Apps, Car Talk, Sponsored, Tips and Tricks, Travel

Tips On Negotiating The Best Car Price

This post is in sponsorship with Cars.com. I was compensated but topic/words are my own

Tips On Negotiating The Best Car Price

Almost more dreading than deciding on the car you want is the negotiating process at the dealership. We have 2 older boys and my husband and I can’t hold onto cars for long so we are typically in a car dealership a few times a year. Not only are we in a dealership for ourselves but because friends and family ask my husband to come car shopping with them because they know how much my husband loves the negotiation process. It is a bit of a weird obsession he has as a negotiator. So I had him help me gather our thoughts into 3 (proven by us over and over again) negotiating tips when buying a new or used car.

Do Your Homework

You have searched cars galore and now you have narrowed it down to a model or 2 you may be leaning towards. This is where you begin your pre-dealership visit homework. When you hear the words from finance at the dealership “We’ll make you a great deal”, do you really know what a great deal on that car is? Not if you haven’t done your homework. We like using Cars.com to search for fair market values on the exact cars we want to look at.

Grab a notepad and pencil and write down the make/model of cars you want to see. List the fair market value that matches the exact features/series for that car. Do this for all of the cars you wish to see so it is handy in a moments notice. Make sure you keep Cars.com or the Cars.com apps available incase you find yourself liking a different model than you anticipated. Now, you have a number and a “great deal” will be that number or below.

Note Your Bottom Line

You know the fair value so now you can find your best bottom line! This will be what you want to pay after your trade in or down payment, etc.. Here is an example of the tone you can use in negotiation (right away) when it comes to fair value and your bottom line. For this example I plugged my car into Cars.com – 2016 Honda CR-V Touring Edition. I then clicked on comparison tool and see that the lowest it has sold for is $34,156 and the highest is $35, 139 with an average price of $34, 648. That gives me a good start to find my bottom line.

“I have a … to trade in. My bottom line is $34, 700. I know that fair value is $34, 735  so I am not asking for too much to come in at my bottom line. I don’t care how you work the numbers. You can discount the car or change the trade-in value on my old car but I need that bottom line top be $34, 735 (after registration fees).”

They may try and say you need to put more down (hence, the price becomes more than your bottom line), but you can tell them to please go back and rework the cost and trade in to get you to that number you gave. You may have to have a down payment especially if the car you trade in is a lot lower in value. Know your comfortable down payment mark and if they are close-get them closer!

Be Prepared For A few Hours Time (and no kids)

Most dealers play a game of wearing you down. You come in with a fair value, a bottom line and down payment and they will still try and stay away from your mark. Be prepared to send the dealer back to the sales manager again and again and be prepared for the finance guy to be “busy” and make you wait for a response. This wears you down fast. You just want to accept and go home. We have never walked out of a dealership because we allowed them to break us down-ever!

Keep the kids at home or with a sitter and most importantly, be prepared to walk away with no car! We have done that more than once. When they play hard to negotiate we turn to a phrase something like this,

” Listen. We don’t NEED this car today. You are our first dealership stop. It looks like we are too far apart so we will be taking off. Thank you so much for your time.”

If you have to walk away it is most likely because that truly is going to become your best deal. We have done it and we have been called back with the deal we wanted. We have also used it as leverage for the next stop by explaining to their team that we walked on place one for being too far off. It is a process and you need to be prepared to spend hours and even walk away and start again. In the end, it is your money and your monthly payment that will become your reward for taking the proper time.

So, head on out. Cars.com is truly a must visit before you head to the dealership. My note above says this is a sponsored post, but I am serious when I tell you that we never head out to shop before using their website to do our homework. I am honored now that I can team up with them for this post. We use it to browse cars, read reviews and find fair values. Plus, when you tell a dealership you found the fair value on Cars.com it is hard for them to argue with you. Hold your ground, it will work out for you and your wallet.

I’m curious, did you learn something new here? Are you less intimidated to car shop now?

College Bound, Education, Guest Post, Sponsored

Starting College: Is It Easy For Kids To Adjust?

Starting college is a big step, especially if your child is attending a college that’s far from home. There’s a lot of areas of preparing for college that parents regularly help their kids with. However, adjusting to their new life doesn’t tend to be one of them. A lot of parents make the mistake of thinking that their children will adjust more quickly if they’re left to get on with it, but that’s not the case. To help kids adjust to college life, there are plenty of things that as a parent you can do.
 
Starting College: Is It Easy For Kids To Adjust?
What should you do before they leave for college?
 
To give your child every chance of having a successful college career, you need to prepare them for the changes that are coming.
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 Most teenagers are so excited about getting their freedom that they fail to think about all the changes that come with leaving home. It’s a big transition and one that a lot of kids struggle to cope with. It’s not easy saying goodbye to all your friends and family and moving somewhere so far away. The best way to do this is to tell them what to expect. Explain to them that it’s normal to feel homesick and that sad or scared about living away from home is to be expected. You’ll find that by preparing them for these feelings, they’ll find it easier to cope.

The other worry that a lot of parents have it how their kids will cope living alone. Will they eat well, keep on top of their cleaning, and ensure that they focus on their studies? Before they start college, teach your children how to wash their laundry. Give them lessons in basic cookery so that you know that they can keep themselves fed without the need for takeaways. As for their studies, make sure to explain to them the importance of organization.
To help your child excel at their studies, make sure that they have all they need. The most important things are a laptop, notebooks and pens, a planner, and a desk to work at – most dorms contain these but it’s still worth checking. It’s also worth researching the best books for their course, and the best website resources as well. There are sites that have assignment help and tips, as well as advice for various essay types, such as good cause and effect essay topics. These can be a useful resource for your child to know about.
How can you make the transition easier once they move out?
 
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Once your child leaves home, there are still plenty of ways you can help them to adjust.
It’s important that you encourage your children to keep in touch, to ensure that they share any problems that they’re having. Send them a text message two to three times a week to see how they are getting on with college life. Then, once a week give them a call to chat properly. They might not want to admit it but most teenagers miss home when they first start college. Encourage them to talk to their old school friends and other relatives, as this will help to beat their homesickness.

Most college kids will spend too much money on a night out and end up living off pasta for weeks. To make sure that your child always has enough money for food, send them vouchers for their local supermarket. That way, they can’t spend it on nights out or other luxuries, and you’ll know that they always have money for food. You’ll find that if your teenager has enough money to live comfortably while they’re away, they’ll adjust much more easily. 

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 You might be bored of nagging your teenager to do things but to help them find their feet reminders can be good. Just little things like sending them a message on Sunday afternoons to remind them that the shops close early. Or telling them that it’s their father’s birthday coming up, can help make life easier. They’re probably used to you reminding them to do every little thing, so to help them adjust a few reminders could be useful. 

College isn’t always easy for kids to adjust to, but as parents, there’s plenty we can do to help. To some extend your child will have to find their own way. However, there are little things you can do to help make their life easier. Whether your child is prone to homesickness or constantly runs out of money for food, you can help them to adjust to living independently.

 

Food, Recipes, Sponsored

Minions Movie Night with Banana Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MinionsMovieNight #CollectiveBias


When Minions came to theaters we were so excited. We gathered our youngest son and took him on opening weekend. It was such an adorable movie to see and right away my son asked if we can look up when the movie will be on DVD so we can buy it. As soon as he heard December 8th, he circled it on my work calendar as my little reminder that he can’t wait to see it again. Well, December 8 just came and I bought the movie. Minions is out on Blu-Ray/DVD combo packs at retailers near you for purchase now.


On movie nights we like to have a lot of fun. This movie night dinner was in celebration of Minions © 2015 Universal Studios. All rights reserved. Complete with Banana Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Lemon Cupcakes that our son iced in yellow icing and I even grabbed some Minions coloring sheets he used as a placemat.


Believe it or not the banana in a grilled cheese sandwich is delicious and the kids will love it! My son doesn’t care for tomatoes, but that is the best thing about this recipe is that you can add or delete anything you wish to truly make it the best sandwich for you or your family depending on their tastes.

As soon as dinner was over, the cupcakes were devoured. Of course my son wore his favorite Minions tee and we settled in for a night of the Illumination Entertainment Minions movie.
The Minions movie will surely be a hit this season and a very popular movie choice on many kids wish list. We love buying the combo packs because we keep the Blu-Ray in home to watch, the DVD is kept in the car for movies on the road in the DVD player and because I don’t load movies on my devices, I always donate my movie codes in my local charity group to a family who may want it for their children.
Give the gift of these fun yellow men in goggles this season! Remember how well it pairs with some fun Minions inspired recipes such as my Banana Grilled Cheese sandwiches. Find more inspiring recipes HERE!


Tell me, have you seen Minions? If so, what was your favorite scene?
Earth Friendly, Giveaways, Sponsored

Car Care Using Less Water and WaterSaver Giveaway

The weather is getting colder. Temps are freezing and these cold, frosty mornings cause stress to our cars. Properly winterizing your car will help you feel confident that your car will conquer the cold this year. Whether you rely on your car to get to work or take kids to sports or perhaps you have a teen driver or a college student that will be driving home from campus during winter breaks you need to make sure that car is as safe as possible. When your car is not maintained the consequences can be devastating.

At the same time you are learning to winterize your car, there are steps you can take to make sure you have covered everything and you can maintain your car in an environmentally safe way. WaterSavers wants to remind all car owners to considering the environment as you do maintenance your vehicles from changing oils to washing your car. WaterSaves also offers these tips so you can make sure you have covered all of the winterizing checks on your car.
How to Winterize your vehicle
1. Switch Engine Oill: Oil lubricates the engine so it can function properly, but not all automobile oil is the same. If you live in a cold climate, consider switching to a thinner, less viscous oil. For example, a 10W-30 might be ideal for hot summer weather, but a thicker 5W-30 is better for when temperatures dip below freezing. Ask your auto mechanic what is recommended and refer to the manufacturer’s manual for more insight.
2. Maintain a car wash routine: Due to the presence of ice, salt and sand on the roads, washing your vehicle in the winter is even more important than the summer. Getting a car wash and a fresh coat of wax before the temperature begins to drop can be your first line of defense against winter elements. Vehicular corrosion occurs most quickly when the temperature rises and falls below freezing. The International Carwash Association recommends finding a car wash that is part of the WaterSavers® program. There are more than 1,500 environmentally friendly car washes worldwide enrolled in the program that meet water quality and usage standards.  These car washes use 40 gallons (151.5 liters) or less of fresh water per car. Find a participating car wash near you by visiting www.washwithwatersavers.com.
3. Check the battery: Cold weather can take a toll on your car’s battery. Before you get stranded, give your battery a once-over to make sure it’s in tip-top shape. Check the cables, terminals and fluid and look for anything abnormal. Some battery retailers will conduct a complementary car battery assessment if you’d prefer an expert analysis.
4. Update engine coolant: Just because it’s chilly doesn’t mean your engine can’t overheat. To protect your engine against corrosion and to help ensure it doesn’t overheat, ask your car technician to change to a coolant with ethylene glycol which has antifreeze properties. While replacing coolants, ask the technician to make sure all fluids are topped off, including window washer solution.
5. Get a grip on tire safety: If you live in an area where winter means driving in snow and ice, it’s critical to check your tires to keep you and your passengers safe. Each tire should have an adequate amount of tread to properly grip the road. You can easily see if new tires are needed with the penny test — hold a penny head down in the center tread. If you see the top of Lincoln’s head, you have less than 2/32-inch tread and it’s time for new tires.  Also be sure to your tires are properly inflated to ensure optimum handling, safety, and fuel efficiency.


By taking a WaterSavers Initiative in mind you promise to use brands and services that have joined WaterSavers to make sure the environment stays protected. The nearest brand to me is Brown Bear Car Wash. They are a WaterSavers member and this is where we have always taken our cars for a wash. Pleas take a day or even schedule an appointment and have that engine oil, ties, coolant and battery checked and when that is all done, you can find a WaterSavers location near you to wash your car properly before a good winter wax. These tips will help protect you and your family on the road this winter. It is not a chore to ignore and the weather has started changing so I wouldn’t wait much longer.
For more information visit www.washwithwatersavers.com

The Giveaway
1 lucky reader will win a WaterSavers package including a $30 Visa Gift Card, Large Travel Bag, Compass and Keychain so you can start your winterizing process. Enter below-open to US and ends on 12/22. Good luck!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Carwash Association. The opinions and text are all mine.

Food, Recipes, Sponsored

Day after Thanksgiving Sausage Recipes

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Johnsonville Naturals


How motivated are you the day after the big dinner? Chances are you don’t want to cook a full course meal until next year and that fridge is full of leftovers so what to do with those? For many you may be housing guests still and you need to be prepared on meals for the day after! How about using up that stuffing and cranberry sauce for breakfast and making some not-so-boring sausage dogs for lunch with leftover cheeses and veggies? What if you could do all of that with all natural sausage? Johnsonville has your day after meals taken care of with the new Naturals Sausage products. I found mine at my local Safeway.
Sausage Stuffing Breakfast Biscuits

These are as easy as they look!
  • 1 package of Johnsonville Naturals Maple or Original sausage links
  • 2 packages of crescent rolls dough
  • Leftover stuffing
  • Leftover Cranberry sauce (optional)
  • 1 Egg
Cook sausage according to package directions. Separate the crescent dough into their triangles. Drop a spoonful of stuffing on largest end of dough, top with cooked sausage and roll. Do this until all sausage is gone-makes 14 crescents. Brush tops of rolled crescents with stirred egg. Bake 375 degrees 11-12 minutes. Add some cranberry sauce for dipping (optional)
My son and husband could not get enough of these and they heat up well if you have extra.

Sausage Dogs with Leftovers


Ingredients:
The directions are as you choose! Cook sausage according to package directions. Top rolls with cooked sausage, veggies and cheese and stick under the broiler for 1-2 minutes. Top with your favorite sauces or toppings. On the side can be more leftovers!


Hint: Once the sausage begins browning, I slice in half lengthwise. It allows for the center to cook well and makes it easier to lay on rolls.
Hopefully that gives you some ideas for the day after! Just make sure you pick up your Johnsonville Naturals while you shop for the Thanksgiving Day ingredients so you are prepared. Learn more including where to find a retailer near you that offers these all natural sausage varieties at http://www.johnsonville.com/lines/naturals.html
What sausage recipes would you like to share?
Healthy Living, Sponsored

Three Ways To Become A Healthier Parent



Oftentimes, parents spend a great deal of time and energy teaching their kids how to be healthy. However, many of these parents fail to take care of their own health. This is a grave error to make. In addition to making you susceptible to diseases, failing to maintain your health can detract from the quality time you spend with your children. To ensure that you can maximize your own health and thereby become a better parent, be sure to implement the following wellness tips and tricks: 

1. Visit Your Gastroenterologist. 

Many diseases start in the colon or are complicated by poor colon health. As such, it’s important for you to visit your gastroenterologist to ensure that your colon is functioning optimally. For many years, Dr. Schub has specialized in providing clients with the cutting edge, customized care they need to attain or maintain optimal levels of wellness. Learn more about his practice and how he can accelerate your walk towards great health by clicking here

2. Eat Life-Giving Foods.

Typically, an individual’s diet plays a central role in contributing to or detracting from their level of vitality. Unfortunately, most Americans eat foods that induce inflammation, accelerate the aging process, and facilitate excess weight gain. However, you don’t have to go with this negative flow. Instead of eating yourself to death, you can buy foods that give you life with each bite you take. To make it happen, invest your money in life-giving foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. At the same time, be sure to throw out health-hampering items like salty nuts, candy bars, soda, and cereals. 

3. Make Meditation A Daily Habit.

If you’re serious about eliminating disease and leading a healthy lifestyle, be sure to make meditation a daily habit. Meditation provides stress relief by enabling you to clear your mind, breathe slowly, and separate yourself from the responsibilities of daily life. There are a wide range of health benefits that result from daily exercise, and some of them include:

• enhanced cardiovascular health
• higher quality sleep 
• better memory 
• improved respiratory function 

Start Improving Your Health Right Now

If you want to spend quality time with your kid and be a good model, you need to take care of your health. By visiting your gastroenterologist, eating life-giving foods, and meditating daily, you can attain the level of wellness necessary to make you an absolutely amazing parent!