Archive for September 2015

5 Of The Best Cars You Can Buy For $5,000

auto-851741_1280If you have $5,000 to spend, there are some very appealing cars within reach. Family hatchbacks, popular sports cars, convertibles and high performance classics such as the VW Golf GTi are all possibilities.

A lot depends on your requirements of course. You may be looking for something economical to run and cheap to insure?if you?re buying your first car having recently passed your driving test, or maybe you?re wanting to stick to something not-too-dissimilar to the car you learned to drive in so you can concentrate on putting the rules of the road to practice in real life.

You might fancy a sports car as a ?high days and holidays? fun car, you might be looking for a dependable work horse that will serve you for several years, or you might hanker after a performance classic.

Let?s see what the options are in some different categories for when you go to look for a new car.

?Starter? car for young people

  1. Vauxhall Corsa

The Corsa is a supermini of decent size with a grown-up feel. It?s reasonable on fuel and running costs and will be among the lower priced cars to insure. It?s a safe car, too, with the maximum NCAP score of five stars.

Corsas can be found at various price bands, and $5,000 should secure a tidy example. Diesel and eco models might even help to cut fuel and insurance costs.

Family work horse

  1. Ford Focus

Quite possibly the used car bargain of them all, relative to what you?ll get for the money. The Focus is a practical and low-cost car to run and is a pleasure to drive. There are usually many to choose from, prices are reasonable, and there are several different trim levels and engine options with both diesel and petrol variants.

Performance classics

  1. VW Golf GTi

The forerunner of the ?hot hatch? brigade and still the most desirable of the lot all these years later. It combines practicality, comfort and sensible running costs with stacks of fun and flexibility. The 2.0 liter engine in models in the $5,000 bracket make it a very quick car; 0-62mph in less than seven seconds.

Take your time, check used car sources carefully and wait for a suitable car to become available and you?ll have a lot of motoring enjoyment for reasonable money.


  1. Mazda MX-5

A classic from the moment Mazda launched it, this compact convertible is great fun and combines reliability with affordability. It has an easy-folding fabric roof or you can go for the hard top version.

There?s a good chance that even an older model will have been well looked after with a lower mileage as they are often bought as ?fun cars?.

Faster family cars

  1. Skoda Octavia vRS

Like the hot hatch VW Golf GTi and its brethren, the faster family car offers practicality, space and affordability combined with driver appeal in the form of high performance and sharp handling. The Skoda Octavia vRS sports the same 2.0 197bhp engine of the Golf GTi above, making this Octavia a quick car with 0-62mph in a shade over seven seconds.

Check likely cars carefully – a full service record is vital as is evidence the car has been looked after. An independent inspection might be a good idea.

Other options

Naturally, there are other choices in the categories above. In the performance bracket cars like the Audi TT are possibilities, whereas in the convertible market you might fancy a VW Beetle. $5,000 can get you a very good car if you look carefully.


What is your budget for a new car? Would you consider any of these cars? Why or why not.


Photo courtesy of: olivermonschau

5 Ways to Overcome Debt Fatigue

debt fatigue

4158290541_6855d39952_zIt can be difficult to deal with debt ? especially if the amount of debt that you have incurred is going to take years to pay off. At a certain point, something called ?debt fatigue? may start to set in. Debt fatigue is when you simply get tired of directing your income toward paying off debt?and instead you start to spend again and put yourself further into the hole. While you know that paying off your debt should be a top priority, it isn?t always easy to stick with the plan until all of the debt is gone.

If you are facing a large amount of debt and feel fatigue or other roadblocks starting to set in, use the following five tips to keep you on the right path.

#1 ? Picture the Finish Line

When paying off debt, it can sometimes feel like there is no end in sight. Of course, that is not the case. If you are doing a good job of paying more than the minimum monthly balance on your debt, and you aren?t adding to it, at some point the debt will be eliminated. Calculate that date based on your current payment rate and then picture what it will feel like to be debt free. Keeping that image in your head will make it far easier to send off those payments each month.

#2 ? Spend a Little On Yourself

Sure you want to direct most of your available money toward eliminating the debt, but you don?t want to make your life completely boring at the same time. Set aside a small amount of money each month to use for entertainment, shopping, etc. Even a small purchase can be enough to make you feel like you aren?t living on a completely restricted budget.

#3 ? Talk about Your Debt Fatigue

You are far from the only person in the world that is working hard to pay off debt. Find someone you can talk to who can relate to your feelings, either online or in the ?real world.? Just by having a chance to chat with another person in a similar situation, you will feel much better about the road you are traveling down.

#4 ? Be Proactive

If you are on a set salary, as most people are, you probably know exactly how much you can afford to send toward your debt each month. When you compare that amount to the total of your overall debt, it can be a little bit depressing. However, if you are able to pick up odd jobs from time to time in order to make extra money, you can direct all of that money toward extra payments on your debt. Suddenly the hill you have to climb will start to look a little bit smaller.

#5 ? Accept the Challenge

A big part of how you feel about your life comes down to perspective. You can choose to look at your debt as a burden that you have to bear, or you can look at is as a challenge that you are going to conquer. By looking at your debt as another one of life?s challenges, you can take a positive approach and work hard to win the battle.



Have you ever faced debt fatigue? What did you do to overcome it? What are some other things you’d recommend to someone dealing with debt fatigue?



Photo courtesy of: David

4 Easy Ways to Be More Frugal


light-bulb-503881_1280It?s not much of a secret anymore, but I?m going to throw it out there anyway in case you don?t already know ? I?m not 100 percent frugal by nature.

I was talking to my dad the other day and he asked me if I ?took advantage? of being in a larger town when I had a doctor?s appointment the other day. By that, he meant did I use it as an excuse to go shopping.

When I told him that I simply went to my doctor?s appointment and then drove straight home he was astonished, until I told him why.

I reminded him that I didn?t have anything I needed to get while I was there. I only went to go to the doctor and I wanted to get back home as quickly as possible so I could get back to work. I also told him that my goal is to pay off debt?and I?ll get there much faster by not going shopping for things I don?t have a true need for.

Because I?m not frugal by nature, I?ve had to ease myself into being more frugal. If you aren?t frugal by nature either, here are four easy ways to help get you started.

1 ? Make Smart Energy Swaps

I?ve done several easy things to cut down on the amount of energy I consume. For example, I wash my clothes in cold water and dry them on low heat. I also use nature to regulate the temperature in my house until I absolutely have to turn on the AC or furnace. Whenever a light bulb burns out I replace it with a lower energy bulb, and I use natural sunlight during the day instead of turning on the lights.

2 ? Find Frugal Friends

When my best friend moved away a couple of months ago I was definitely sad. But the good news is that it has been really good for my budget. My best friend is not frugal and when combined with my non-frugal tendencies, we used to spend a lot of money going out to eat and finding ways to entertain ourselves each month. Now the friends I hang out with are more frugal. We often have a weekend BBQ or potluck instead of going out to eat.

3 ? Utilize the Library

I?ve been in a book club for a couple of years now and when we first started I would buy every book we read via Amazon. In my defense, I always bought a used copy so it was significantly cheaper than buying new. ;-)However I decided last year that I would always check our local library first before buying our book club book. This saves me money, because the library is free, and it also prevents me from having any more books cluttering up my overflowing book shelves.

4 ? Cancel Things You No Longer Need

Earlier this year I was able to finally cancel my TV service at the end of my two-year contract. I was ecstatic to be saving another $60/month, especially since I hardly ever watch TV anyway.

I also canceled my magazine subscriptions last year when I realized I had a huge stack of unread magazines because they were coming in the mail faster than I could read them. To this day, I?m still making my way through that stack of unread magazines. They are already paid for so I?m not spending any more money by reading issues I?ve already received, and I?m slowly cutting down on the clutter in my home by recycling them after I?ve read them.

To me, being frugal isn?t about giving up everything you enjoy in life. Instead it?s about making easy changes to your regular routine to save money.


Are you frugal by nature? What easy changes have you made to be more frugal? What are some hacks you’ve employed to help you be more frugal without cutting down on your level of enjoyment?


Photo courtesy of: Comfreak

6 Simple Ways to Save $100 on Food Each Month


shopping-cart-53797_1280Food costs are one of your largest ongoing expenses. While you obviously need to eat, it would be a great help to your budget if you could reduce the amount that goes toward groceries every month.

The amount that you can save through using the tips below will vary based on where you live and your current habits, but everyone should be able to trim their costs simply by implementing the following ideas. That being said, many of these tips should help you save at least $100 extra on food each month.

Buy Generic

For many items, the difference in quality between name brand and generic options simply isn?t enough to justify the difference in price. In fact, there often is no difference in quality, and you may not be able to tell the two apart if the labels were removed. Buy generic whenever possible and you will quickly see the savings accumulate.

Stay Home One Extra Night

There is nothing wrong with eating dinner out from time to time, but it can be a major budget leak?if done too frequently. For a family of four, a dinner out can easily add up close to $100 when you add in drinks and dessert. Just by skipping one meal out each month you can do a big favor to your food budget.

Waste Not

One of the biggest keys to saving money on your food budget is to not waste what you purchase. For example, things like bread often go to waste when part of the package is used and the rest is left to spoil. Plan your meals carefully to avoid waste, and use your freezer when you aren?t sure if you will have time to eat something before it goes bad.

Shop Smart When Buying Bulk

It can be a benefit to your budget to buy food items in bulk?but only when you think it through carefully. Many people fall into the trap of thinking that everything they buy in bulk must be a good deal ? but that is not necessarily the case. Compare per-weight prices to the prices at your regular grocery store before you purchase large packages of food at the bulk warehouse, and make sure it’s something you will use up before it goes bad.

Go to the Store Once Per Week

It is easy to get into a habit of stopping at the grocery store every day after work, but that shopping method can cost you money in the long run. Make a master list for the week and try to do your grocery shopping just once (maybe on Sunday). You may need to run out for an item or two later on during the week, but limiting your overall number of trips should save you money.

Shop Sales

Keep a close eye on sales that are being offered at your local grocery stores and take advantage of them whenever possible. You will likely receive coupons and sales advertisements in the mail, so take note of the dates and even consider planning your meals around whatever happens to be on sale.



Have you used these tips to save money on your grocery bill? What other tips do you use to save at the grocery store? How often do you go grocery shopping?



Photo courtesy of: Pixabay



4 Easy Ways to Turn Your Clutter into Cash


rubbish-143465_1280I?ve been on a big de-cluttering kick lately ever since I discovered whole blogs devoted to the subject. I?ve cleaned out my kitchen, my closet, my garage, and more. I now have a lot less stuff, and thanks to these four easy ways to turn your clutter into cash, I have a lot more green in my bank account.

Host a Yard Sale

The easiest way I?ve gotten rid of my clutter and made some cash is by having a yard sale. Embarrassingly enough, I?ve had a yard sale at my house every spring since I moved into my house. (I moved in during the fall of 2012, so I?ve had three yard sales already.)

Every year I collect things in my basement in large storage totes until the spring when I have my yard sale. I always think I won?t have enough to have a sale the next year, and yet somehow I always find more stuff to get rid of. Now that I?ve slowed my spending down considerably, I hope that I?ll finally get caught up. Plus to be fair, my mom and cousin usually contribute a lot of stuff to the yard sale every year too. 🙂

Visit a Consignment Store

If you have some really good stuff, it might be worth it to visit a consignment store to make more money?out of your clutter. After all, one man?s clutter is another man?s treasure.

I have taken name brand clothing to a consignment store in the past and while I never get anywhere near what I paid for the items, I still get more than I would at a yard sale.

There are some pretty strict rules at some consignment stores regarding what they will and won?t accept, and how long you can leave your items there to be sold. So make sure you check that out before you decide to consign your stuff.

Post Things on Facebook

I live in a pretty small town, but we have a very active Buy/Sell/Trade group on Facebook for my community. Once in a while I get tempted and buy something on there, but most of the time I just sell things. It can be a pain to try to get together with someone to sell them the item, and it?s definitely not worth my time if the item I?m selling is worth less than about $10. But some things sell like hotcakes on there so it?s worth a try if you have a group like this in your community.

Sell Through an Online Account

The internet is also a great way to get rid of clutter and make extra money. In the past I have sold things on Ebay, and Amazon?with some success. To use these online mediums you definitely need to do your research to make sure it?s worth your time, effort, and the shipping costs to sell your items online.

If you aren?t a big fan of either of those options there are plenty of online consignment stores and re-sale shops that will buy things from you too. I have looked into options like ThredUp for my gently used clothes, but I?ve never personally found anything worth sending in to them.

Getting rid of clutter has a lot of benefits, and if you go about it in the right way, one of those benefits can be a little more cash in your pocket.


Are you on a de-cluttering kick? How have you gotten rid of your clutter? Have you ever made money off of it?


Photo courtesy of: NathanCopely