The Six Best New Vehicles That Will Fit your Budget

Are you considering buying a new car in the near future? Maybe your car is getting old and causing you issues, or maybe you need to upgrade or change direction with what type of vehicle your family needs.

Before you start looking, consider your options carefully. Don’t fall into the trap of buying too much car for your budget. This is a dangerous trap that many people fall into; they end up spending a huge chunk of their take home pay on a method of transportation just to get to work.

There are some cars out there that are relatively inexpensive, even new. Here are a list of great cars that are fun to drive and not too costly:

Ford Fiesta

cheap new cars

Image via Flickr by Dean Thorpe

The Ford Fiesta combines an affordable price tag with some of the bells and whistles of more expensive cars. Even the high performance model with the most standard features remains modestly priced, selling for just over $20,000. For gas mileage, it isn’t bad; it gets 28 miles per gallon in the city and 36 miles per gallon on the highway. The base model has the following standard features: air conditioning and a six speaker stereo system with an auxiliary jack. Upgrading into a higher trim will get you Bluetooth capability, satellite radio, and more.

Chevy Sonic

The Chevy Sonic is an example of the much improved compact cars General Motors Corp. is making now. The Sonic is available as a sedan or a hatchback, and has four different trim levels. Out of them all, the LTZ option represents the best value, since it packs in the most standard features for the least cost. You can buy a tricked out LTZ for under $20,000. Features that are standard on this model include heated front seats and an impressive sound system with satellite radio, just to name a few. It gets decent gas mileage too, with 25 miles to the gallon in the city and 35 out on the highway.

Honda FIT

Honda is a leading manufacturer of economical cars that don’t feel like economical cars. The Honda FIT is no exception. It is a zippy little car that you can cram a lot of stuff into. Under the hood, it sports a 117 horsepower 4 cylinder VTEC engine, which combined with its light weight, allows it to zoom around without any trouble. Like all Hondas, the FIT is good on gas, getting 27 miles for city driving and 33 on the highway. Honda updated the engine for the 2015 model, as well, and improved its efficiency and performance further. Read about more popular hatchbacks here.

Subaru Impreza

The all-wheel drive Subaru Impreza not only represents a good value for your money, it’s also fun to drive. The high-performance model, the WRX, has a snappy turbo-charged engine. A manual transmission is standard, but you can opt for the continuously variable transmission (CVT) which offers an impressive 27 miles to the gallon in the city and 36 miles to the gallon on the highway. The value really comes in when you consider its impressive list of standard features. These include a four speaker stereo system, Bluetooth, a USB port, keyless entry, and an auxiliary input.

Volkswagen Golf

The Volkswagen Golf is another one that gives you a lot of car for a little money. Its base model comes with a five cylinder engine, but upgrading the higher end TDI gives you a four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that gets an astonishing 30 miles to the gallon in the city and 42 on the highway. Due to the added boost from the turbines, this engine is extremely responsive. Its precise steering and well-balanced suspension lets you maneuver through tight spaces with ease. Look at KBB cars for sale for current price information on this car, or any other.

Kia Forte EX Sedan

This budget-friendly car goes from 0 to 60 in 8.1 seconds, it’s no joke. The Forte’s 173 horsepower 4 cylinder engine gives it power and its six speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly. It has all the safety features that you’d want as standard features: Antilock brakes and, stability control. As for gas mileage, it isn’t bad. It gets 24 miles per gallon in the city and 36 out on the highway. The EX model also includes snazzy 16 inch alloy wheels and a leather wrapped steering wheel. It makes you feel luxurious, even though you’re driving an economy car.

Whether you make $30,000 or $250,000, you can find a great car that you’ll love to drive.

 

Are Gym Memberships Worth The Cost?

My 30th birthday is fast approaching and though I am super excited (call me weird?) I also feel like I need to close some things out before finishing this decade of my life. One of them being the approximately 15 pounds I’d like to leave in my 20’s. While 15 pounds may not seem like a lot, I’m a small person so I can’t exactly hide my extra weight.

I gained more weight that I was comfortable with in my pregnancy. It started very slow then it seemed all I would need to do was think about food and I would gain weight. I gained about 33 pounds with my pregnancy, all of which I have lost but I was trying to lose 15 to 20 pounds when I found out I was pregnant so now is the time to finally lose them (two years postpartum…).

gym membership worth the money

I’ve always been a casual runner taking it up and putting it down all the time. I enjoy it, when I want to do it. Probably three months of the year I’ll go for runs, usually late September until Christmas time. This helps me take advantage of free fitness. I’ve tried, really tried but I HATE running in the snow/winter/super cold. Loading myself in winter running gear and going outside is not my idea of a good time. Same with summer. I hate running in heat and humidity so if I want to do it these times of year I stick to the treadmill. Though I enjoy running in moments it’s not something I enjoy year-round.

I consider my daily life fairly active which is how I’ve been able to eat what I want for the most part and maintain my weight (and trust me, I indulge). I need to really step it up if I’m going to lose the weight though. My diet is well controlled and from years of following what I eat I know what I can and can’t do to lose the weight I need to up my exercise regime.

I initially was reluctant to look into a gym membership for a lot of different reasons but an opportunity came up to join a local chain for 60% off via my professional association. I decided I was worth the $30 per month and signed up for a three month period. The membership expires the week of my 30th birthday when I hope to report that I’ll be down the 15 intended pounds. If I stick with it in the next three months and get a good groove going I will resign for the year.

Though we’re working towards some pretty lofty financial goals I really hope we don’t miss the $30 per month. Given that this is an unnecessary item in our budget I feel like that is incentive enough to make sure I get my money’s worth out of it, I hate wasting money especially when I have important goals to reach.

Do you have a gym membership? Do you use it or find it to be a waste of money?

One Cheap or Even Free Form of Entertainment

Usually when we talk about frugal entertainment, the idea of sitting at home on the couch with a glass of wine will come to mind.  Or if you feel like being social, there’s always the idea of potluck and games nights.

After several nights in, even with friends, one may need to get out of house and just do something outside  It is still the summer after all. With the season being so short over here, one needs to make the most of it and enjoy the good weather while you can. Aside from going to the beach, cottage or camping, people often spend their time outdoors going to the festivals and concerts. While this is all good and fun, you and I both know that these festivals and concerts can get quite pricey. Not only do you have to pay for tickets, you may have to pay for parking depending on whether the festival is accessible by public transportation and overpriced beer and food.

Image Courtesy of nipitphand/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of nipitphand/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I used to go to A LOT of concerts back in high school thanks to the bank of mom and dad (I know, I was spoiled, but I’m more independent now. I swear). Nowadays, I don’t even consider going to concerts so much anymore. I find the tickets quite expensive  If you’re into that kind of environment, that’s cool. However, I will be in full agreement with my fiancé in preferring to go a concert at a smaller venue, where it’s more intimate. I feel you would be able to enjoy the music more, but then again it may depend on what type of music. You can actually see the musician/performer up close, rather than on the gigantic screen.

I know that this is not a huge revenue generating idea, but I think it would be nice if artists played a few smaller gigs here and there, such as the places they may have been playing at before they got discovered.

A more frugal form of entertainment would be to check out the local street entertainment in the larger cities, because it doesn’t seem to exist in suburbia. You get to listen to mini concerts performed by street musicians for a fraction of the price (basically loose change).  I’ve often heard musicians in the subway which is a nice touch to the hustle and bustle throughout the day. I’m definitely more inclined to give street performers (also known as buskers), my spare change rather than a homeless person because they’re actually working for their money and not just begging for it.

Busking has become so popular that cities even have festivals solely dedicated to busking to draw even bigger crowds. It’s great because you get to many different types of acts: from juggling to miming to breakdancing. It’s usually free to attend and again, all you need is a few dollars. I find it’s worth it and more enjoyable because the acts often involve the participation of the crowd. People get to feel like they are part of the act.

There is no such thing as a nosebleed seat, but maybe perhaps a nosebleed spot, if you are vertically challenged like me. A lot of the times other crowd goers will try and make room for you if it possible.  You won’t feel you’ve lost your voice or become deaf. You don’t have to stay for the entire show if you don’t want to. There’s also that freedom of being able to wander from show to show.

Have you been to a busking festival lately? If you were to be a busker, what would your form of entertainment be?

5 Budget Areas You Can Cut Back on Each Month

When my husband and I sat down to do our first real budget, the first thing I did was look for areas of savings. In order to do this you first need to know how much you’re currently spending. The only way to do this is to track your spending for a month at very minimum to see where you are overspending and where you can cut back. Once you know about how much you’re currently spending look for ways to cut back on spending!

ways to save money

Cutting Back on Food

This is often pretty easy for us to save on because we usually spend too much! Most people overspend on food, I know we were. Initially, I didn’t shop with a concrete plan and would shop for random items (everything from kale to potato chips). I’d get home and not know how or what to prepare which would usually result in me spending more money to make up for ingredient shortfalls or money wasted because food would spoil. Once I stated meal planning we really started seeing savings. Our fridge is near bare by the end of the week but we now have very little spoilage.

As for eating out we try and limit it to one meal out per week. Usually Friday after a long week I’ll plan on not cooking dinner and we’ll grab something.

Cutting Those Bank Fees

We were paying a ton in bank fees because we had multiple accounts. We closed the accounts we didn’t need with our bank and opened accounts at a ‘’free’’ bank since we still wanted multiple account but wasn’t interested in paying for them!

For Canadians, a really good option is to bank with Tangerine. They have free chequing accounts and the highest interest savings accounts. My orange key is 35611511S1. If you open a free chequing account with Tangerine, using my orange key will earn you $25!

Saving on Pet Food

We were paying a TON (almost $110 per month) on prescription cat food. I got sick of it pretty quick and called around to a few places. After a consult with her vet and switching to different food we bought at a different location we saved over $50 per month.

Cutting Back on the Cost of Clothes

I always look at second-hand stores before buying new (except for obvious stuff like underwear). Only if I can’t find what I want or need second hand will I buy new and it’s almost always on sale. This is especially true for kid’s clothes since she grows so fast but women’s clothes are pretty good too. I find women go up and down in weight with dieting so much you can find really decent stuff at the second-hand stores for much cheaper than new.

Save on Utilities

Shop around! For our cell phone plans I’m always keep an eye out for new promos we can jump on though I’m convinced our plans are as cheap as I can get them. Save on electricity by being conscious about what you’re consuming in terms of energy. Buy energy efficient appliances when possible. I was shocked at how much less energy our new washer and dryer used compared to our old ones.

Honestly, the hardest part about trying to save money is figuring out how much you’re currently spending. Once you get it tracked you might be surprised at how much you can make up in savings each month!

What area are you constantly trying to cut back your spending and save on?