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Monthly Archives

March 2015


The April Budget Breakdown

March 31, 2015

Well hello again.

It”s yet again time for some good ole budget accountability and fun!

Again, in these posts we will write-up typical expenses that may get overlooked for the particular month. Then we have a photo link up portion where YOU can upload a photo of your budget committee meeting for the month!

So, what expenses might you expect in the month of April?

  • EASTER!!
    • Festive Meal
    • Party
    • Gifts for family/friends/children/people becoming Catholic
    • Easter Egg hunts
    • Travel
    • Fun activities for the octave
  • March Madness
    • Championship game party/outing
  • Spring Cleaning Supplies
    • Mop, Broom, Vacuum
    • Organizational boxes
    • Filing Cabinet
  • Vehicle Maintenance
    • Car Washes or supplies
    • Oil change
    • Windshield Wipers
  • Expenses Related to Taxes
    • Accountant/CPA
    • Turbo Tax, etc.
    • E-Filing Fees
  • Birthday gifts
  • Wedding gifts
  • Summer vacation/wedding flights

Again, these are some expenses we’ve found ourselves budgeting for this month, so they might be applicable to you or not. Some of these expenses are best budgeted for as a sinking fund...like birthday and wedding gifts. We tend to get slammed with Wedding gift expenses during the summer months and it’s so much easier if we put away a certain amount monthly for that time.

We are excited to have travel to Nebraska in our budget this month to see a friend enter the Catholic faith!! We haven’t spent Easter with family in almost 8 years so it will be really nice to be around them. We also have the last of our adoption expenses this month before Josie’s finalization in May! 🙂

Now it’s time for your part!

[inlinkz_linkup id=511525 mode=1]


How To Sell A Car On Craigslist

March 23, 2015

We recently addressed How To Buy a Used Vehicle on Craigslist so naturally the other side of the coin is this post on selling your used vehicle.

In the past few years, we’ve sold two vehicles using Craigslist and were very pleased with our experience.

Again, we solicited the help of my father in the process but it can be done without having a mechanic’s help.

In this post, we will discuss the tips and tricks on how to easily list, show, and sell a vehicle for the best price.

The Preparation:

  • Clean your car. Like really clean. This involves a full car wash, maybe a wax, vacuuming, and washing all inside/outside surfaces free of grime.
  • Take some good photos of the car. Make sure the lighting is good and that it’s parked in a nice area. Think about what’s in the background. You want people to get the impression from your photos that you are a normal person selling a well maintained vehicle. Make sure to get pics of any rust or dents so your buyers are well aware up front of any damage.
  • Look up your car’s value on Kelly Blue Book website. Ask for CASH only and for a few hundred dollars above KBB.com price. This gives you a buffer to accept lower offers and ensures you get as much for your car as you were hoping.
  • Create an organized and informative Craigslist posting with your awesome photographs. Provide a paragraph or two about how well you cared for the car, any issues it might have, and why you are selling it. Don’t be that guy who posts one dimly lit photo of the car and the only information you provide is: “Great car. Runs well. Call me.”
  • Have all receipts or records of all service done to the car ready for viewing.

The Sell:

  • Screen out the people who call/email you. Answer their questions but also feel them out. Are they simply going to give you a low-ball offer and waste your time? Don’t even meet with those people.
  • If there is lots of interest, use it to your advantage. We recently listed a vehicle worth about $1,000 on KBB.com but we received about a half-dozen phone calls about it within hours of listing it for $1,400. We told everyone there was LOTS of interest and that the first person to come see it with CASH with the best offer would be the proud owner. The first lady showed up and offered $800 but again, we have lots of interest so we turned it down. Next guy came and offered $1,200…which we gladly took since we knew it was over the car’s true value anyway. We might have been able to dig up someone to pay our full asking price but we built-in a buffer so we could accept lower. And hey…a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  • If someone makes you an offer but says they can’t pick it up for a few days, ask for a deposit of a couple hundred bucks. They makes sure they don’t just walk off and never call you again, all the while you are turning down potential offers since you *think* the car’s been spoken for.
  • Know what your bottom line is. What amount of money you want to get out of this vehicle to be pleased? Don’t settle for a number lower than you like, and as soon as you get an offer at or above that number, take it.
  • CASH ONLY. Do not accept loans or checks. Ever.
  • If you’ve found your buyer, sign the title over and take your money! 🙂

There you go! Easy peasy.

Selling a car on Craigslist is so simple and even easier than purchasing one. It’s great to cut the middle man out and get the most money out of your car. Trading it in or having a dealer sell it for you will only mean you get LESS money from the vehicle than you could’ve gotten. Do yourself a favor and just sell it yourself.

Again, have any questions or comments, let us know! 🙂


How To Buy A Used Vehicle on Craigslist

March 18, 2015

When people hear that we purchased two new-to-us vehicles on Craigslist they think we are crazy.

I get it.

People assume that Craigslist vehicles are posted by scammers, craz-o’s, or bad owners who didn’t maintain it well.

This is often true.

But not always.

And that exceptional situation is the one we want to help you find so you can get some serious deals on your future used vehicle purchases.

To aid in this post, I have solicited the input and advice from a well trusted auto-mechanic…Mr. Joseph Nissen.

AKA my dad.

Not only does he have mechanical expertise, the man is a deal hound.

Come to think of it, I’ve learned all my best wheeling and dealing strategies from him so to say I trust him is an understatement.

Below are a few nuggets of wisdom from him about sniffing out the deals on Craigslist:

The Preparation:

  • Scope out the photos for context clues…What does the neighborhood look like? What items are in the background?
  • Your best deals will be with individual sellers, not dealers.
  • Call about vehicles that interest you and ask lots of initial questions to get a feel for the owner. Are they shady or do they seem normal? Interview them about the vehicle…why are they selling it? Do they seem trustworthy? How do they claim to have maintained the vehicle?
  • Find a trusted mechanic who can answer questions for you and provide an inspection of the vehicle prior to any offer/purchase.

The Hunt:

  • Meet people in public places, such as grocery store parking lots if you can. Don’t wander into dangerous areas alone. Use common sense.
  • You are inspecting the seller just as much as you are the car…how do they carry themselves? Do they appear like a meticulous owner who maintains themselves and their vehicles well? Do they have any maintenance receipts and records?
  • Turn the key to on position and make sure the “check engine light illuminates” as well as “air bag”  light if so equipped. This is worthy of checking to make sure they actually light up..if they don’t, the bulb is burnt out OR the person removed the bulb to hide a defect.
  • Take the car for a test drive and check the transmission fluid afterwards. What color is it? If the fluid is brownish and when you wipe the dip stick off and there are signs of blackish remains that may indicate a transmission that hasn’t been serviced properly…not one I would purchase.
  • Check the oil level…also check the oil filler cap to see if there is a white-ish type sludge under the cap…if so the oil may not have been changed with any regularity.
  • Check tires to see if they are all the same type and make…if people care about the car they usually replace all 4 with they same type.
  • Have that trusted mechanic available to inspect the car, perhaps on your test drive.

The Offer:

  • If things are checking out and your trustworthy mechanic has given the thumbs up, it may be time to make an offer. First things first…what’s the car worth? Check out Kelly Blue Book’s website and enter all the necessary data.
  • In order to snag a good deal, offer a few hundred dollars under asking price.
  • That offer….it better be CASH!!!!!!!!
  • But don’t actually have the cash on you, unless in a very public area…that is a good way to get robbed. If they accept your offer, then you can drop by the bank.

Batta-bing, batta-boom. You my friend, have a new-to-you vehicle! 🙂

Like I said, we recently purchased a 2004 Jeep Liberty and 2007 Crystler Town & Country using Craigslist. We got each vehicle for at least $1K under Kelly Blue Book value. On one of them, we even had the owner split the cost of new tires. The other, the owner threw in an awesome car top carrier for FREE! Way to go dad! 🙂

My handy-dandy father served as our trusty mechanic and did the actual inspecting, offering, and purchasing for us and we simply paid him back. I know, you can’t get much more of an ideal situation than that but we wanted to at least offer SOMETHING for y’all out there who want a good deal on a newer vehicle.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask! Happy car hunting!