Deal of the Day August 10, 2009 – $20 off $20 Goodyear Purchase

Here’s a good one I found at MommySnacks.

I’ll be able to get $20 off a $20 purchase at participating locations with this printable coupon.  Seems like a pretty inexpensive oil change to me!  I’m going to definitely check this out…

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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The IRS Tax Credit on New Cars May Make New Cars a Better Deal Than Used

The US Government really, really, really, REALLY wants  us to buy cars.

To help stimulate the industry – and our economy as a result – the IRS has reinstated the tax deduction for sales tax paid when purchasing a car.  I recall that when I bought my first car they’d just taken this deduction away from taxpayers, and if not so happy for having my first ever new car I’d have been a lot more peeved.

According to the IRS website, taxpayers who buy new passenger cars between Feb. 16, 2009 and Jan. 10, 2010 will be able to deduct their state and local sales and excise taxes on their 2009 returns. The deduction is limited to the state and local sales and excise taxes paid on up to $49,500 of the purchase price of a qualified new car, light truck, motor home or motorcycle. The deduction phases out for individuals with modified adjusted gross income between $125,000 and $135,000, and joint filers with MAGI between $250,000 and $260,000.

The special deduction is available regardless of whether a taxpayer itemizes deductions on their return. The IRS reminded taxpayers the deduction may not be taken on 2008 tax returns.

So, this won’t lessen your tax bill this year.  But  if you’re facing a large car repair it might be worth it to get a new vehicle.  I’ve been reading that used car prices are increasing because people are unwilling or unable to take the plunge with a new car.   Between cut-rate pricing, very favorable financing and the new tax break it may make more sense to buy new – something I said I’d never do again.

Of course if you don’t need a car then it’s not frugal to buy one, no matter how good the deal. Thankfully our cars are in good shape.  Let’s hope it stays that way…

Deal of the Day September 16, 2008

Need some minor car repair work done?

Pep Boys is offering 10% off any maintenance or repair service with this printable coupon.  There are some exclusions, but I’m sure your eyes are better than mine to read that tiny print.  Expires 9/30/2008.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Captain Obvious Reports: Sixteen-year-olds Maybe Shouldn’t be Licensed

Last week I heard a news story on the radio warning that sixteen-year-olds are too young to drive. According the the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a research group funded by the auto insurance industry, car crashes are the biggest reason kids die. They recommend increasing the licensing age.

According to an article I read, “More than 5,000 U.S. teens die each year in car crashes. The rate of crashes, fatal and nonfatal, per mile driven for 16-year-old drivers is almost 10 times the rate for drivers ages 30 to 59, according to the National Highway Safety Administration. Many industrialized countries in Europe and elsewhere have a driving age of 17 or 18.”

I don’t think that’s news to any of us, is it? These young teens are inexperienced, somewhat lacking in judgment and have a sense of invulnerability that has them take risks that perhaps they shouldn’t. New Jersey, the state where I grew up and got my drivers license, is the only state that says you must be seventeen to be licensed. And some states are as low as fourteen!

Now that’s surprising to me. Not that I loved waiting until seventeen. I was just as impatient as the next kid. Still, I was pretty mature, and I don’t think I would have been ready to fly solo at sixteen. And we’ve all been next to these youngest drivers on the road, watching as they have twelve people stuffed into the back seat of their Corolla, music blaring just enough to rupture the nearest eardrum, giggling and talking on their cell phones…

Graduated licensing, which has become the standard across the country in the past 15 years, requires teens to spend more time driving with a parent or other responsible adult before they go solo. Though these rules are sometimes difficult to enforce, many states tie these more stringent standards to declining teen crash rates. That’s a good thing, too. But is it enough?

In my years as an insurance agent I was the one who added the child to the parents’ policy, and I was the one who filed the claims as they came in. And came in they did. I thank G-d that I never had to report that a child had died, as I was in tears, struggling to maintain professionalism when I spoke to the families of adult clients that had been fatally injured in crashes. A child would have been…impossible.

Proponents for keeping the age at sixteen say that driving helps kids learn responsibility, and that increasing the age will make them less responsible. I do agree that it can be part of helping kids learn responsibility, but I don’t think that it follows that kids who have to wait an extra year are less responsible. In some cases I’ll bet they are more responsible…like when they have wait because they need to earn the money for their own insurance and car. A strategy which will be utilized in this household.

See, safety isn’t the only reason to have them wait to get licensed. Cost is another factor. I recall being seven months pregnant and daydreaming about the son that was soon to be born whilst blow drying my hair. All of a sudden I had an unhappy epiphany. “Oh. My. G-d. I’m going to have to pay boy car insurance rates!!!!”

Now that I’m a parent I realize that my responsibility to prepare my son to get his drivers license has many facets. Yes, he needs to know the mechanics of starting the car, switching gears, parallel parking, all of which he will be taught, ad naueum. He also needs to know and understand that cars, insurance and gas cost money. He will understand that because he will earn the money for all of the above before he’s permitted to get his license.

But that’s not all. He needs to understand that he’ll be driving more than a ton of metal, and that gives him not only the responsibility for his own life but the life of anyone in his car, and every other driver and pedestrian on the road. He needs to have empathy, and to know that getting there safely takes priority over getting there quickly. He needs to be secure enough in himself that he doesn’t need to show off for his friends by peeling out or doing donuts on someone’s lawn.

He needs enough of all of the above to not get behind the wheel when drinking. He also needs to not get in someone else’s car when they’ve been drinking, and have the strength and sense to prevent them from driving at all.

The thing is, no state law is going to teach my son these things. Only Husband and I can. So though I wouldn’t mind seeing the driving age raised, it’s really a non-issue to me.

Because we will decide when Son is ready to be licensed, not the state. I don’t care if the law says 14, 15, or 17 . Son will not drive until we, as parents, agree that he is ready. We are the law of this land. And we shall be fair and reasonable, and unafraid to say “No”.

Sure, We’ll Pay You for Not Delivering the Car…

My father sold my stepmother’s 1999 BMW (in excellent condition, with only 40,000 miles) to my sister and had it transported to Connecticut. Everything was going great until they got to Texas. On a lonesome highway somewhere near Abilene (Okay, I don’t know where in Texas it happened but doesn’t that sound good?) the transporter caught fire and the BMW was destroyed (along with several other vehicles).

That really stinks, doesn’t it? My Dad contacted his insurer. They’ll pay him for the car and then subrogate against the trsansporter’s insurer to get their money back, as they should.

Carey’s Auto Transport is very sorry. So sorry that today they sent my Dad an invoice for the $1320 for the transport.

You know, the transport that didn’t get to Connecticut. The one that only got to Texas…

Them are some mighty big kahunas, aren’t they? After all, they only transported it half way…

Not that THAT matters, as they DESTROYED the CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My Dad was under the impression that he might have to pay them in order to get the insurance settlement. The answer to that is a big fat NO.

I’m waiting to see a copy of the contract, but even if the contract says “even if we blow up your car you still have to pay us” it would be a cold day in El Azizia before I’d write that check.

This is going to get interesting.

Deal of the Day March 31, 2008

Keep the vehicles running smoothing with a Jiffy Lube Signature Service Oil Change. This printable coupon knocks $5 off the price. Since it’s good till 01/01/2009, you can come back every 3,000 miles to print another.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan has had many troubles lately, most of them her own doing. The substance abuse monkey is a very difficult one to try to get off your back, and the bad decisions one makes as a result of intoxication, self-hatred and general apathy can have far-reaching consequences.

But some of Lindsay’s troubles aren’t of her own doing. There are many who want to take advantage of her, and her deep pockets.

In October of 2005 Lindsay was involved in a car accident with one Raymundo Ortega. The California Highway Patrol determined that Mr. Ortega was responsible for the accident, having made an illegal U-turn. Nevertheless, Mr. Ortega, a busboy, felt that it was moral and just to sue Lindsay for $200,000 because she had the nerve to be there when he made his illegal U-turn. He alleges that she was fleeing paparazzi (not a crime) and drinking (likely, but there’s no evidence).

Lindsay settled the lawsuit with Mr. Ortega, but I really wish she hadn’t. I’m sure he didn’t get $200,000 from her, but he didn’t deserve a penny. Not one cent.

These types of cases really get my panties in a twist. The burglar who sues you because he gets stuck in your garage while breaking into your house. The kid climbs the fence to break into the pool area and breaks his neck diving in. The woman who sues the apartment complex because she gets bit by a dog in the park across the street.

Those people have kahunas. Great big mirrored brass ones.

I don’t have an issue with suing the truly responsible party if you are injured permanently or suffered greatly or lost money due to someone else’s negligence. But I shouldn’t have to pay someone who got hurt because of their own. Neither should Lindsay. And neither should you.

Yet another reason to get a Personal Liability Umbrella.

The Meanest Mom on the Planet

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

To me that sentence illustrates one of the most important aspects of my parenting philosophy – consistency. It’s hard to stick to your guns and follow through on things. When that weepy face (upset at the prospect of missing the trip to the pro football game because he didn’t meet the clean-your-room-or-lose-the-privilege requirement upon which the trip was predicated) begs me to reconsider, I’m sure I’ll want to give in and let him go, while threatening that he “…better clean it tomorrow, OR ELSE!”

I just don’t think that would serve him, though.

My son is three, so that hasn’t happened yet. Other things have happened, and I use various strategies consistently in my efforts to teach him self-discipline, and that are consequences for every action. He knows if he’s warned and continues the behavior the consequence warned will happen. Despite the tears. Despite my own inconvenience. Despite my son, or others, thinking I’m a mean Mom.

The other day he was misbehaving and I told him that if he continued he would get a timeout. When he continued the behavior I asked him if he wanted a timeout. Instinctively adept at the concept of reverse psychology, he answered me with a resounding “Yes!” So, he got a timeout.

I always think I’m in the minority with my thinking on this. A friend’s son once said to me, smugly, “If I pester her enough I’ll get what I want. I always do.”

Sooooooo not happening in my house.

Imagine my pleasure in reading about the self-proclaimed Meanest Mom on the Planet, who sold her son’s car for breaking a rule upon which having the car was contingent.

Not an easy thing for her to do, I’m sure. But the right thing, most definitely. And a very hard lesson for her son.

But I’ll bet it’s a lesson learned.

Tips on Pumping Gas

This info was sent to me in an e-mail, and I thought them worth passing on…


Here are some tricks to get more of your money’s worth for every gallon.

  • Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early morning, when the ground temperature is still cold. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening….your gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role. A 1-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps, so you get less gas than you pay for.
  • When you’re filling up, squeeze the trigger of the nozzle only to the “low” mode. If you look you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you’re getting less gas for your money.
  • Fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL (or HALF EMPTY). The reason for this is, the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine. Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the gas and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation.
  • If there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, DO NOT fill up. Most likely the gasoline is being stirred up as the gas is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom.

I hope these tips help you get more for your money!

 

 

See the Stretch Your Dollar Page for other money-saving ideas.

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