Month : December 2011

Guest Post

5 Reasons to Skip Electric Cars

Electric cars are becoming more and more popular as people are focusing on rising gas prices and going green. While there is no doubt that electric cars are better for the environment than traditional cars and just overall brilliant concepts, they aren’t necessarily the most practical choice. In fact, they can be a downright horrible investment. The five predominant reasons the average car buyer should avoid an electric car include:

The Availability

If you think that you just have to have one of the growing number of electric cars on the market, then you better get in line. Not only is there a long waiting list for these cars, but the wait lists can be so long, as is the case with Tesla, that you can expect to wait upwards of two years for a car. So much for driving a brand new car off the lot. By the time you actually get the car you ordered, a better model may have been introduced by someone else.

The Price

Electric cars advertise themselves as environmentally friendly and wallet friendly due to the lack of gas you will have to purchase over the life of the car. Unfortunately, there sticker price is so high that you will be using title loans just to afford your monthly payments. A Volt has a price tag of $40,000. For a mid-size sedan that is ridiculous. Tesla’s are even higher at $100,000. Even better is that an electric car costs between $2 and $4 a day to charge, and most with gas options will only take premium.

The Math

If you don’t like to think about how many miles you have left or how long you are going to have to charge your car so you can get from point A to point B, then you’re going to want to avoid an electric car. With a traditional car, gas is your only concern. With an electric you are constantly figuring out how many miles you have until your electricity switches to gas, or, if you own a Tesla, until you are just out of juice.

The Limited Service Options

One of the great things about owning a traditional vehicle is that you can pit repairmen against each other when your car needs to be serviced. You can shop around for the best deal and town, and stick with someone you trust. With electric cars, there just aren’t that many mechanics who know how to deal with them which puts you in direct line to pay way more for your servicing, and you are going to have to go with whoever is available – even if they seem like a sleaze.

The Charge

While some of the more hybrid styled electric cars can charge in four hours, those that are purely electric can take upwards of 8 to reach a full charge. While this is easy for the everyday commute, as all you have to do is plug it in when you head to bed, it can be a downright nightmare if you intend to do any long-term driving. A cross country drive could easily turn from a 3 day affair to a week-long debacle.

We all want to work towards creating a greener tomorrow, but putting yourself thousands of dollars in debt isn’t the way to do it. Once electric cars become a bit more available, we may see a reasonable price drop and more available mechanics, but until then, it is best just to avoid them.

This is a guest post

 

Money Management

3 Money Saving Tips for 2011

Your money and your time are your greatest financial assets; when you waste either unnecessarily you’ve placed yourself into a no-win situation. You, your family members, and your colleagues deserve the best in life, and that just doesn’t happen when your fritter away your money and time on things that just don’t support your success. By applying the following tips, you can make a big difference between going broke and saving plenty of money in the year 2011.

Take a good hard look at the number of monthly contracts to which you’ve committed your personal or business finances

Seriously think about the number of contracts you commit to each month. Are they all necessary? Do you really need that $80 membership at the gym, subscriptions to catalogues and a premium television package? If the answer is no, cut them and don’t think about re-opening them until your economic state is in slightly better shape.

There are some contracts that you simply cannot avoid paying, however, which is fine. But there are some contracts that you can easily expunge from your life without removing the commodity that comes with it. For example, do you really need to pay for your cell phone on a yearly contract? Or could you downsize the calling plan and get a pay-as-you go contract that allows you to regularly re-evaluate how much money you really need to budget for your cell phone service?

Sometimes contracts are the best option, but have you really thought about the amount you’re paying for the contract? For example, think about your heating company. Are there other companies that offer the same thing at a lower price? Consider searching for different companies using price comparison websites.

Accept that you can look fashionable without robbing your piggy bank

According to research, 80 percent of generic products are just as good as the branded ones. Dress your kids better with affordable and stylish clothes. A $100 sweater may look nice, but so can a $30 sweater on sale.

Start reducing your monthly shopping expenses by taking better advantage of available rebates and coupons

Coupons are a great way to budget and cut back on expenses. Taking the time to clip those coupons for your clothing and grocery transactions is an awesome way for you to save money and cut your monthly household costs.

This is a guest post by Stephanie Mojica. She is a writer for Quizzle.com, where she specializes in helping consumers with money management and money saving tips. She’s also a business success and prosperity coach and author of “How One Writer Shifted from Settling for $12 an Hour to Prospering at Over $90 an Hour.”

Money Management

How I Make My Emergency Fund Grow Faster

An Emergency Fund is used to help smooth out the potholes in life. A fully funded EF has about 3-6 months of expenses saved up. I only plan to use it when something unplanned happens e.g. car breaks down, medical, job loss, etc.

When I get paid every 2 weeks I transfer $50 from my Bank of America checking account to my BOA savings account. I have it set up so that it’s easy to get to because it’s for emergencies. If something unplanned happens and I need it right away I can’t wait for 3 days to have it transferred from my ING account. I also have it set up that way because BOA has Keep the Change, so every purchase I make gets rounded up and the change gets transferred to my savings account. As a result I have the $100 a month I put in it plus all of the extra change that gets put in which makes it grow that much faster.

If you don’t use BOA or your bank doesn’t have a program like that, just set up an automatic transfer of $5 every 3 or 4 days. You won’t miss it.

How do you have your emergency fund set up?

Guest Post

8 Ways to Reduce your Gasoline Consumption

Gasoline is one of the biggest costs associated with running a car and it can certainly add up over time. It’s not out of the question to be paying upward of $60 per tank of gas for a 15-gallon tank, so even filling up once every couple of months is going to cost a hefty chunk of change. However, there are some good ways to reduce your gasoline consumption, including driving less – which can also reduce your car insurance costs. Read on to find out more. 

Drive smooth

Driving smoothly isn’t just nice for your passengers but it also reduces the amount of fuel you use. Cars use the most gas when you’re accelerating, which means that continuously stamping on your brakes and then revving the engine to get back up to speed causes you to use fuel unnecessarily. Instead, try and maintain a constant speed where you can (engage cruise control on the highway, for instance) and you should see the difference at the pump. 

Turn down air con

Air conditioning systems use power and, as you probably know, the higher you have it up, the more power it uses. This means you use more fuel than is often necessary, so unless you absolutely have to have it on, consider opening the window a bit instead. 

Reduce weight

Carrying excess weight in your car also causes you to use more gas because it requires more power to get the vehicle moving. If you have a trunk full of odds and ends you don’t really need to keep in there, take them out and leave the space empty. 

Inflate tires

Another good trick is to make sure your tires are always properly inflated; check your car’s handbook to see how far they need to be filled. Driving with tires that aren’t fully inflated can cost you up to 5% in fuel efficiency and also make you more likely to cause accidents in bad weather as the traction won’t be working properly, so your car insurance company is likely to appreciate inflated tires just as much as your wallet. 

Change air filters

An air filter that is clogged with dust and dirt can reduce your fuel efficiency by 10-15%. This can easily add a few extra dollars onto your bill every time you visit the gas station, so change your filters after every 25,000 miles – and get your car serviced regularly to keep on top of it. 

Choose a good route

The way you drive can also have an impact on fuel use, so calculate your routes carefully. Is your famous ‘shortcut’ home really a shortcut? Some routes might be shorter in terms of distance, but if you’re constantly stopping in traffic, you could well end up using more fuel than if you took a longer but quieter route. 

Consider carpooling

It has been reported that 85% of Americans use their cars to get to work, and many of them drive alone. Carpooling is a good way to reduce not just the amount of gas you use but the number of cars on the road – and it means you can sit back and relax sometimes while a colleague does the driving. 

Walk

Finally, if you’re really serious about reducing your fuel consumption, consider walking or cycling instead of driving everywhere. Particularly in busy areas, it doesn’t actually add that much to your journey time – and it’s definitely cheaper.

This is a guest post