Dear Jack: Keeping You Physically Active During the Summer of Covid

9 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

With Mommy and I both working from home this summer, and you being stuck here with us, we’re doing what we can to be able to get you out of the house and have some fun whenever we can.

I have made a routine of taking you out to parks on Saturday mornings before it gets too hot. We go on hikes, play in creeks, and sometimes you get to get some exercise on playgrounds that aren’t closed.

This week has been particularly special, because Mommy signed you up for Archery Camp! You love coming home each afternoon and telling me about all the fun you’ve had getting to shoot arrows at different types of targets.

I won’t be surprised if archery becomes an ongoing interest for you!



9 Things to Consider When Buying a Car 

Buying a car is very exciting, but there are many considerations to make. This guide lists 9 things to consider when buying a car.

Buying a car is extremely exciting. But being on the verge of excitement can always lead to making mistakes.

There are some things to consider when buying a car, things that will ensure that you make the right decision that will leave you satisfied.

In this article, we will cover 9 things you might want to consider.

So if that sounds interesting, keep reading to learn more.

  1. Your Need for the Car

A very necessary idea to consider is your need for the car. Needs and wants are far apart, and rarely crossover in the realm of common ground.

So think what you will be using the car for the daily commute, adventure, showing off, so on and so forth.

Has your family expanded and you require more room? Do you need a car that can go off-road, and have efficient mileage? Or maybe you’re a bachelor and you want a small car because you hate public transportation.

Think about your needs, or more so your problems, and then determine why the car is a solution to those issues. Thus, you will narrow down the options and make a better choice.

  1. Your Budget

Budget is very important, and if this is your first car, it’s critical to your success. Consider your entire monthly income and expenses, so that you can determine the amount you can spend on a car payment.

Looking for a new car is looking for a new loan. All loans are different, as some offer more money and some offer better interest than the others.

Understanding these changes in loan structure is crucial to understanding the realistic cost of your monthly payments. It’s also a good idea to have 20% as a down payment to cover the car’s price.

This will help you get out of term earlier, reduce the interest and make sure you don’t need excessive insurance.

  1. Used Vehicle

Buying a used car is a great opportunity to save money, and get a vehicle in optimal condition. A used car doesn’t have to be 20 years old, even cars that are 5 years old are depreciated but ultimately function as new.

Having an open mind about buying provides you with more opportunities. That means that you can look for vehicles from dealerships, individuals, online directories, so on and so forth.

Don’t limit yourself. You never know, your dream car might have already had an owner. Find out more about buying new vs used.

  1. Cost of Ownership

Another critical aspect of buying a car is cost of ownership. Ownership costs cover fuel, repairs, maintenance, insurance, and of course, depreciation. Out of all those aspects, depreciation is the most important, because at some point you might want to sell the car.

In general, your car expenses should not exceed 20% of your budget for the month. Obviously, the more expensive a car, the higher the insurance will be. If you are looking to buy an expensive car, you can work with a high net-worth insurance company, so that you get a great deal.

Besides all of that, you need to think about the availability and cost of spare car parts. Not to mention, the fuel economy is very important as well.

  1. Test Drive

No matter if you’re buying a new or used car, a test drive makes all the difference. Your car is your ship, and you are the crew, thus it’s important to get along.

If you don’t like driving that car, don’t buy it. Make sure everything feels comfortable and enjoyable. When driving, listen for odd sounds, and inspect if possible.

How’s the interior of the vehicle? Does it appeal to you? There’s a myriad of other questions that you can ask yourself to determine if the vehicle is right for you.

In any case, if you can’t decide between two vehicles, a test drive makes all the difference.

  1. Car Inspection

No matter if you’re buying from a dealership or a private person, you should always get an inspection by a specialized mechanic.

Even though it might cost you some money, it can save you lots of trouble from buying a vehicle that will fall apart in front of you in the future.

Also, the mechanic would be able to instantly assess any necessary servicing to the vehicle that will make sure you get the best possible driving experience.

  1. The Right Time

Getting the car at the right time can be very useful.

If you’re not in a rush, buying a car towards the end of the year will be cheaper then earlier in the year. Dealerships have quotas, and they need to move product. If they haven’t reached the number yet, they will be more eager to provide deep discounts on great vehicles.

You can also save money by taking advantage of holiday sales. But if you’re not up for waiting for a holiday or the end of the year, you should go car shopping early in the week.

Most people do their shopping on the weekend, thus a weekday will allow you to get better attention from a salesperson, which means you have a better negotiation advantage than somebody else.

  1. Things to Consider When Buying A Car: Incentives

If you’re looking for a specific vehicle from a specific dealer, you should show interest and sign-up for various newsletters and contact mechanisms, which will provide access to you for the salesperson. If you disappear for too long, they will contact you and see if you would like to buy at a lower price.

Ask about incentives and trade-in offers. If you have a vehicle that you would like to get rid of, offer it up as trade-in, and you might save substantially on your purchase.

  1. Insurance Quotes

Out of all the things to consider when buying a car, this is not as important, but valuable nonetheless.

Insurance agencies take car models and makes into consideration before they can provide you with a premium. One would think that insuring a new car will be less expensive than an older one, however, that’s not always the case.

There are many ways to reduce your insurance premiums, so keep your eyes peeled and do some research.

Buy Your Car

Now that you about the things to consider when buying a car, you can actually get to find the right car for purchase.

As long as you adhere to and consider these ideas, you will be way ahead of the rest, thus making you a better buyer, and dealerships love that.

If you’re interested in learning more about vehicles, check out our categorical page on the left handlebar on the website.

Dear Jack: You Tricked Us into Letting You Get a Pet Pine Lizard

9 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

You and I started a new routine last week: After I get back from the gym in the morning, you jump on your bike and join me as I go on a two mile run.

Last Saturday morning as we were heading out on our 2 mile excursion, we both noticed a very interesting lizard by the garage door. It looked really cool.

By Saturday afternoon, you set up an amusement park for it in the garage and had hand-tamed it.

By Sunday afternoon, I went to the pet store to buy some meal worms for the lizard.

By Monday afternoon, the lizard was officially living in the hamster’s travel case, in a corner in your bedroom.

And by Tuesday, we learned that Sargento the Pine Lizard was actually a girl.

You re-named her; Serenity.





Dear Holly: You Started Taking Ballet Classes

4 years, 2 months.

Dear Holly,

Last week you were so excited to get to start going to ballet class.

It just so happened that in the same strip mall as your preschool, there is a dance studio that is offering a trial dance class for your age group.

Needless to say, I knew there weren’t be much of a “trial” to it, because after your first class last week, you made the decision to start taking tap dance lessons once the trial period ends.

As I look at this picture of you in your ballet dress, I can’t help but think of the Elton John song:

“Hold me closer, tiny dancer.”



Repair or Replace: Finding a Sweet Spot in Savings and Frustrations 

So your electronic device went kaput. Now you’re wondering, “Should I repair or replace it?”. Find balance in that question in this guide.

Your old dependable laptop is starting to hit the fritz. When you open your computer the fans sound like a small airplane about to take off. The battery barely holds a charge and the applications take several minutes to a lifetime to load.

The question every electronics owner asks themselves when their electronics start to die is “should I repair or replace?” The answer is a little more complicated than you might think.

Many consumers feel electronics companies build their gadgets and gizmos with planned obsolescence. Which makes many consumers feel frustrated.

Most consumers want to save money and get the most out of their electronics. When your computer, phone, or appliance breaks, you need to decide if it’s worth fixing or replacing.

Are you trying to determine if you repairing or replacing your gadget is most economical? Here’s what you need to know before you decide to fix or replace your electronics.

What It Means to Repair or Replace

In both cases, repairing or replacing results in your getting an electronic or appliance that functions like new. Depending on the gadget and level of damage with it, both repairing or replacing can be a great way to save money.

The difference between repairing or replacing an item is straightforward.

Repairing an electronic means you take it to a professional to diagnose the problem and fix it. The advantage of repairing is you get to keep your same electronic. Many people find repairing to be more cost-effective.

Replacing means your toss out your old electronic and buy a new one. For many, this is an exciting option because you get the chance to upgrade to a newer model. Others have found this option to be stressful and expensive.

But how do you determine which option is best?

The Age of the Electronic

At some point, you will need to replace electronics in your home. Most computers, for example, have a lifespan of 3-5 years before needing replacing. Refrigerators can last for around 15 years and smartphones for roughly 2 years.

Electronics and appliances of all kinds devalue as they age. What was once a $1,000 computer can devalue to under $400 after a few short years. As you can see, the age of your electronics plays an important role when you’re deciding whether to repair electronics or replace them.

A computer that’s about 1-2 years old can function well for a few more years after repair. In this case, it’s more cost-efficient to repair than buying new. Your local computer repair professionals can also provide you with advice on repairing as they diagnose the problem.

If your computer is going on 4 or 5 years, an expensive repair isn’t cost-efficient. When a computer hits that age other problems will occur shortly down the road costing you more money. In this case, it will be more economic to replace it.

Besides costing more to repair, older appliances can take a toll on your utility bill. Old appliances, like refrigerators or washers and dryers, can waste electricity, even when they’re not in use. Replacing your old appliance will be more economic over time than continuing to repair it.

Determine the Cost of Repairing Versus Replacing

Considering the costs of a repair or a replacement is another way to help you decide on the best option. Repairs for electronics can get incredibly expensive. Even if the repairing costs are under the original cost of your electronics, that doesn’t mean it’s the most affordable option.

If the costs to repair an item are 50% or greater than the current cost of your electronics, you should replace it. To do this, you’ll need to determine how much your gadget costs when it’s running well by factoring in its age, use, brand, and model. Here’s a closer look at the costs of repairing and replacing popular electronics.


The average cost for a new smartphone is around $528 with high-end phones costing closer to $1,000. The average cost to fix it varies between $50 and $150 with more expensive repairs costing over $300.

Common repairs include debugging systems, fixing screens, water damage, and replacing charging ports. In most cases, repairing your smartphone is the better option.

Computers & Laptops

Computers and laptops range from $300 to over $3,000 for powerful high-speed models. The repair costs have an average of $300. Again, some repairs may cost much less depending on the damage.

Replacing your computer is often the better option. Some laptops, however, have an average cost of $1,000 while the costs of repairing are around $300. In this case, repairing is the better option.


Electronic appliances, like washing machines, dryers, and refrigerators are big investments. The average cost for these appliances ranges from $350 to $8,000. The cost to repair most appliances is around $170.

The most cost-efficient option is to service your appliance.


The type of printer you have will determine whether you should fix or replace it.

Large multifunction printers (MFPs) have an average cost of $1,000-$6,000 new. The cost to repair an MFP is much lower meaning it’s more affordable to repair your printer.

Desktop printers cost much less, around $100-$200 with a repair cost averaging $80. If your desktop printer isn’t working, replacing it is a better option.

Check the Warranty 

Most new electronics come with a manufacturer’s warranty to protect you from defects or problems. These can last anywhere from 30 days to a year (sometimes more) that covers all repairs at no cost. Some allow you to add a limited warranty for an additional cost.

The advantage of a warranty is it can save you money when something serious goes wrong. When your electronic or appliance goes kaput, check if it’s still under warranty and what the warranty covers. Some warranties will cover almost anything while others cover a very limited number of issues.

Does the warranty cover most of the costs to repair your gadget? If yes, then repairing will save you money.

Repair or Replace Your Electronics with Confidence

Deciding whether to repair or replace your electronics can be stressful. By following this helpful guide, you can make a smart choice that will save your money later on.

Want to learn more helpful life hacks? Check out our latest articles to make your life easier.