Being a car owner is already expensive—you have to pay for services, insurance, and gas to name a few expenses. And unless you were somehow able to pay for your car in cash, it’s also likely that you’re paying some form of car payment. With such an expensive investment, it’s important that you adopt multiple frugal habits to avoid throwing even more money unnecessarily into your car.
Limit Use to Necessities
Limiting your driving to only necessary distances is one of the best ways to keep it in good repair and to avoid the need for constant repairs and maintenance. Considering oil changes are recommended every 5-7,000 miles, the less you use your car the less maintenance like this is needed. If you live in a city where you can use other modes of transportation like bus or metro, consider switching it up sometimes and taking advantage of public transport. Ultimately, using your car less can help you mitigate risks of accidents and the need to put more money into your car.
Keep Your Insurance Costs Down
Keeping your insurance down on your car will vary depending on each driver, car, and state. There are a variety of ways you can try to keep your insurance prices low including keeping your driving record clean, using various comparative resources to help you find the best insurance match, and doing proactive things like attending defensive driving classes.
All these things can help you find the best rate for your car insurance. But while limiting your car insurance costs is certainly one of the biggest ways to keep your overall vehicle costs low, remember that having a high deductible also shifts significant risk to your shoulders financially in the event of an accident.
Have Your Car Serviced
Having your car serviced and checked regularly is perhaps the most important thing you can do to keep your car working well and avoid large, expensive repairs. When you do get your oil changed, don’t forget to consider other services like changing the air filter, and especially doing an engine flush. Regular maintenance helps your car to run better, and have a reliable engine for much longer than what is originally expected of the car.
Protect Your Car
Efficiently protecting your car requires you to adopt various habits, but one of the most important and relevant things to think about when trying to not lose your car’s value or need large repairs is your paint job. Make sure that your car isn’t being overly exposed to sunlight or the elements including rain and snow. If you don’t have a garage, get a cover for your car. You may also consider something like paint film. Paint film will provide your car protection from debris or hazards on the road.
Use the Right Gas
Putting the right gas into your car is another important habit to adopt as a frugal car owner. First, make sure that you are putting the right gasoline grade into your car. Typically, more high-end cars require higher grades and lower-end cars require the regular grade during fill-ups.
Sometimes, people can get the mistaken idea that putting premium gas into a car that doesn’t require it can somehow be a good thing for the car. In all reality, the grade of gas doesn’t actually correlate with being better or worse for your car. Rather, it correlates with what gas requirements fit the particular needs of your engine. So simply follow what is written on the inside of your gas cap. Doing this will help your engine last longer.
Adopt Defensive Driving
Adopting defensive driving practices will help you be a more frugal driver for a couple different reasons. Mainly, adopting defensive driving practices helps prevent you from getting into more crashes caused by you which also means you’ll avoid huge repair costs and increased insurance bills. You can also avoid the fines and speeding tickets reckless drivers tend to get.
But when you learn to drive defensively and do things like maintaining a good distance between you and the car in front of you, you’ll also be able to avoid things like breaking too hard too fast or swerving, and instead help your brakes last longer.
Be Vigilant About Laws
While being a law-abiding citizen is probably something you want to prioritize all the time, being vigilant about adhering to traffic laws will not only keep you safe, but it will also keep some of your car-related expenses lower.
If you live in a big city, pay particular attention to parking rules. You’d be surprised by how often it only takes one time parking in the wrong zone or parking without paying to receive a ticket. Then, one ticket can be upwards of $100—a tall price to pay for a single violation. Because of this, try to learn all the different laws that you might run up to about things like parking, turning on different stop lights, and other laws in order to ensure you don’t end up receiving a heavy fine.
Navigate Toll Roads Correctly
Finally, one important aspect of your car strategy to help you keep costs down is to figure out the best way to approach toll roads. There are multiple route programs outside of Google Maps that can help you avoid tolls if you are going on a road trip. Toll roads tend to be more of an issue for east coast drivers, however, who cross state borders frequently.
If for example, you live in Newark, New Jersey and cross into New York to go into New York City, it’s important that you invest in something called an EZ Pass. Having this pass—typically one specific for residents in that particular area—will help keep the cost of tolls to be paid lower and help you never forget to pay a toll. Considering that when you forget to pay, you could get the bill in the mail for an amount much higher than the original toll cost, avoiding tolls or paying them on time is best for drivers wanting to be frugal.
To be frugal in this area of your life, make sure that you implement at least some of these strategies for your car. Considering how much normal expenses are for cars, dealing with higher expenses is something to be avoided. Ultimately, remember to be responsible and careful with your car and you will minimize a lot of future charges!
Read this next: Should Your Family Buy Dental Insurance?
When you think of potential pets, chickens certainly aren’t the first to come to most people’s minds. However, the benefits of raising chickens in your own backyard may surprise you! Here are a few examples of why chickens may be the perfect addition to your home.
Help Your Kids Learn
Chickens serve as a perfect teaching tool for a number of life lessons. Learning to raise and care for animals is a valuable lesson in responsibility and nurturing. These birds in particular are fairly low maintenance animals, so even the youngest of children can participate in their feeding and care. Help your children learn about animal life, the food chain, nutrients, and more. Let your children learn about running a fair business by selling eggs locally! You can even use their eggs as an opportunity for your toddlers to practice counting! Few other animals, if any, carry such easy and natural teaching opportunities as chickens.
Of course, organic chicken eggs are another huge benefit of owning your own little coop. In fact, eggs produced from chickens that aren’t farmed in factories have proven to contain significantly higher levels of vitamin E, beta carotene and omega-3 acids, and have shown significantly lower levels of cholesterol! This is because chickens that roam in your yard are more likely to peck at green grasses and plants that contain healthy nutrients. Plus, their main sources of food are whatever you give them, so if your chicken feed is full of nutrients, they (and their eggs) will be too. Chicken manure is another resource you have access to that can be extremely beneficial to your gardens as a form of nutrient-rich compost. Chicken manure is high in nitrogen, so you want to compost it for several weeks. Utilizing this waste is healthy for the environment, and for you.
Chickens are underappreciated for their minds! These birds are smart, fun, and have vibrant personalities that make watching them a surprisingly entertaining and cheerful activity. They are extremely social, which makes them the perfect animal for anyone suffering from loneliness and stress. Additionally, studies have proven that chickens are an effective “therapy” animal because they are statistically shown to improve depression and anxiety. Chickens are cheap, friendly, and easy to take care of, making them a perfect choice for many people.
Home animals can quickly become a favorite part of yours and your family’s lives. If you want an animal that can contribute some learning opportunities, some healthy resources, and some emotional support for your family, chickens may be just the right fit!
Read next: Is Owning a Home Right for Your Family?
The search to find your dream home can be exhausting and discouraging. The first piece of advice is: don’t give up! Your dream home will find you eventually. To help encourage the process, you can try things such as finding a great real estate agent, having it custom built, and utilizing the power of a remodel to help you one day inhabit your perfect dream home.
Find a Great Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent can be a powerful friend in helping you find your dream home. Yes, an agent should be your friend. While you are going through the process there will be a lot of communication between you and your agent, so make sure you enjoy working with them and they are easy to communicate with. A great agent will understand your vision, have background knowledge on the type of neighborhood you are looking for, and will find a home that stays in your budget. Don’t be afraid to switch realtors until you’re working with the right person to help you find your dream home.
Have it Custom Built
Choosing to have your home custom built opens you up to thousands of possibilities in achieving your dream home. The primary advantage is that you get to put personal expression into the design elements of the house. You can also customize the floor plan and fixtures to achieve the highest level of functionality for your lifestyle. It can take several months to build a custom home, if not years from the time you buy the land till move in. Be patient with the process and know that if your budget doesn’t have room for a specific feature now, you can always add it in the future.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Remodel
It is natural for part of your dream home to revolve around a specific neighborhood, school system, or commute time. Sometimes it is impossible to buy property and build with those requirements, or you may prefer homes with a history. Don’t underestimate the power of a remodel in helping you achieve your dream home. A remodel lets you use your imagination to create a completely new space at a smaller cost and with a bigger sense of accomplishment. When it comes to remodels, where there’s a wall, there’s a way.
Your home is a place of refuge and self-expression. Finding the perfect home for you to enjoy is critical for your happiness. Take your time and invest in proper resources to help you achieve your dream.
Read this next: How to Make Sure Your Family Gets Adequate Health Treatment
Regardless of the specific item you are purchasing, everyone wants to get the lowest price they can. However, figuring out how to find the best prices for everything from groceries to a car can be challenging. Following these tips can help you have a better shot at finding a great deal
One of the most important habits you should adopt when trying to pay less for different items is to shop around. Instead of buying the first item you see, look at different sellers’ prices and at different stores. Taking this approach helps you be aware of all the options available to you.
Not only will this give you an understanding of all the different price points, but it will also help you understand the different features that you could be getting depending on the specific item you decide to eventually buy.
As you start to narrow in on a specific item, adopt the habit of discussing the price with the seller. Some sellers are actually willing to come down significantly on certain items just to get the product out of their store where it is taking up coveted space.
For example, haggling can help you get a better deal on a bed at a mattress store. If an older mattress has been sitting in the store for a long time, you might be able to take it off the store’s hands for a cheaper price.
One of the best ways to get the best bang for your buck is to buy used. This is especially true for items like furniture, cars, and a variety of other things. Take advantage of resources like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and other websites where people buy and sell different things.
You would be surprised by how many nice items you can purchase at hugely discounted rates because sellers are desperate to get rid of certain things. Using these resources is also a good environmental choice as it results in reusing something instead of requiring the creation and expenditure of resources for another new item.
Finding the best price for whatever product you’re hoping to purchase will probably take more time than just purchasing the first item you find. But taking this time will be worth it if you’re able to save big. And ultimately, simply adapting some of these habits on a day-to-day basis will make a big difference in your finances over time.
Read this next: Should Your Family Buy Dental Insurance?
All assets you possess when you die are your estate. These assets include real estate, bank accounts, stocks and securities, life insurance, and other personal property. What happens to all this when you die? No one can take their possessions with them after death, and that is why an estate plan is so important. With an estate plan, you get to decide what happens to your property and who benefits from it.
Plan for Every Possibility
The saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” However, it can be very hard to know what to plan for. So, in the case of your estate plan, it is important to think of and plan for every possibility. You want to make sure that your family or beneficiaries are protected, your assets are taken care of, and you have someone who can make decisions in the event you are no longer able. Some key pieces to allow this to happen are a living will, power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and a trust. Planning in this way gives you peace of mind knowing plans are in place for the future.
Probate distributes your estate following your death. Reasons why you may want to avoid this is it is a slow process, it can be costly, and it is a legal proceeding which makes it public. Naming beneficiaries on your accounts is the simplest way to avoid probate. This means that beneficiaries will have already been decided, reducing the number of steps in the process. Other ways to avoid probate are to have a small estate or to make your estate smaller, having a living trust, have another owner on your property, and setting accounts to be based on death.
Seek Guidance from Professionals
Your estate plan is an important part of you because it states what happens to your assets. If your estate is large, it can become complex and more difficult to navigate your estate plan. To not miss anything, or to make the best decisions possible, it may be helpful to seek help from legal or financial professionals. It is also a good idea to update your estate plan from time to time, as changes in life stages are inevitable which often comes with changes to your estate as well as who your beneficiaries are and what you want for them. Professionals can help you to make these updates to your plan as needed to make sure that your plan can be effective.
At the end of the day, people are more important than possessions and money. But when you are leaving possessions and money behind, it is good to know that a plan is in place for where it all goes. Plans become especially important when you are leaving behind loved ones, so planning now before you are unable to plan is the most important step you can take for your estate.
Read this next: How to Secure Financial Success for Your Children