Buy a used Honda Fit (2009 or newer) for your daily driver.
That's it, I'm going to write a bunch to explain why but all you have to do is buy a used Honda Fit and not think too much about it and you'll probably save thousands of dollars a year. Mr. Money Moustache says the average american family spends $4500 per car per year (ref). This will be significantly less than that, could easily be more than $1000 less per year.
My goal is to find the lowest cost per km car and the Fit might not be the absolute lowest cost per km but from what I can tell it is the least effort safest bet in the pursuit of a all around car.
1) They still make them, so there will be supply for a while
2) They are very versatile, they can fit 5 adults, or they can fit a lot of cargo
3) They are consistently on the top of reliability lists
4) They are the cheapest Honda model, and they look pretty good
5) They are near the top of all fuel economy lists, they'll beat out some hybrids
6) The model range has all the features you could want
7) They are typically at the top of the lists for cars that retain their value
Tips to avoiding headaches:
1) Try to avoid those smaller private used car dealerships. They cost less but they generally deal in cars which have been in accidents. The prices are cheaper but you never know if all the accidents have been reported or not.
2) Use CarProof not CarFax in Canada. Some dealers in Canada provide a CarFax report outlining the accidents, but a more reliable source for Canadian information is CarProof. This happened to me, I was told a certain car had an accident and the driver side door was repaired. There was a CarFax to back this up. I got the CarProof and the car had been in multiple accidents, the second one was an insurance write off (total loss).
3) If you want help negotiating a good deal consider using a broker. Here is an example of one in Ontario http://automallnetwork.com/. Contrary to what their website says, they want you to contact them before you contact the dealer. You can do some searching but when I talked to them on the phone they were quite adamant that once you walk into the dealership you are the dealer's customer not the broker's. The broker wants to negotiate the price and then have you go test drive the car. They said if you do contact the dealer don't give them your full name or contact info. If you are contacting them by email don't use your normal email account. I don't know how this works if you end up not wanting the car. It seems like you just get their negotiating help with one car at one dealership for $195.
If you really want to dive into how to save money a bit more here is an article outlining how having a series of cheaper cars can save thousands of dollars vs. buying an expensive car and having it for 10+ years. The idea behind it is that it allows you to pay less interest on other loans, or investing the extra money. It might seem complicated, but it's just really just as simple as having less money tied up in your car so you can get the other money to work for you.
On the topic of auto loans here is a scary video about those small dealerships that give credit to anyone. Watch out for these traps
If you're all the way down here I'll let you know an even cheaper option.
If you read enough personal finance advice you'll hear someone say you can Drive For Free (DFF), or even make money by driving. This is not quite accurate, what they are generally saying is, you can become a (one car at a time) used car mechanic/salesman easier than you think. Many people sell cars undervalue because they don't want to put in the effort to tuning them before selling them, they just want to move on and spend more money. This is real, you can do this, you could even take it to the next level and have a hobby of fixing exotic cars and really make some big money while doing something you enjoy. If this sounds appealing look into it. If you just want to drive a car, buy a Honda Fit.
Here's an article on DFF
I'm reluctant to mention other options because as soon as you get too many options you can get overwhelmed easily. If you don't like the Fit consider a used Civic.
If you want more options ..., I'm warning you, this can take up a lot of time ...
I highly recommend Phil Edmonston's Lemon-Aid Car Buying Guides. Just buy it and read through it and try to stick to the low cost cars that he gives a 'Recommended' rating to. You can go to a library to read it or a book store to get some tips, but to really get all you want out of the book you'll need to spend a lot of time reading all of his general car buying advice, in addition to the specific advice for each car, so I'd lean towards buying it and considering it part of the price of the car you are buying.
Generally the lowest cost cars are more reliable, it's like they know those customers won't put up with unreliable cars, unlike people buying for looks or performance, they'll push the limits of reliability in order to have the latest and greatest.
Here is a list of 10 cars to consider, but cross reference these to the Lemon Aid book before considering them too seriously.
Save money, save gas, save your headaches with costly repairs, buy a nice looking economical car, with as many features as you need. I'm not recommending buying something you don't like, I'm saying take a look at the true cost a car you have or want. Add up the extra money on more gas (sometimes premium gas), larger wheels, insurance, repairs, depreciation. Start to realize the reason companies have to pay their employees so much per km when driving for work, it's because your car really is costing you close to that much per km, it's just hard to see it since the costs are so spread out. Then using that knowledge buy a car you like that is within a price per km you want to spend.
Wanting things can give us motivation to be more productive and to make more money, so wanting a nice car and working hard for it can work out for some people. I just don't want people being tricked into thinking they need to spend more than they need to by marketing and by having the costs spread out so much.
This is gross, I was listening to "Project Animal Farm" and the author said lots of chickens die from 'blowout'. Gross
That is their inside push out to the outside, and she said a big contributing factor is that they are being bred to produce larger and larger eggs.
I'm sure there are others things we can do to help chickens out, but at the very least can we all just stop buying the extra-large eggs.
I tried to figure out what's the best, free-range, free-run, cage-free, organic. I don't know if you can trust any of the labels 100% or if they make significant differences, but I think free-range is the supposedly the one that gives the birds the most freedom of movement.
Check out Eating Animals or Project Animal Farm if you want to learn more about where your food comes from.
Click here to see how to get them both free on audible if you're a new member.
I was always intimidated by the idea of sharpening knives. I was worried I would mess them up by holding them at the wrong angle or using the wrong grinding wheel or sharpening stone. But it's not that hard. Well not that hard to do an ok job. I might not have done a perfect job but with a ~$20 stone from amazon and no mess I was able to get it from not cutting a sheet of paper to slicing right through it!
Here's the site that helped me :)
Here's the stone the guy mentions in the second video
Norton Crystolon Combination Oilstone, Fine/Coarse, 1x2x8"
I think you can get just about any honer, like this one. http://amzn.to/2i84cQg
I just used a stone that looked like that which I found in my dad's toolbox, and a honing tool I picked up at the local hardware store. I tried it out on some old kitchen knives.
I've been thinking about getting a 'smart' thermostat since the first time I heard they existed. The appeal to me is the ease of turning down the termostat when leaving for the day. I have no faith in the thermostat to learn my routines but I'm ok with doing it manually via my smartphone. The big question is, 'do you really save energy or is it somewhat evened out by the recoery time?'
The consensus is (based on the laws of thermodynamics) you'll save energy for every minute your thermostat is set back, not much but some. So I've only had it a week or so and I'm trying to set it back any chance I get, but the recovery time is significant, and the savings in the best case scenario are not that significant if I'm only doing a one degree set back here and there.
Overall I like the termostat (Ecobee 3, in Ontario Canada there is a $100 rebate available to most people, link, Google your area you might have a rebate too).
In all my hours of looking into this I came across two interesting things.
1) When you drop the temp your humidity goes up (condensation), so you can be introducing moiture into your house (risk of mold) if you do a huge setback while on vacation. Most people don't seem too worried about the mold and I haven't heard any horror stories, but it's something I hadn't thought of.
2) I came across a great slide show that compares the impact of different energy saving activities. Things like setting back your thermostat, insulating your attic, all the way down to keeping your fridge full (even with water jugs when low on food) so it's not cooling so much air. I like to do as many as I can but I don't stress about it if I don't have time to do some of the lower impact ones like keeping the fridge full of water jugs, especially now that I see how little of an impact it has.
Click here for the slides
Here's a link to the site I found it on
p.s. I came across one more interesting thing, studies showed that most people didn't use the features of their programable thermostat when those became popular because they were too complicated to set. Hopefully the default settings of these new smart thermostats do a bit better of a job and make a bit of an impact. I found the Ecobee to have many more settings and features than I thought it would, but the final state of it is not far off the default settings, 1 degree setback for when I'm sleeping or when it notices no one is home.
I was talkig to my friend about Nestle and how they have admitted to slavery in their supply chain and he was amazed that slavery was still a thing. Apparently it is still a thing, and there are more slaves than ever and they are valued less than ever.
Above is a link to 10 Shocking Fact About Slavery and below is a link to powerful photos of slavery with relevant TED talks on the subject.
In the conversation I was asking my friend, 'what would a company have to do for you to boycott them?', and he said, well he could get behind a boycott on slavery.
If you're like him start by looking for and buying Fair Trade chocolates and coffee. Then look into this topic a bit more, ask companys you like if their products are fair trade, and tell them you won't be buying it until they are, and ... tell your friends, slavery is still a thing! And it's going to continue to be a thing as long as we keep buying the products they make.
I was reading in Happy Money that charities which provide the option for people to buy gifts rather than simply donate tend to bring in less when they do this because the profit margin is pretty low and people don't tend to donate in addition to buying. However, some companies are set up so selling products is their main business model. Check out the two below that I like, and let me know if you have any you like.
Combat Flip Flops - https://www.combatflipflops.com/
Empowering the mindful consumer to manufacture peace through trade
Dude. be nice - https://www.dudebenice.com/
This seems like a nice company, putting the spotlight on nice. Check them out :)