Major Life Decisions Involve Major Purchases

Major life decisions involve major purchases. The older you get, the more hefty your financial burden becomes as you begin to divert investing in expensive shoes and takeout and instead start to save for life’s most costly necessities like rent, utilities, education and automotives. When it comes to weighing our options for which apartment to rent, what gas company to use, or what car to buy, we need all the help we can get.

Major life decisions involve major purchases. The older you get, the more hefty your financial burden becomes as you begin to divert investing in expensive shoes and takeout and instead start to save for life’s most costly necessities like rent, utilities, education and automotives. When it comes to weighing our options for which apartment to rent, what gas company to use, or what car to buy, we need all the help we can get.
Car buying is no easy task. In fact, it kind of sucks. But in order to get your dream car you have to jump the hurdles of seeking out your perfect vehicle to be able to make the most financially sound decision, while also keeping in mind all the necessary features you are looking out for with the automotive. This can be be difficult to do for a person who does not have a background in the relevant expertise, and in order to compensate, we look to outlets we consider our only options to help us make our purchase decision. These options include an online automotive database that presents information on a screen, or an in-person car dealership/showcase owned by car dealers with a primary agenda to make money.
Sure, there are both pros and cons between both options. It’s important to weigh both factors in when you’re deciding between how to research your automotive options. In fact, to make it clearer, below is an extensive list of both the perks–and downsides– to using both an online autobase and an in-person car dealership.
1. SHOWROOM/ DEALER’S LOT
a. PROS
i. your potential automotive options are physically in front of you for a review or test drive
ii. Dealers readily available to answer any questions or concerns
iii. Variety of makes and models
iv. Price negotiation occurs regularly
b. CONS
i. Dealers focus monumentally more on the sale than on helping you find your ideal car
ii. Dealers may also hide certain defects the car has to be able to sell it at a higher value–making the buyer completely oblivious to money going down the train in the near future due to their car needing frequent and expensive repair.
2. ONLINE AUTOMOTIVE DATABASE
a. PROS
i. buyer can review the cars from all over the world instead of considering only local options
ii. Open 24/7; doors never close online, so a review of your proponents can be done anytime of day, week, month or year
iii. On-screen side-by-side comparisons of different vehicles present all relevant information right before your eyes with the simple click of a button
iv. Buyer faces absolutely no pressure to buy a car he isn’t completely set on, as in-person dealers often use sales tactics that coerce customers into making a purchase that breaks the bank for a vehicle that does not meet their specific needs.
b. CONS
i. You are online. There is no way for you to sit in the driver’s seat of the car, smell the seat upholstery, kick the tires before buying, etc– many buyers prefer to have hands-on time with a vehicle before making a finalized decision. This means no test-drives either.
ii. Prices are firm instead of being up for negotiation.
For a purchase as expensive as an automotive, doing sufficient research from reliable outlets is vital to leading a responsible financial life. So seeking out help from a car dealer who wants to suck up as much money as he can from you– or referring to an online automotive database that doesn’t always provide you with enough information to make a final decision on a car as seeing it in person would– are kind of counterproductive.
What if there were an outlet that combined the two outlets we have for automotive research, taking their best variables and eliminating the aforementioned downsides? Cars.com does just that. With absolutely no pressure from a sleazy car dealer, users have access to an extensive platform of cars that fit their exact needs–and can even locate where those very models are being sold locally. You’re also told upfront the best features of the car–but also the dents and scratches it has they may render it less valuable. There are even various outlets for car buying advice for users to refer to according to their individual needs. The best thing about Cars.com? Users have full access to all of its features at absolutely no cost.

Saving Money? Don’t Drop Your Auto Insurance

Times are hard and everyone’s always looking for ways to pinch a penny. Some may even be a little tempted to let go of their auto insurance policy. Before you even think about doing this, don’t do it! Everyone is having a hard time with bills and such, but cutting something like auto insurance would only cause you to spend lots and lots of money later on. Then you’ll realize it was a big mistake, but by then it will be too late.

Auto Insurance Laws

In every state, it is required by law that all drivers carry auto insurance for their vehicles. Some people think that they can drive about without auto insurance without getting caught. Although, many go a while without authorities finding out, but eventually they get caught. — up until the point of getting into an accident that is. There’s really no telling what will happen, especially when you’re driving with other people on the road. There could be a person falling asleep, driving drunk or just not paying attention to the road. No one can truly avoid getting into an accident; even the most careful of people can’t predict other drivers. It is a crime to drive without auto insurance and in most states, you’re required to show proof of auto insurance whenever asked for it. There are even random checkpoints, which everyone is checked whether you’ve done something wrong or not.

Verification of Auto Insurance

In many states, there are surprise auto insurance inspections that take place. When this takes place, you are required to mail in proof of insurance that shows you had coverage on the day the letter was sent. If you’re caught without auto insurance, it’s too late.

Penalties You Could Face without Auto Insurance

Driving a vehicle without auto insurance could leave you faced with grave penalties. If you aren’t maintaining your auto insurance, you could be slapped with a big fat fine. It could also result in your license becoming suspended or you going to jail. Then if you’re caught out on the road without it, it’s possible that your car or license plate could get impounded if you are unable to pay the fines associated with the penalty. Once you pay the fine, you’ll get back your car or license plate. Another fee is also required to be paid to reinstate your auto registration. In some unfortunate events, individuals have had all of these penalties happen at one time.

Car Insurance is Your Protection

Not only will you be protected from the various penalties that can be applied to you if you drive without auto insurance, but auto insurance is also a great way to protect you in a car accident. Without it, you’d be left to pay for the damages yourself, whether you’re at fault or not. Having proper auto insurance coverage will ensure that you’re able to pay for the damages done to the other vehicle, as well as yours. You don’t want to be without a vehicle if your car gets totaled and likely you don’t want to be harassed about money by the other motorist you were in an accident with.

Finding Cheaper Auto Insurance

Your best bet would be to find auto insurance that is more affordable. If your current auto insurance policy is too much, consider changing your liability limits and the deductibles to lower your premium. For instance, you can raise your deductibles and lower your liability limits to help lower your auto insurance rate. If this doesn’t lower it enough, then begin shopping around for other auto insurance companies. You can browse through the web for comparison websites that will allow you to review various insurers that fit your criteria. Once you’re matched, you should look at the coverage offered, along with the rate; not just the rate. The down deposit, monthly premium amount and total should be reviewed. See if it is something that you can handle paying.

Just keep in mind that if you do raise the deductibles and lower the liability, you will be responsible for paying the deductibles out of pocket and up front. Just be extra careful when you’re driving around, in order to avoid accidents as much as possible. Whenever you’re able to afford more coverage, feel free to add more on because you don’t want to drive around with minimal insurance for too long. Never know when you’ll be involved in an expensive accident

Why I Didn’t Put My Life On Hold Because of Debt

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Happy Independence Day to my American readers!

It’s no secret hubby and I have a huge amount of debt.There are varying views out there about the order in which one’s finances should be before you embark on certain life events, such as travel, marriage or, especially, children. While I don’t necessarily disagree with any of these opinions, it wasn’t for me.

Hindsight Attitude

I’ve learned a lot about myself, my marriage and our finances in the last year. Just over a year ago, if you had asked me when I would be debt free I’d likely have a smart remark like ”never”. I was so lost about how to tackle out insurmountable debt mountain, that I didn’t have a get out of debt date anywhere on my radar. I can confidently say we will be non-mortgage debt free within the next five years, max (post coming on this soon).

In hindsight my mentality about my debt was much different. I wasn’t actively pursuing my life while in debt, debt was apart of my life good or bad, and I just ignored it. We paid our debts but were not active about paying them off nor did we give them much notice, it was doomed to be apart of our lives, forever. Today if you asked me I would say I am responsibly living my life while upholding my debt responsibilities.

Travel

While I think paying off debt is of utmost importance in one’s life, we all need a break from our efforts from time-to-time or we will get burnt out. Some people choose small rewards- a nail polish, a dinner out, a new shirt, I’d personally rather forego all small rewards and save for a bigger one in the form of a vacation with my family. We haven’t had a break of any sort in many years. This year we’re finally taking our first real-to-God break in almost three years! I can’t wait. Though we’ve set aside money for this trip that could be used for debt, the experiences my family will have during our trip will be priceless and motivate our efforts so much more.

We have paid for our trips in cash, never accumulating more debt, for this I don’t feel bad.

Wedding

We were married without accumulating more debt, only borrowing $500 which was repaid within two weeks of the wedding. I wanted to get married. It was an important step in our relationship to get married, I wasn’t about to hold off moving forward in my relationship because of debt.

This is an area where you can easily get out of control but it doesn’t mean you can’t get married because you’re in debt. If you’re in debt you should have a wedding that is within your budget’s means. If marriage is important and you can’t afford any sort of party, then you have to decide if it’s what you really want. For me, a smaller wedding and putting in a lot of effort myself was worth the money-savings and being able to get married to my best friend. We had some help from family but our wedding was a FAR cry from the national average of $25,000, not even half that actually, and we had a lovely wedding I’d re-live in a second.

Children

Given my previous mentality, I was sure if I didn’t have a child when I did, I’d be WELL beyond my fertile window if we waited. I now know this isn’t true but in all honestly we were ready. I’ve never wanted anything more in my life than to be a mom.

2010 was a downright shit year for our family. There were a lot of downs and not many up’s. I knew 2011 needed a turn around. We found out we were pregnant in the fall of 2011 and the family’s spirits changed dramatically. The effect that this tiny human has had on everyone’s lives is indescribable. She has changed my life in ways I can’t explain but if I’m being honest, we didn’t have a great plan for how we would be dealing with my loss in income on maternity leave. We just knew we’d make it work somehow. And we did. I’ve said this before but having a baby is exactly what we needed in our lives. She was the kick in the ass we needed to get our finances together.

I have zero regret about any of these things. Just because we have debt doesn’t mean we can’t live life too! Though I may have done some of these things somewhat blindly, I now understand what I did was ok, to live life as long as I’m responsible.

It Pays To Ask Questions. I Found $1,500!!

Last week I downloaded the new banking app onto my phone, imagine my surprise when I logged in to test it out, only to find out there was significantly more money in my account than I expected. The only reason why I even checked my online banking that day was to play with the app and make sure it worked, so when I logged in and found an extra $1,500 in my bank account I was more than a little surprised.

 

The Inquiry

On my app page, all I could see was that a deposit was made the day before and an abbreviation I didn’t understand, which indicated where the funds were coming from. I was sure this was a mistake so made a trip to the bank during my lunch break.The teller, who I was able to speak with in person since switching back to a brick-and-mortar bank ;), told me it came from the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency). This was particularly confusing since the only reason they would be giving me money would be from a tax return, of which I filed and received months ago. I went through every possible reason in my head as to why they would be giving me money and couldn’t come up with anything so I made the phone call in to find out.

A few months ago I called CRA to ask a few general questions, during this line of questioning I inquired about what happened to funds (tuition money) that were transferred to another individual (spouse or parent) and they never claimed the money. She explained that it almost never happens and questioned me further.

The Situation: I’m an Idiot.

When I was going to university and living at home, I would file my taxes every year, and for the first three years, I signed over $5,000 in tuition paid to my mom, something I was told to do in my first year (by mom). Honestly I had no idea what I was doing, she told me to do it, so I did. I didn’t realize that by me signing money over to her (to lower her tax bracket) that I would be taking away from myself in the future. Lesson learned.

Anyway, what’s done is done. It took me the first two years of my undergraduate degree to get a grip on life (and my taxes) and realized what I was doing. It was not benefiting me at all to sign over to her so I stopped and allowed the funds to carry over for my use upon graduation.

A few months ago I came to find out that my mom didn’t realize (or forgot) that I had signed over money to her on my tax return (past the first year when she told me to) and never claimed any money on her returns. I figured it was a lost cause but it annoyed me thinking that I missed a $10,000 tax deduction opportunity.

When I inquired about all this with CRA months ago, the lady explained that she could put a request to investigate the lost funds through but didn’t think anything would ever come of it since CRA would likely view it as a potential tax ”fraud” or ”tinkering” and they wouldn’t proceed with it. I thought nothing more of it. Her answer gave me closure. I accepted the lost monies and moved on.

The Result!

The tuition money in question was from 2006 and 2007. They found the unclaimed money and revised all of my returns from 2006-2011, which resulted in me getting a nice chunk of change totaling $1,543.86. I was more than happy to accept these funds. I promptly put a chunk of it on debt, the rest in savings for our vacation and upcoming vehicle plate renewal.

I have found that more than once, it doesn’t hurt to ask. You NEVER know what the result will be. This is true for anything from cell phone negotiations to dealing with the government. Some people don’t like to confront people about potential issues, but if you don’t ask you’ll never know!

Have you ever had a tax return adjusted in your favor?