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Car Loan Rejections at an All Time High: What to Know

09/11/2023 18:23
The rejection rate for car loans is at an all time high right now. The rate of rejection is 14.2%, which is the highest recorded rate since the Federal Reserve started keeping track 10 years ago in 2013. The rejection rate was at 9.1% just seven months ago when the data was released in February. So what is the cause for this high rejection rate, and what can you do to increase your chances of getting approved? Here’s what you need to know about car loan rejections.Why was I rejected for a car loan?Before we talk about why the rejection rate is so high, we need to talk about why car loan rejections occur in the first place. Lenders want to loan money to people who will pay them back. They make more of a profit when you simply make your payments, which includes interest, than they do when they need to chase people down for payments. If you default on your loan and they need to repossess your car and sell it, it is a lot of work on their end and ultimately costs them money. Lenders want to give loans when they feel confident you will pay them back in a timely manner. They reward people who have a good financial track record with good interest rates, as they assume that they will not have to track down missing payments. There are several different reasons you may be rejected for a car loan. Here are some of the most common reasons. You have bad credit.One of the most common reasons for rejection is that you have bad credit. Credit scores take several factors into consideration and give you an overall score to reflect how financially fit you are. Credit scores look at the following factors:Your payment history (35%)The amounts you owe (30%)The length of your credit history (15%)New credit (10%)Credit mix (10%) Your payment history and the amount of debt that you are in are the two factors that affect your score the most. If you have a history of missed payments and have a lot of debt, lenders will not want to give a loan out to you. Credit scores are broken into five categories:800 to 850: Excellent.740 to 799: Very good.670 to 739: Good. 580 to 669: Fair.300 to 579: Poor. If you have excellent credit or very good credit you will most likely not have a problem getting approved. But as your score gets lower and lower you will have a harder and harder time getting approved. If your credit is fair or poor you may be rejected or only be able to find high interest loans.There were errors on your application.A surprisingly common reason for car loan rejection is simple: there are clerical errors. If you write your address wrong, incorrectly record your salary, or miss a box that needs a signature, you might be rejected. You requested too much money.Lenders will look at your income to determine how much money you can afford every month. If you are trying to buy a luxury car but have an income that cannot support those payments, a lender will likely reject you. It’s important to set a realistic budget of what you can afford before applying for a car loan that is beyond your means.You have an irregular income.If you are self employed or a seasonal worker you may have a harder time getting approved for a loan. Stable income is key to any loan application, and without it you may run into trouble. You have an open bankruptcy, lawsuit, or other negative event on your credit report.Your credit report reveals a lot of information to lenders. Any of the following items on a credit report could be a red flag to lenders and cause them to reject your application.Open bankruptcyOpen lawsuitA repossessionA foreclosureDelinquent child support paymentsHistory of collectionsA federal or state lien All of these items means that you have had financial issues at some point and therefore make you a riskier borrower. It’s completely possible to have a credit score that qualifies you for a loan, but the lender may still look at these factors and determine you are not a good candidate. Why are car loan rejections so high right now?So why right now is there such an increased rate of car loan rejections? There are a number of factors that are creating a burden for car buyers. The price of new cars.Part of the problem is that car prices are incredibly high right now. This means that people need to borrow more money than they would have in the past, while their income has probably stayed the same.  The increase in interest rates.Over the past several months the Fed has increased the benchmark interest rate three times. Interest rates are now much higher than they were at the beginning of the year. Couple this with an increase in car prices and you have a higher borrowing amount that is an increased burden on borrowers. Total debt amounts are higher.When lenders look at applications they must consider all debt that the application has. Consumer debts have increased across the board, affecting the debt to income ratio for many people. The average American held $101,915 in debt in 2022, up 5.8% from the previous year.What can I do to get approved for a car loan?Since the current economic conditions are out of your control, it is easy to feel helpless if you need a loan and can’t seem to get approved. But there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of getting approved. Get a car you can afford.If you need a car but can’t quite afford the payments associated with the car of your dreams, you may need to readjust. Do research to determine which economical model will work well with what you need. There are so many options on the market now and even the base models are well equipped with all of the modern day conveniences. Skipping the addons and luxurious touches can also help reduce the overall cost of  your new car and increase your chance of approval.  Make a higher down payment.An increased down payment will significantly increase your chance for approval. The more that you can reduce the risk to the lender, the more likely you are to get approved.Work on your credit score.Taking a few months to work on your credit score can make all the difference. Making on time payments, paying down some debts, and reviewing your credit report for errors can give you a significant boost and allow you to reapply with a better chance for approval. Wait for a negative event to expire. If you have a negative event on your credit report you may need to simply wait it out. Most negative information stays on your credit report for between 7 and 10 years depending on the type of event. Negative information may include the following:Late payments: Stay on your report for 7 yearsCollections payments: Stay on your report for 7 yearsBankruptcy public record: Stay on your report for 7-10 years depending on the type of bankruptcyRepossessions: Stay on your report for 7 years (starting at the first date of missed payments)Foreclosures: Stay on your report for 7 yearsLiens: If the lien is paid off it will stay on your report for 7 years. If it is unpaid it will stay on your report for 15 years with Experian and Equifax, but it will remain indefinitely with TransUnion If you are close to a negative event expiry, it might be worthwhile to wait it out. If you are years away from it expiring you may need to get a cosigner to make you a more attractive applicant to lenders. Get a cosigner.If you know that you can afford the payments but your credit score doesn’t reflect that, a cosigner can help convince the lender that you are a worthy applicant. Cosigners give the lenders another person to hold responsible for payments, making them more confident in their decision to lend you the money. Be sure you can afford the payments however and have an honest conversation with your cosigner about your financial situation.  Check your application for mistakes.Review your application a few times before submitting it. Getting rejected for a clerical error is frustrating but avoidable. After filling out the paperwork it's a good idea to put it down and come to it later for a final review; fresh eyes can pick out mistakes more easily. That’s everything you need to know about the current car loan rejection rate. If you have a car loan that you aren’t happy with, contact Auto Approve today! We can help you refinance your loan and save you loads of money. So don’t wait.GET A QUOTE IN 60 SECONDS 
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Can I Have Two Car Loans at Once?

09/11/2023 17:06
If you already have a car that is financed, you may be wondering if it’s possible to get a second car loan. You may find yourself in the position of needing a second car, but today’s car prices make it hard to afford it without financing. The good news is that you can get a second car loan, but you may face more scrutiny which makes preparing your finances ahead of time that much more important.Here’s how you can prepare for a second car loan.How can I prepare for getting a second car loan?Applying for a second car loan will follow the same process as when you applied for your first car loan. You will however face more scrutiny from lenders because you are accruing more debt. Lenders will consider the same factors that they considered with your original car loan. They will look at your credit history, your current debt, payment history, and income to determine how much of a risk you are when it comes to financing. If you have a good income, good credit history, and don’t have a lot of debt you may find that getting a second car loan is no issue at all. If you are having trouble making your monthly car payments and in general are not in a great financial position, you may have a hard time securing a loan. The best way to prepare for a second car loan is to ensure that your finances are on track and that you can afford the car you wish to buy.How do I know if I can afford a second car? When you buy a second car, not only will you need to afford a second car payment every month, but you will have to afford the additional costs that come with buying a car. That means:Increased insurance premiumsMaintenance costsParking feesRegistration fees It’s important to think about all of this when you are considering which car to purchase. Selecting a car that you can afford comfortably will give you a better chance of keeping current with your payments.  The general rule of thumb is that your total transportation costs should not exceed 20% of your income. This means that your car payments, insurance, maintenance, gas, parking, and tolls should all be 20% or less of your income–and that’s for both cars. While you may not have a ton of control over the price of gas, parking, tolls, and maintenance, you do have some control over the car payments you will be making. The key is to select a car that you can afford. Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding which car you should purchase as a second car: Can I afford it? The first question you should ask yourself is if this actually fits into your budget. If you can afford it, then great! But if not, consider your needs and see if a used car would be a better option for you.What will this car be used for? In other words, why do you need a second car? If you need a car simply for getting from point A to point B, a small economical car with few addons might suffice. This will help you secure a lower purchase price. If you want a nicer second car that will be your fun weekend car, be sure to look around at different brands and try to find a car that will fit into your budget while still giving you the comfort you are craving.Can I wait and get my finances in great shape? If you can afford to wait a few months to make sure your finances are in order it can save you a lot of money. If the situation is urgent you may not have the luxury to shop around and get your credit boosted.Should I refinance my first loan? Before getting out a second loan you should take another look at your first loan. If your finances have improved since your initial loan you may be able to refinance and secure a lower interest rate. This can ease up a lot of money every month and allow you to more comfortably make a second loan payment every month.How can I improve my chances for getting a second car loan?Lenders tend to perceive a second car loan as risky so your odds for approval are lower. But there are several steps you can take to help get approved and get the best car loan APR possible. Check your credit report.Getting a copy of your credit report and reviewing it for errors can help you enormously. When you get your report you want to take a look at all payments made, all debt balances, and all open accounts. It’s good to review this every few months in general, but it’s especially important when you are interested in opening a new account. If you notice anything that is incorrect be sure to report it immediately. Fixing errors can bump up your credit score significantly. Reviewing your report also gives you a chance to check in on how you are doing financially. Are you keeping up with payments? Do you have too much debt? A self assessment will help you keep track of your finances much more efficiently.  Save for a down payment.A sizable down payment will not only help reduce the balance of your loan (and therefore reduce your payments) but it will also help you get a lower interest rate. A down payment instills confidence in the lender that you are responsible and have the means to make monthly payments.  Pay down revolving debt.Revolving debt is debt that you borrow against a line of credit, like a credit card. Paying down these accounts will significantly improve your debt to income ratio and improve your chances of getting approved for a second car loan. Get a cosigner. If you really need the second car but you are having trouble getting approved, you may want to consider using a cosigner. A cosigner with good credit can help you get approved and help you secure a better car loan interest rate. If you default on your payments your cosigner will be responsible for making them, making you a less risky candidate. But using a cosigner can make for a complicated personal relationship. After all, if you default on your loan you are putting them in a tight financial spot. It’s important to only do this if you are certain that you can afford the payments.  Estimate your car insurance payments.While maintenance costs can be tricky to predict, you are able to estimate your car insurance premiums before you purchase a second car. It’s important to take this into consideration because it can easily add a substantial amount onto the cost of your second car. To get an estimate you will need to know which car you are interested in (or at least have your top two or top three picked out). You will also need to determine the level of coverage you want. The requirements vary state to state so check your state’s department of motor vehicle to see what type of coverage you need. You can then reach out to your current insurance provider and get an estimate. Be sure to get quotes from a few other companies as well. You may find better deals with other companies especially if you are bundling your policies. Taking the additional cost of insurance into consideration will help you make the right choice when buying a second car. Shop around for the best car deal. There are a lot of options when it comes to buying a new car. While you used to be limited to the dealerships near you, there are now a lot more options available. When you find the car that is right for you, check the prices at several dealerships. Online dealerships like CarsDirect and Carvana may be more affordable options for you. Shopping around for the best deal can save you thousands. Get pre approved.Pre approval makes buying a new car much easier. You will know before you even set foot in a dealership what cars you can afford and how much your payments will be. It will also help you avoid the dealer financing pitch, which is usually always more expensive. The dealer will have to beat your pre approval rate, which may be hard for them to do. In general pre approval makes you seem like a prepared, no-nonsense buyer and will help you tremendously. It’s always good to bring a loved one along with you to the dealership to help keep you focused and help you resist the added pressures that are present at dealerships. That’s how you can get a second car loan.Getting a second car loan may be slightly more difficult, but preparing your finances will give you a better chance of being approved. If you are interested in refinancing your car loan, contact Auto Approve today! You can get a free quote in minutes and it could save you thousands. So don’t wait! GET A QUOTE IN 60 SECONDS
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Your Guide to Roadside Assistance

08/30/2023 20:35
Nothing can turn a good day into a bad day quite like car problems. Whether it’s a flat tire or an empty gas tank, an issue on the road can quickly derail your plans and ruin your day. But roadside assistance programs are designed to come to the rescue when car troubles rear their head. So how exactly do they work and where can you get one? Here’s everything you need to know about roadside assistance programs.What is roadside assistance?Roadside assistance is an optional service that you can sign up for which can assist you when your vehicle breaks down for a variety of reasons. If your vehicle breaks down your roadside assistance program will send emergency service to you that can assist with whatever the issue may be. These programs can also help offset the cost of the repairs, which can be very costly. What exactly is covered by roadside assistance plans will vary greatly, but here are some examples of what might be covered by your plan:Fuel deliveryElectric vehicle chargingLockout servicesTowingWinchingJumpstartTransportation for stranded passengersShould I get roadside assistance?In general it’s a good idea to have a roadside assistance program to help you prepare for the unexpected. But there are certain people who may find it more necessary than others. You should consider roadside assistance if:You have an older and/or unreliable carYou are unfamiliar with handling car-related emergencies, such as changing a tireYou drive a lot and/or take frequent road tripsYou want the additional discounts and benefits that stand alone policies offerYou like the peace of mind that comes with coverageWhere can I get roadside assistance?If you are looking for a roadside assistance program there are many different places that offer them. Their offerings will vary so you will need to think through what type of plan will be of most value to you. Car ManufacturersWhen you buy a new car many manufacturers will throw in a roadside assistance plan for a set time period. Since these programs are included in your purchase it’s good to take advantage of them, but these plans usually only cover towing to an authorized dealership. Here are some examples of roadside assistance through car manufacturers:Ford: Free roadside assistance up to 60,000 or five yearsHyundai: Free roadside assistance for five yearsToyota: Free roadside assistance for two yearsVolkswagen: Free roadside assistance for three years or 36,000 miles Insurance CompaniesYour car insurance provider may offer a roadside assistance program that you can add on to your premium. For one set added fee you can have all insured drivers and cars covered. It is usually a more affordable option than purchasing a standalone plan, but you must read the fine print to be sure that calls to roadside assistance do not count as a claim. If they do this could result in increased premiums. Credit Card CompaniesMany credit card companies cover roadside assistance as well, but these plans can be expensive. You may call for assistance but you will be charged accordingly, and it may not save you much money. For example Visa will charge you $80 per incident, which you may find to not be very helpful. These policies are better than not having any other coverage but are not full service protections.  Cell Phone CompaniesMany cell phone providers also offer roadside assistance programs that you can add on to your cell phone policy. Verizon and AT&T both offer plans for $3 a month that can offer some assistance, but these policies are similar to those offered by credit card companies. Again, these policies are better than not having any other coverage but are not full service protections. Standalone Roadside Assistance ProgramsYou can also choose to use a company that specializes in roadside assistance, such as AAA, National General Motor Club, and Better World Club. These companies have different tiers of coverage that you can select from, providing different options based on what works for you. These plans also frequently offer additional benefits such as discounts on hotels, restaurants, and fuel stations. Vehicle Protection PlansIf you have a vehicle protection plan you may also be covered for roadside assistance. For example if you refinance your car with Auto Approve you can add on a vehicle protection plan for a low monthly fee. If your car breaks down you can get 24/7 roadside assistance, courtesy towing, and even have your rental car reimbursed, and it is all covered by your protection plan.What should I look for in a roadside assistance plan?There are a lot of companies that offer roadside assistance, so you want to do your research and make sure you are covered for what you need. Here are the questions you should ask. Do I already have roadside assistance?It may be possible that you already have some coverage when it comes to roadside assistance. If you recently bought your car, check the sales agreement and warranty information to determine what is covered. You should also check your credit card agreement and your cell phone carrier agreement as they may offer some coverage. How much does the plan cost and what is covered?Roadside assistance plans can vary greatly in cost. They can be as little as $5 or $10 per year and can stretch well over $100 per year. Look at the cost of different tiers and what is included in each. You need to compare the cost in conjunction to comparing the services offered. How many claims are you allowed?Some roadside assistance plans will allow an unlimited number of calls, while others may only cover three. You may have to pay an additional fee after you reach your threshold.  Does your coverage extend to other cars and to other drivers?If someone is driving your car will they be allowed to use your roadside assistance plan? If you are driving someone else’s car will you be allowed to use your roadside assistance plan? It’s important to have a clear understanding of what–and who–is covered. That’s everything you need to know about roadside assistance programs.  It’s a good idea for most people to have some sort of protection plan, whether it is a free program through your credit card company or a paid plan through AAA or another standalone company. And if you refinance your car loan through Auto Approve you can add on a vehicle protection plan to keep you safeguarded from the unexpected. So if you are ready to start saving money and get an emergency roadside assistance program, contact Auto Approve today!GET A QUOTE IN 60 SECONDS
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10 Tips for Driving Safely This Fall

08/30/2023 01:04
Fall is almost here in all its breezy and colorful glory. While the fall is arguably the most beautiful time to go for a drive, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind to ensure that your drive is as safe as it is beautiful. Here are our top tips for driving in the fall.#1: Make sure your car is prepared.The changing of the seasons marks a great time to check in with your car and make sure it is properly maintained and prepared for fall driving. This means taking the following steps to ensure your car is in proper working order:Check on all fluid levels and top off accordingly. Change your oil if it’s due.Check all lights on your car, including headlights, turn signals, and brake lights. Check your wipers blades and replace them if necessary.Check on your heating system.  The days are getting shorter, the temperatures are dropping at night, and damp leaves are starting to accumulate. All of these factors make driving more hazardous, so making sure your car is ready for anything that might come your way is incredibly important. #2. Check your tires.While this technically fits in with “making sure your car is prepared”, it’s so important this time of year that it needs its own safety tip space to shine. Check your tires and ensure they have good tread and are wearing evenly. If your tires are wearing unevenly you may have an issue with alignment and should take your car into the mechanic to have them inspect it. If your tread is low, replace your tires as soon as possible. You also want to keep an eye on your tire pressure. The colder temperatures will cause the air to contract and decrease pressure, which can make your tires underinflated. This is not only dangerous but bad for your car. The bottom line is make sure your tires are good before the winter begins. #3. Stock up your emergency kit.You should already have an emergency kit loaded in your car with all of the essentials (if you don’t, start one as soon as possible!). But it’s good to take everything out and make sure you have everything you may need. Check that your snacks are still good, your bottle of water is intact, and your first aid kit is restocked with bandaids. You don’t want to be stuck without something you need, especially now that the nights are getting colder. #4. Be ready for shifting light patterns. Sunrise is happening later and later and sunset is happening earlier and earlier. This means that the sun glare while driving will affect most people much more. Be sure to keep sunglasses in your car for when the glare becomes too much, keep your windshield clean, and make sure your windshield fluid is topped off.#5. Prepare for driving with leaves.Falling leaves are beautiful but they create a boatload of safety issues when driving. Here are some of the top things to keep in mind:Wet leaves decrease friction significantly which makes them very dangerous to drive on. It’s all too easy to lose control of your vehicle when they are slick on the road. Make sure to slow down ahead of time and take your time on bends. As the temperatures drop, leaves can become icy, making them even more dangerous.Dry leaves can also reduce friction. Leaves on the road can cover up potholes and road markings.Leaf peepers can create dangerous driving conditions all by themselves. They may drive below the speed limit, miss signs, and just not pay attention in general.  Be sure to pay extra attention when the leaves are falling and make sure the leaves are removed from your hood and wipers to prevent any issues with visibility.#6. Be on the lookout for deer.Deer breed in the fall, which means that not only are they out and about more, but they are hopped up on hormones and usually a little less skittish than normal. Be extra vigilant when driving, especially at dusk and dawn when they are more active. If you do see a deer in the road, put your hazards on and drive slowly. Alerting other drivers will help everyone avoid an accident.#7. Consider school traffic.When kids head back to school there is more school traffic to consider. Buses will be out on the roads, kids will be walking to and from school, and kids will be playing outside after school in the beautiful weather. Be especially careful when driving by leaf piles. Kids love to play and hide in them, so avoid driving through and near them and all costs. #8. Gear up for frost.Dew and rain this time of year combined with dropping temperatures means that frost is inevitable. This can make for very slick areas that may appear innocuous but are actually pretty dangerous. Many are prepared for this in the winter, but when slick conditions appear in the fall they are unprepared. Be sure to monitor the temperature as you are driving and if it starts getting cold, increase your vigilance.#9. Prepare for night driving.As the sun sets earlier and earlier, the chances are you will be driving in the dark more often. And driving at night is actually much more dangerous than driving during the day. According to the National Safety Council while only 25% of driving occurs at night, 50% of all accidents occur at night. This is because depth perception, peripheral vision, glare, and color recognition are all affected by the dark, making everyone a less safe driver while on the road at night.#10. Double check your insurance, registration, and car loan information.Again, the change of the seasons can serve as a good reminder to ensure all of your car-related paperwork is in order. Is your insurance up to date and valid? Is your registration current? Are your car loan payments manageable? How does your interest rate compare to other rates on the market? Refinancing your loan can help secure a lower interest rate and better repayment terms, which can help free up some money before the holiday season hits. Use this time to check in and ensure everything is up to date and you are satisfied with your car loan.Those are our top tips for driving in the fall. Take the time to prepare your car and your mindset for fall time driving to make sure you enjoy the season. Keep yourself, your loved ones, and your car safe while hitting the roads this season. Interested in refinancing your car loan? Contact Auto Approve today!GET A QUOTE IN 60 SECONDS
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The Best Place to Get a Car Loan

08/29/2023 19:31
If you are looking for a car loan, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that there are a lot of places that can help you secure a loan. The bad news is that there’s A LOT of places that can help you secure a loan. When there are so many options it’s hard to know where to turn. So how can you find the best place to get a car loan? Let’s talk about the best place to get a car loan and how you can decide what is right for you.Where can I get a car loan? At a Car DealershipOne of the easiest ways to get a car loan is to simply go to the dealership and arrange for financing when you purchase your new car. Dealers make it easy for you to do everything in house. They have relationships with certain lenders and can approve you on the spot for financing. This can be good or bad depending on your situation. The biggest advantage to dealer financing is that it is convenient. You don’t need to make any effort other than showing up at the dealership with the necessary paperwork. But with convenience comes the one major disadvantage: you cannot shop around and compare. Taking the time to research and compare rates and lenders can help ensure that you get the best rate, the best terms, and essentially the best loan possible. Dealer financing is generally more expensive because the dealer is tacking on additional fees or additional interest to the lender’s loan. You are paying for a middle man in addition to paying the lender. Some dealerships have in-house financing companies, which are referred to as captive finance companies. These companies are lending institutions in and of themselves. Captive financing may offer more discounts since they have control of the underwriting process. But they may also be much more aggressive when trying to upsell you and there may be inflated prices. The advantages: ConvenienceThe disadvantages: Higher rates, higher pressureThe bottom line: Dealer financing is not the best place to get a car loan, but if you need a new car and are having trouble getting approved elsewhere it may be your best bet.At a Traditional BankGoing to a traditional bank is still a great option for many people looking to secure a car loan. Banks can usually offer the lowest rates and the best terms, but these rates are reserved for those with the best credit scores and credit history. You may find limitations and restrictions when using a traditional bank, for instance many traditional banks will not finance a car that is over a certain age or mileage.  The advantages: Competitive rates, many locations, great customer serviceThe disadvantages: Less flexibility, not great for those with poor creditThe bottom line: A traditional bank is a great place to get a car loan if you have good credit, but if your credit is less than stellar you may have a hard time securing a loan.At a Credit UnionCredit unions operate in a similar way as banks do, but they are not for profit and instead distribute their profits to their members. They tend to serve specific locations or communities of people as well, as opposed to a traditional bank that has branches throughout the country if not the world. Credit unions may have membership requirements but they offer many benefits, often offering better interest rates than traditional banks. They can also be more flexible for those who may not meet the standards of a traditional bank.  The advantages: Competitive rates, great customer service, more flexible than traditional banksThe disadvantages: May not meet membership requirements, do not have a lot of locationsThe bottom line: A credit union is a great financing option for many people. They often have the lowest rates and great customer service, but you may need to shop around and determine your eligibility. OnlineOnline lenders have become an increasingly popular option for car loans in the past decade, and it’s easy to see why. When looking for an online lender you can easily shop around and compare interest rates and terms. There are so many online lenders that there are usually options for every type of applicant. If you have poor credit an online lender may be your best bet to get approved, although you will end up with a very high interest rate (subprime borrowers can get loans that are upwards of 22%). If you have great credit you may find the most competitive rates online, rates that may even beat those offered by traditional lenders. But these lenders vary greatly in terms of reputation and customer service, so it’s imperative that you do your homework before signing with any online lender. These companies typically require much more vetting than would be necessary with a traditional bank or credit union.  The advantages: Lots of options to compare, competitive ratesThe disadvantages: Requires more research and vetting which makes it much more time consumingThe bottom line: If you have the time and patience to use an online lender you may find the most competitive rates and best terms for your car loan.How can I get the best car loan rate?While there are a lot of different places where you can secure a car loan, they all take the same factors into consideration. Getting the best car loan rate possible will depend on the same factors:Your credit score and credit report.Your income and employment history.Your down paymentYour loan termYour carThe current economic conditions Each of these factors is looked at carefully when the lender is determining what car loan rate they will offer.Your credit score and credit report.This is the biggest factor that is within your control that will dictate the car loan rate you are offered. Your credit score is a fast and easy way for lenders to determine how creditworthy you are and how likely you are to repay a loan.  Below 580: Poor580 to 669: Fair670 to 739: Good740 to 799: Very Good800 and up: ExceptionalBy fitting your score into one of these brackets they can easily decide if you are responsible with your accounts and able to manage your money. Lenders can then take a closer look at your credit report to learn more about your financial health. Do you pay your bills on time? Are you in a lot of debt? All of these factors will help them decide what score you are offered. The higher your credit score is, the better your interest rate will be. Your income and employment history. Lenders want to ensure that you have a source of income to pay for the new car you are getting. They will not want to give you a loan where your payments will be $800 a month when you are only earning $1000 a month.  Your down payment.Down payments are important for a lot of reasons, and a sizable down payment may even lower your interest rate. Lenders view you as less risky if they see that you have made a large down payment. Your loan term.In general you will be offered a better interest rate if you select a shorter repayment period. Your loan payments will be higher every month because you are not stretching out your repayment period, but you will save a lot of money in interest.  Your car.The car that you are buying will also affect the interest rate. New cars come with lower interest rates because they will have a higher resale value should you default on your loan. If you are buying an older car you may have a hard time finding a loan in general.  The current economic conditions.The only factor that you have no control over whatsoever is the current economic conditions. When the economy is dealing with high inflation the interest rates will be higher to curb spending and try to stabilize the economy. There is nothing that you can do to change this, so your best bet is to wait until the interest rates go down before securing a new loan. This is not always possible however, so shopping around for the best rates is more important than ever.Where should I get a car loan?Ultimately the best place to get a car loan will depend on your situation. But regardless of where you decide to apply, it’s important to make sure your credit is in good shape and that your credit score is as high as possible. Shopping around and comparing rates is key when determining the best lender for your situation.That’s how you can decide where to get the best car loan for you.There are a lot of lenders that offer car loans, so the more research and preemption you do the better off you will be.  If you already have a car loan but want a redo, contact Auto Approve today! Our experts can help you refinance your loan and save you money. And who doesn’t want that?GET A QUOTE IN 60 SECONDS
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What's a Yo-Yo Financing Scam?

08/28/2023 17:48
Imagine you have saved for months, even years, for the car of your dreams. You arrive at the dealership, negotiate your terms, and drive off the lot feeling on top of the world in your new set of wheels. But days later you get a phone call and are told that the financing fell through and you need to come back to discuss this. You are in disbelief, but what can you do? This scam is called yo-yo financing, and it ropes many Americans into bad financing deals every year. Let’s talk about yo-yo financing scams and how you can protect yourself from fraud. What is yo-yo financing?Yo-yo financing is when you finance a car through a dealership and the dealer pulls you back (like a yo-yo) and changes the terms of the deal after you have already left with your new car.  In reality, dealerships are misusing what is referred to as spot delivery. Spot delivery allows dealers to sell you a car and even send you home with it when banks are closed, like on weekends, nights, and holidays. They can approve you for loan terms conditionally, while final approval will be made later during normal business hours. While this law is intended to help people who need to do business in off hours, when it is misused it allows dealers to prey on vulnerable buyers. How does yo-yo financing work?The dealer will sell you the car with their usual tactics. You’ll test drive, you’ll talk, and you’ll get down to business talking about money. The dealer will tell you that you are approved for a certain loan deal and agree about the specifics, including the down payment you will make, the interest rate, and the repayment period. But in reality this is only a tentative deal, and the fine print in your sales agreement backs this up. The dealer has presented this sale as a done deal, when in fact they knew that there was no way you would qualify for such a loan.  But you don’t know any of that; all you know is that you have a new car and a new loan, and you drive home thinking all is well and good. A few days or even weeks later you get a call from the dealer who tells you that the financing fell through. Maybe you need to make a larger down payment, or maybe you need to come in and resign for a higher interest rate. When this happens, you may think that you can just refuse. After all, you signed the paperwork right? This tactic will not work however, and dealerships can (and will) repossess your car. In some instances dealers have even called to report the car stolen and had the drivers arrested for theft.  To avoid this, you go back to the dealership and try to talk to them. Dealers will try to talk you into any of the following:Putting more money downAgreeing to a higher interest rateLengthening your repayment planPutting you in a different carWhat if you traded your old car in and they already sold it? Legally they are only required to give you the cash value of that sale, which can be devastating. When people fall victim to this scam they have already taken the car home to show their friends and family. They have already fallen in love with their car and can’t wrap their head around returning it. So most people simply give in and agree to the unfavorable terms. How common is yo-yo financing?Yo-yo financing is considered to be a widespread problem by the Federal Trade Commission. In 2022 there were 900 cases that were filed where consumers felt they were victims, but it is believed to be a much much larger problem than that. Unfortunately there is no explicit law that bans this practice. That is because spot delivery or spot financing is legal, and this scam is associated with an abuse of that practice.  A handful of states are trying to address this with certain restrictions to spot deliveries. Maryland for example requires that a dealer writes a detailed disclosure before releasing the car to you, and then they have just four days to notify whether or not your financing terms have been rejected. If you have been denied they must return all payments that you have made, including your trade in vehicle, down payment, taxes, and fees.How can I prevent becoming a victim of yo-yo financing?There are a few ways that you can protect yourself from this scam. Knowing that this scam is out there is a great first step, but there are other precautions you can take as well. Get pre approved.Getting preapproved is incredibly important when it comes to buying a car. You should not depend on dealer financing when looking to get a new car. Dealers typically charge more than a bank or credit union would charge. It’s also easy to get swept away by a dealer's sales pitch and not fully think through the financing terms you are agreeing to. But if you get preapproved you can shop with confidence knowing that you can afford the car you want. Pre Approval will also alert you if a deal is too good to be true. If you know that you were pre approved for a 6.5% loan over 48 months and the dealer tells you that you have been approved for a 5% loan over 36 months, it should alert you that something is off. Read the fine print.Everything comes with fine print these days and it’s easy to gloss over language, especially when it seems like it is a standard contract. But the fine print will reveal a lot to you. If you see terms such as “conditional” or you see that some areas on the contract are left blank, question this. If the dealer lets you drive the car away without signing anything, run the other way.  Bring along some support.It’s a good idea to bring along a friend or loved one when looking to buy a car. They can help keep you grounded and be another set of eyes to watch out for any warning signs.  Don’t sign until you are ready.Salesmen are trained to get you to sign a contract on the spot. They want to make a sale as soon as possible so that you have less time to change your mind. But keep in mind that there is no rush and you are under no obligation to make a decision on the spot. Walking away and thinking before you sign may save you from a predatory financing deal. Ask to see proof of approval.You are allowed to ask for written verification that your loan terms are approved (in fact you should ask for this confirmation). They may tell you it is confidential but that is not true.What should I do if I was the victim of a yo-yo scam?There are a lot of red flags that will jump out if you are involved in a yo-yo financing scam. After you leave with your car you will get a phone call from the dealership with one of the following lines:You need to come in to make a larger down payment.Your interest rate will be increasing.We still need your signature on some paperwork.You are not approved and must return to discuss.Your financing fell through unfortunately. You need to come back with a cosigner.We have a better deal that you qualify for. All of these are red flags, but it may be too late to do anything at that point. They are legally allowed to take the car back if the fine print specifies that they can. And unfortunately it is very rare for a customer to win a lawsuit or get to keep the car under the same terms.  If you feel like you are a victim, read all of your paperwork very carefully. If you see that the sale was conditional, try to simply return the car and get out of the situation. You may be invested in trying to keep the car, in which case you can ask to see a copy of the denial letter. If they say they cannot provide it, this is a major red flag that you may have been scammed this whole time. Consider consulting the National Association of Consumer Advocates website to contact an attorney that specializes in fraud. It’s important to file a complaint at the very least so that measures to make this practice illegal can move forward.That’s everything you need to know about yo-yo financing.If you feel like you have been a victim of this scam it’s important to file a complaint. You may not be able to get out of the deal, but you can help other people from becoming a victim. If you are in a bad financing relationship it’s a good idea to contact Auto Approve to discuss car loan refinancing. They can help secure a better loan rate and get you more favorable terms. GET A QUOTE IN 60 SECONDS
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8 Safety Features That Will Lower Your Car Insurance

08/28/2023 01:53
Every year car manufacturers are adding more and more features to their new models that make life easier and more convenient. But many of these features are doing more than that–they are making us safer. By creating safer driving environments they are reducing the risk of accidents on the road, which can also translate to insurance savings. So which features can keep you safe while also saving you some money?Here are 8 safety features that will lower your car insurance.#1. Forward-Collision WarningForward collision warning detects if a collision is about to occur based on the car’s speed and distance from the object ahead of them. Advanced sensors that are located in the car’s fascia work to monitor objects that are detected and warn drivers when a collision may occur. These systems often work in conjunction with other systems, like automatic emergency braking, to make driving much more safe. In fact the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has found that FCW reduces rear-end crashes by 27%.#2. Blind Spot Detection Blind spots create major issues and can be dangerous for drivers, but blind spot detection can help alert drivers to another car that may be driving where you cannot see them. These detection systems use cameras, radars, and ultrasonic sensors to detect the location of other cars. If a car is detected in your blindspot you will receive a visual warning (typically a light will appear on the mirror or by your steering wheel). If you put on your turn signal you will then get an audible warning that will alert you that it’s unsafe to change lanes. These detections are now standard on most cars, and with good reason. Studies have found that blind spot detection reduces lane change collisions with injuries by 23%.#3. Lane Departure WarningAnother warning feature that has reduced collisions on the road is the lane departure warning system. This feature alerts you when you start to drift out of your lane. Sensors use the road markings to determine where your car is in relation to the lane and if you start to drift into another lane it will give you an audible, tactile, or visual indication. The road markings must be clear and bright for this feature to work, not faded or covered. LDW systems have been shown to reduce vehicle crashes by 26% and the number of seriously injured drivers by 20.7%.#4. Rearview CamerasRearview cameras are standard in most cars these days, and that’s because they are incredibly helpful when backing up and parallel parking. They reduce your blind spots and can help you see objects that are low to the ground, such as pets and children, that you might not see if you were without a camera.#5. Anti-Theft DeviceIf you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, this means you are covered for theft and vandalism. But certain anti-theft devices can lower your premium as they will deter theft and make it more difficult. According to a study by AgileRates, having an audible alarm may reduce your premium by about 0.4% a year. If your car is equipped with a passive disabling device it may reduce your premium by about 0.7% a year. A passive disabling device is a type of security device that is armed when certain conditions are met, such as the key is not in the ignition and the doors are closed. When this type of device is activated the engine is immobilized, which makes stealing your car much more difficult.#6. Anti Lock BrakesAnti-lock brakes are designed to prevent your brakes from locking when you brake hard in an emergency. This will help you continue to have control of your car when you are skidding on the road. ABS is designed to aid with steering, not necessarily decrease the stopping distance, but oftentimes the use of ABS does decrease the stopping distance. Anti Lock brakes became  mandatory for new cars in the EU in 2004 and mandatory for new cars in the United States in 2012. ABS has been shown to reduce the number and severity of vehicle crashes of all types. #7.  GPS TrackingGPS tracking will help you locate your car in the event that it is stolen. Trackers use satellite navigation data to provide real time information as to where your car is at any time. But there are some additional benefits to GPS tracking aside from locating it in the event that it is stolen. GPS can help emergency responders locate you if you are ever in trouble, you can track your car down easier if it gets towed, and some insurance carriers may use your GPS data to track your driving habits (and offer you discounts).#8. Adaptive LightsAdaptive headlights bend light around turns so that you can see what is ahead of you when driving at night. The headlights use sensors that detect your steering angle and swivel to follow the direction that you are driving. Adaptive lights make driving winding roads late at night much safer and have been shown to reduce the amount of nighttime accidents.How much money will safety features save me on car insurance?All of these features may provide a slight reduction in the amount you are spending on car insurance. While some may only save you a few dollars each year, they are all incredibly important and useful safety features that can help keep you safe on the road. If you are looking for additional ways to save money on your car insurance every year, try the following steps:Shop around and compare every year when your policy is up for renewal (even if you are happy with the service).Keep a healthy credit score by paying your bills on time, monitoring your credit report for any errors, and ensuring you don’t have too much debt.Look around for additional discounts you may be eligible for (student discounts, military discounts, good driving discounts).Reduce optional insurance on older cars, especially if you don’t drive them a lot.Bundle your car insurance with other insurance, such as homeowners or renters insurance. Look into low mileage discounts if you don’t spend a lot of time in your car. The most important thing you can do to save money on your insurance is shop around and compare. But taking other steps such as buying a car with good safety features and keeping a good credit score will help you to get the best insurance price possible.Those are the top safety features that can save you money on insurance.If you are looking for another way to save money, contact Auto Approve today! Refinancing your car loan can help put money back in your pocket. So what are you waiting for?GET A QUOTE IN 60 SECONDS
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Can You Pay Student Loans with a Credit Card?

08/22/2023 03:23
Many people in the United States are drowning in debt; specifically student loan debt. Americans owe a collective $1.77 trillion in federal and private student loans as of March 2023, and these burdens are hard for many people to escape. So what are your options when it comes to paying your student loans?  Let’s talk about student loan debt and whether or not paying debt with a credit card is a good idea (hint: it’s not).How bad is student loan debt in America?Borrowers in the US owe a combined $1.77 trillion in federal and private student loans. This is a tremendous burden for the approximate 43 million Americans with student loan debt. When we compare this to $243 billion in education debt just 20 years ago, it’s clear that student debt has accelerated at an alarming pace. Why has this debt increased so dramatically? It doesn’t help that college is more expensive now than ever before. According to Bankrate, the average in-state tuition for a public college is $26,027 while the average private university student spends $55,840. That is per year and does not include room and board and other expenses that are incurred. For an 18 year old person, this is a tremendous bill to face and a hard spot to be in. For many who take on this debt it is hard to imagine how it will snowball and affect their future. What are the effects of student loan debt?Student loan debt has many effects, not only for the borrower but for the economy at large. While student loan debt will help some get their dream job, that is not true for everyone who is saddled with this debt.  It is bad for mental health.Student loan debt weighs heavily on the minds of many. In fact, according to a study by ELVTR, the mental health effects of student loan debt are striking. Consider the following statistics:54% of American borrowers have experienced mental health issues due to student debt.84% of American borrowers have delayed a major life event due to student loan debt.32% of American borrowers have had depression due to student debt.20% of American borrowers have experienced insomnia due to student debt.17% of American borrowers have had panic attacks due to student debt.36% of American borrowers regret borrowing money for school, while an additional 23% doubt if borrowing money was a good idea.  Debt clearly has a huge effect on the minds of borrowers. Considering that many people are making this choice when they are very young in life, it’s not hard to see how so many are in over their head with student loan payments.It lowers the rate of homeownership.With so many young people saddled with student loan debt it is hard for them to buy their own house. Data from the Education Data Initiative shows that people are 36% less likely to purchase a home if they have student loan debt. Borrowers are worried that additional debt will ruin their credit and cause too much damage. It lowers consumer spending.When people are in debt they have less disposable income. This means that they cannot inject money into the economy the way they could if they were unencumbered by student loan debt. It causes delays in life events.Borrowers are waiting longer for traditional life events than previous generations. This means that getting married and having children are being put off later and later. Many cannot afford the wedding they want to have or the cost of raising a family, so they are waiting longer for these milestones. It gives students less autonomy.Student loans were initially designed to help kids get an education. But the student loan debt industry has morphed into another entity in recent decades. Universities are charging more than ever before, investing more than ever before, and profiting more than ever before. For so many students, the price tag of college has caused a shift in economic power.How can I pay off my student loan debt? While changes to the existing college system are certainly needed, change will do little to help the millions of borrowers who are already in the trenches with their debt. If you are having trouble making your student loan payments, here are your repayment options. Don’t: Use a credit cardIn general you cannot pay a student loan bill with a credit card. Loan servicers do not accept them directly. You may however be able to use an intermediary service that will allow you to use your card. An intermediary service will charge your card (plus a processing fee) and then they will make your loan payment from their funds. But there is really no benefit to doing this. After all, you have not paid off your debt, you have simply moved it to a different place. And you are actually in more debt than you were before because of the additional processing fee. The interest rate on your credit card is also likely higher than your student loan rate, so you will end up paying a lot more than you would initially.  But what about credit card rewards? Any benefit will almost certainly be offset by processing fees or additional interest.  But what about a 0% card? In some instances you may be able to use a card with an introductory 0% rate. But this rate is only temporary, so unless you plan on paying off everything within that time period, you will be stuck with a huge interest rate. So just trust us: don’t pay for your student loan on a credit car.Do: Refinance your private loans.Refinancing your private loans may help you get a better handle on your monthly payments and get a better interest rate. If you have private student loans you can refinance them by shopping around. Looking at different lenders in your area and online will help you find some competitive rates. Refinancing these loans and reducing your interest rate can help save you a lot of money. If these loans are federal, you will no longer be able to qualify for repayment programs that are designed for student loans, but if you find a good rate this may note be necessary anyway. It’s just important to keep in mind that once you refinance with a private lender you cannot go backwards.  Don’t: Get a payday loan.If you are feeling panicked, avoid getting a high interest payday loan. These loans will help you make your payment, sure, but they will leave you with an incredibly high interest rate that you will have trouble repaying.  Do: Ask for a deferment. Asking for a deferment will allow you to take a pause on your payments until you can get your head above water again. You will have to pay the interest that accrues during this time, but having a break for a couple of months can help you get back on track. Don’t: Ignore it.Ignoring your student debt is not an option. It will not be forgiven, even if you declare bankruptcy.  Do: Try debt consolidation Consolidating your loans is a great way to get a handle on your debt. If you have federal student loans you can consolidate them into Federal Direct Loans, which can help get you on a repayment plan. Income-driven repayment plans will look at how much money you make and determine how much you can repay. This will also extend your repayment period to 20 or 25 years. At the end of this time period if you have not repaid your balance in full, the remainder will be forgiven. A Direct Loan also may qualify you for additional benefits, such as student loan forgiveness after the completion of 120 payments (10 years).How can we fix student loan debt?The Biden Administration’s plan for student loan forgiveness was blocked by the Supreme Court in June 2023, dashing the hopes of many for relief. But ultimately the solution to student loan debt lies with the cost of college. There are many reasons for the increase in cost, and many of these reasons are hotly debated. But according to the Bipartisan Policy Center and other researchers there are several steps that can be taken to make college more affordable (and therefore reduce future student loan debt).Incentivize states to invest in higher education.Create grant programs to fill in the gaps of education funding.Mandate more transparency on the real costs of college.Accreditation of new institutions to create a more competitive landscape. Opening the playing field to new institutions will hopefully increase the competition and create a more accessible education system.  That’s everything you need to know about student loan debt and how you can make your monthly payments. If you own a car, refinancing your car with Auto Approve can help free up some money every month! And who couldn’t use some extra money every month? So don’t wait!GET A QUOTE IN 60 SECONDS
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Budgeting Tips to Save For Your Down Payment

08/21/2023 19:31
You have almost certainly heard the term “down payment”, whether you are looking to buy a car, a house, or another large purchase. But coming up with the money for a down payment can seem daunting, if not downright impossible. So how can you save money for a down payment on your car and make your dreams come true? Here are our top budgeting tips to help you make a down payment on a new car.What is a down payment?A down payment is money that you pay upfront when making a large purchase and getting a loan. The higher your down payment is the less you will need to take out from a lender. Down payments are typically referred to as a percentage of the total purchase price. When buying a car experts recommend putting down 20% of the purchase price as a down payment.  While many lenders require a down payment of at least 10%, it’s a good idea to meet the suggested 20% if you can swing it. What are the advantages of making a down payment?You will have a better chance of getting approved.Many lenders want to see a down payment, and if you are not able to make one it may be a dealbreaker for a lot of lenders out there. Your monthly payment will be lower.The higher your down payment is, the less you will need to take out from a bank. This means that your monthly payments will be significantly less than if you chose to make a small down payment (or not make a down payment at all). Your interest rate will be lower.Lenders tend to offer lower interest rates to those who put more money down upfront. This is because it shows the lender that you are serious about your purchase and have the capital to come up with the initial money you need. If you struggle coming up with a down payment, chances are you will struggle when it comes to making monthly payments. Lenders will still look at your credit score, income, and other factors, but a strong down payment will certainly be beneficial in getting a lower rate. Your car has a lower chance of becoming underwater.When a loan is underwater it means that you owe more money on your car than the car is worth. Depreciation can be a beast and if you do not make a down payment you may find that your car is depreciating at a higher rate than you are able to pay off your loan. If you owe more on your car than it is worth you have what’s called negative equity. If you were to get into an accident and total your car but had no equity in the car, the insurance company may simply pay you the fair market value of the car and leave you to pay the difference that you owe to the lender. So you could actually be making payments on a car that is no longer usable.Should you take a “zero down” offer?“Zero down” offers are common tactics for dealerships to get people into new cars. But these offers should always be avoided. When you put no money down it means that you have to take a loan out for the entire amount of the car, the entire amount that you will have to pay interest on. As we mentioned before, they will also charge you a higher interest rate because you are considered to be more of a risk. If you are tempted by an offer like this, sit down and do the math to understand how much more money you will be paying in the end.How do you budget for a down payment?We know that down payments are important, but how can we save up to make it happen? After all, in 2022 the average new car was over $46,000. That means that a 20% down payment would be over $9,000. And on top of that, you have to pay taxes, fees, and get your car registered and insured. So how can we save that much money and get the car we want? #1. Create a budget.It may sound silly that the number one way to budget for a down payment is to ACTUALLY create a budget, but it’s true. Many families in the United States do not have budgets that they write down and adhere to strictly, but it’s the best way to save for your goals and ensure you are not in over your head. You will need to write down all of the money you have coming into your house every month and compare it to all of the money you have going out every month. Account for every bill you have and make averages for categories that are variable, such as groceries. This will help give you insight into where your money is going every month and where you are spending the most amount of money. #2. Set a timeline and saving goal.Looking at your budget should give you an idea of how long it will take you to save for a down payment. Looking around at different cars you are interested in will help give you an idea of how much money you need to come up with. Make sure that the car you are looking at fits within your budget and that you will be able to make monthly payments after the down payment is made. You should aim to spend less than 20% on all of your transportation expenses every month. This means not only your car payment but gas, insurance, maintenance, parking, and any of the costs for which you may be responsible. When you know how much you need you can figure out how long it will take you to achieve your goal. A timeline will also help keep you motivated and keep your eyes on the prize: that new car you want. #3. Look where to make your cuts.A huge benefit of having a budget is that you can honestly look at how much you are spending every month and where it is going. Are you spending a little more on takeout than you would like? Are your subscription services like Netflix and Hulu taking a major toll on your wallet? Seeing all of these items listed out will help you determine where and how you can change your lifestyle to support your financial goals. Groceries and food waste are a common culprit when it comes to sabotaging our budgets. Getting in the routine of mapping out your meals so you are only buying things that you will use, shopping the sales that are listed in the store circulars, and buying some items in bulk can help you save some serious cash at the grocery store. Be sure to get the store rewards card as well–there are a lot of savings you could be leaving behind. In general, any small steps that you take to reduce your spending will help you save more and more money towards your down payment. #4. Create a savings account for your down payment.It’s very beneficial to keep the money you are saving in a separate account. This will help you to keep track of how much you have saved. This will also allow you to contribute automatically to your savings. Many companies will allow you to split up how your paycheck is deposited, allowing you to funnel a certain percentage of your paycheck to checking and the remainder to your savings. #5. Sell or trade in your new car.If you already have a car, trading it in or selling it may provide a large chunk of your down payment. Trading in your car will provide ease and help you negotiate buying your new car. But you will most likely make more money if you can sell it privately and then use the cash to make the down payment. This will be more of a hassle and take more time, but it may be worth it if you can swing it. Do your research to determine if either of these moves may be right for you.  #6. Start hustling. When you have cut all the costs you can but it’s not getting you to your goal fast enough, it’s time to start hustling. What side hustles could fit into your life and earn you a little more cash? Delivering food and groceries, driving for Uber, tutoring online, renting a room on Airbnb, babysitting, walking dogs, doing yard work–the options are endless. See what opportunities are in your area and do the extra until you meet your goal and can make your down payment.That’s how you can budget and save money for your car’s down payment.Down payments are incredibly important, and saving enough can be difficult. After all, no one wants to pinch pennies. But taking a drive in your new car will help you feel better when you reach the finish line. If you are overpaying every month on your car payments, contact Auto Approve today! GET A QUOTE IN 60 SECONDS
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How to Survive a Car Ride with Kids

08/21/2023 18:08
A lot changes when you have kids, even your time in the car. Perhaps your car used to be your safe space, a place where you could listen to your favorite music while enjoying the fresh air. But now it’s full of kids' music, snack wrappers, and incessant chatter. Whether it’s a 10 minute drive to school or a 3 hour drive to grandma’s house, a car ride with kids can feel like a battle. So how can you survive, and maybe even enjoy, a car ride with kids?Here’s your ultimate guide for surviving a car ride with kids.Plan and prepare your car ahead of time.Like everything, preparation is your key to success. Starting with a clean and organized car will put you in a good mindset and help ensure that you have everything you will need. Vacuum the floors, wipe everything down, and have a little garbage pail or bag at the ready. If you start your trip clean you will have an easier time keeping it clean. If you start with chaos, it will beget more chaos. Even if you are just running errands, there are certain things you should always have with you:First aid kit. Because when you have kids, anything can happen.Snacks. More on this later, but this is imperative when it comes to car rides.Drinks. Again, imperative.Emergency kit. Flares, a charger, jumper cables, whistle, etc. A roadside emergency kit from Amazon will have everything you need for the unexpected.Entertainment. Another cornerstone of traveling with kids.Cell phone charger. You don’t want to be out with kids and risk not having a phone.Blanket. Whether you want to take it on a picnic or have it to snuggle up with if it’s cold, a blanket is a great thing to keep tucked in your trunk. Tissues, paper towels, and trash bags. Chances are you will need one or all of these things at some point when driving around with your kids. Plan entertainment.Kids get bored easily. While you may enjoy the scenery of driving around, chances are your kids will not. This doesn’t mean you have to play Baby Shark on repeat (although this is a valid tactic that may get you through a rough patch).  Here are some ideas for kids' entertainment, depending on their ages.BabiesHopefully your baby is a car sleeper. But if not, they may be comfortable with soothing music or a podcast. A mirror will provide them with some entertainment, but for a longer trip a busy board that attaches to the car seat may be a good investment. Toddlers and Young KidsPracticing repeat after me phrases, animal noises, counting, and letters are all great ways to entertain young kids. Singalongs are also the most classic car entertainment for toddlers. If they are old enough to color, bring along a clipboard and coloring books (you don’t need all the colors of the rainbow though). Older KidsAs kids get older, they may be able to read and listen to music independently. If they require a bit more stimulation, play some games such as travel bingo, I Spy, the license plate game, and Mad Libs. Encourage them to interact with you or their siblings at least a little bit. Car time should be a time for bonding as well. Talk to them and enjoy your time with them. Soon you will long for the days when they would sit in the car and just talk with you.Plan surprises.You should have a few tricks up your sleeve in case of an emergency meltdown. Stopping at the dollar store for a few new toys or books that you can pull out as needed is a great way to keep your kids entertained before things go off the rails. You don’t want to bring so much that they are overwhelmed or consistently waiting for the next toy to come out, but bringing a few new things will keep some excitement going.Plan snacks.Snacks are one of the most important components of any trip in the car. The right snack can prevent an epic meltdown and keep your kids fueled. It’s good to have a variety, from pouches and other shelf stable snacks to fruits, veggies, and string cheese. Keeping a small cooler will help keep these snacks safe and fresh. And don’t forget the water! Kids can forget to drink when they are sitting around, so encouraging them to drink out of their favorite bottle or sippy cups will keep them hydrated. Look at your route and where you will be driving ahead of time so that you know where you can stop for refills or if you should bring a jug of water with you.Plan bathroom breaks.With the snacks and drinks come the bathroom breaks. If your child is still in diapers, be sure to have a bag packed with diapers, wipes, creams, and a pad you can change them on if you need to stop suddenly. If your child is potty training, it’s a good idea to bring a foldable potty training seat so that they are more comfortable in strange bathrooms. A change of clothes is always good too, just in case. Having a roll of toilet paper and wet wipes never hurts either!Plan some stops.  If you plan on being in the car for a while, plan some stops along the way. Kids get restless and antsy (rightfully so) when they are cooped up, so plan to stop at a park or have a picnic along the way. This will give your kids some time to run around and get their energy out while also giving them something to look forward to and break up the time on the road.Plan for it to take a little longer.If you have kids, you already know that it takes longer to get out the door than ever before. And it also takes a bit longer to get places. Pad your drive time accordingly, giving yourself an extra 5 or ten minutes for a 45 minute or hour trip, or an extra hour for a 4 or 5 hour trip. That’s how you can survive–and hopefully enjoy–a car ride with kids.Cars can be stressful places when you are cramped in, especially if it’s for a longer period of time. But being prepared and learning how to make the most of your situation will make the experience enjoyable and memorable. We all hope to make memories that last a lifetime–not car payments that last a lifetime. If you are stuck in a bad relationship with your car loan lender, contact Auto Approve today to see how refinancing can help you!GET A QUOTE IN 60 SECONDS
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