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What is the 50/30/20 Budget Rule?

Easy Budgeting Method to Save Money Every Month

Having a hard time budgeting? Want to save some money every month? Determining your budget for a variety of different things can be time-consuming and feel difficult. The 50/30/20 budget rule is an easy way to figure out how much you can afford for necessities, wants, savings, and debts. Here, we will walk you through how you can figure out your budget using the 50/30/20 rule.

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A Word From U.S. Auto Sales Leadership

We are closely following CDC and other health authority guidelines regarding COVID-19 aka coronavirus. U.S. Auto Sales is regularly providing our stores the latest safety guidance. In addition to our regular cleaning procedures, we have invested additional effort into our stores to allow for more frequent cleaning, paying close attention to high touch areas such as waiting areas, counters, restrooms, desks, and of course, our vehicles. Right now, all locations are open and ready to help you purchase a quality vehicle.

If you need to reach one of our car lots, can call 844-479-1508 and a licensed driver will pick you up within a 30-mile radius. As information comes in at a rapid pace, safety and health are the number one concern of the U.S. Auto Sales family.

Below are things we are doing to ensure your safety:

    1. After each test drive, interior/dash/steering wheel area of vehicle should be cleaned and sanitized.
    2. All magazines and toys in the kids’ play area have been removed for your safety.
    3. It is important to avoid public transportation. We will do our part and pick you up within a 30-mile radius if you need to reach one of our dealerships. Simply call 844-479-1508.
    4. Complete pre-qualification online to minimize your time in the store. Our 90 minutes or less guarantee also ensures that you’ll be in and out of the store as quickly as possible.
    5. We are adding technology solutions to allow our guests to upload documentation electronically.

Above all else, make sure that you and your family are well taken care of during this time. Our guests are very important to us, so that means we want to ensure that you are healthy. We have included recommendations from national organizations with safety measures the public should follow:

U.S. Auto Sales has store locations in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Below are some links that can offer local restrictions in your state of residence:

Please stay up to date on the ever-changing landscape regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus).

We will continue to respond as we get new information. Please follow our Facebook page and our website for updates.

Our sister company, U.S. Auto Servicing, shares our concern and has issued the following statement:

We want our guests to know that we are taking extra measures to ensure their safety when they visit one of our stores. We also understand that the current and unprecedented situation can cause an unexpected financial strain and/or hardship. We want you to know that we have options that can help.

If you find yourself in a difficult position due to illness, job loss or reduced hours as a result of COVID-19, please contact us at 877-297-6898.

How To Save Money On Your Groceries

Groceries can be a formidable expense each month, but with a little planning you’ll be amazed at how much you can save. Here are some ways to significantly cut the cost of your monthly groceries.

Shop around

On a day where you find yourself with a little extra time, check out all the supermarkets in your area. Take time to walk around and check out prices on items you purchase frequently. You will be amazed at how much the price can vary from store to store. You may find one store is significantly lower on packaged items such as granola bars, chips, cereal, etc., and another may be cheaper when it comes to produce or meat. Although this may mean shopping at more than one store, it could save you serious money.

Store brands

Whenever possible, buy store brand items versus the name brand. Quite often they are nearly identical, but cheaper. In fact, many store brand items are made by the same companies that make the brand name products! Most supermarkets have their own brand for grocery items, pharmacy items, and paper products.

Weekly flyers

Taking the time to go through the supermarket weekly flyers and planning your menu based on what’s on sale can save a ton of money. This again may require shopping at more than one store but can be worth the extra time. Most stores have great weekly deals on meat, so stocking up and freezing some will also help save money. Be careful not to purchase items you would not normally buy just because they might be a good deal.

Rewards programs

Sign up for your local supermarkets’ reward programs! These programs offer a number of features, including:

  • Money back on store brand items
  • Points towards fuel
  • Online coupons
  • Coupons towards frequently purchased items
  • Coupons towards new items

Many of these programs also offer a phone app, and the coupons are digital. Just take a little time and select the coupons on the app before you go shopping, and they’re automatically applied at checkout. No need to remember to hand over a pile of clippings!

Coupons

While it can be time-consuming to cut coupons, the rewards can be worth it. If you get the Sunday newspaper, or have family or friends who do, ask them to save the coupon inserts for you.  You can use several of the same coupons you purchase that number of items. For example, if you buy granola bars every week and you find a coupon, you can use three coupons if you buy three boxes. Also keep in mind that coupons are often valid for at least a month, so shopping the flyers and using the coupons when they are on sale will save you even more money!

Shop early or late

Most stores will discount deli and meat items after a certain time in the evening based on the expiration date. Shopping late at night will give you the best chance of being able to buy meat at a discount price, but you might have luck first thing in the morning as well.

Saving money on meat has a significant impact, as meat and seafood make up an average of 20% of Americans’ grocery costs, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need to either eat the discounted meat within a couple days of purchase or freeze it immediately.

Even if you choose to try only a couple of these money saving tips, you are sure to notice it in your grocery bill!

Use Your Car For The Perfect Tailgate

Are you a sports fan? Do you enjoy a live concert? Have you attended the game or the show but have always been a little envious of the fans hanging out in the parking lots with their music, games and great food? Tailgating continues to grow in popularity and with that comes more and more gadgets, games and food ideas. Here are some ideas for the novice tailgater.

Tailgate Necessities

The Grill – There are many different options when it comes to tailgate grills. Buy something small and affordable to get started. There are various tabletop options as well as grills that fold up to slide easily into the trunk. Most of these use mini propane tanks. These types of grills can be purchased at most sporting goods stores as well as Walmart or from Amazon.

The Furniture – If you are starting out, folding chairs and a small folding table will do just fine. That way you can look around and get some other ideas. You are guaranteed to see a large variety of set-ups at your first tailgating experience!

The Coolers – Coolers are a necessity! If you have one on hand, start there. As you become a more advanced tailgate junkie, there are coolers with built in phone chargers, stereos and coolers that plug right into the car charger!

The Other Stuff – Put together a box with plates, utensils, grill tongs, spatula, paper towels, garbage bags and wipes. Feeling fancy? Throw in a tablecloth. Make sure to throw a couple blankets in the trunk for those chillier nights.

The Vehicle: You must arrive in style, so be sure to get pre-qualified with US Auto Sales before your next tailgate party!

Food and Drink

Anything goes! This is really preference. You will see food ranging from basic sandwiches to steak and lobster! Starting simple is your best bet, maybe burgers and dogs. Get more creative as you go. As far as drinks, being aware of open container laws and venue rules is important.

Tailgate Games

Ladder Toss – This is a fun, inexpensive game where you toss strings with golf balls on both ends at a ladder with colored rungs and earn points depending on the color of the rung. This can be played mano a mano or in teams.

Corn Hole – Another popular lawn game that can be played individually or in teams, Corn Hole has two slanted boards with a hole cut in the middle. Each person throws three bean bags each turn trying to get them to fall in the hole. You earn points for bean bags that fall in the hole or land on the board. First team to 21 wins.

Putter Ball – Putter Ball is essentially Beer Pong with golf clubs. The game consists of a long turf runway with 6 holes arranged in a triangle at each end, two clubs, and covers for each hole. Each person or team gets two putts per turn. If a putt goes in, the hole is covered. The first person or team to cover all the holes wins.

Again, these are great games to start with, but you are sure to get a lot of other ideas as you become more experienced with tailgating.

Need a car, truck, or SUV for your next tailgate party? Visit U.S. Auto Sales and search our inventory now!

How To Reduce The Glare Of The Sun While Driving

You’re driving along, and suddenly you are completely blinded by the sun. The car in front of you is blinded also. They stop suddenly, and you must slam on the brakes.

Another scenario is when you’re sitting at a traffic light blocking the sun with your hand just so you can squint enough to see the light change color.

We all enjoy the sun, but it can be hazardous when driving. Here are some tips to enjoy the beautiful weather without being blinded by the sun.

Clean Your Windshield: Dirt and debris reflect light, making it even more difficult to see. Keeping your windshield clean helps to cut down on the glare caused by intense sunlight. If your windshield is cracked or heavily pitted, you may want to consider replacement for the same reason.

Keep the Dashboard Clean: Remove papers, parking passes, and debris from the dashboard before driving. They can reflect onto the windshield and add to the visibility challenges caused by the sun.

Sun Visors: Make sure your sun visors are properly attached to the car and functional. If you use the visor for storage, make sure you have the proper attachment to hold papers, sunglasses, and whatever else you’re keeping up there in one place. The last thing you need is stuff falling on you while you are already having difficulty seeing. If your visor isn’t long enough or doesn’t come down far enough, there are inexpensive extensions that attach easily. A polarized extension is worth the extra few bucks.

Sunglasses: This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is so easy to forget your shades! Take some time to get a pair that fit you well and are dark enough. Polarized lenses, while more expensive, improve visibility and better protect your eyes in the long haul.

Many vehicles come with sunglasses storage compartment in the dash or above the windshield. It’s generally worth it to keep a dedicated pair in the car if you can, even if they’re a less-expensive backup pair.

Hopefully these tips will help to ensure that the beautiful sunshine doesn’t end up putting a damper on your day, or a dent in your US Auto Sales car.

Here’s The Best Way To Take Care Of Your Automobile’s Brakes

“It looks like you need new brakes.” are words no one ever looks forward to hearing because of the expense that comes with those words. We all know that brakes are one of the wear & tear maintenance items you can’t avoid There are some easy ways to extend the life of your brakes.

1. Be a smooth operator – Every time you brake, your brakes break down a bit. (Try saying that three times fast). The way you drive has a huge impact on how quickly your brakes will wear out. Braking from high speeds is much harder on the brakes. Giving yourself more distance between you and the car in front of you will decrease how often you brake, and it will minimize the number of sudden stops, reducing the wear & tear on your brakes. Not only is it much safer not to tailgate, but it is better for your brakes too!
2. Stop, in the name of love – When coming to a stop at a traffic light or stop sign, it is better to come to a complete stop once than to brake slowly and creep forward. Coming to a complete stop reduces the amount of friction on your brakes, increasing their longevity.
3. Lighten up – The more weight in your vehicle the harder the brakes need to work to stop. Take out any unnecessary weight from your vehicle. This will not only help extend the life of your brakes, but it will also improve your fuel efficiency.
4. Make a plan, Stan – Although the scenic route down windy back roads might be your preference when time allows, the amount of braking required will be much higher than the more direct highway route.

We can’t always control how much we need to use our brakes. Be aware and make these adjustments whenever possible to increase the life of your brakes!

File Taxes and Buy A Car on the Same Day

Benjamin Franklin is often attributed with coining the phrase “… two things are for certain, death & taxes.”

Many Americans will spend the early months of 2020 preparing for the April 15th tax filing deadline. However, there are plenty of positive benefits to filing your tax returns. Not only are you obeying the lawful requirement of submitting taxes, but you stand a good chance of receiving a hefty tax refund.

It is common during tax season for buyers to purchase a used vehicle with their refund. Did you know you can visit the nearest US Auto Sales location to file taxes using Tax Max services? Tax Max is a third-party company that can help you file your federal and state taxes.  A sales associate can help explain how your tax refund can be used as a down payment on your purchase from U.S. Auto, allowing you to drive away today.*

There are over 25 US Auto Sales dealerships nationwide that have access to over 2000 cars in our inventory. You may be able to knock out your taxes and purchase a car on the same day.

Customers looking to buy a used car should be sure to bring the following documents with them to the dealership:

  • Social Security Numbers
  • Date of Birth
  • Driver’s License (proof of identification)
  • Income Documents (W-2, 1099-C, etc.)
  • Bring documents for all family members, if filing with spouse and/or claiming children
  • Additional documents may be required.

If you need more information, be sure to check out the 2020 Tax Max special. The knowledgeable associates at US Auto Sales are ready to help you buy a car at tax time!

*Up to $6,000 same day tax refund anticipation loan on debit card less Tax Max and loan fees.  Refund paperwork prepared by Tax Max; not U.S. Auto Sales.  U.S. Auto is not an agent, principal, owner, or affiliate of Tax Max.