Category Archives: interest rate

When (and Why) to buy a NEW Car

If you remember I previously posted about when to buy a car. This week I am posting (finally) about when it’s good to buy new versus used.

  1. Duke it Out–Call different dealerships and ask for their best quotes. Tell them about yourself so that they know you’re a real person (real phone number, email address, where you live and what you do). Tell them what you want as your walk out price. Not the final sale price but what the final walk out price you want. Get them to send you quotes in writing and send those quotes to other dealers asking them to beat it. Many dealerships will not engage and you can’t blame them, to them you’re not a real person yet. But talk to the ones who do bite and use those quotes to get as close to your best price.
  2. Maintenance on used car-No matter who you are and how well you take care of your car, after a certain number of miles it will require upkeep. Depending on the car make, model and year, however, these costs can vary but after 30,000 miles they will all start to cost money. Furthermore, after the factory warranties (typically 5 year, 50,000 miles), the car’s value takes a big dip making resale harder and costing more in repairs.
  3. Financing Options-If you can get a car loan at 0% (which many Toyotas and Kias offer), you should definitely take advantage.  Instead of taking the money you get from the sale of your car or putting a lot down, you can put that money into either a high-yield savings or the money market, as long as it earns more than 0% it’s a better investment.                                   I recently looked at 2 cars and broke down the financing options.
    1. 2015 Toyota Rav4 XLE with 29,000 miles-used price 22,400
      1. Financing available on this model was (lowest rate through USAA) 2.49%. Car’s cost over 72 months becomes $24,138
    2. 2017 Toyota Rav4 XLE new with 0 miles-new price 26,500
      1. Financing through Toyota at 0% car’s cost over 72 months remains the same, 26,500

Between these two options I balanced the little more than $2,000 difference. On one hand the new car comes with 2 years of free maintenance and oil changes.  They also include 5 year, 50,000 bumper to bumper warranty. These perks and the fact that I am buying a car that I can later sell as “first owner” and newer, with fewer miles made the decision clear for me and my family, new car wins.

If you decide to go with the new car route you should wait until the end of the year. During this time dealers are trying to get rid of that year’s stock so you can get great deals on new cars. If you can get in on a weekday they will give you further discounts. Also, try to garner loyalty by going back to a dealer from whom you have purchased before because dealerships do value those relationships (my personal dealership gave us an extra $1000 off for that relationship).

And as always, don’t be afraid to walk away!

 

5 Cheapest Ways to Buy an iPhone

Hello friends! Sorry for not posting for a while, I was on maternity leave!

While being out I took dozens of pictures. During the course of taking all these pictures I received the dreaded “not enough storage” error message. After deleting pictures (backing them up first of course), deleting apps, uninstalling/reinstalling facebook/instagram and restoring my iphone I realized I simply need more than 16GB.

Then I went to buy the iphone and whoa. They are expensive! And no more of that “free iphone with plan upgrade” stuff they used to do. So you just have to bite the bullet and pay full price out of pocket.

Except maybe you don’t. I did some research. Okay, I did a LOT of research. I have found some ways to buy an iphone without breaking the bank.

smartphone-3

  1. Buy refurbished-Do your research on the sellers because you want to make sure you have a warranty and that the phone is certified refurbished. Amazon and Best Buy are both reputable for refurbished iphones.
  2. Wait-I researched the history on when to buy, looked at pricing trends and found that end of the year, holidays are the best time to buy. Black Friday or Cyber Monday are the ideal days to buy, but really anytime between those days and Christmas will guarantee the greatest deal.
  3. Buy What You Need-We would all love the latest and greatest technology but sometimes that’s not feasible. I looked at the iphone 7 and although it’s cool, the accessories are not cheap. Do I need the 7 or will the 6s suffice?  Looking at the specs I realized the 6s is plenty and I can get much more storage for less than the 7.
  4. Sell your old iphone-Check out ebay to see how your phone is selling and you may end up only paying half for your new phone after factoring in the sale of your old one.
  5. Keep the Box/Accessories-To maximize the resale of your old iphone keep the box and accessories and take great pictures of them together to get the maximum bids.

This list is not exhaustive of all the ways to save money on a new phone but this should get your started. Do you have any other ideas or ways to save money on an cell phone? Tweet, comment or message me, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Best Times to Buy a New Car

I have been passively hunting for a new car for a few months now and a friend recently asked me what I was waiting for. I told her I was waiting for the best deal and the best financing options which typically come in the last quarter of the year. She asked why and that started an hour of me rambling and talking her ear off (my friends are so patient with how excited I get about deal hunting).

So there ARE best times of day, week and year to buy a car!

Image result for free stock image car

1. Day of the Week-Not all deals are made the same and they happen on different days of the week! Weekends are the worst time of the week to buy a car. Why? Because most people have their weekends off and want to use that time to run errands including buying a new car. So when you go to the dealership on a Saturday and are iffy about a deal, the dealership will shoo you away to make room for the next person in line!
2. Time of Day-According to Autotrader.com, the best time of the day to buy a car is at the end of the day.  According to the car site, salespeople might be more likely to be weak willed at the end of the long day and thus willing to discount more as long as it means they get a commission at all.
3. Month(s) of Year- The last quarter of the year is the best time of year to buy a car from a dealership. The dealerships are trying to move out all the old inventory to make room for the new.  I have personally purchased 2 new cars from dealerships in the month of December at fantastic deals.

Extra Notes:

  • If you are really looking to buy a car from a dealership (new or used), reach out to your friends and family and ask if anyone you know is looking to buy a car, too. Heck, go on facebook and ask your facebook friends! The best car deal I ever got in my life was when my dad, sister and I all needed new cars so we walked into a Honda dealership here in Georgia, and walked out with 3 top of the line Accords (leather heated seats, souped up etc, in 2007) for insanely low prices.  At one point the Honda dealership manager came over to us and told us, somewhat irritably, that his sales rep wasn’t make as much commission on each car but was pleased to do so because of the aggregate.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away! There’s no such thing as a “one time deal” that “cannot be matched”. I have walked away many times and had dealerships call me begging me to come back with an even better deal!
  • This usually goes without saying but I will say it anyways: do your research.  I once had a dealership salesperson try to tell me the KBB value of a car I was interested in was $2000 more than it really was. This was back in the day before smartphones so I had to pull out the printed out KBB estimates but now you can download the app and save the information for when you arrive.

 

2 Ways to Lose and 2 to Save at Target

I love shopping at Target. Who doesn’t?  The lights, the layout, the colors, they all come together to make the buyer feel at home.  And that’s the point, Target wants you to feel warm and fuzzies in their store because then your wallet magically pops open and boom, there goes a few hundred bucks!

To me the two biggest money pits at Target are the big red CLEARANCE end caps and the dollar spot.

  1. The dollar spot is not comprised of one dollar items. In fact, most of the stuff in this section is $3-$5. “Omg Minoo, loosen the purse strings” you’re groaning to yourself.  But if I grab a handful of these items every time I shop, I can look back and say I spent hundreds in the “dollar spot” on junk! Save yourself the money, nothing and I mean nothing in that section is worth it.
  2. The other money pit is the general use of CLEARANCE on the aisle end caps.  Target uses these orange and white clearance stickers marking how low these clearance items are and suddenly you feel like you need Essie nailpolish that was originally $14.99 but is now on sale for $10.00. You don’t. Just walk away. If you really need an item, maximize your savings by doubling up with coupons or check amazon.com to see if the price is really a limited-time steal.

target

Now, how can you SAVE money at target? Here’s how.

  1. The Target Red Card Debit Card– I love this card because really, the last thing I need is a credit card but a debit card lets me use the money I currently have but at target with an additional 5% off.  When you use your Target Debit Card (or the Target Credit Card  at Target stores or Target.com, you will receive 5% off your purchases. If you use a REDcard in the same purchase transaction with another form of payment like a gift card, the 5% discount will apply only to the purchase amount tendered to your REDcard.   LASTLY, the 5% discount does not apply to the following:
    • Prescriptions, clinic services at Target and Target Optical™ eye exams
    • Target gift cards and prepaid cards
    • Previous purchases
    • Target credit account payments, Target Debit Card cash back and cash advances on the Target MasterCard
    • Gift wrap and shipping and handling charges on Target.com purchases
    • Wireless protection program purchases and deposits required by a mobile carrier
  2. Cartwheel App by Target–This app is a must have if you frequent target or if you are planning a trip and want to look up coupons.  My phone is doing that awful thing where it tells me I’m out of storage even though I’ve deleted everything, so I delete and re-download the target app based on my trips to the store.  I will say that the app’s coupons often exclude clearance items so read the fine print. The best savings come when the app has a coupon for an additional savings off clearance items in a category (like apparel).  Also, the app today cannot be used for online purchases (but I bet that will change soon).

These are the ways I save and spend at Target, how do you save when you shop there? Tweet, Instagram or message me here!

Student Loans (AKA the meaning behind my Madness)

Although I try my hardest to be frugal and save money when possible, there are some debts that are darn near (I say near because some escape it) impossible to escape and one of those is student loans.

I have amassed quite the chunk between undergrad and law school, so I was desperately seeking ways to save on interest rates.

I did a lot of research before I settled on refinancing my student loans. I heard some people say “oh well when Obama wraps up his presidency he’s going to forgive all federal government student loans”. I took this to heart and took about a year researching this claim.

First I spoke with a friend at the Department of Education and her response was that there was no way he could patently forgive “all” student loans. Meaning, if loans were forgiven it would be within a very narrow set of margins.

For example, Obama recently decided to forgive student loans of a narrow group of borrowers who are in default and have disabilities. While this is a very big deal, it certainly with not spread and affect every borrower who took out loans at any time.  Obama did reform part of the direct loan program which now says:

“Borrowers of new loans starting in 2014 will qualify to make payments based on 10% of their discretionary income. New borrowers would also be eligible for student loan forgiveness after 20 years instead of 25 on qualifying payments.”

I think that’s the best that we can get.

So last summer I decided to pull the trigger and I refinanced my student loans using using SoFi.

I choose SoFi after applying on a few different sites and getting different rates. They gave me by far the best rate at 10 years and 5%. My student loans were mixed between 6.8% and 8% so this made a HUGE impact.

SoFi

Before my refinance my repayment plan had me paying over $700/month and my total repayment over 10 years was about 140,000 which was a LOT more than my loan amount and a huge chunk of that is interest.

Through Sofi my monthly payment is a little less, $650/month, but my total lifetime payment is much lower (approximately 40,000 lower) and my total interest paid is HALF of what it was before.

This savings is HUGE! The extra tens of thousands that can be saved can be used towards a down payment on a home or a car or a crazy vacation!

I would recommend shopping around for the best rate you can. If you have a partner who is willing to cosign for you, your wait will be lower so that is also a huge help. Don’t just bank on someone swooping in and providing a blanket forgiveness on everything you took out, I wish it could happen but it won’t. And that’s okay, too. Student loans are just part of life. We took them out and now we have to pay them back which is annoying but we can do it! And if we can do it while paying less interest, even better!

Check back later this week for my next post!