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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

Filled Up My Gas Tank for $17.06

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Wowza at the price of gasoline lately!  I procrastinated on filling up my Honda Fit this last time…the little warning light actually came on.  I pulled into the gas station near our home (Houston, TX), filled my baby all the way up, and the grand total was $17.06!  I am seeing prices like $1.69 a gallon flashing on several signs now.  I honestly never thought I’d see prices like this again! What Does This Mean For Us? My hubby and I drive for some of our hobbies like board gaming and for both of our side hustles – reffing and pet sitting.  So low gas prices means more money in our bank account.  No real negative for us. But we do know people in the oil industry.  Layoffs are happening right now, so there is general worry about job loss.  I am guessing that the prices will only stay this low for 6-9 months, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that the people I know will be able to wait it out.  At the same time, I cringe to think about spending $3.50 per gallon again.  It’s a odd feeling to be happy and empathetic at the same time. What Does … Read more

Yeah, I Buy New Cars…

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I saw this “buy used cars” post at Narrow Bridge, and for some reason, I had a “nuh-uh” child-like moment.  I ended up leaving a super long comment that I thought should be shared here too.  To give some context, the post in question was really well written and named off 5 reasons people use to justify buying new cars. 1.  Safety 2.  Gas mileage 3.  I’ll drive it forever 4.  Reliability 5.  Cheap payments It then pointed out why each one of those reasons is a bad idea in the long run most of the time.  Well…I apparently wanted to write a really long comment on why I buy new anyway, hahaha. I Buy New I bought a new car after college and another one this year. For reasons 3, 4, and 5. Before I bought my new Chevy Aveo in 2005, I was used to driving a 1998 Mazda Protégé that my parents “gifted” me. It was AWFUL – would stall out frequently at stop signs and lights even though it was an automatic, leaked a quart of oil per week, and didn’t have an air conditioner (we live in Houston, TX). My parents got it from the bank for $1200. I … Read more