Buying A Car In Tough Times

Collaborative post(AD) – All opinions and comments are my own.

I am looking for a new car because mine is getting old and starting to cost more to keep going. Right now I am awaiting my annual service and expect a hefty bill as I know my suspension is very clunky and my air-con needs cleaning and refilling. During an energy crisis, we are all having to make difficult decisions about where to put our hard earned cash. Buying a car may be a better option than constantly fixing an older model.

Where to start?

Now I never said it had to be a new car! There are two popular options when it comes to getting a new auto. Some take loan cars which they can swap in after three years. Many prefer to buy a second hand car, using finance, on reasonable terms. This article on Bloomberg highlights used cars as the favoured option for thousands of drivers. Who can blame them?

My last car was a Ford and had been used by a previous owner. It gave me six years of stability whereas my previous ‘new bought’ cars gave me no end of problems with problematic gear boxes and struggling batteries. There is a lot to be said for second hand cars which have been lovingly cared for.

For my US readers…

Trying to work out how much you can afford to spend on a car is tricky. There are a lot of factors to take into account and you need to make sure you are not stretching your finances too far. This is especially important right now, during an economic crisis where energy prices are surging.

Also, when thinking about getting a new car, you have to have unexpected expenses in the back of your head. Let’s face it, you can drive it off the forecourt and soon find yourself inadvertently driving over a nail or having to swerve to avoid a chicken crossing the road.

Unforeseen costs include:

– tyre repairs or new tyres

– broken exhausts

– minor repairs or touch ups to paint work

– oil leeks

– suspension problems

– battery issues

– electrical faults

Now I have come across a really good website which is used to calculate how much you can afford to spend on a new car. It provides a really easy-to-use calculator to estimate car payments where you can input the price of car you want or work backwards by selecting the monthly amount you are prepared to pay for your loan.

Photo from my iPad.

I played around with various US sites and can honestly say this is one of the most flexible sites with so many options. You can soon hone in on the aspects you need to tightly control, such as down payment size or monthly payments upper limit.

There is also a fun arcade where you can play games related to driving such as the Cars Lightening Speed game which I found fun and unexpected on a calculator website. I love refreshing touches like this.

For my UK readers:

Working out affordability in the UK, I have tried many websites and actually found a bank calculator most useful. After playing around with a few, I can truly recommend Halifax car payment calculator which is very user friendly and organised. Although it leans towards that particular bank, it is really clear, easy to play around with and straight forward.

Summary

My car is costing me a lot all of a sudden, due to some really badly maintained roads near me, which are ruining my suspension, amongst other things. We are all on the same boat when it comes to financial demands caused by international energy shortages and rising inflation.

I am no financial expert but can truly recommend using a good online calculator to work out your car affordability. This is the best way to begin your journey to finding a new car.

How To Get Your Finances Under Control

Sponsored Post – All of the opinions and experiences in this post are my own.

Ten years ago my finances were a real mess. Without a doubt I was struggling, thanks to some poor decisions on my part. I had overspent on credit cards, mainly on holidays I couldn’t afford at the time, and paying it all back was creating massive difficulties for me. I learned my lesson the hard way and now seem to have everything sorted when it comes to finance – largely down to working hard and finding out how to fix my problems.

Are you finding that bills and charges are driving you into debt?

Appreciating the value of money is important.

Here are my thoughts on where to begin when trying to deal with debts and get your finances back under control:

1) Make a start – no excuses.

It is no use putting off till tomorrow what you could be doing today. I know it is depressing to be in the midst of financial trouble – believe me – but the sooner you start dealing with them, the better. My mum always takes notice of Martin Lewis for money saving tips and I have got used to watching his programme and checking his website. I wish I had someone like him to listen to or some online resources to call upon when I found myself drowning in debt.

However, Martin Lewis wasn’t widely known ten years ago, so I had to use my own resourcefulness to begin solving my debt problems. For me, it began with getting all of my statements and adding up the overall amount that I owed. Then I found the credit cards with the highest interest rates and wrote to them explaining my predicament. They helped me build a payment plan and even agreed to freeze my interest for a while as well. Reaching out really helped me a lot.

2) Use your common sense (easier said than done).

Again, it sounds obvious, but doing some research is vital when looking into ways of reducing a debt and improving a credit score. These days there is a wonderful site which lays out the various options you have available. Click here to discover some practical steps that you can take in order to consolidate your debts. This site is easy to use and full of answers to questions you possibly haven’t even thought of yet.

Common sense would also lead you to stop spending on credit cards. For me, this was something I had no control over as I had maxed them all out. It is easy to do. My friends were going on holidays and I wanted to join them, but didn’t have time to save up, so I whacked the vacations on my credit card until it was full. Then, stupidly, I got another one if I received an email offering me a new card. Of course, credit cards are always on the lookout for debtors to add to their lists.

What I am saying is that I needed someone to give me a reality check. We’ve all been there. My advice to anyone stuck in debt is to tell someone immediately and then stop spending and research your options.

3) Cut back on spending straight away

That is easy for me to say, right? For me, it meant saying no to holidays for a couple of years. It also meant going through my outgoings and getting rid of things that weren’t essential. Even today, I sit down once a year and work out what Media apps and services I am paying for (streaming services and online magazines). Often you forget just how many subscriptions you have. At the same time, memberships can sneakily increase in price.

Recently I cancelled a few subscriptions and one of them asked me why I was leaving. It was a newspaper app and I was pleasantly surprised when they offered to reduce their charge to one pound a month for a whole year. As I said before, getting in touch with companies is often a good way to negotiate a deal and form an understanding. This example was a small example of how one action reduced my subscription from £6.99 to £1 just a month. Maybe you could do that with some of your bills too.

Summary

If you are struggling with debt right now, please do not face it alone. Reach out to someone you trust and consider the suggestions I made in this post. When I got into debt, I spoke to my mum and she got me started on facing up to the situation and find out just how I could resolve it.

Hopefully you found this article helpful. It is a set of thoughts based on my own experience and I am in no way a professional but I have managed to get my own finances back on track and now have enough savings to deal with any unforeseen emergencies and to finance a few upcoming holidays.

How To Boost Your Income – 5 More Ideas

Finances are at the top of most people’s agendas at the moment as energy prices rise and a war in Eastern Europe makes some products less available. It feels like we should be celebrating as Covid takes a back seat for a while, but suddenly our pockets are being emptied faster than we can fill them.

After my recent post about Side Hustle Suggestions, I was interested to read more about this subject and can see that so many people are in the same boat as me, trying to make ends meet. A lot of my friends ask me how to keep astride of finances and my simple answer always has to be ‘work harder and save like mad’. Passive incomes are great but they take time to build up. In the short term, the only real fix is to take on extra work.

So let me share with you five more possible ways to make a little extra income to help pay those horrible bills. I have tried to suggest work which anyone can access. Let me know what you think of my suggestions in the comments below.

5 More Side Hustles

1) Flexible deliveries

It is a fairly obvious fact that most people rely on deliveries these days. From all kinds of household products to fast food, we are becoming more used to using delivery firms to meet our daily needs. Many of these companies pay a fair wage to deliver at anti-social times, such as in the evening.

Some companies are keen to promote flexible working and will pay a little extra for delivery drivers who work at night. For example, Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo will enable you to earn a bit extra when you feel you have the time and energy. Some firms allow their customers to give tips too, which is a brilliant bonus.

2) Offer a room on Air BNB

Make a room available for short stay tenants. Having a room available for a guest can be a nice little revenue generator. You can choose when is a good time to make the room available and there are always people looking for somewhere to affordably stay. Every guest will provide a boost and you can withdraw your offer at any time or for an extended period.

3) Do paid surveys

Some people make a good income from completing paid surveys. You just need to look around online for websites that provide surveys that you can be compensated for.

I often use ‘Slicethepie.com’ which has loads of opportunities but it can take a while to build up enough funds to withdraw. If you have half an hour spare each day, you can soon become efficient at it and build up your trust rating, so as to earn more per survey.

I enjoy the bonus surveys that they offer and often make 20 cents for a quick music survey. This usually entails listening to one minute of a track and rating it, as well as writing a paragraph about it. It probably takes me three minutes max.

4) Sell products online

There are so many apps available which enable you to trade in old ‘stuff’ lying around your house. I use eBay to get rid of things I no longer want and always find it easy to use, with postage prices added to each item so you never lose out when going through the selling process.

You can take this one step further by making craft items which can then be sold either on eBay or directly through your own website or on Facebook marketplace. I do find that eBay has a quick turnover though, so you must make sure you get products posted out quickly, or customers complain and ask for part refunds.

5) Make an audio recording

I recently discovered the Amazon ACX service where you can sell your vocals to writers and publishers looking for people to read their audiobooks aloud. All you need to do is leave samples of your voice work and apply to be the reader for any books that take your fancy.

There are two ways to make money from this. Either you request a flat fee for the audio or wait for a share of the commission. I believe you can also ask for a smaller upfront payment and a share of commission as well.

Summary

I hope that you found some of my suggestions useful. Not everybody has time to go out and deliver goods but there should be an idea for everyone amongst my five fresh side hustle ideas. You can find even more useful ideas in this article about Making money while you sleep.

Personally, I have done so many different jobs over the years and have learned that you just have to do whatever is needed to keep the money flowing. Right now I am building up my blog, selling items on eBay and doing surveys.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article about boosting your income by taking on extra work. If you enjoyed this post, please consider following my blog for future similar content.