7 Steps to Get the Best Deal on a Used Car

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by Alex

7-steps-to-get-the-best-deal-on-a-used-car

Buying a used car and getting a great deal is not as tough as many would lead you to believe. It is true that you can be taken if you don’t do the legwork, but getting a great deal is possible as well. The key is to be thorough, don’t take shortcuts and never act on impulse. Here are some tips to getting the ultimate deal on your next used car:

1. Accept the need for a quality mechanic

If you are buying a used car, the first step you need to take is to secure a really good mechanic. If you don’t have one already, find one through friends and family. A mechanic can assess a car with eyes that are not focused on the car but on the engine. Even if you are a mechanic yourself, you should have a different one check it out to remove the bias.

2. Follow the paper trail

Every car has a paper trail. Purchase receipts, mechanical work and oil changes all provide history and that history in front of you makes a car much more valuable. Try to find cars that have all that paperwork and actually look at it. People that keep paperwork and can show a history of good maintenance are far more likely to have a solid vehicle to offer.

3. Put extra emphasis on one-family vehicles

Used cars that stay within one family are also a great sign of a good car history. Generally speaking a car that hangs around in the family like that is going to be well cared for.

4. Never make a snap offer

Before you ever talk price, you should make sure the car is in great shape and you want it. Some guys purchase cars based on repairs that they feel they can make. This is almost always a losing proposition. Car repairs are far too unpredictable for the average person. Check the car out and then consider price.

5. Bring cash (as well as a couple of friends)

For safety, you should always meet in public and bring a couple of friends along. That said, cash still talks. If you have the cash in your pocket and extend it to them when you make your offer, that will sometimes sway them to take less than they normally would.

6. Never offer what they are asking

Except in the rarest of cases, people have added a buffer into the price of their used car. Because of this, they almost always will take less. The key is to work them to their absolute best offer. This begins by making a fair offer that is not your maximum out of the gate. For example:

They are asking $3000. That means they will probably take around $2500. You know that you have $2000 in your pocket, so you actually offer $1800. From there, you can work your way to as much as $2000 and you are more likely to actually get it. Stay firm on your offers until they give in a bit. Once they do, then you give in a bit. When you get to your final offer, make sure you say so and stick to it. (Even if that means walking away) Some people will make you begin doing so before giving in to your price.

7. Be patient

Ultimately, you may have to walk away from several used cars you love before you find the one that you are meant for. Many people get frustrated and either blow their budget or settle for less than they hoped for. Stay patient and vigilant and you will find the used car that is meant for you.

In the end, we hope that these tips will help you to maximize your investment and make the most of your used vehicle purchase and your money.

See more on Frugal Living Tips and Articles HERE

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Alex & Cassie
 

30-Day Organization Challenge Day #17 – Organize Coat Closet Area

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by Cassie

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Have you missed any of our prior days’ tasks so far?  Click here to view all the daily challenges through this one!

We are now at day #17 of the 30-day organization challenge!

This next one is going to help simplify and make getting out the door much easier.

Day #17 Challenge – Organize Coat Rack/Area

coat-closet-before-sm Coat Closet Before

Now, of course we re-organized the shoes in yesterday’s post. But the closet itself needed more work.  We had suit jackets and other misc. that really didn’t belong in the coat closet.

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We also have our winter accessories rack hanging up, but over the non-winter months, it collected a little bit of everything else. I found all of these clearance hiking socks (hiking is a big family activity!) and they got put in here, but we put them in our hiking bins.

I also had a lot of hats folded into these pockets (which probably is not a great way to store them in the first place) and so I got out the dusty hat box from my master closet.  I have had this box since I was a teen!

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Anyway, it made more sense to put my hats in here and keep them in my master closet since I don’t wear them often. It just makes more sense.

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Also, the top shelf has been reserved for the “things to grab quick” and it got unorganized and lunch boxes were all over the closet.  Well, now they are back in place, along with the “fuzz grabber” or whatever you call it. :)

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Top shelf after

For the actual closet, we had suit jackets, dress shirts, other misc. clothing hanging in this closet, so after putting them back where they belong, making sure all coats and jackets currently fit everyone, that part of the closet was done .

Finally, for the hanging closet rack, after removing socks, my hats, my girls’ hats, it was pretty much empty.  So I didn’t really think there was a point to show an empty rack, but it will be filled up soon when we grab the winter accessories bin out of the basement and prepare for winter….which will not be long because just this week, our weather took a dramatic cold turn!

But when we do get those accessories out, each family member has a row for hats, gloves, scarves, etc. (similar to the shoe rack) and it has been the best system for winter accessories.

Soon it will look like this:

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So now our coat closet is done!

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How is your challenge going? 

>>>>> Don’t forget to sign up for our daily reminder! <<<<<

To help you find some thrifty and DIY organization ideas, see our organization category HERE (click on the organization tag!) and our Organization Pinterest Board HERE. Looking for encouragement, inspiration and a place to ask questions and share answers?  Request to join our private Facebook group HERE.

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Alex & Cassie
 

Unique Bathroom Storage Solution and Idea: Upside Down Shelves

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by Cassie

diy-unique-bathroom-storage-idea

Since we recently had a bathroom organization challenge, we wanted to share a unique and affordable way to make practical storage space in your bathroom!

This is an easy DIY project that will provide very practical and attractive storage for a bathroom.

You can do this a couple of ways, you can do this exactly how shows on her site First Home Dreams by using a board and wooden decorative brackets.

Or you can also simply take shelves with wooden brackets already attached and flip them upside down or even use shelf dividers like Martha Stewarts solution. 

martha stewart shelf dividers

Either way, it is super simple and a great way to have practical and affordable bathroom storage!

Check out the step-by-step process on the First Home Dreams site HERE

What do you think of this idea? What creative ideas do you have for bathroom storage?

Share with us and we would love to feature your project! 

See more DIY Ideas

See our DIY Pinterest Board

If you have an idea that you would like to see featured, then send us an email at thriftyus@thethriftycouple.com.

Photos and idea used with permission

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Alex & Cassie
 

30-Day Organization Challenge Day #16 – Organize Shoes

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by Cassie

organization-challenge-day-16-organize-shoes

Have you missed any of our prior days’ tasks so far?  Click here to view all the daily challenges through this one!

Welcome to day #16 and week #3 of the 30-day organization challenge!

We are excited to be moving into new areas and new tasks this week.  The tasks this week are super simple! It will be a breeze of a week! Let’s get on with the next task.

Day #16 Challenge – Organize Shoes

 

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Our family shoe rack before

I love this shoe rack.  There are six shelves and then the floor under the last shelf.  That means that all seven family members have their own shelf.  Daddy’s is the top and then oldest to youngest all the way down. It works and functions well, but only if the humans using it put the shoes back.

Honestly, many just leave their shoes all around the house. In fact, you can sorta see the first two shelves have most of the shoes in place….with kids shoes thrown all about and on top.  Our 6 year old has the chore of collecting the shoes and putting them back in the closet. I reminder her to put them on the right shelf, but sometimes she gets in a hurry (or lazy) and tosses them in the closet.

Missing shoes are the #1 reason for making us late anywhere (that is once we were out of last minute diaper changes). So we really try to have an easy central shoe location.

Well, with all of that, we needed to re-organize again, remind everyone again how easy it is to put your shoes back and remind the 6-year old that if she does have to pick up shoes, to just simply put them back.

It was also a great time to re-organize as the kids are outgrowing shoes and we are needing to make a season change as I *think a cool autumn is officially underway. Flip flops are out and warm shoes back in. Now I know what they need and can start working towards that change!

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After

How is your challenge going? 

>>>>> Don’t forget to sign up for our daily reminder! <<<<<

To help you find some thrifty and DIY organization ideas, see our organization category HERE (click on the organization tag!) and our Organization Pinterest Board HERE. Looking for encouragement, inspiration and a place to ask questions and share answers?  Request to join our private Facebook group HERE.

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Alex & Cassie
 

How To Make Perfectly Cooked Hash Browns Effortlessly (From Frozen or Fresh Potatoes)

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by Cassie

easy-fresh-yummy-hashbrowns-in-waffle-maker

My family loves hash browns, but I have also had troubles cooking them on the stove – there would be some that were nice and crispy, others still soft and a big clump of a real hash of semi potato browns in the end!

I wanted to find a new way to cook them, that didn’t require tons of oil, that didn’t require tons of work.  Fresh hashbrowns are great because potatoes are cheap and filling (at least where we are from!) and so they make for a great breakfast/dinner side.

So I discovered a great way to make hashbrowns! They don’t turn into a big gloppy mess, they cook evenly as more surface area is covered with less work, and I didn’t have to stand at the stove and flip and stir.

Cook your hashbrowns in a waffle iron! I bet the same would even work in a George Foreman grill as this is how we perfectly cook bacon and salmon, but since we have a waffle iron, this has been the same idea and works beautifully!

Here’s how to make perfectly browned fresh hash browns:

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You can buy shredded potatoes already, or use fresh potatoes (cheapest and healthiest) and easily make your own. If you have a food processor, it will be seconds!  So get out your shredding tools and plug in your waffle iron so it is nice and hot when you are ready!

Wash your potatoes and then shred them with your preferred method.

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Once you have your potatoes shredded, you will want to rinse them and then soak them in water for a few minutes and rinse again to help reduce the starch and browning.

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Then drain and “squeeze” the potatoes to get any extra liquid out.

Place your potato shreds in a bowl and add your seasonings! We love salt, pepper, turmeric and paprika!

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Once your potatoes are ready, it is time to brown them!

Place scoops of the potato mixture in your waffle iron under each waffle shape.  I found that it was easiest using a soup ladle and then spreading the potatoes out over the waffle shape.  This way, they were all a consistent size and the cooking time would be the same for all.  Note: you might want to spray with cooking spray before depending on your waffle iron.

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Close the lid and I cooked these about 1-2 minutes longer than waffles – our waffle maker says 5 minutes for waffles and so I cooked the potatoes for 6-7 minutes, turning the waffle maker over at the half way point. You can cook them for more/less time depending on how crispy or soft your like your hash browns!

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This is the half way point! 

Then they were ready to serve! Our kids also love these specific types of hashbrowns because they are fun shapes, consistently  cooked, crispy, tasty and satisfying!

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Serve warm! These do reheat well too, so you could make many and freeze! Enjoy your perfectly cooked fresh hashbrowns.

See more Recipes in our Recipe Art Gallery

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Alex & Cassie