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Archive for July, 2008

Choosing a Car

July 7th, 2008 at 06:08 pm

A trip to get my oil changed turned into a lesson on carefully researching and picking a car and how choices can come back to haunt you.

When I went looking at cars with my ex (husband at the time) we were actually looking to replace our minivan with another minivan. The prices just about floored me. My minivan was 13 years old and was on its last legs. As we started test driving, I realized I would be alright without a minivan and I decided on a smaller car. My ex was fine with whatever I chose.

I should have gone home and done more research. I looked at Consumer Reports but I should have looked into it further. As my mechanic told me today, I should have looked at who really makes the car not the label on it. I bought a Ford Focus SE 2002. He said its made by Mazda and in his words it is made cheaply (he did not mean cheap in a good way), quickly and the replacement parts are the same so you pay for a cheap goods and they wear out quickly. Example, I now replace my brakes and rotors about once every 12-15 months. So, I have now spent $600 a year just to replace brakes, plus I am without my car for the day. This will be the 3rd time.

He said if you want to avoid this get a Honda or Toyota next time. As the conversation went on I asked about the Chev. Aveo and he said that it is basically a Toyota. Remember the label comment. I asked if that was just the engine and he said sometimes. You have to check the manf. plant to be sure. Interesting.

I have decided to just repair the car and I am hoping that now that I am the only driver I will cut my mileage enough to replace the brakes once every 2 years. Since I plan to get a new vehicle in 2 years(2010/11), maybe I won't have to replace the brakes again. But you can bet I will research, research, research the next time around. I'll probably ask him what cars are dependable, low maintenance and who makes it.

In addition to the minivan we had a Toyota Camry, from Japan (1987), and it was incredible. I can't say enough about how nice it was and the low cost of maintenance over the 15 years we owned it. It finally wore out at 348,000 miles.
It still ran when we gave it to charity.

I am still considering a motor scooter. There is a nice wide bike lane all the way to my work attached to the main road (not separate). I only have to go .7 miles to get to it. A regular bicycle wouldn't work well for me at this point. It is 12 miles to work and to ride I would be in the dark/dusk most of the year in the morning. That would not be safe. If I do that I might consider holding off on a new car for an extra year or two(2012/13).

Saving Money Using an RSS Feed

July 1st, 2008 at 07:55 am

I really like slickdeals.net. But its hit or miss for me. But I was reading a blog I really like call thesimpledollar.com and the June 30, 2008 entry tells how to search Amazon and Google using an RSS feed in a really simple way. Its worth a try and seems really easy. My computer skills are very basic so I'll also get to feel sophisticated LOL. With Xmas and several birthday gifts around the corner, I'll write on how successful I am.

He also did a recent interview with the author of The Tightwad Gazette, catching up with her life, if anyone is interested.