Can You Trust Dealerships?

Let’s be honest, car buying is not the most exciting time in our lives! We’ve all dreaded heading to the dealership to buy a new car for one reason or another. However, knowing how to spot a good deal and doing your research can help you make a sound financial decision.

dealerKnow your buying power

Knowing your buying power means that you have reviewed your budget and know how much money you can comfortably pay for your new car. Consider any new life changes that may come around in the next few years and plan for them. List out all of your bills and monthly expenses to determine your budget and don’t allow yourself to get pressured into a $350 payment, if you can only afford $250/month.

Know your vehicle value before going to the dealership

If you plan to trade-in a used vehicle, you should check the value through NADA or Kelley Blue Book ahead of time. Dealerships will generally try to offer the trade-in value of your vehicle, when in reality, the retail value could also be used. Sometimes these numbers are close in range, but there are times when these values can differ greatly and affect the amount of money rolled into your new loan. If you aren’t sure, call your local financial institution to see how much your car is worth.

Beware of expensive add-ons

There are many great reasons to add GAP or service contracts to your new auto loan, but know when a the price is too high. If you can afford to pay for these out-of-pocket, doing so could help ensure you don’t become upside down on your new set of wheels. These add-ons can range in price, but be sure to know the average for your state before arriving. If you have already purchased a new car, but passed on a vehicle service contract, you may still be eligible.

Buy the right car

Some cars depreciate faster than others, so be sure to look at what is under the hood and not just the bells and whistles. Many dealerships will try to get the oldest cars off the lot by offering discount prices, which can be great for consumers, if they understand what they are buying. Consider potential cost for repairs, family or work needs, and gas mileage, just to name a few. Every car is not right for every person.

Young Couple Signs a Contract For the Purchase of a New Car

Commission is incentive enough to sell you a car

Sure, we all want to think that our salesman is our new best friend, but before you invite them for dinner, remember that they are making a commission on your purchase. There are plenty of trustworthy and friendly salesmen out there, but do not forget that they are all sales agents. They make their money by selling you a product whether it works for you or not. Look for someone friendly who also gives you honest feedback on cars that may interest you.

Check out the document fee on your contract

Document fees are real and completely normal; however, they shouldn’t be higher than $200-300 in most states. If you got a ‘great deal’, be sure they didn’t hide a cost in the document fee section of your contract.

Salesmen are not car experts

Do not expect for all salesmen to provide thorough knowledge on each car make and model. It is important for you to know trusted brands, safety features, and car part functions. You can count on your salesman to focus on the heated seats, sunroof, and leather seats. They aren’t so focused on telling you the engine life expectancy or when the tires were replaced.

Pay attention to the interest rate

Dealerships like to sell you on the car payments and not on the interest rate. You absolutely do not want to be upside down on your car within a year due to high interest rates. This means that the value of your vehicle is depreciating faster than you can pay it off. Check your credit score and shop around for a fair interest rate before signing a new contract!

If a dealership has taken advantage of you by offering you a high interest rate, contact rateGenius to see if we can save you money on your monthly payments. Together we can help you gain financial control of your life!

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These 5 Bills Are Ripping You Off

Do you find yourself in a constant financial rat race? Never able to get a handle on your bills? Do you want to free up extra money in your budget?

We’ve narrowed down the 5 monthly bills that are ripping you off every month. Lower these bills and you will be on your way to achieving financial freedom!

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Car Payment

If you bought your car from a dealership or your credit score has increased over the last year, you are likely paying too much for your car payment. Refinancing allows you to reassess your current financial situation and find into an up-to-date interest rate. Additionally many times, you can shorten or lengthen your loan term, based on your needs and vehicle value. We’ve done the research and the average person saves $89/month by refinancing with rateGenius! RateGenius works with over 150 lenders nationwide to match you with a lender that meets your needs. The process is simple and fast, apply today and save!

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Car Insurance

If you are a good driver that never has accidents and hasn’t gotten a ticket in ages, it may be time to review your current insurance policy. Shop around to be sure you have a policy that fits your needs. Be sure to ask for higher deductibles if that matches your lifestyle and budget in order to lower premiums. Finding an unbiased solution is often key. RateGenius Insurance Agency works with 20+ carriers nationwide that can find you the best coverage at the lowest price!

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With so many options to watch your favorite television shows on demand, is there a need for cable anymore? From Netflix streaming exclusive shows and movies and Hulu with over 9 million worldwide subscribers, cable is becoming a thing of the past. Amazon Prime has also jumped into the new era and now offer your favorite shows available to watch with the touch of a button from your computer or smart TV. Endless options abound in 2016, so why are you still paying $100+/month for cable, when many of your favorite shows can be available to you for around $10 per month?

Here are some of our favorite streaming websites:
Hulu Plus
Sling TV
Amazon Prime

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Reducing electricity costs in your home can seem impossible during the summer, but there are still a few things you can do to lower your bill. Use your appliances in the evening, especially on hot days, to keep your air conditioner from overworking. Also, replacing your air filters ensures your unit is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. When away from the house, turn off your ceiling fan and when at home use electric fans instead of the air conditioner when possible. Try these no fuss solutions to lower your bill this month!

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Cell Phone

Still paying for the same coverage you did 5 years ago? Pay attention to your data usage by reviewing your 3 most recent statements. Most companies charge for data instead of talk or text these days, so if you are only using 2GB of data, be sure you aren’t paying for 5GB. Compare service providers to establish the best available rate and decide if prepaid services are best for you. Understand your patterns. If you only use your phone at work or at home, perhaps you do not need to pay for an extensive calling plan. You can also save by not streaming music and videos to your phone when you are able to use a laptop or desktop. Have multiple cell phone users in your family? Consider evaluating family plans to save money!

Now that you know you are paying too much for your monthly bills, how do you plan on making changes? Share your thoughts with us!

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  • Why Auto Refinance Makes Sense
  • 7 Ways to Keep Your Finances on Track
  • 6 Tips to Create a Successful Budget

Why Auto Refinance Makes Sense

pablo (2)With average car payments around $500, it is no surprise that Americans are turning to auto refinance to help put their families in a better financial position. Refinancing your auto loan with rateGenius can save an average of $81/month and the process is easier than ever before!

Refinancing means that you are applying for a new auto loan that will pay off the balance of your current auto loan. Many consumers are pressured by pushy salesmen to purchase new cars with high interest rates and payments out of their budgets. This practice leads to consumers owing more than their car is worth and struggling to pay their bills.

If you have a high monthly payment, a high interest rate, or a recently increased credit score, this may be the perfect time to refinance your auto loan! Even with a less-than-perfect credit score, rateGenius could potentially match you with a lender that will lower your payments and/or lower your interest rate saving you money over the life of your loan. RateGenius works with over 150 lenders nationwide to find the most competitive interest rates for our customers.

pablo (1)The application is fast and simple. Just input some information regarding your current auto loan and personal details and you are one step closer to lowering your monthly payments. Once your application is approved, a loan officer will contact you with the simple next steps. Your previous loan is paid off and transferred to your new lender. And many times, this process allows you to skip one monthly payment.

Be sure you are currently up-to-date on your loan payments before applying for your refinance and check the value of your vehicle to ensure this is a good move for you. Typically newer cars have a better loan value and are easier to refinance.

The benefits of refinancing don’t stop at lower monthly payments. It also offers the following benefits:

  • Shortens your loan term
  • Helps with financial security
  • Helps your credit score
  • Less interest paid over time

Put your new savings towards paying off other debt, pay down your car loan, or add steady funds to your emergency savings account.

RateGenius is dedicated to working with you to help you achieve financial excellence. Ask us how we can help with your refinance today!

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Minimize Your Home’s Carbon Footprint

Last week we discussed a few ways for you to minimize your vehicle’s carbon footprint. Today, we have compiled tips that will make your home a bit more eco-friendly, and can also help save on your energy bills!


Possibly the simplest way to minimize your carbon footprint is to plant a tree in your yard. Trees consume the carbon dioxide we emit, all while providing us with oxygen and shade that helps keep the earth cool. A small tree takes in about 13 pounds of carbon dioxide each year, and as it matures, the carbon dioxide consumed can grow to 48 pounds a year!

Home improvement changes such as insulation, weatherstripping, and caulking work hand-in-hand to reduce your home’s energy use. These also can make your home more quiet by protecting it from outside noise and help save money in the long-run.

You can lower your energy bull by up to 15% simply by turning off your thermostat while you aren’t home. Keeping your home two degrees warmer during the summer and two degrees cooler in the winter can also help you save a substantial amount over the year.

Small adjustments such as leaving your curtains closed during the day in the summer will help keep your home cool. Alternatively, keeping your curtains open in the winter to allow sunlight in, and keeping them closed at night will help trap heat, and reduce your reliance on your thermostat.


Switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) will help save over ⅔ of the energy used by a regular light bulb. If every household in the U.S. switched to CFLs, the amount of electricity used on lighting could be cut in half, and can reduce up to 1,300 pounds of carbon dioxide pollution! Even swapping your home desktop for a laptop can make a substantial difference in the energy you use. Because battery life is an essential component to laptop design, laptops can be up to 80% more energy-efficient than a desktop. Lastly, make sure to turn off any electronics after using them or unplug them if you’re leaving town to avoid any unnecessary energy loss from the item remaining on standby.

Water-conserving toilets and water-heads not only help reduce water cost, but can also help save on your energy bill. On a smaller scale, turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving can reduce your water consumption by thousands of gallons of water each year! Comparatively, if you’re buying bottled water for your home, it might be time to change to a filtering system. Tons of plastic and energy are wasted on the manufacturing and transportation of bottled water annually, even though, in most Western countries, tap water is perfectly safe for you and your family to drink. If you still have your doubts, try using a water filtering pitcher such as a Brita or an attachable faucet filtering system to reduce your waste.

While some of these tips may require lifestyle changes, we can all work together to safeguard our world for generations to come.

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Minimize Your Vehicle’s Carbon Footprint

With uncontrollable wildfires in the past few years, and a record-breaking summer in 2015, minimizing global warming effects has been a hot (pun intended) topic. While there are always alternatives to driving such as walking, riding your bike, or taking the bus, making changes to our daily lifestyle is easier said than done. We’ve compiled a short list of easy, quick-fixes that can help you reduce your carbon footprint and also save money.

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Watch Your Tire Pressure
Keeping your tire pressure at the recommended psi can help improve your MPG by up to 3%. Although 3% may seem minimal, proper tire inflation can also help reduce any unnecessary wear and tear on your tires, and it provides better handling to minimize accidents.

Avoid High Carbon Vehicles
Try to avoid purchasing or driving a minivan or an SUV if the extra space is only needed occasionally. Instead, invest in a hitch rack that sells for pennies on the dollar. While shopping, steer clear of any roof-top boxes which can decrease your fuel efficiency due to an increase in aerodynamic drag.

Composed Driving Style
Aggressive driving such as abrupt braking, brisk acceleration, and speeding can reduce your vehicle’s MPG by up to 33% at highway speeds. Not only does this increase your carbon footprint, but it also wastes your gas and hard-earned money. If you are heading out of town, try driving on cruise control to help minimize carbon emission by keeping you at a steady pace and improving your gas mileage.

Skip the Traffic
Avoid traffic when possible and combine your errands in order to make fewer trips across town. Before leaving home, plan accordingly and make a list of the locations you have to go to, in order to find the best available route.

Let us know how you are reducing your carbon footprint this summer!

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