At this point in our series, you may be wondering what some of this has to do with small business mentoring. Don’t! For many people who dream of starting a small business, money is the thing that stands in the way.

There are two ways of dealing with a cash shortfall: make more or SPEND LESS.

Americans are notorious consumers and, thus, I want to help you be smarter with your outgoing cash flow so you can make small business ownership, or any other dream requiring money, come true!

After your housing, your car is generally your next largest expenditure (and symbol of success). Many of us are still managing purchasing and maintaining vehicles by rules that made sense 20-3o years ago. This is a costly mistake. With car financing rates so low, it is tempting to purchase a new car even when it isn’t necessary. No one wants to deprive you if you can afford a new car that you are eyeing, but too often it is an impulse purchase. Here are some things to consider:

  • Consider only buying used. A new car depreciates instantly and rapidly.
  • Leasing is OUT. Read Clark Howard’s information on leasing a car. He doesn’t have anything good to say.
  • This isn’t 1980, folks. Newer (1990’s and newer) vehicles will last 200k miles or MORE. Save money and keep your car for an extra 50, 000 miles or more (and start using the monthly car payment to finance your small business).
  • Proper maintenance can do amazing things. 2.8 million miles? It has been done.
  • Oil changes and tune-ups are not required as frequently for vehicles 10 years old or younger. The NY Times announces it isn’t necessary to change your oil every 3000 miles. Here’s some info on tune-ups and other ways we waste money on our vehicles.
  • With gas hovering around $4/gallon, how you drive is critical to saving money.
  • Ask yourself which would make you prouder (and be smarter): driving a car further that is fully paid for or spending $500+ dollars per month on a rapidly depreciating product. Check your ego at the door and drive smart!
  • Consider trying for a shorter work week or take public transportation one day (or more) each week.

Look. If you are a car aficianado and it is a passion, that’s one thing. Save for and buy the car of your dreams. But stop worrying about what you “should” drive and drive your vehicle longer and smarter. Finance your small business – or other dreams – from the money you save as a result of these tips!

by Steven Schlagel

Want some additional tips on making smart decisions about your automobiles?  Looking Ahead at Automotive Decisions