To Fix or Not to Fix: When Is Time to Buy a New Car?
When you speak to investment gurus, they will advise you to put off buying a new car as long as possible. Upgrading your vehicle every year may enhance your image, but it will empty your pocket. Sticking to the same vehicle for several years allows you to get the most mileage out of your car for your money.
The benefits are clear–drive your car until the cost-benefit ratio makes it impractical to do so. But how do you know when your car has reached that point?
When Fuel Efficiency Becomes Problematic
Using a car that gets an additional twelve miles to the gallon will save you over $200 a year. If your old car has become a gas guzzler, it’s time to look for something else.
When Repair Costs Become Unmanageable
How much does it cost you to repair your car annually? Spending $1,000 here or there is reasonable. Spending a year’s car payments on repairs is not. The next time you confront a repair bill in the thousands, it may be time to trade her in.
The Depreciation of That Prospective New Car
The final thing to consider has nothing to do with your old car. Instead, it deals with the value of the new one you are considering buying—and how much it will depreciate over time. The value of a brand-new vehicle depreciates far more quickly than you can pay it down.
Buying a used car in good shape helps you get the most value for your purchase.
Your Car and the Environment: Pros and Cons of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles
From an environmental standpoint, Electric vehicles (EVs) are the clear winner. Electricity may be sourced sustainably from renewable sources. Gas-powered cars run on fossil fuels only. The processes to mine fossil fuels are very damaging to the environment.
Burning fossil fuels to power your vehicle won’t win you any eco-awards either. Even though new cars filter out toxins more efficiently, it’s impossible to stop emissions completely. Electrically-powered engines don’t emit any harmful gases.
EVs haven’t yet seen the kind of market penetration that you might expect, given their environmental advantages. The technology is still relatively new, and adopting electric cars will necessitate a culture change. Some cars run purely on electricity, but the infrastructure to support them is still relatively scarce.
At this point, finding an electric vehicle with the same range as a gas-driven car is difficult. Most Americans drive only thirty miles per day. Many electric models are able to handle that.
However, the problems become apparent on longer trips. You can’t just go driving off in any direction and assume you will encounter a charging station when your car needs it.
For this reason, hybrid vehicles are much more popular today than straight electrically-powered ones, especially those that are self-charging like the Toyota Prius or hybrids by Kia and Lexus. Hybrids offer fuel flexibility, switching between electric and gasoline-powered driving automatically. Since hybrids utilize gasoline, they create more emissions than do electric cars but are still more eco-friendly than conventional cars.
Other Ways to Help the Environment
You may help the environment by improving your home’s energy efficiency. Simple tips like ensuring that your home is adequately insulated will save you a bundle in energy bills. Gaps in the insulation of your home make it harder for your HVAC system to do its job.
When your HVAC system works harder, it uses more energy. Better insulation, therefore, improves your home’s energy-efficiency.
Other quick tips include:
- Switching to LED light bulbs
- Replacing your HVAC filters regularly
- Defrosting your freezer before ice builds up to more than a quarter-inch thick
- Using the microwave to cook with instead of your stove
- Washing your clothing on a cold rather than hot cycle
- Closing the drapes in summer to keep the sun out
- Opening the drapes in winter to let the sunshine in
- Installing awnings to protect windows from excess sun
- Glazing windows to improve insulation
- Setting a more moderate temperature on your HVAC in summer and winter
- Use a ceiling fan to help circulate the air
- Improving your use of natural lighting
- Filling gaps in the freezer with water in bottles to improve efficiency
- Using a programable thermostat so that the HVAC only runs when someone’s home
- Dress according to the weather – add more layers in winter
- Unplug appliances and chargers when not in use.
If you’re wondering how to pay for some of these improvements, start with your electricity rate. Is PECO giving you the best possible price? Find out by checking a comparison website. While you’re at it, review your insurance rates to ensure that you’re not paying more than you should.
Finally, do a full expense audit. Are you wasting money on things you don’t need? Could you save in other areas of your budget? Look at smart ways to save, and you’ll soon have enough to implement the tips we’ve described.