – won’t be covered by our insurance because it can’t be proven that the accident caused it to die.  She says the car was at 150,000 miles and they’ve been known to wear out around then anyway.  And there was no external damage.  It was just a coincidence.  And the service department at Fred Haas Toyota actually agreed that it probably was a coincidence too. YEAH, WHATEVER. YOU JUST SUCK! Coincidences happen but this is just bullshit.  But, in the spirit of being more positive regularly, this at least seals the deal on getting a new-to-us … Read more

Another New-to-Us Car Hunt

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Mr. BFS was in a traffic accident last Thursday. He was and is physically fine but our 2007 Toyota Prius didn’t fare as well. The Damage At first, it was just two popped tires ($22 total to replace thanks to our Discount Tire warranty) and some cosmetic damage that we didn’t care about. But then we discovered a bent engine mount. Okay, so that was $386 to bend back into place and have an alignment done. And then the shit really hit the fan… The hybrid battery was broken after all and needs to be replaced.  Crap. That’s a $4000 battery. The poor car was only valued at $4600 according to Kelley Blue Book before the crash. So a $4000 battery, plus $408 in repairs already done, plus the unknown amount to fix the cosmetic damage…yeah, I bet our insurance company will just write us a check for $4000 or so and consider the car either totaled or not their problem any more. That said, we have started looking into finding a new-to-us Prius.  Luckily, I’ve done this before.  Interest rates are just generally lower right now, so I’m considering this a small blessing in disguise as much as I … Read more

We Replaced a Prius Passenger Side Mirror – Another DIY Car Repair…

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Last month, Mr. BFS accidentally clipped a black, full-sized trash can that was in the street at night with his 2007 Toyota Prius.  He thought he had veered enough to miss it, but the trash can thought differently.  It was hit with the back side of the mirror, which smacked it into the passenger side window, which cracked the mirror all to hell like you see below.  I was surprised as all hell the window seems okay. Dealing with a Broken Mirror – DIY Car Repair The first thing we did was jump online to see what sort of monetary hit we were going to take.  We would need a whole new passenger side mirror panel with adjustable mirror options. Based on other people’s experiences in our area, I found that a mechanic would charge around $250-$300 to replace the mirror panel.  Ouch.  A friend and I then started looking around just for the part itself online.  We found generic brands that cost around $30-$50 and the certified Toyota part was around $90-$120. The main difference was that the generic part would come in all black.  My husband’s mirror backing is silver.  So I asked Mr. BFS if he’d care.  He was worried about making it harder … Read more

Replacing A Car Air Filter is Freaking Easy!

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I got an oil change on Monday using a Groupon at Jiffy Lube.  So, it was going to be $12.34 total for the oil change but I also needed a new air filter.  What I didn’t expect was the $40+ price quote!  Air filters are $20-$25 parts! That said, I declined and went to Auto Zone.  That’s where I spent $23 on an air filter and learned to replace it in less than a minute!  Really! Here’s my vlog on replacing a 2013 Honda Fit air filter – if you want to skip to the part where it shows me actually changing it out, that is at the 2 minute, 47 second mark.  Hope it helps! If you want to find a $10 oil change Groupon or just browse around, please use my referral link – https://www.groupon.com/visitor_referral/h/2d67c135-2071-49c6-bf00-edabeb79e9c9 If you want to start a blog too, check out http://www.budgetinginthefunstuff.com/how-to-start-a-blog-on-bluehost/. Thanks!

Looking 5 Years Back – Yeah, I Got a New Car

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About 5 years ago, I posted that I most likely wouldn’t replace my crappy car, the 2005 Chevy Aveo, even if I made $20,000 more a year at the time.  I hated car payments more than I hated that car. Looking at it now, I started making $20,000 or more a year in 2011 and 2012.  I sold the Aveo for $3400 (click that link for my post on selling your car on Craigslist) about 3 1/2 years after that post (early 2014) and bought my much-loved Honda Fit. Why I Got a New-to-Me Car I ended up moving on because my mechanic let me know I was about a year away from needing a lot of major work done or my Aveo would just stop working.  Apparently the engine was simply giving out.  I asked his personal opinion on what he’d do since he had been my mechanic for the whole 9 years I had that car.  He said he would honestly start shopping for a Toyota, Honda, or Hyundai and sell the Aveo while it still had some solid life left. When I let him know that I bought a new Honda Fit, he congratulated me and said he’d see … Read more

Car Dealership Lessons I Learned from My Last Job

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This lady used to work at a car dealership and shares her insider tips! These 3 rules to follow when you're shopping for a new car or even researching for a car are going to save me a ton of money. No getting swindled by a used car salesman for me!

I spent 6 years of my early twenties, 2005-2011, working as a forms programmer for a car dealership software company.  I got to see hundreds if not thousands of car deals from the inside, so I was able to see exactly how much people were generally over-spending. Car Dealership Lessons Learned Rule #1 – Do your research before even looking at cars to buy. It’s absolutely stupid to start a deal without knowing what to expect. It gives the upper hand to the other person right off the bat. You should narrow down what cars you are interested in, research the comparable prices of those cars as new and as used, and determine your drive-out price ceiling before you ever go on a test drive. Rule #2 – Everything is negotiable. Everything. This includes the actual price of the car, the price of the upgrades, the price of the add-ons, the price of the extended warranty, and the finance rates. If it’s a cost of buying a car, it’s negotiable.  You can ask about each part individually with the finance manager when you are doing the paper work…point to a thing like “interest rate” and ask how they can do better. Or … Read more