Winter is Coming. Is Your Car Ready?

Is Your Car Winter Ready?

Winter has a way of sneaking up on us. Have you winterized your vehicle and put together a winter car kit yet? Once the temperatures plunge and the snow starts to fly, a little advance preparation can help you stay safe and avoid being stranded. It could save you the cost of a towing bill – or in the most extreme conditions, possibly save your life.

How to Get Your Auto Prepared

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) recommends a winter car care check for all auto owners – even those who live in milder climates. Here are some of the things they recommend doing as you get your vehicle ready for winter:

• Since cold weather makes existing problems worse, take care of any problems you’ve noticed with the performance of your vehicle – such as rough idling or sluggish starts.

• Replace dirty air, fuel, and PCV filters.

• Have your auto’s battery checked.

• Check tires for adequate tread and remember to check for proper tire pressure once a month. Make sure your spare tire and jack are in good working order.

• Add a bottle of fuel de-icer to your gas tank once a month when the temperature is below freezing. According to the ACE, this helps keep moisture from forming in your fuel line. Keeping a full tank of gas can also help prevent your fuel line from freezing up.

• Change your oil and oil filter if you’re due for a change, and be sure to follow the car manufacturer’s recommended oil change schedule going forward.

• Flush and refill your auto’s cooling system with coolant (antifreeze) as recommended. From time to time throughout the winter, check to make sure you have the right level and concentration of antifreeze. ACE says that a mix of half antifreeze and half water is the typical recommendation. If you’re doing this yourself, remember that you should never try to remove the radiator cap until the engine is completely cool.

• Have a professional technician check the condition of belts, clamps, and hoses.

• Check your heater and defroster to make sure they’re in good working order.

• Replace old windshield wiper blades and stock up on windshield washer fluid.

Put together a winter car kit

Safe winter driving also means keeping some supplies in your car so you’ll be prepared for whatever Mother Nature decides to dish out – especially if you live in a region where winters are harsh. Here are some things to consider including in your winter car kit:

• Shovel (preferably a metal, short-handled one) in case you need to dig snow out from under the wheels of your car
• Jumper cables
• Bag of salt or cat litter (the non-clumping kind) to put in the path of your auto’s wheels for better traction on ice and snow
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• Ice scraper and snow brush
• Exterior windshield cleaner
• Wooden matches in a waterproof container
• Non-perishable snacks and bottled water
• Blankets and extra winter gear such as gloves, cap, and socks
• Light sticks and flares to use as a light source as well as a safety measure in case you become stranded at the side of the road.

Prepared Winter Driving is Safer (and sometimes less costly) Winter Driving

Getting your car and your winter car kit prepared now will help you be ready when the very coldest months of the year roll around. It can help your car run more reliably and possibly head off pricey repair bills (and help avoid having to take out a payday loan) during the coldest months of the year, when cars are more likely to break down. And most importantly of all, making these preparations now will help keep you and your passengers safe.

With Uber Comes Less Day-Job Stress

Think for a moment about what brings you the most stress in your life. Odds are, it’s related to work or money. Well, driving for Uber allows you to stress out less about those two things.

I’ve always stressed having multiple streams of income and how side businesses are so crucial, whether they earn $100 per month, $500 per month, or match your day job income. With Uber, you get to choose how much you want to make and how many hours you want to put in. You’re not at the mercy of a boss, and what you put in determine what you get out of it. That being said, the benefit of earning some extra money per month is just one of the side benefits. The biggest benefit from driving for Uber comes from having a viable backup plan that should lead to less stress on a daily basis.

Imagine never being worried about being fired or laid off. Imagine if your day job was nice to have, but you never had to get worked up about it and can leave the stress in the office. Your worst-case scenario just got a lot less terrible. I’m not pretending that losing your job would be a fun experience, but in the past, losing your source of income has meant a terrible pang of fear of what is to come. Now, it could mean turning to a viable backup and being able to earn money the same day. It might not be as fun and it doesn’t come with health insurance, but it should help bridge the gap as you look for your dream job.

And it’s not limited to just ride-sharing services. That’s just what’s been on my mind lately. It’s not difficult to make a couple hundred dollars freelancing, it just takes a bit of creativity to find what you’re good at and the people who will pay for it.

Your full-time job is less important now that there are so many alternatives to making money, whether online or off. Uber/lyft give an awesome backup job so you don’t have to stress out quite as much.

How Burial Insurance Can Bring Peace of Mind

Burial insurance is something that most consumers don’t even consider as an option. Many don’t know that it even exists. This is a good option to have in place in addition to life insurance. Sometimes life insurance just isn’t enough to cover all of the final expenses after medical bills and household expenses.

No Life Insurance

If you do not have life insurance at all, at least consider obtaining a burial insurance policy. These policies are specifically for funeral expenses. Families don’t often have the funds on hand to pay for a funeral when an unexpected death occurs. It is important to have a burial expense policy in place to take care of this and avoid one of the biggest mistakes.

Life insurance policies are also a good idea. Most consumers have the wrong type of policy in place, such as a term life policy. These expire after a period of time and the consumer fails to secure a new policy afterwards.

Easier to Obtain

It is difficult for some members of society to get affordable life insurance due to their age and/or pre-existing health conditions. In most situations, obtaining burial expense insurance does not come with all of these restrictions so it is far easier to obtain. It is ideal to secure a policy that is about one and a half to two times more than the average cost of funerals during the year that you purchase the policy. This ensures that you are purchasing enough coverage should expenses inflate significantly if you live far into your golden years.

Acts as a Backup Funding Source for Final Expenses

If enough life insurance is not in place, the burial expense insurance is available. This coverage should be used for its purpose and the life insurance can be used for medical expenses and other final financial obligations. In 2014, the average, simple funeral costs $10,000 – $12,000, within the next decade, the cost of a funeral is projected to rise an additional $5,000. Take these numbers into consideration when purchasing a burial expense insurance policy.

Making sure that your family has the funds to cover your finale expenses is important. You can find more information about burial insurance at It is a huge financial strain on a family to attempt to pay for these expenses out of pocket, even with several people contributing. Fundraisers take time to setup and there is no guarantee that enough funding will be raised. Ensure that your family will not have financial stress by having the appropriate policies in place.