DriverBuying a used or new car is a major decision and a serious investment, so it's only natural that you'd want to get the most for your money.

If you've purchased a new car, you probably aren't planning on reselling it in only a year or two. In fact, today's vehicles are designed to last for upwards of ten years, and even used cars can provide excellent value for money and longevity. To help ensure that your car lasts just a little bit longer, you'll need to keep it in tip top shape. Regular trips to the mechanic and a cleanliness routine can help you avoid serious, costly repairs later on. The following are a few tips that will help you keep running costs low and extend your car's lifespan!

1. Keep it tidy.

Did you know that built-up dirt inside of your car can be abrasive and wear down your carpets or upholstery? Grime and bird droppings could have the same effect on your car's exterior as well, eating away paint and leaving your car looking dull and lifeless. Regular cleaning and waxing can not only help your car look like new, but it can also give it a protective coating free from dirt, grime, and mould.

2. Change fluids and filters.

Whether you've got your eye on a classic used Mazda at Carsales or a brand-new hybrid like a Toyota Prius, you'll keep it in better shape in the long run if you take the time to regularly change air and oil filters. This helps keep the car well-ventilated, so that the engine doesn't have to work as hard. For new and used cars alike, a clean engine is important.

3. Keep your tires inflated.

It may seem like a small thing, but keeping your tires fully inflated can have a major impact on how well your car runs. It also can impact your car's real-world fuel economy. If tires aren't fully inflated, the car will have to work harder to run because of the drag of loose rubber against pavement. This can slow your car down and increase wear and tear.

4. Get regular service checks.

Many automotive experts recommend taking your car in for a basic service and maintenance check at least every six months. This is one of the easiest ways to keep your car running in top form, because a qualified mechanic will be able to spot problems early on before they get out of control.

5. Store in a secure location.

If you park your car out on the street without any covering, it may fall prey to intense sunlight in the summer or extreme cold and moisture in the winter months. This could lead to all sorts of nasty situations from rusted parts to corroded metal. Another problem with leaving your car on the street, particularly at night, is it may catch the eye of thieves. If possible, store the car in a locked garage or other secure area.

With a bit of effort, you can keep your car looking and running its best well into its golden years! This can help you save you the time and effort of buying a new car every couple of years, while saving you money on repairs and fuel in the meantime. It's a win-win for you and your vehicle.


We all know community college is a budget-friendly alternative to most four-year colleges… but what about some colleges being a budget-friendly alternative to… other colleges?

When you're staring down the barrel of student loans or earning money for college, the question becomes a lot more interesting: Why do some colleges cost tons, and others cost less, when sometimes they offer the same majors and programs? Let’s look at the different things that affect tuition rates:

Cost  of College

Public or Private Can Vary the Cost of College

The first, most obvious stop is between public or private schools. Public schools meet certain requirements to accept government funds, thereby subsidizing the enrollment costs. Therefore, public schools are often less expensive than private schools (and the same goes for lower levels of education, like high school and middle school).

Hiring More Published and Experienced Faculty Increases Tuition

One of the major costs behind running a university is finding, hiring, and keeping the professors and adjunct professors that attract students. The more prestigious a scholar is (which usually translates into how often and in which publications they are published), the more the scholar will expect to be paid in cash and benefits -- one of those benefits being the prestige of the school.

Location, Location, Location

Location is another important factor when calculating prices like enrollment and cost of living. Whether your school is on the East Coast or the West Coast of your country, in a rural area, or a metropolitan area, not to mention if it’s in the US, UK, Canada, or elsewhere, all of these factors will have an impact on the price tag.

What Fields of Study Are Offered

The more profitable the school of study (or the more likely a field’s students are to get a high-paying job) the more universities can charge for enrollment. A school well known for IT and Graphic Design might charge more than, say, a school well-known for sociology or geology. However, it’s important to note that sometimes high-paying majors subsidies for low-paying ones, which let’s schools promote how well-rounded their curriculums are.

How Good Are Their Sports Teams?

Maybe (hopefully?) this is exclusive to the US, but schools with good sports team also command a higher price tag. Which, to me, makes less sense -- you’d think the sports team could subsidize the price to make the school charge less to students, but it seems to have the opposite effect: the more popular the sports team, the higher the demand, and up flies the price.

Any more ideas on what makes the cost of college vary so much? Leave a note in the comments!


Last week, I was creating my 2014 budget with Cait's budget spreadsheet (thanks Cait!) and checking my credit card statements for more accurate predictions of my future expenses, based on what happened in the past year.

This is part two of my financial planning for 2014. The first part was finding ways to earn more income passively.

I did a budget for every month of the year, totalling it all up in the end.

HOLY F-CK, guys.

2014 is going to be an expensive year.

I'm getting married. I'm going on an expensive honeymoon. That's it, but that's enough. That's all my wallet can handle.

After I came to the sobering realization that I would have to either put all of my savings on hold for the entire year, or do something about cutting expenses, I decided for the latter and got to work.

Line Them Up

Since this realization came out of the exercise of doing a budget in the first place, I had all of my expenses lying in front of me, glaring a me, and begging for me to pick them off.

If you're playing along at home, do the most detailed budget you've ever done. Every single penny that goes out of your bank account must be accounted for. Don't lump your vitamins or cleaning products in with your groceries; actually list these things separately.

(Why? Well, you can't stop eating, but you can cut back on the extras you buy from the grocery store. You can cut back on portions of your bills, if you can't cut back on the whole bill, so be very detailed).

Pick Em Off


Greyed out cells: There are some bills you can't reduce. Your mortgage, any debt repayment you may have (in fact, you should be boosting those payments), different types of insurance. I greyed those expenses out on my budget spreadsheet.

Orange cells: I could most certainly reduce these expenses, but these are more discretionary and where I'd rather see my money go. I would cut back on these as a last resort.

Bold cells: These are the expenses I was focusing on cutting.

Regular text cells: The cells with regular text and a white background are cells that I do plan on scaling back a bit on, but I wouldn't be able to total my savings on them easily because of the way my finances are set up with my fiances. I left them out.

cutting expenses

(I don't have cleaning products or firewood on my budget because my fiance pays for those things, and I pay for the pet food/nail clipping, etc).

Instant Gratification

Right away, I was able to save $75 (instant gratification) on:

  • Phone bill
  • Internet bill
  • Banking Fees

Phone Bill

I have some extras on my phone that I probably don't need, and are costing me $30/month extra. I phoned and got rid of those extras, saving me $30/month right off the bat.

Internet Bill

My brother, who lives in our suite, insists on having the highest speed internet. This is fine with me, because that way we can both be on the internet efficiently, but I don't like the cost. I phoned Telus (my internet provider) and they transferred me to the client retention department.

Since I have been a customer for 4 years, and I wanted cheaper internet, they cut my bill down to $20/month for the next 6 months and $50 thereafter. That saved another $50 off of our bill. Once the six months expires, we'll transfer it to J's name, so he can get the new customer discount.

Banking Fees

I know my fees are only $4.95, but banking fees are such a huge waste of money.

I've had a checking account with ING Direct for years, since I started this blog, and it's free. I cancelled my account with TD so I wouldn't be dinged so much by their insane fees, and it saved me (almost) $5.

(Sign up for ING with my Orange Key - 35611511S1 - and get $25 for yourself).

Instant gratification saved me $84.95!

Slower Process

Because not everything can provide instant gratification, I've decided to cut down in a few other ways, too.

Natural Gas and Electricity

This one isn't hard - we've been pretty bad lately about turning off the lights, and relying on gas heat instead of our fireplace when we're too lazy to light a fire.

I can't let that continue, because I just don't feel comfortable seeing our dollars go down the drain. We experimented over the past month to see how a change in behaviour might reduce our bill and saved just over $60 between both bills.

Health Care and Alcohol

I have amazing benefits with work and as a result, I don't have to pay very much toward health care. The health care item on my budget is for a supplement which I'm not eliminating, but I am reducing it. I am getting the nutrients it provides in my diet at least partially, so I am cutting back the amount that I use by an amount that works out to cost me about $15/month.

I am having a drink free January and am trying to stay sober throughout the first quarter of the year (at least on my own dime). Alcohol is severely dehydrating and my skin and body just can't take it in the winter. That's over $20/month that I am saving (about 2 bottles of wine) but I am rounding down to $20/month.


There are few expenses I hate more than paying for parking. We have to pay for parking at work, but I have been parking in a residential area and walking to work instead, thereby saving the parking expense. However, two times per month I've been parking in the work parking lot, which costs $4.25 each ($8.50 total).

I gave up my parking pass so now I won't have the option to do that.


Just by making a few small adjustments (and spending some time on the phone), I am saving $188.45. Since I rounded down on quite a few of these expenses, it's closer to $200 than $190.

Have you been cutting expenses this year?