Quick Tips for Buying your First Car

Buying a car is typically an inevitable purchase many of us have to make at some point in our life. New car excitement; unfortunately, is often balanced with the dread and stress of loans and dealerships.

There’s good news.

With a little prep work you can nearly eliminate the uncertainty you feel. Here are a few tips to help you lessen your stress, pay what you can afford, get the best deal and fall in love with your new set of wheels.

Find out what you can pay each month.

Take a look at your cost-of-living. Calculate what you spend on rent, food, insurance and what you would like to have in the way of “fun money.” What can you afford to pay for a car each month? This will include not only the car payment, but the insurance cost as well. Next, determine how long you want to make payments. Loan terms can be spread out from 36 to 72-months depending on how much money you put on the down payment, how much you are financing and what you can afford.

Figure out your cost of ownership.

Loan payments, insurance costs, gas, oil changes, maintenance costs and taxes should all be considered when calculating your monthly cost commitment. When you have better knowledge of where your money is going, you keep from being surprised in the long run.

Get pre-approved for your loan.

Don’t waste your time looking at cars you can’t afford. With a pre-approval you can focus on options within your price range.
Research your options. Keep an open mind. You may have your heart set on a $35,000 vehicle, but you can only afford to spend $10,000. Consider new and pre-owned options within your price range. Test drive several vehicles before you buy. You and your car will have a long relationship, you want to make sure it’s the right fit.

Get the negotiations out of the way.

You may hear conversations about how sitting through your first car deal can be daunting. Well, buying a car just got easier. There are free car buying services that allow you to shop online and avoid all the dealership negotiations and haggling ? often saving you money in the process. Simply, choose your make and model, pick the color, options/specifications and view all of the available incentives. The process is similar for used cars too. After you have decided on the car you are interested in, you get a certificate showing you the guaranteed price from a certified dealer. This includes the TrueCar® Price Curve which shows others have paid for the same vehicle. This information will help ensure you are getting a great deal.

Go finalize the deal.

At the dealership always review your contract details. Before signing, make sure you are comfortable with the terms. Ask the dealer to remove any add-on fees that you did not agree to.

Follow these steps and you will feel an overwhelming sense of pride knowing that you made smart choices, got the deal you deserve and did it completely on your own. Good luck.

Student Discounts Save Big Bucks

Did you know that simply by showing your Student ID, you could be taking advantage of a variety of amazing, money saving deals?! So, dig it out and start shopping.

Student discounts are available at a variety of retail locations. Many locations don’t advertise their student deals, so before you pay, ALWAYS ask. Here are a few places where you should have your card handy.

Computers.

If you wish to purchase a computer to get you ready for your college days or even started with your career, now is the time. You may be thinking, why should I even worry about that now? Well, if you see how much you can save with these options, especially whenever you are wanting higher dollar tech items, this will come in handy! If you have recently graduated (high school or college) you may want to take advantage of your student discount ASAP!

Cheaper Eats.

Some restaurants like Subway, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Chipotle and Burger King will have unadvertised student discounts. They can range from 5-15% off or maybe just a free beverage with purchase. Offers often depend on location, so don’t be afraid to ask what discounts are available.

New Threads.

Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and Urban Outfitters offers a variety student savings. Plus, Target.com provides discounts for clothing, home goods and groceries. Visit Target’s website and look up “target student coupon” to see what select items qualify for the student discount program.

Extras.

Save a few bucks at the theater or gym. AMC Theaters cuts student ticket prices. If you are looking for more than what is available from your campus gym, 24-Hour Fitness provides membership savings for students. Save money when you take your car to a Jiffy Lube for an oil change or any other service so you can keep your car healthy for the trips home or for a getaway.

Student discounts are available if you take the time to look for them. Try asking some other students if they happen to know any hidden gems or research what is available out there on the internet. And of course, there’s “an app for that”! The University Network (or TUN) can show you some local deals.

If you find another coupon to add to any of the deals above, you are truly a thrifty saver.

Help your fellow reader and share what deals you have found while out and about the area.

 

Source: Pisani, Joseph. “College Student Discounts Can Save Money For Shoppers with School IDs” Huffington Post. 23 Aug 2013. Huffington Post. 16 Jun 2014 <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/23/college-student-discounts_n_3805667.html>.

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Investing Cheat Sheet

Don’t let the thought of investing intimidate you. Here’s a cheat sheet to help you become familiar with the different types of investment opportunities available.

What is investing?
When you break it down, investing is just having your money work for you or really just another way for you to make money (though yes, sometimes you can lose, so invest wisely; Apple can help). It goes further than just the hours we put into our jobs because after all, there are so many hours in a day and we cannot clone ourselves. Investing is nothing more than taking the money we have put aside and placing it elsewhere to make more money. This is accomplished through stocks, bonds, or mutual funds.

Concept of Compounding
Compounding (or sometime called compound interest) transforms your money into an income-generating tool and is the process of generating earnings on an asset’s reinvested earning. It takes two things to work: earnings and time to accomplish the most of your investment.

Example Time! If you were to invest $1,000 at an interest rate of 6%, in a year you will have $1060 in your account. If you were to take the money that you have earned through interest and invest that for another year, you will have $1,123.60. It continues growing the longer you have it in the account. That is without even having to do anything with your account while you’re away in class or studying. Think of the money you could earn if you add a little bit of cash here and there to raise that end number.

Types of Investments:

Bonds: A bond is an interest-bearing security that obligates the issuer to pay the bondholder a specified sum of money, usually at specific intervals (known as a coupon), and to repay the principal amount of the loan at maturity. Zero-coupon bonds pay both the imputed interest and the principal at maturity.

Stocks: Plain and simple, stock is a share in the ownership of a company. Stock represents a claim on the company’s assets and earnings. As you acquire more stock, your ownership stake in the company becomes greater. Whether you say shares, equity, or stock, it all means the same thing.

Mutual Funds: A mutual fund is nothing more than a collection of stocks and/or bonds. You can think of a mutual fund as a company that brings together a group of people and invests their money in stocks, bonds, and other securities. Each investor owns shares, which represent a portion of the holdings of the fund.

In the end, if you are willing to put funds aside and earn interest investing is the best way to get the most out of you money. Take a look into different options out there and feel free to diversify your accounts to get variety on your incomes.

Source: http://www.investopedia.com/university/beginner/