The Average New Car Payment Is Inching Closer to $500 a Month

According to Kelley Blue Book, the average price for a light vehicle in the United States was almost $38,000 in March 2020. Of course, the sticker price will depend on whether you want a small economy car, a luxury midsize sedan, an SUV or something in between. But the total you pay for a vehicle also depends on a number of other factors if you’re taking out a car loan.

Get the 4-1-1 on financing a car so you can make the best decision for your next vehicle purchase.

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Decide Whether to Finance a Car

Whether or not you should finance your next vehicle purchase is a personal decision. Most people finance because they don’t have an extra $20,000 to $50,000 they want to part with. But if you have the cash, paying for the car outright is the most economical way to purchase it.

For most people, deciding whether to finance a car comes down to a few considerations:

  • Do you need the vehicle enough to warrant making a monthly payment on it for several years?
  • Does the monthly payment work within your personal budget?
  • Is the deal, including the interest rate, appropriate?

Factors to Consider When Financing a Car

Obviously, the first thing to consider is whether you can afford the vehicle. But to understand that, you need to consider a few factors.

  • Total purchase price. Total purchase price is the biggest impact on how much you’ll pay for the car. It includes the price of the car plus any add-ons that you’re financing. Depending on the state and your own preferences, that might include extra options on the vehicle, taxes and other fees and warranty coverage.
  • Interest rate, or APR. The interest rate is typically the second biggest factor in how much you’ll pay overall for a car you finance. APR sounds complex, but the most important thing is that the higher it is, the more you pay over time. Consider a $30,000 car loan for five years with an interest rate of 6%—you pay a total of $34,799 for the vehicle. That same loan with a rate of 9% means you pay $37,365 for the car.
  • The terms. A loan term refers to the length of time you have to pay off the loan. The longer you extend terms, the less your monthly payment is. But the faster you pay off the loan, the less interest you pay overall. Edmunds notes that the current average for car loans is 72 months, or six years, but it recommends no more than five years for those who can make the payments work.

It’s important to consider the practical side of your vehicle purchase. If you take out a car loan for eight years, is your car going to still be in good working order by the time you get to the last few years? If you’re not careful, you could be making a large monthly payment while you’re also paying for car repairs on an older car.

Buying a Car with No Credit

You can buy a car anytime if you have the cash for the purchase. If you have no credit or bad credit, your options for financing a car might be limited. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get a car loan without credit.

Many banks and lenders are willing to work with people with limited credit histories. Your interest rate will likely be higher than someone with excellent credit can command, though. And you might be limited on how much you can borrow, so you probably shouldn’t start looking at luxury SUVs. One tip for increasing your chances is to put as much cash down as you can when you buy the car.

If you can’t get a car loan on your own, you might consider a cosigner. There are pros and cons to asking someone else to sign on your loan, but it can get you into the credit game when the door is otherwise barred.

Personal Loans v. Car Loans: Which One Is Better?

Many people wonder if they should use a personal loan to buy a car or if there is really any difference between these types of financing. While technically a car loan is a loan you take out personally, it’s not the same thing as a personal loan.

Personal loans are usually unsecured loans offered over relatively short-term periods. The funds you get from a personal loan can typically be used for a variety of purposes and, in some cases, that might include buying a car. There are some great reasons to use a personal loan to buy a car:

  • If you’re buying a car from a private seller, a personal loan can hasten the process.
  • Traditional auto loans typically require full coverage insurance for the vehicle. A personal loan and liability insurance may be less expensive.
  • Lenders typically aren’t interested in financing cars that aren’t in driving shape, so if you’re buying a project car to work on in your garage during your downtime, a personal loan may be the better option.

But personal loans aren’t necessarily tied to the car like an auto loan is. That means the lender doesn’t necessarily have the ability to repossess the car if you stop paying the loan. Since that increases the risk for the lender, they may charge a higher interest rate on the loan than you’d find with a traditional auto loan. Personal loans typically have shorter terms and lower limits than auto loans as well, potentially making it more difficult for you to afford a car using a personal loan.

Steps You Should Follow When Financing a Car

Before you jump in and apply for that car loan, review these six steps you should take first.

1. Check your credit to understand whether you are likely to be approved for a loan. Your credit also plays a huge role in your interest rate. If your credit is too low and your interest rate would be prohibitively high, it might be better to wait until you can build or repair your credit before you get an auto loan. Sign up for ExtraCredit to see 28 of your FICO scores from all three credit bureaus.

2. Research auto loan options to find the ones that are right for you. Avoid applying too many times, as these hard inquiries can drag your credit score down with hard inquiries. The average auto loan interest rate is 27% on 60-month loans (as of April 13, 2020).

3. Get your trade-in appraised. The dealership might give you money toward your trade-in. That reduces the price of the car you purchase, which reduces how much you need to borrow. A few thousand dollars can mean a more affordable loan or even the difference between being approved or not.

4. Get prequalified for a loan online. While most dealers will help you apply for a loan, you’re in a better buying position if you walk into the dealership with funding ready to go. Plus, if you’re prequalified, you have a good idea what you can get approved for, so there are fewer surprises.

5. Buy from a trusted dealer. Unfortunately, there are dealerships and other sellers that prey on people who need a car badly. They may charge high interest or sell you a car that’s not worth the money you pay. No matter your financial situation, always try to work with a dealership that you can trust.

6. Talk to your car insurance company. Different cars will carry different car insurance premiums. Make a call to your insurance company prior to the sale to discuss potential rate changes so you’re not surprised by a higher premium after the fact.

Next to buying a home, buying a car is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make in your life, and you’ll likely do it more than once. Make sure you understand the ins and outs of financing a car before you start the process.


What Is High-Risk Car Insurance? A Guide

  • Car Insurance

High-risk car insurance is reserved for drivers who fall into the high-risk category, which includes anyone with multiple traffic violations, at-fault accidents, and other issues that result in higher costs for car insurance companies.

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If you’re in the high-risk category, your auto insurance quotes will be higher, and it may take several years for things to return to normal.

When are You Considered a High-Risk Driver?

You’re considered to be high-risk as soon as the statistics suggest that you’re more likely to make a claim.

For instance, you’ll be given the high-risk label if you are responsible for a major car accident or receive a DUI conviction. You’ll be given the same treatment if you have speeding tickets, run a red light, make an illegal turn, or fail to stop at the scene of an accident.

But that’s not all.

You also fall into the high-risk category if you’re a teenage driver who has just passed their test. Young drivers are significantly more likely to be involved in an accident and the same is true for male drivers and inexperienced drivers.

As a 16-year-old male getting behind the wheel for the first time, you’re considered to be just as much of a liability, if not more so, than an experienced driver who has previously been convicted of a serious driving offense.

The same is true for drivers over the age of 70, as the rate of accidents and claims increase after this milestone. That’s why many states insist on regular renewals along with vision tests, reaction tests, and letters from physicians.

How will Offenses Increase my Premiums?

Traffic violations can increase your car insurance rates and those increases will remain for several years. A DUI works in the same way, although, in this case, you may face an immediate suspension, as well as fines, and it could be some time before you’re allowed behind the wheel again.

The following price increases are based on national averages, but all auto insurance companies have different underwriting processes and take several other factors into consideration.

  • Driving Under the Influence = 70% to 80%
  • Reckless Driving = 75%
  • Racing = 70%
  • Speeding (30mph or more over the limit) = 30%
  • Texting While Driving = 22%
  • Distracted Driving = 21%
  • Speeding (15 to 30 mph over the limit) = 20%
  • Illegal Passing = 20%
  • Speeding (up to 15 mph over the limit) = 18%
  • Illegal Turn = 15%
  • Failure to Yield or Stop = 15%
  • Talking on Phone = 15%
  • Driving without Car Insurance = 10%
  • Not Wearing a Seatbelt (in New York) = 3%

Cost of High-Risk Insurance in Every State

Your location is one of the biggest factors determining the cost of your car insurance quotes and this is true whether you have a clean driving record or several moving violations.

In the list below, we have included the average cost of car insurance in each state, followed by the potential increases from speeding tickets and DUI/DWI convictions.

  • Alabama – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,670; Cost with One DUI = $2,500
  • Alaska – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,200; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,500; Cost with One DUI = $2,800
  • Arizona – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,450; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,780; Cost with One DUI = $1,800
  • Arkansas – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,550; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Cost with One DUI = $2,400
  • California – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,850; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,400; Cost with One DUI = $4,000
  • Colorado – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,780; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,500; Cost with One DUI = $2,400
  • Connecticut – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,650; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,300; Cost with One DUI = $3,200
  • Delaware – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,850; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,200; Cost with One DUI = $2,600
  • D.C. – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,900; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,200; Cost with One DUI = $2,600
  • Florida – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,230; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $3,000; Cost with One DUI = $3,700
  • Georgia – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,800; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,200; Cost with One DUI = $3,000
  • Hawaii – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,400; Cost with One DUI = $4,200
  • Idaho – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,050; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,300; Cost with One DUI = $1,500
  • Illinois – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,400; Cost with One DUI = $1,900
  • Indiana – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,180; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,300; Cost with One DUI = $1,500
  • Iowa – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,050; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,280; Cost with One DUI = $1,700
  • Kansas – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,400; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,650; Cost with One DUI = $2,200
  • Kentucky – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,600; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,100; Cost with One DUI = $3,600
  • Louisiana – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $2,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,700; Cost with One DUI = $4,200
  • Maine – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $850; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,000; Cost with One DUI = $1,500
  • Maryland – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,550; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,800; Cost with One DUI = $2,600
  • Massachusetts – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,250; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Cost with One DUI = $2,350
  • Michigan – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $2,600; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $3,400; Cost with One DUI = $5,800
  • Minnesota – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,380; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,700; Cost with One DUI = $2,350
  • Mississippi – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,400; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,000; Cost with One DUI = $2,300
  • Missouri – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,280; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,400; Cost with One DUI = $1,900
  • Montana – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,600; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,800; Cost with One DUI = $2,100
  • Nebraska – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,650; Cost with One DUI = $1,750
  • Nevada – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,550; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Cost with One DUI = $3,000
  • New Hampshire – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,100; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,450; Cost with One DUI = $1,850
  • New Jersey – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,520; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,800; Cost with One DUI = $3,000
  • New Mexico – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,400; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,800; Cost with One DUI = $2,000
  • New York – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,800; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,450; Cost with One DUI = $3,000
  • North Carolina – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,100; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,200; Cost with One DUI = $4,400
  • North Dakota – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,170; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,350; Cost with One DUI = $2,200
  • Ohio – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,180; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,250; Cost with One DUI = $1,700
  • Oklahoma – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,500; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Cost with One DUI = $2,500
  • Oregon – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,450; Cost with One DUI = $1,850
  • Pennsylvania – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,200; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,600; Cost with One DUI = $1,850
  • Rhode Island – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,850; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,500; Cost with One DUI = $3,350
  • South Carolina – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,440; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,600; Cost with One DUI = $2,200
  • South Dakota – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,270; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,500; Cost with One DUI = $2,200
  • Tennessee – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,550; Cost with One DUI = $2,100
  • Texas – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,800; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Cost with One DUI = $2,300
  • Utah – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,200; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,450; Cost with One DUI = $1,900
  • Vermont – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,100; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,350; Cost with One DUI = $2,050
  • Virginia – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,070; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,200; Cost with One DUI = $1,550
  • Washington – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,400; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,600; Cost with One DUI = $2,000
  • West Virginia – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,480; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,750; Cost with One DUI = $2,100
  • Wisconsin – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $950; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,450; Cost with One DUI = $1,950
  • Wyoming – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,600; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,000; Cost with One DUI = $2,200

High-Risk Insurance Options

Many insurance carriers will still offer you a policy if you are in the high-risk category, you’ll just be quoted much higher prices until you clean up your driving record.

Try the following tips to ensure you get the best car insurance even when you are considered to be a higher risk.

1. Improve Your Credit Score

Underwriters look at your credit score to determine your risk. They know, for instance, that someone with bad credit is more likely to make a claim on their policy. As a result, bad credit drivers are charged much higher rates than those with good credit.

There are a few likely scenarios here. The first is that people with good credit are more financially responsible. Not only are they less likely to drive fast or recklessly, but they are also more likely to pay for small accidents out of pocket.

Perhaps more importantly, a good credit driver is more likely to pay for their premiums on time, thus causing fewer problems for the insurer. 

Maintain a good credit history by meeting all your monthly payments on time; avoid applying for any new loans or credit cards; increase your credit limits where possible, and clear as much of your current debt balances as you can.

All of these simple methods will ensure your credit score stays strong.

2. Take a Defensive Driving Course

A defensive driving course can undo some of the damage done by a traffic violation and give you the experience and skills you need to stay safe behind the wheel. A knowledgeable driver is a safe driver, which is why defensive driving certificates can save you money.

​3. Buy a Suitable Car

If you’re a new driver or you’re making a transition from one vehicle to the next and have the luxury of, then you’re in a very strong position. 

Many young drivers, for instance, will get the fastest and most powerful car they can afford. Either that, or they save every cent they can and purchase the latest trendy new vehicle. But neither of these options will result in an affordable car insurance policy.

A new car typically costs more to insure than an older car, as the cost of replacing it and repairing the electronics will be much higher. As for sports cars and luxury cars, they have much lower safety ratings and, as a result, will almost certainly drive those insurance premiums sky-high.

The ideal car is one that has a high safety rating, is affordable, comes with numerous safety features and anti-theft features, and doesn’t have many custom parts or hard-to-replace parts.

Not only will car insurance companies look more fondly on vehicles that fit this mold, but you can also take more liberties with regards to the deductible and the coverage options.

For example, a brand-new car will need New Car Replacement coverage, as well as collision cover and comprehensive cover. That way, if you hit a wall, a tree or an animal, or your car is stolen, vandalized or damaged following an extreme weather event, you don’t stand to lose all of your investment.

If the car is cheap, you can dismiss those potentially expensive options, knowing that you can cover all minor repairs yourself and write off the vehicle entirely if anything major happens to it.

4. Compare and Contrast

Hundreds of insurance companies operate in every single state and you can sign up over the phone, online or via an insurance agent. With so many choices and possibilities, you have no excuse not to shop around.

A car insurance policy is like any other big purchase you make. You wouldn’t buy a brand new $2,000 computer after visiting just one store, nor would you drop several grand on the first car you see.

With car insurance, you need to consult many reps from many major insurance companies (Allstate, GEICO, State Farm, Progressive, Nationwide) as well as a few local and specialized ones (The General, USAA).

It’s the only way to guarantee the best rates and this applies whether you have a clean driving history, or one filled with violations and insurance claims.

5. Get Some Car Insurance Discounts

Reduce your car insurance premiums by checking all possible discounts and getting as many of them as you can. Car insurance discounts differ from provider to provider and from state to state, but generally, they include:

  • Good Student Discount: Many state authorities require insurance carriers to offer discounts for students who maintain a high-grade point average. This is also true for high-risk auto insurance providers and for all qualifying applicants, the discounts can be incredibly generous.
  • Safety Features Discount: The addition of front-and-side airbags could save you as much as 40% on comprehensive insurance coverage. The risk of serious injuries and fatalities drops considerably when these basic safety features are installed. Discounts are also offered for anti-lock brakes, car alarms, and other features designed to keep drivers safe and prevent the vehicle from being stolen or vandalized.
  • Multi-Car Discount: Add multiple vehicles to the same policy to qualify for a discount. If you have multiple cars and drivers in your household, this discount is a must.
  • Multi-Policy Discount: Insurers use this discount to encourage policyholders to sign up for additional services. For instance, most major standard and non-standard auto insurance carriers will give you a discount if you purchase homeowners insurance along with auto insurance.
  • Student Away Discount: If you’re a young driver who lives and studies on campus, you may qualify for this discount, which takes advantage of the fact you will spend much less time on the roads.
  • Senior Discount: Some states offer discounts to senior drivers, and those drivers could save even more if they have a long and clean driving record behind them. Bear in mind, however, that many states also require additional vision/reaction tests to ensure you’re still capable and responsible.
  • Low Mileage: Mileage based car insurance providers charge you by the mile. You may pay more if you drive a lot but could save yourself a few dollars if you drive very little. The major providers offer something similar, installing apps that monitor your driving habits and use the data gathered to tweak your insurance premiums.
  • Married Homeowner Discount: Although it’s not a discount as such, you will receive a much cheaper auto insurance policy if you own your home and are married. Insurers covet married policyholders as they are more responsible, less likely to claim, and they can also get a two-for-one deal.

Bottom Line: Higher Premiums but Still Affordable

Receiving the high-risk label doesn’t mean you’re doomed forever, nor does it mean you’ll be paying through the nose for the most basic of car insurance policies. 

You’ll pay more than you would for a standard insurance policy, but by doing a little research and a lot of comparison shopping, and by keeping a clean driving record from this moment on, you’ll save yourself thousands of dollars and avoid concerning rate increases in the future.


20 Places To Sell Your Old Smartphone For Top Dollar

We live in an age where technology is constantly evolving, and newer and more advanced smartphones seem to come out on a weekly basis.

When you bought your iPhone, it was the cream of the crop – the best available on the market.  While it still works just fine, you’re in love with the newest iPhone that was just released with that fancy new feature that you just can’t live without. (Sound familiar?)

The only problem?  That new smartphone is expensive, and you’re not sure you can justify the expense.

If your old phone is still relatively new and in demand, you may be able to offset the cost of that new device by selling your old one.

Places To Sell Old Smartphones

There are a lot of places where you can sell your old smartphone for a decent amount of money. Some places you can even sell your broken phone for parts and still make a decent amount! Today I’d thought I’d list a few of the more popular ones.

Quick Navigation is the US’s largest price comparison site for selling old mobile phones and tablets – they compare all of the key BuyBack companies in the market, saving the user the time of visiting lots of other websites to get the best deal for an old device. They guarantee that the user will always get the maximum cash when selling an old device on and offer users a Best Price Guarantee – if they spot a higher price on another site, they will refund the customer double the difference. They also show each BuyBack company’s user ratings from sites likes ReSeller Ratings, Trustpilot & BBB for peace of mind.
Top Places To Sell Your Smartphone

  • Decluttr: Decluttr will buy your cell phones and other tech gadgets. They process fast next-day payments for your Apple and Android phones, game consoles, and other technology items. Read a full Decluttr review here. UPDATE: Get an extra 10% on electronics traded in using code:  ELECTRONICS10
  • Whistle: Whistle offers consumers a quick and easy way to sell almost any used electronic device (phones, laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, smart speakers, etc.). You indicate what you have to sell, and Whistle extends you an offer. If you accept it, Whistle provides free shipping and fast payment, so that the transaction can be completed in under a week. Whistle is the fastest, easiest way to sell used electronics.  
  • ItsWorthMore: ItsWorthMore is a well-rated buyer and will buy anything from an Android device to a Macbook or an iPhone. They have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, an Elite Rating with, and payments within 2 days.
  • BuyRUs: They buy used phones, tablets, laptops, consoles, and more. Just get a quote, ship off your item (with free shipping), and then get paid within 24 hours of them receiving your device. Buy through our link and use our invite code: V0T6J4 to get extra back!
  • This is a new buyback website that specializes in buying cracked, broken or financed iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and Apple Watches. Get a quote, ship with a free label, get paid via Venmo, PayPal, Check, or Zelle. Use promo code: “moneymatters” to get a $10 bonus!
  • BuyBack World: They’ll buy iPhones, iPads, media players, and a host of other electronics. They even buy unwanted gift cards.
  • With an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and a price match guarantee, they are well respected. They issue payments within 2 days via PayPal or Check.
  • BuyBack company where you can sell a huge variety of Phones, Macbooks, iPads, iPods, Game Consoles, GoPros and other electronics. Simple and easy to use platform. Just get an instant quote, ship your item for free, and then get paid within 48 hours of them receiving your device.
  • OCBuyBack: Sell your used or broken iPhones, iPads, iPods, Samsung Phones even MacBooks. From the OCBuyBack team: “Help us keep e-waste out of landfills. We keep a low overhead to give you a bigger payout.” Get free shipping and fast payment via check or paypal.  Use our exclusive promo code MONEY5 to get $5 added to your trade-in!
  • QuickSell: QuickSell is a trade-in website that offers competitive prices for used, cracked, and broken iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. They offer multiple payment options, quick payouts, and free shipping on all orders. Use promo code “MONEYMATTERS” at checkout to receive an additional $5 on your order!
  • Buy Back Pros: They pay cash for cell phones, computers, electronics, laptops, smartphones, tablets, & more.  Find your device, accept their offer, and get paid within 2 days of the device being inspected.
  • Swappa: A great place to sell your late model phones, tablets, wearables, and some computers.  Buy from other phone owners!
  • Glyde: They buy iPads, iPhones, Samsung phones, tablets and more.  You get paid 3 days after delivery to the buyer. Simple.
  • Green Buyback: GreenBuyback will pay you for your mobile device, from cell phones and tablets to a wide variety of other electronics. GreenBuyback will give you free shipping and quick payment. We worked out a special deal with them and if you use promo code: moneymatters when checking out at GreenBuyback, you’ll get an extra $5 for your device.
  • ecoATM: ecoATM has ATM-like machines in high traffic locations that will buy your phone or tablet. Use our promo code: peter at the ecoATM kiosk checkout to get an extra $5 on your order! Find a location near you here: ecoATM locations.
  • eBay: Over the years I’ve done pretty well selling relatively new electronics on eBay, especially devices that are only a year or two old.  Selling on eBay may mean more hassle than selling elsewhere since you have to deal with the auction, answering questions, and then mailing out the device. You also have to pay listing fees and fees on the final price of the winning bid, but in the end, you may come out further ahead.
  • They buy your used iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and other Apple devices.
  • Apple products are the most in-demand on this site. They buy everything from Apple TV and Apple Watches to Mac computers.
  • UpTrade: UpTrade is a great choice if you want to keep the process of buying or selling a used phone simple. For buyers, every listing includes HD quality photos of the exact phone being sold, along with a phone history report.
  • Sell On Amazon:  Just search for your item on Amazon, then look for the button that says “Sell on Amazon”. You can then create a listing to sell your used item via Amazon. You’ll just pay a small listing fee and a pay a percentage when it sells. I’ve had good success selling this way.
  • Facebook “Yard Sale” Groups: My wife has been using Facebook to sell things lately, and typically does pretty well.  Typically she will find a local Facebook yard sale group for one of our local areas that is big enough to have quite a few members, and then she’ll list the items on there.  When someone wants to buy the item you connect and figure out all the details to complete the sale.
  • Craigslist: Selling to people on craigslist typically works better for me for larger items like furniture, but it can work pretty well for electronics as well. The only hassle is having to connect with a person in real life – and the dangers associated with doing so.  Many local police departments have started to have designated Craigslist transaction areas where people can meet and complete a sale, and not have to feel like they’re in danger.
  • Amazon Trade-In program: Ship your old items, not only electronics, to Amazon and receive Amazon gift cards in return. It should be noted that they don’t typically pay a ton.
  • Sell Broke: Get an instant quote to sell laptops, phones, tablets, or other electronic devices – even if they’re broken.
  • Gadget Salvation: This website will take most electronic devices, even those that are broken. Get a quote through their website.
  • MaxBack: This site pays cash for cell phones, tablets, and other devices!
  • GizMogul: Sell anything from old iPhones and smartphones to tablets, watches, Macbooks and more.
  • YouRenew: Sell your old phones, tablets and other devices.
  • uSell: Working or damaged, sell your used phone in seconds.
  • iPhone Antidote: Mainly buying Apple products.
  • SellMyCellPhones: They claim to offer the “best price when you sell your old cell phone, iPhone, iPad or tablet”.
  • Gadget Traders: Recycle your devices and get paid. They accept Apple products, Android phones tablets, iPods, and more.
  • Gadget Gone: Sell your iPhone and get the most cash, fast.
  • Get Top Dollar By Selling Before An iPhone Launch

    As I write this Apple is expected to announce the release of the new iPhone 12 in early October. With the release, many people will be selling their iPhone 11s and Xs in order to fund the purchase of the new model. In fact, 40% of iPhone owners plan to purchase the new model according to one recent survey.

    The earlier you sell your older iPhone, the better off you’ll be. Once the new phone comes out and more and more people flood the market with old phones, the value of your phone goes down each day, especially after the big announcement.

    Top cell phone buyer and seller Gazelle has discussed the trend.

    Trade-ins typically spike around each iPhone cycle as consumers seek to get maximum value for their old phone and take advantage of special offers. This year, consumers can lock in their best price with Gazelle on an iPhone, Galaxy, or any unwanted phone starting 9/5 to 9/22, and will have until 10/22 to mail it in – plenty of time for their new iPhone to arrive. But the earlier you lock in the better, because the value of your phone goes down each day – and especially after Apple’s 9/12 announcement.

    So to get top dollar on your old phone, sell before the market is flooded after a new phone is released!

    Selling My Old Smartphone

    The last time I sold an old smartphone I had purchased an Android phone and used it for a couple of years. The phone was no longer state of the art but was still usable on a national network.

    I searched for completed listings on eBay, but the phone was going for next to nothing there because it was so common.

    I searched phone buying sites. Those sites gave me at most $10-15.

    In the end, I sold the phone on for about half of what I originally bought it for. The buyer was happy because it was less than what the phone cost new, and I was happy because I got more than I would have through other venues. It took a little while to sell, but in the end, the wait was worth it.

    Get Top Dollar By Selling Your Old Smartphone ASAP

    One thing you must keep in mind when selling your old smartphone, the amount you receive for your phone will be directly correlated to the demand for that phone on the current market.

    If it’s a high demand phone like an iPhone from a recent generation, you may do better than you will for an old Android phone from 6 years ago.  It’s all about demand, and how much the phone is still desired by buyers on the marketplace.

    Your best bet is to shop around, figure out what forum will give you the best return for your device, and then go for it.

    Finding Out What Your Phone Is Worth

    To get an idea of what your phone is worth I suggest doing the following:

    • Search eBay for completed listings: Do a search for your phone’s make and model on eBay, and then make sure to check the “completed listings” checkbox on the search filters. It will show you what your phone sold for – in real-world listings.
    • Get price quotes on several smartphone buying sites: Try getting a price quote on a bunch of sites to see what kind of offers they’ll give you on your phone. If you only want to do a few, I suggest established sites like Gazelle,, Decluttr, Green Buyback, Buyback Boss or BuyBack World.

    Once you find the place that you think will give you the best return for your phone (when taking into consideration the amount of time you have, how much you want to get for your phone, and how much hassle you want to deal with), go for it!

    Do your research, and you’ll likely come out with a nice chunk of change to help pay for your new phone. Good luck!

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    Just Sold Your Old Phone, But Need New Service?

    If you’re selling your phone and looking for a new mobile provider, there are a ton of great low-cost providers out there. Here are some of the best that I’ve found:

    Moble Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) Mobile Network Minimum Plan Price Free Tethering Review
    Gen Mobile Sprint $5 (Unlimited Text – No Talk, No Data) $10 (300 Min Talk & Unlimited Text – 1GB Data) Discounts if prepaid for 3 months. Yes Review
    Tello Sprint $5 (100 Min Talk & Unlimited Text – No Data) Yes Review
    Twigby Sprint, Verizon Wireless $9 (300 Min Talk & Unlimited Text – No Data) Yes Review
    Ting Sprint, T-Mobile $9 (100 Min Talk & No Text – No Data) Yes Review
    Red Pocket Mobile Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile US, Sprint $10 (500 Min Talk & 500 Text – 500 MB Data) Yes
    Republic Wireless Sprint, T-Mobile $15 (Unlimited Talk & Text – No Data) Yes Review
    Mint Mobile T-Mobile $15 (Unlimited Talk & Text – 3GB Data) If prepaid for 1 year. Prepay in 3,6, 12 month increments. Buy 3 Months, Get 3 Free) Yes Review
    Unreal Mobile AT&T $15 (Unlimited Talk & Text – 3GB Data). Prepay in 3,6, 12 month increments. Yes Review
    TracFone Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile US, Sprint, U.S. Cellular $15 (200 Min Talk & 500 Text – 500 MB Data) If put on auto-renew save 5%. No
    Google FI T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular $20 (Unlimited Talk & Text – No Data) Yes
    Total Wireless Verizon Wireless $23.70 (Unlimited Talk & Text – No Data) $25 without auto-pay. Yes
    Cricket Wireless AT&T $25 (Unlimited Talk & Text – No Data) No
    Boost Sprint $35 (Unlimited Talk & Text – 3GB Data) No
    Straight Talk Wireless AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon $35 (Unlimited Talk & Text – 2GB Data) No
    Visible Verizon $40 (Unlimited Talk & Text – Unlimited Data) Yes Review

    20 Places To Sell Your Old Smartphone For Top Dollar


    What is an Assisted Living Community?

    Get by with a little help from your friends (and family too, of course)

    An assisted living community is much like a standard apartment community, except it’s specifically for people that need in-home medical or personal care.

    Assisted living communities offer independence for their tenants while still maintaining access to necessary care.

    What kind of costs are associated with assisted living communities?

    Assisted living communities typically cost more than an apartment or home without additional services. But, someone seeking extra in-home care would likely already be familiar with that idea. You might like to know what exactly the extra costs cover, however.

    Assisted living communities often include meals, medical care, housekeeping, recreational care and a number of personal care services. The list of amenities can vary greatly from one community to the next, so you should always check into the specific services offered at a community you’re interested in.

    Why or why not live in an assisted living community?

    As we mentioned, there are extra costs associated with living at an assisted living community. But, for many, these costs are worth it, sometimes even necessary.

    Pros of assisted living communities

    • Care specific to the resident’s needs
    • Not a clinical setting, feels more like a home

    Cons of assisted living communities

    • Additional costs
    • A structure that some very independent residents may not enjoy

    Who is eligible to live in an assisted living community?

    Anyone is eligible to live in an assisted living community, regardless of age. Because of their nature, assisted living communities are prime for anyone needing an extra level of care at home. Whether a senior citizen or someone much younger, an assisted living community could be the solution.

    Some assisted living communities even offer multiple-room units, like the unit pictured, for roommates, partners or guests.

    2 bedroom floor plan2 bedroom floor plan

    Additional resources



    Homie’s Greater Phoenix, AZ Housing Market Update July 2020

    It’s hot outside and so is the market!

    “Hottest Summer ever in Phoenix recorded history and also the hottest July ever for real estate sales in the Greater Phoenix area. Our market is smoking! In the last 20 years, monthly sales have topped 10,000 only four previous times. July 2020 has reached this milestone with 10,303 sales!” -Wayne Graham, Head of Real Estate Operations at Homie Arizona.

    Monthly Sales

    chart showing number of home sales in AZ from July 1 to July 31, 2020

    Data via ARMLS® from July 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020.

    According to the data from the ARMLS® from July 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020, real estate sales are up +8.4% month-over-month . The year-over-year comparison is up +12.1% at 10,303 compared to 9,192 in 2018-19.

    List Price

    *Data from the ARMLS® from July 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020.

    Average new list prices are up +15.7% at $418.2K compared to $361.3K in 2018-19. The year over-year median is up +12.9% at $325K, compared to $287.9K in 2018-19.

    Sale Price

    chart comparing july 1-july 31 2020 to last quarter 2019.

    *Data from the ARMLS® from July 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020.

    Home values are staying strong. The average sales price is up +14.6% year-over year at $391.6K, compared to $341.6K in 2018-19. While the year-over year median sales price is also up +12.5% at $315K compared to $280K in 2018-19.

    Days on Market (DOM)

    chart comparing average days on market in july 1 to july 31 2020 to 2019

    *Data from the ARMLS® from July 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020.

    We saw the Average Cumulative Days on Market decrease in July 2020-19, averaging 55 days on market versus 63 Average Cumulative Days on Market in 2018-19. At Homie, we are continuing to see sellers getting multiple offers on their homes.

    July Breaks Records in 2020

    A message from our Associate Broker, Jennifer Hull:

    For Buyers

    It’s a jungle out there for buyers! Despite recent appreciation rates the Home Opportunity Index* measure for the Greater Phoenix market increased to 64.8% for the 2nd Quarter in 2020; the previous measure was 63.0%. This means that a household making the current median family income of $72,300 per year could afford 64.8% of what sold in the 2nd Quarter of 2020. By comparison, the HOI measure for the United States was 59.6%.

    Historically, a normal range for this measure is between 60-75%. During the bubble years of excessive appreciation between 2005-2006, the HOI plummeted from 60.1% to 26.6%. Typically if it falls below 60%, the market should start to see a drop in demand. With the most recent increase however, Greater Phoenix is still within normal range and experiencing demand 20% above normal for this time of year.

    What makes this market significantly different from the infamous bubble and crash is the relation between resale housing growth and population growth. In the early 2000’s, housing was growing faster than the population and creating a surplus. This surplus went unnoticed due to excessive speculator (i.e. “false”) demand fueled by loose lending practices. When loans tightened up, the surplus came roaring into focus as vacant inventory soared to over double the normal levels. However since 2006, the population has grown faster than housing. It has taken 14 years, but the population growth fueled by job growth has finally consumed the surplus of resale housing created during the bubble years and now the market is facing a shortage of homes for sale.

    This type of market and appreciation is not sustainable long term, however it’s here now and properties purchased today are expected to continue appreciating over the next 6-12 months.

    For Sellers

    So much for the summer slowdown, July had a record number of closings go through the Arizona Regional MLS; surpassing every July as far back as 2001. July also had record breaking sales in dollar volume with $3.9B sold. The best July ever recorded prior was in 2005 at $2.9B. The monthly appreciation rate finalized 12.5% higher than 2019 and was the 4th highest appreciation rate for July going back to 2001.

    “One third of homes closed were over asking price and only 15% involved any sort of seller-paid closing cost assistance; down from a high of 27% last May. Half of all sellers who accepted contracts in the first week of August did so with 7 days or less on the market.

    Contracts on luxury homes over $1M are up an incredible 93% over last year at this time. Between $500K-$1M, contracts are up 64%. Between $300K-$500K, they’re up 39%. Between $250K-$300K, up 15%. If you need to sell, this is indeed the time to do it!” -Jennifer Hull, Associate Broker at Homie Arizona.

    Want to Know Your Home’s Value?

    Want to know how much your home is worth? Click here to request your home value report.

    Turn to a Homie

    Homie has local real estate agents in all of our service areas. These agents are pros in everything they do, including understanding the local real estate market. Click to start selling or buying and to get in touch with your dedicated agent.


    A Beginner’s Guide to Taking Over Someone’s Lease

    African American girl with glasses shaking hands with friendApartment hunting is usually a pretty straightforward process. You find a place you like, submit an application, then give the landlord your John Hancock. Sometimes, though, you want to break the mold…or you really, really need short term housing. Whether you’re doing a friend a favor, mixing things up for the summer, or just fell in love with an otherwise unavailable unit, it may be time to break with tradition and consider taking over a lease. There are two way to do this: a sublease or an assignment of the lease.

    Sublease vs assignment of the lease: What’s the difference?

    Liability and points of contact. With a sublease, you sign a contract directly with the current tenant. While your agreement could involve making payments to the landlord (instead of through the current tenant), all legal matters run through the tenant. Your sublease–not the apartment’s original lease–binds behavior and liability.

    When you sign an assignment of the lease agreement, you work directly with the landlord. Although the tenant typically lists the apartment on their own, all paperwork runs through the leasing office. All in all, it’s a regular lease, just for a shorter period of time.

    Three tips to know about both lease types

    Although details may differ, there are a few things to keep in mind for both types:

    • Have a good contract. Fortunately for all of us non-lawyers out there, the internet makes it very easy to create generic, state-specific model contracts. Then, just add or modify what you need. Be sure to include everything from the cost for damages to rent due dates. No one wants to get caught with nasty surprises or conflicts down the line.
    • Take pictures. It’s important to note any damages to the apartment before the original tenant leaves. If they’re gone before you arrive, make sure to document any problems and contact them ASAP, just like you would when renting a car. You don’t want to wind up paying for damage from their great dog debacle of ‘09 when you only moved in last month.
    • Know the apartment. Like people, no two apartments are the same, and the rules of each complex can be, well, complex. When it comes to taking over a lease, ignorance isn’t bliss. You don’t want to be hit with a major fine when you move out just because you hadn’t thought to check out the pet or smoking rules.

    Still have questions about short-term housing?

    Now that you get the gist of how some short-term housing contracts work, we can move on to a few other important questions:

    How much should subletting cost? They will typically cost 70-80% of the apartment’s regular monthly rent, according to Forbes. That price may increase within busy markets or high-demand seasons.

    Where can I find short-term apartment listings? Taking over someone else’s lease is one way to find short term housing, often at the last-minute, but you can also do so on ApartmentSearch even pays you to use it! Can other apartment locating services say that? We didn’t think so. When you find a short term apartment with us and let your new landlord know where you found them, you could be rewarded with up to $200!


    Managing Your Tax Return (What You Should be Using it For)

    Spending Your Tax ReturnWhen people receive their tax returns, they are quick to spend this money on frivolous purchases that may bring them temporary joy. Even though people know there are ways to spend their tax return responsibly, the temptation to splurge on things they don’t need is too strong.

    Ultimately, you can spend your tax return on whatever you want, but you should really consider what you should be using it for.

    Pay Down Debts

    Between student, home, and auto loan and credit card debt, people can easily find themselves owing thousands of dollars. Consumers often have no choice but to pay down their debts little by little over time, but if it is possible to make an extra payment or two using your tax refund, the debt can be repaid much faster.

    Keep in mind that it would be most helpful to pay down your debts based on interest. High-interest rates should take priority since they are the most expensive. If you pay them down sooner, you will save money because you can shorten the repayment period and pay less interest.

    Start or Add to an Emergency Fund

    How prepared are you for the unexpected? If your car needed a major repair tomorrow, would you have the money to cover the cost? When emergencies happen people need to be prepared if they don’t want to take a big financial hit.

    Emergency funds are designed to cover the cost of the unexpected. If you don’t have an emergency fund, use your tax refund to start one. And if you already have one, add to your fund. If and when something happens, you don’t have to stress about how this unexpected expense will set you back because you’ll have a financial safety net in place. 

    Retirement Savings

    The traditional age of retirement is 65, although some people may choose to retire earlier than that.  Your retirement may not be in the near future, but it is never too early to start saving for this phase of your life.

    Just because you are retired, doesn’t mean you won’t have expenses. Between rent or mortgage payments, gas, food, utilities, and other monthly expenses, you will need to have a lot saved up since you will no longer be working. The money you save over the years will add up, so allocating some of the funds you receive from your tax return for your retirement savings will only help future you.

    Home Improvements

    Homeowners are responsible for their own home maintenance and improvements. It is a well-known fact that maintaining a home can be costly. Landscaping your front yard, insulating your attic or remodeling your kitchen may all be on your list of things to do, but with the cost of these home improvements being high, you haven’t been able to afford either.

    Your tax return, regardless of how small or large it is, can be used to create the home you deserve. Even if you can’t tackle all of your projects at once, getting one done is better than none. Additionally, consider using the money to start a home improvement fund that can be used specifically for any home expenses you may have in the future.


    Not everyone considers how they can help someone else. And when they do, they may focus on material items, such as clothes and shoes, but if there is an organization that you would like to support, why not make a monetary donation? You’ll feel good about having helped those in need, but another bonus to donating is that depending on the donation, it is tax-deductible.   

    People view their tax return as free money that they can throw away. If there is work that needs to be done to improve your life or financial health, this money shouldn’t be wasted. When you receive your tax return, consider the many responsible ways to use this money that can positively impact your life.

    Unhappy with your credit score or financial situation? Give Credit Absolute a call today for a free consultation!


    How And Why To Check Your Credit Score If You Plan On Buying A House

    My wife and I have pretty good credit. We’ve never missed a payment on any of our debts, have had a variety of credit types (installment loans, mortgages and credit cards) and the cards that we do still have, we’ve had for years.

    We’re not too concerned about having a good credit score these days because we don’t really use debt that much, we pay cash for most things.  There is one thing that we DO need a good credit score for, however, that may be happening within the next year or two. Buying a house.

    When buying a new home it is important to stay on top of your credit situation as your credit score can have a huge impact on what rate, and what type of loan you can get.  In the end it can save or cost you thousands of dollars. So today I thought I would do a quick review of why it’s important to stay on top of your credit when looking for a home loan, and how to do it in a way that doesn’t cost you very much.

    credit score impact on mortgage rate

    credit score impact on mortgage rate

    Quick Navigation

    Let’s say you are you seeking a 30 year fixed loan for $250,000 to pay for a new house.  Depending on your credit score range the rate that you get can vary pretty widely.

    Credit Score Impact On Mortgage Rate

    Credit Score Impact On Mortgage Rate

    Even if you have a good credit score, and not an excellent score, you’re losing out on thousands of dollars in interest.  Boosting your credit score to the excellent category would save you an additional $11,107 in interest!  Going from an average or poor credit score to a higher credit score range could save you even more!  So be aware of where your credit score is, and do your best to improve your score!

    What Is A Good Credit Score?

    What a good credit score is can vary a bit depending on who you ask, but in general it’s safe to say a good FICO credit score is going to be anything above a score of 700-720. In the 680-700 range, you’ve got average credit. If your score is 620 or below you’ll most likely be tagged as a poor credit risk.  Here’s a general look at the credit score ranges.

    Credit Score Description
    750-850 Excellent credit.
    680-749 Good credit.
    620-679 Average credit.
    560-619 Poor credit
    300-559 Bad credit.

    So what is taken into account with your credit score?  According to the FICO site:

    • Payment History (35%): How good are you at making your payments, and making them on time?
    • Amounts Owed (30%): How much credit are you using – how much do you owe?
    • Length of Credit History (15%): How long have your accounts been open, and how long since you’ve last used them?
    • New Credit (10%): Are you opening a lot of credit cards lately, or other lines of credit? Lots of inquiries for credit?
    • Types of Credit Used (10%): Number of and different types of accounts.
    So it’s important to stay on top of these things, especially when you’re looking to get a large new loan like a home mortgage. Check out this post for a more in depth look at what a good credit score is.

    Where Can You Check Your Credit Report?

    There are a couple of things to stay on top of when carefully monitoring your credit, your credit score and your credit report.  Your credit report will be a detailed listing of your credit situation showing all of your accounts, loans,  negative events on your record, missed payments, etc.  In other words it will give you an overall look at your credit situation.

    You should never really have to pay for your credit report as you can get a free report from each of the big three credit agencies every year through the government site at  Personally I like to stagger pulling my reports for each agency, and get one every 4 months to better monitor my situation.  If you haven’t pulled one in a while, however, and you’re hoping to get a loan soon, you may want to pull all three.

    Where Can You Check Your Credit Score For Free?

    There are several places that you can check your credit scores from the three agencies, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax, for free.    Keep in mind these credit scores are not the FICO score used by the banks when deciding on your rate, but they are similar and can help to inform you and give you a good idea of where  your FICO credit score will probably be.

    You can currently get your credit scores from the big 3 agencies for free if you know where to go.  Here is how I get mine.

    Your credit score for the three agencies can help to inform you of approximately where your credit score will be when the mortgage companies check it.  But where can you go to get your actual FICO score?

    Where Can You Get Your MyFICO Score?

    Your FICO score, the one used by the mortgage companies in order to give you your home loan rate, is a bit harder to come by without paying for it.  Right now you can get it via a free trial from MyFICO directly. Other places I’d recommend going to get it:


    Changing your credit score isn’t an easy process and won’t happen overnight. So if you’re hoping to make a big purchase anytime soon, like a home, make sure to get your credit scores early, and do what you can to improve them by the time you finally apply to get a loan.  Have a decent amount of accounts, utilize the credit responsibly, don’t cancel old accounts and make sure that all of your payments are on time.

    Have you recently purchased a home and seen what kind of an impact a credit score can have? Hoping to buy sometime in the near future?  Tell us your thoughts on credit scores and buying a home in the comments.