How to Cut the Cost of Driving

Gasoline prices are rising again, but fuel is just one factor in the high cost of driving an auto. The average cost of driving a sedan 15,000 miles a year will cost you $8,698, or 58 cents per mile. You’ll spend 70.8 cents a mile, or $10,624 a year, to put 15,000 miles on an SUV with four-wheel-drive .

Many factors feed the cost of driving: financing, depreciation, maintenance, insurance, and driving habits.

Financing: Credit unions often offer the best rates on loans, but you also should compare the loan term, fees, and prepayment penalties. If the dealer offers a rebate, you may save more money by taking the rebate and financing at Hopewell Federal Credit Union than taking the low-rate loan.

Depreciation: Depreciation is usually the largest part of the cost of driving: AAA estimates the average annual depreciation on a medium sedan driven 15,000 miles per year at $3,654. Kelley Blue Book says that after five years, the average car is worth 35% of its sticker price. But some cars, especially Honda and Toyota, have much lower depreciation. Ignoring the current value of a used car can put you “upside-down” if you trade the car and pay off the loan: You owe more on the car than it’s worth.

Maintenance and repair: AAA estimated the maintenance costs of sedans at 5.11 cents per mile in 2015. Maintenance costs varied widely by vehicle type but, on average, were up slightly from 2014.

Insurance: AAA estimated insurance costs for the average sedan at $1,115 per year, based on a low-risk driver with a clean driving record. Insurance for drivers who are male, younger than age 25, poor students, or have a record of moving violations and/or accidents is more expensive. Raising the deductible and reducing the maximum coverage can lower premiums but will increase your risk.

Driving habits:
* Drive defensively. Try to stay off the road late at night when most accidents occur.
* Keep tires inflated to improve mileage and cut the chance of a blowout.
* Drive mild, not wild: Accelerating slowly and coasting up to stoplights can improve gas mileage up to 30%.
* Use the cruise control for highway driving to save 4% to 14% in gas.
* Drive less to save on gas, oil, maintenance, and deprecation. Think about carpooling, taking public transit, biking, or walking.

Hopewell Federal Credit Union can help with all your auto needs. Contact us today at 740.522.8311.

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TRAVEL TIP: Alert Credit Card Companies Before Traveling

Going on vacation? Imagine checking into a hotel only to find out your credit card accounts have been frozen. Be sure to call your credit card issuers ahead of time to let them know you’ll be out of town–especially if it’s an international trip. That way, you won’t be blocked from using your credit cards when you need them most. Card issuers may do that–for your protection–when unusual activity appears in your account. So just let the issuer know when unusual activity is legit.

Smart Money Move: Join a Credit Union

There are a few high payoff money-related moves: Pay off debt. Boost savings. Build a solid credit score. But a number of news outlets have another solid suggestion: Join a credit union.

As U.S. News & World Report writes, when picking a new financial institution, don’t forget about credit unions. “They tend to offer higher rates of return on savings accounts and lower interest rates on loans,” reports Kimberly Palmer for U.S. News. “They’re also an increasingly popular choice among former bank customers interested in exploring their options.”

According to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the credit union movement now has more than 100 million memberships nationwide, about one-third of the U.S. population.

U.S. News also cites CUNA numbers showing that credit unions have about 30,000 ATMs nationwide, many networked to allow access to members from credit unions across the country.

Daily Finance also put together a list for those looking to shape up their finances—only one-third of Americans have made such a commitment, the website noted—and again it involves a credit union.

The list included ramping up savings and checking with a credit union to see if it offers financial planning. Daily Finance also recommends setting up an emergency fund, paying down debt, creating multiple income streams, and creating a budget.

In Time Warner Cable News Buffalo, one financial expert recommends that those looking to clean up their credit look no further than a credit union to help them get there.

If you have any credit card debt or any debt that you want to get rid of, your commitment needs to be, “How do I get that from a high-interest rate loan to a low-interest rate loan?” says Nick Clements, co-founder of MagnifyMoney.com.

Clements says to compare, ditch, and switch: “Compare for the best offer, ditch that high-rate credit card, and switch to a credit union or new provider who is offering a much lower interest rate.”

You can look to Hopewell Federal Credit Union for help meeting your personal finance commitments. Stop in or call us today at 740.522.8311, or visit http://www.hopewellfcu.org.

Women Drive Household Finances

The purchasing power of women is rising. The amount of assets controlled by women in the U.S. is expected to climb from $8 trillion to $22 trillion by 2020.

According to The Economist, women currently control 83% of all consumer purchases, ranging from cars to health care to electronics. In 40% of households with children, women were the primary income earner in 2013.

And because women are statistically more likely to outlive their male spouses, the money they earn will have to last them longer.

With that in mind, many financial experts are recommending that as women’s economic power grows they take a lead role in managing their family’s finances. At Hopewell Federal Credit Union, we offer the tools and resources to help you do that.

With retirement planning, debt consolidation tools, and financial education services, Hopewell Federal can help you take ownership of your family’s financial future.

And because we’re a not-for-profit financial institution, we return all of our earnings to you in the form of better rates and fewer fees–making us just one of the many smart choices you’ve made for your family.