Follow these steps to lower the cost of routine car maintenance and major repair work:
Don’t neglect routine maintenance. One of the best ways to avoid costly repairs is to follow your vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. That means getting your oil changed regularly, keeping your tires properly inflated and having them rotated, replacing wipers when they get streaky, and so on.
Take advantage of free services. Several auto repair shops offer free battery testing, and some provide free tire rotation. For example, Advance Auto Parts will perform a free electrical test on your starter, alternator and battery.
Look for coupons and discounts. You can find coupons for services at most of the major auto repair chains on their Web sites. If one shop is offering a good deal but you prefer to have your car serviced at another, ask about price matching.
Shop around. You likely compare prices to find the best deal when you purchase big-ticket items. You should do the same when getting your car repaired. You can get a good idea how much common repairs cost in your area by using sites such as AutoMD.com and RepairPal.
Ask a lot of questions. Say you take your car to a repair shop because you know something is wrong with the brakes. But then the mechanic tells you that your car needs several other repairs. Instead of asking how much it will cost, ask why so many repairs need to be made.
Learn how to DIY. You can save a lot by learning how to tackle minor auto maintenance tasks, such as replacing the air filter, wiper blades and even motor oil.
Paris may be the City of Light, but too bad it’s not exactly light on the wallet. So to help those with dreams of seeing the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Élysées on a budget, here are 11 money-saving tips.
Book hotels outside the city center. Generally speaking, the closer you get to the center of town, the more expensive real estate becomes.
Buy a multiday metro pass. A one-way ride on a metro train or RER train in Zone 1 will cost about $2.30 (€1.70.) But if you expect to ride multiple times per day, a Passe illimité (unlimited travel ticket) or Navigo Découverte card will be the way to go.
Rent a bike. Get some fresh air and get around town in mild weather with the Vélib’ bike share program. You’ll be able to rent a bike from any of the 1,800, 24-hour, self-service kiosks.
Skip the top of the Eiffel Tower. Want to get a view of Paris from on high? Do so from the steps of the Sacré Cœur at the top of Montmartre — it’s free.
Young? You’re in luck. Paris is extra wallet-friendly if you’re under 26 years old. You can find youth discounts on everything from food to museums to transportation.
I’m a federal employee, and I’ve been furloughed during the government shutdown. Can I apply for unemployment benefits while I’m furloughed? What happens to my health insurance and other benefits while I’m waiting for my paycheck to start up again?
1) Preexisting conditions won’t matter: You can no longer be denied coverage or charged steep premiums because of a preexisting condition—or qualify only for insurance that excludes your medical condition.
2) Early retirees can breathe easier: You’ll still be able to keep COBRA coverage after 2014, but you may find a better deal on your own, now that you can’t be rejected or charged more because of your health.
3) Young adults may pay more: Unfortunately, healthy young adults looking for coverage on their own are likely to face some of the steepest premium increases under the new law.
The size of your income also determines the maximum amount you have to pay for insurance — starting at 2% of your income if your modified adjusted gross income is below 133% of the federal poverty level and gradually rising to 9.5% of your income if your modified AGI is 300% to 400% of the federal poverty level.