financial peace

Extended Warranty on a Car: To Buy or Not to Buy

By: Vincent Mortensen

I recently purchased a used car at a dealership for a fairly good price. Once it was time to create a payment plan, the financial consultant asked if I would like a two-year, 24,000 mile extended warranty on the vehicle for $1,850. In order to not sound biased, I won’t reveal if I purchased this warranty plan.

Many of us feel sick if we are not protected from potential problems while many of us feel all warranties are a complete rip-off. On which side to you lie? Is it ever a good or bad idea to purchase an extended warranty for a vehicle? Below are a few points to help you make a more clear choice.

1. How long do you plan on keeping the car? – Are you the type that gets tired of cars within two to four years or do you like to use your car until it’s on its last leg? It is generally not a good idea to purchase an extended warranty for those who don’t keep cars longer than four years.

2. Who stands behind the warranty? – If you do choose to purchase an extended warranty, make sure it is backed by the car maker and not just the dealership you purchased from.  Car maker warranties will allow your car to be serviced at any dealership that sells your brand of car, not just at the dealership you purchased. 

3. Have you shopped for the best price? – More often than not, you can find an extended warranty through third-party programs for much cheaper. If you do go this route, make sure you know what you are getting, as the third-party warranty might not cover as many potential problems the dealership will cover.

4. Will you have peace of mind if you don’t buy it? – As mentioned above, there are some people that cannot sleep at night, knowing their car is not covered by a warranty. If you are going to make yourself sick, perhaps you should consider it.

5. Is the car still under the original warranty? – There is no need to purchase unnecessary coverage if your used car is still under the original warranty of the car maker. For example, if you are offered a two year, 24,000 mile warranty from the dealership for $1,850 but your car still has a year and a half or 20,000 more miles (whichever comes first), a warranty would be wasteful. What are the odds your car will have $1,850 worth of problems in only six months? Not likely.

After reading these points, the choice is yours. If you are in the market for a new or used car, make sure you do your research to get the best warranty deal or skip it completely.

This information was based on an article from http://www.edmunds.com

Celebrate College Savings Month!


September means school is back in the swing of things and you’ve had to fork over some serious cash for books, supplies, and tuition for the semester. Why not start thinking about next year and how you will make covering these expenses less stressful?

The Personal Money Management Center wants to help you reduce stress that is associated with the financial obligations of getting an education. We want to help you so much that we are going to show you how to receive a $4,500 matched savings grant! We are holding two mandatory personal money management classes at the end of December (20th & 22nd 10am-2pm) to qualify you for this opportunity. Class sizes are limited so you need to register as soon as possible. If we have over 40 participants signed up by September 10th, we will hold an earlier session the last two Saturdays in September (20th & 27th).

The classes work in conjunction with the Utah Individual Development Account Network. UIDAN provides a matched savings account to qualified participants. When you save up to $1,500 you will receive up to $4,500; a 3:1 match! Your $6,000 can be used towards your education, the purchase of a first home, small business development, or assistive technology for the disabled.

We have been able to assist students in receiving $112,500 in matched savings money. Students chose to use their funds for education, buying their first home, or starting their own business. You could be the next student to lessen the financial burden of getting a college degree or to make your dream of owning a home or starting a business a reality!

IDA Infographic

To register for this amazing opportunity, simply call our office 801-585-7379 or stop by to see us on the 3rd floor of the Union in Room 317. We also have an event posted on our Facebook page.

Summer Fun on the Cheap!

By: Vincent Mortensen

Spring Semester is finally over which means the summer fun can officially start! If you’re a starving college kid like me, every penny counts when it comes to entertainment during the break. Here are five different ways you can save money while having a great time!

1. Use the Utah Wilderness Wisely – We Utahn’s have been blessed with some of the best outdoor activities due to our beautiful mountains, crystal clear lakes, and stunning deserts (if you want to travel south). Take the opportunity to go hiking or biking with your friends. I am a firm believer in creating memories with friends, regardless of how much the activity will cost.

2. Free entertainment in the Salt Lake City Area – Salt Lake City holds a bunch of different free or inexpensive activities during the summer months including farmer’s markets, the Twilight Concert Series (http://www.twilightconcertseries.com/), and more. If you take the time to do a little research, you’ll be surprised what events you can find that are little or no cost to you.

3. Go on a “Staycation” – Skip Disneyland this summer. Instead, explore what Utah or surrounding states has to offer. Take an overnight trip to Park City, drive north to Crystal Hot Springs, or take that hiking trip with friends mentioned above. Not only will you have a great time, you’ll save a lot of money in the process.

4. Summer Sports Leagues – Summertime is the best time to play your favorite sport with your friends or some new people. For example, Beehive Sport and Social Club offers a wide variety of summer sports including sand volleyball, flag football, kickball and dodge ball for as low as $50 a player. Considering how many games you play, this is a great deal. For more information, visit http://www.beehivesports.com/.

5. Hold a Block Party – Block Parties have gone the way of the Dodo Bird. No-one does them anymore. No-one except you! Invite your neighbors on your street, in your apartment complex, or wherever to a potluck, games, and other forms of entertainment. If everyone brings a dish and one game idea, you will connect and even meet some of your neighbors in a friendly atmosphere.

When I was younger, I lived near a cul-de-sac that had a party annually. To this day, it is one of my fondest memories. I played basketball, hanged with neighbor kids I rarely saw, and ate some great food in the process (there was an elderly women that always made the best cake!)

Throw a Block Party and meet your neighbors!

Throw a Block Party and meet your neighbors!

Many people believe summertime activities have to be pricey to be fun. Of course that’s not the case. If none of the above ideas interest you, do some research and find free or inexpensive activities that you love!

Saving Money For The Holidays

It’s the Most…..Expensive Time of the Year!

By Vincent Mortensen

Summer has come and gone.  The heat has transitioned into the cool, crisp weather of autumn.  With the changing weather brings the changing of the seasons and all the fun holiday’s attached to them.  In a three month span, we dress up and get candy, gorge ourselves on delicious foods and top it off with giving and receiving presents.  Even the holiday season can cause stress.  In this sense, it can harm us financially.

Chances are you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year for all your closest family and friends.  If you’re not cooking, you’re probably traveling to get to said meal.  With the steady rise of gas prices, long distance car trips or flying can cause a financial squeeze.  This is why we must start saving now instead of later.

Let’s do an example.  A family of four needs to travel to Denver, Colorado from Salt Lake City, Utah to reach grandma’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.  Even booking in September will cost each person on average $200 for round trip.  $800 is considered by many a major purchase and should be saved for.

Now for driving.  Let’s say gas prices are averaged out to $3.70 a gallon throughout the road trip.  Your car receives 25 mph on the highway for the 550 mile trip.  This will round out to about $162.50 round trip.  This is a much better deal but still on the expensive side.  There may be additional costs including hotel as well.

Imagine if you had to travel even further than the next state over.  Things could become even more expensive than $160 to $800.

If you don’t have to travel far for Thanksgiving, enjoy your meal and be merry!  But, if you have to spend a significant amount to see your loved ones, it’s never too early to start saving for your upcoming adventure.  Good luck!

The Road to $1,000

Debt is a painful thing.  I can’t think of one person who enjoys being in a large amount of debt.  This is many attempt to keep their heads above water by paying it down as quickly as possible.  Financial Advice Guru Dave Ramsey recommends before paying down debt, the consumer should have $1,000 saved up in case of an emergency.  Of course you’re thinking, “If I had $1,000 in cash lying around, I would be putting it toward my debt, duh!”

thousand-bucks

Think of it this way:  If you had the alternator go out in your car, where would the money come from to pay for it?  After all, you need your car to travel to work and school.  Option one is to use the money you brilliantly saved for this type of emergency.  Option two would be to pile on more debt you’ve worked so hard to cut down.

Making $1,000 quickly (and legally) is not unheard of.  There’s plenty of money waiting for those who want to work for it, right?  Here are some simple ways to gather that $1,000 in a respectable amount of time:

  1. Work extra hours or find a small side job.
  2. If you have developed a marketable skill, sell it (teach kids to play piano for example).
  3. Chances are your XBOX 360 has more dust on it than inside the tomb of King Tut.  Sell it for easy money.  Sell all those movies and books you’ve barely used while you’re at it.
  4. Have a yard sale for all your other items such as clothing, old appliances, knick-knacks, etc.
  5. If you’re not squeamish and love your fellow man, donate blood or platelets.  Rates are currently around $35 a visit.  Participate three times a week and the money adds up.
  6. Perhaps your current living quarters are tight.  Perhaps they aren’t.  If you have an extra room, bring in another roommate to split the costs of living.
  7. Dog walking isn’t attractive but it can be if you want financial security bad enough.  Take your neighbor’s best friend for a walk and get some fresh air.
  8. For basic necessities such as clothing, check out online money saving websites like retailmenot.com or ebates.com.  You can find great deals on merchandise or receive online discounts instantly with one simple click.
  9. This one might kill you.  Switch from unlimited data to a lower data plan on your smart phone.  You can save easy money this way since numerous establishments offer free wi-fi now.
  10. Take a packed lunch made at home instead of eating out every day.  You can save as much as $50 a week by making this change.  Your pack lunch will probably be healthier, too.

If you choose to accept even three of these ten ideas, you will find yourself on your way to financial security.  Don’t completely stop payments on your accounts, though!  Make sure to keep paying at least the minimum until you can begin to aggressively attack your debt and defeat it once and for all.  Good luck!

–Vince

How to Save Money on Textbooks

Books with apple on topBuy used whenever possible. Your school bookstore probably sells used copies but they usually sell out fast. Check online for a used version of your book. Most online textbook retailers have information on the condition of book before you buy and you can usually find a version that is “like new”’ or “very good” and still save a lot of money over buying new.

-Find a textbook price comparison website like www.booksprice.com or find one you like better by searching the web for “textbook price compare.” This allows you to see the price of your textbook being sold on lots of different websites and allows you to buy it for as little as possible.

Use retailmenot.com to find promo codes to use on discount websites like half.com or abebooks.com. You don’t need an account and you can often find codes for free shipping or a percentage discount on your purchase. For example, go to retailmenot.com and type in “half.com.” The first coupon code says “10% off books for new users.” Click the “show coupon code” banner and the code “10BTS” will pop up. If you type that in to the promo code field at check out at half.com, it will automatically take of 10% off your whole purchase. That might not sound like much but on a $100 textbook, it will save you $10. If you already have a half.com account, consider opening another one with your Umail email address so that you can use this code.

After you search for a promo code, go to Ebates.com or Shopathome.com to get additional cash back when using online book retailers. This is an important step and get often save you an additional 2%-6%. If you want more information on how these websites work, click here.

Buy international copies when possible. International editions are usually almost identical to the copies sold at the book store and can be half the price.

Look for an online version or e-book from websites like Amazon. This can save you money over buying a hard copy but might be inconvenient if you don’t have a tablet. Remember when buying an online copy or e-book, you cannot sell your book back at the end of the semester and make back some of your initial cost. And some online versions only give you access to the book for a short time (like one year) and you are better off buying hard copy if you still want access to the book after that time period.

Rent your textbook from websites like chegg.com. You can find textbooks rentals for as little as $15-$50 per semester and save a lot of money. Just take in to consideration that you cannot sell your textbook back at the end of the semester since you are borrowing it from the company. And you can be responsible for the whole cost of the book if it gets lost or damaged. This is not a good option if you want to keep your book after the rental period is over. If buying the textbook used online is only $10-$25 more, consider purchasing the book instead because after you sell it back and recoup some or all of your initial cost, it will have saved you more money in the end than renting and if you decide you like the book, you have the option to keep it instead.

Buy an older edition of the book. Revisions of textbooks come out so frequently that the previous version might not be much different from the $150 book your teacher requires. Before you buy however, talk to your teacher or go to the library and compare the versions so that you know the older version will work. If there are only a few pages that are different (for example, some of the homework questions), you can copy those pages to supplement your text book. This might seem like more work but it could save you 75% on your textbook or more! Try not go back too many editions, especially if the subject changes frequently (like a textbook on technology).

-Make sure you will get your book in time. Even if you have to pay a little extra for rush shipping, it is very likely that you will save money over going to the bookstore. If your book won’t arrive in time, check your school library and see if they have a copy of the book on reserve. That means no one can check out the book for more than a few hours so you have a good chance of being able to find the book if you just need to read a chapter or do a few homework problems.

-Sell it back. And finally when the semester is over, if you decide you no longer need your textbook, sell it back to your school if possible or online. If you purchased it online and scored a good deal, you could even make money on selling it back to your school!

Tiffany Davis

All the Right Moves, All of the Time

How do you learn to always make the most of your money?

How do you know when you’ve achieved that plane of existence where you sneeze and gold coins fly from your ears?  Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but is it possible to get to a place where you are always making the best financial decisions all of the time?

Probably not.

chess pieces

Does it matter?

Probably not.

When talking about money, you need to include a discussion on keeping a healthy balance.  You’ll drive yourself crazy by always trying to pick the winning stock and never spending your money on wasteful things like fast food and movies.  I can’t imagine trying to live my life not making a wrong move.  It’s just not possible and, frankly, not desirable.  You have to have fun sometimes.  Otherwise, what’s the point?

Does that mean that you’re doomed to live paycheck to paycheck, never accomplishing what your financial goals?  Absolutely not.  Life is not always lived in a straight line.  Sometimes it meanders.  And some of those little diversion lead to some pretty great stuff.

It’s like when you take a trip somewhere.  You plot your course, you get in your car and you drive.  But along the way you find a road you’ve never seen before or a sign post you haven’t noticed and you decide to follow it just to see where it leads and it turn out that you find someplace great.  Of course, you could also find a crummy place that you never want to see again.  But the odds are in your favor that you’ll find something interesting, at the very least, and you may find something great that you’ll want to get back to again and again.

That’s living in a balanced way.  You make a plan and you work towards it.  But, you’re also open to what the world is going to drop at your feet.  Sometimes it will be good and sometime it will be bad.  And sometimes it will be AWESOME!

Cheers

Sherri Overby