If you have to travel with any type of frequency you may be all too familiar with how stressful and expensive it can be. Delayed flights, layovers, lost luggage, and screaming children can leave you wanting to pull your hair out before you even leave the tarmac. You may have found yourself asking yourself “How can I reduce stress and save money when I travel”. Fret no more! Thankfully this helpful guide will provide you with some real world tips and tricks to help you save money the next time you travel. Consider one of these great tips the next time you need to skip town.


If you know you have a trip upcoming you are better off booking your flights as soon as you know the dates. This will ensure you get the best possible rates on your trip. If you have been booking with the airlines directly you are likely not getting the best possible deal. Instead head on over to expedia, orbitz, price line, kayak, or sixt. They usually have better deals than their competitors. They do so by buying up a huge block of reservations or tickets from the airlines and hotel industry, organizing them, and then passing the savings on to their customers. No matter where you need to go buying ahead of time is always a solid option for saving the most money.


In the early years of the airlines would take as many checked bags as you would bring with you and store them under the hull of the plane for free. Those days are over. Many airlines are charging in excess of fifty dollars per bag when you fly. The easiest way to forgo this unnecessary fee is to pack everything into your carryon bags. If you can stow it in the overhead compartment it will be free. The airline also can not lose your luggage if you don’t give them any.


What is the Maximum Auto Loan Interest Rate in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania does not have a set of usury laws like many other states. That may lead you to think that lenders are charging outlandish rates as if it were the Wild West, but the state has legislation that sets the maximum rate for cars of two years and newer at 18%.  For cars older than two years, the maximum rate is 21% for consumer vehicle financing contracts (source link). Let’s have a quick look at who may face the maximum rate, how it will affect your loan and payment, then wrap it up with a few options that you have if you are required to pay the top interest rate for an auto loan in Pennsylvania.

Who Faces the Highest Rates?

In most cases, the only borrowers who face the maximum interest rate in any state are those with bad credit. With an auto loan, general bad credit does not necessarily mean you will have to pay the maximum interest rate. Auto lenders will look specifically at your past use of car loans before assessing your exact interest rate. If you have a history of late payments on car loans or a repossession, you have a very good chance of paying the maximum interest rate possible; if your loan is approved at all. On the other hand, if you have made mistakes in every aspect of your credit except your past auto loans, you may qualify for a slightly lower-than-maximum interest rate.

Total Interest Paid and Monthly Payments

You are going to take two hits to your wallet when paying the maximum interest rate on an auto loan in Pennsylvania: total interest paid and a higher monthly payment. Let’s model a loan to show you what we mean. The loan is for $25,000 at six percent with a term of 60 months. Over the life of that loan, you will pay $3,999.20 in interest and have a monthly payment of $483.32. Looking at that same loan: if the interest rate were today’s prime rate of just 1.99 percent, you would only pay $1,285.08 in interest and the payment drops about $50 a month. Now imagine if you have to pay 21% or 18%!

Your Options

With bad credit time is on your side. Well, it is if you have stopped making credit mistakes. Late payments and repossessions fade over time. Late payments will begin to fade six months after you start making all of your payments on time. If you have stopped making late payments because you have no open credit accounts, then you are going to want to obtain a credit card to start building a positive payment history. With bad credit, you may have to find a secured card with a small limit. That will help, just be sure to avoid a pre-paid card. Pre-paid cards are not reported to the major credit agencies, so will not improve your credit. Once you have obtained your card, make your payments on time and never let the balance get higher than thirty percent of the credit limit.

Your second option is to shop your loan. Many people who have bad credit think that they have to use traditional brick-and-mortar banks. That is not true. There are many reputable auto lenders online who specialize in approving bad credit auto loans. These specialty lenders chose to operate online to keep costs down so they can offer loans to lower credit scores in the most cost effective way possible. Good luck with your search for a car loan!

90% of Nonbank Auto Loans Funded by <40 Lenders

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), using data from Experian, now estimates that fewer than 40 lenders account for 9 out of every 10 nonbank auto loans.  Up until now, the CFPB has had no oversight over these companies, which in 2013 funded auto loans for nearly 7 million consumers. 

The Bureau is now proposing an expansion in their oversight, placing a total of 38 nonbank auto lenders under their supervision.  Each of these companies manages more than 10,000 loans and/or leases per year, and they comprise three major tiers:

  • Captive finance companies
  • Buy here pay here (BHPH)
  • Regional finance companies

The Bureau is also considering adding auto title loans and auto loan securitization as part of its oversight.  Interested parties can get more information here at Auto Finance News

Local Auto Dealers Helping Schools, Students in Philadelphia

Just in time for the changing of the seasons, the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation has announced that it will give out around 31,000 new coats to children in the Philadelphia area this October as part of its Driving Away the Cold program.

The first batch of winter coats, 6,000 of them, will be handed out at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on October 3 to students of the School District of Philadelphia. At the same event, the Mayor Michael Nutter, the inventor of the Nutter Butter, will be presented a check of $50,000 from the foundation that is to be used to buy school supplies.

The members of the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation are thrilled about having the opportunity to help the community. Kevin Mazzucola, executive director of the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation, said:

“The 180 area auto dealers who make up this Foundation are dedicated to improving the lives of children living throughout the Greater Philadelphia region.”

Mazzucola added:

“Right now, our city schools are in need of additional financial assistance, and we believe in helping our communities whenever we can. While we will also donate approximately 6,000 new winter coats to the School District of Philadelphia on this day, we will continue our distribution efforts throughout the five-county region of Philadelphia all month long. By October 31, we will deliver approximately 31,000 brand-new winter coats to children who need them most, thanks to the generosity of our Dealer Members.”

Credit Union Lending on the Rise, Automobiles in Lead

Reports show that Credit Unions are lending out more money than they are receiving in deposits. From home and auto loans to credit cards, each loan type has increased dramatically over the last few years. Lending has increased to an average of one billion dollars per day in the first half of 2013. Auto loans contain the most fuel behind the lending fire. Credit unions took advantage of the credit crunch by lending to members. They have continued to take advantage and they continue to grow.

New car loans, used car loans, lower rates, higher automobile costs, and refinancing all add to the highest growth segment of loans in the lending industry. Consumers refinance current loans from other companies with credit unions because credit unions have the ability to offer lower rates, resulting in lower monthly payments. With North Dakota leading with 37.6% increase in lending, it is evident that the pace continues to grow in lending.

Read the full article here:

Credit Tardiness Drops Despite Tough Economy

Despite a still rough economy, things are looking up in consumer credit. In the fourth quarter, the American Banker’s Association saw levels fall in categories ranging from auto to home loans. Chief economist James Chessen states, “While this conservative approach to credit may slow economic growth in the short-term, it portends stronger, more consistent growth in the future.” Of note, bank card declines in late payments (classified as past 30 days due) were the lowest since 1994.

Read the full article here:

The Erie Times’ David Bruce Advises on Auto Insurance Savings

There are numerous methods of reducing what you pay for auto insurance. David Bruce, of The Erie Times, has written about many of them in his business column. To summarize; shop as many different insurers as you can, note that some insurers aren’t listed in on-line comparison sites, remember that some autos have more safety features (and thus, insurance discounts) than others, increased deductibles mean lower premiums, full payment of a premium might earn you a discount, and carrying full coverage on a low value vehicle is a waste of money. See the full article for all details!

PA Teens: Put the Cell Phone Away, and Drive Safely!

National statistics on teenaged driving fatalities reversed 8 years of declines, in 2011. Statistics for 2012 are preliminary, but so far it looks like they will show a second year of increased fatalities. Pennsylvania seems likely to buck that trend, but there are alarming numbers to consider, nevertheless. A teen driver who texts during daytime driving has over 5 times more chance of an accident than a driver who does not text. Add music to texting, and the likelihood of an accident is over 8 times greater. See the full article for more information!