Posts Tagged ‘car’

Winter Car and Driving Money Saving Tips

It’s winter, and if you haven’t done so already, it’s not too late to take the proper measures to be sure your vehicle is in good shape to get you safely where you want to go. Whether you do it yourself, or have an auto shop do it, the pointers in these videos will serve as a guide to steer clear of potential costly car maintenance and driving mistakes to keep you safer on the winter roads.

Stuck in Snow? Don’t Rock Your Car – Rocking a car stuck in snow back & forth to free it could end up costing thousands in broken engine mounts, stripped wiring, & transmission problems. The Monday Morning Mechanic, David N. Rogers, shows how to free a trapped vehicle without damaging it.

Winter Tires, Choose Right – The right winter tires can make a BIG difference when driving on the ice & snow. David Rogers, explains and gives some tips that could save you lots of money, too!

Winterize Your Car –  Several quick  & simple tips from a Metro Tech instructor, that you can do or request an auto shop to do, to get your car ready for winter. A little preventative attention could save you big.

More car and driving money saving topics in our previous posts:

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Extended Warranties – To Buy or Not to Buy?

“Would you like to be covered by our Extended Warranty Plan?” It’s one of “those” questions.

Three years ago we purchased a toaster oven. It came with manufacturer’s warranty of one year, which expired August 24, 2009. Two years later, in 2011, we received an offer in the mail to purchase an extended service/replacement plan for that toaster oven, which would “ensure our peace of mind.”  The price for a one year plan: $97.32 ($103.17 if paying in installments). Two year plan: $157.17 ($184.04). Three year plan: $248.15 ($255.60). There is a 60-day waiting period after purchasing the plan before a claim could be submitted. The offer says, should our toaster oven stop working they would either ship us a new product, or if your product “can’t be replaced, we’ll issue you a cash settlement,” the amount of  which is not specified.

So, we did a little price-checking online and found, as of 8/23/2011 without figuring in any discounts, coupons or sales, our KitchenAid Toaster Oven Model KCO1005OB was selling for $119.95.  This means that only the “1-year” extended service/replacement plan would come even remotely close to being worthwhile, given…

1) …that there is no “fine print” that could potentially invalidate the claim.

2) …that our toaster oven would survive the 60-day waiting period. And that 60-day waiting period in actual real terms means this “1-year plan” is really a 10-month plan, not a 12-month plan.

3) …that there are no additional shipping and handling fees we might need to cover.

4) …that this offer is in fact, an honest offer and not a scam.

5) …that the toaster oven (or equivalent) is not available on the market at a price less than $97.32. ($103.17)

That’s a lot of “givens” and hardly worth it for a possible savings of $22.63 ($16.78) from the purchase price of a new toaster oven. As for their offer to give us a “replacement cash settlement”, we don’t even know how much or how little that would be. And if our toaster did continue working with no problems, that $97.32 (or $103.17) we actually would have spent on the policy would be money down the drain.

Now clearly this one incidence of an Extended Warranty offer is unquestionably not worth our consideration, but there are times when we’re not so sure, and we bet we’re not alone in that uncertainty.

We’ve all been there: we’re excited about that new (usually fairly expensive) item we’re just about to purchase. We’re finally ready to shell out the bucks. Then, the sales person asks us “The Extended Warranty Question” … and… we don’t really know how to answer. We’re in the grip of a pressure sales tactic. They know full well we want to get that new toy home and start enjoying it; money is no longer the main thing on our mind… protecting our investment is… and that’s when the salesperson suggests that we would be protected should this or that happen to our new cool gadget. And there it is, an awkward moment even for those of us who feel fairly clear in our general position regarding Extended Warranties.

I know I often have a “twinge” of doubt about refusing the extended service plan offer because nearly everything being manufactured now is electronic, computerized, technical-ized, digitalized, micro-chipped and liquid crystalized to the hilt; translation: I know I couldn’t even approach a do-it-yourself repair on my own. I also know I do not want to be stuck with costly repair bills, or having to purchase a completely new item before I had planned to.

Maybe sometimes an extended warranty plan is the right thing to do. Maybe it never is. How do you decide when and where to buy-in? What products are worth covering? Homes? Cars? Appliances? Electronics? Is there a difference between an Extended Warranty and an Extended Service Plan? The pointers in these videos will help you determine when an extended plan is worth it and when it’s not. And… they revealed a concept that we hadn’t even known existed: WHERE to purchase extended policies. That’s right, you don’t always have to purchase an extended plan from the place where you purchased the product. They also include important information on the warning signs of potential warranty scams.

Be ready before your next appliance, electronic gadget, tech, cellular, auto or toaster oven shopping trip with the pointers in these videos:

Extended Auto Warranties? David Rogers from the talks about the good and bad when it comes to auto extended warranties.  What’s covered and NOT covered. What to look for in the fine print and scam warnings.

Warranties for Your Home, Worth It? – Just about everything you buy comes with some kind of warranty. And that could include your house. Are home warranties worth the money? gives perspective.

Buy Extended Warranties for Tech? – Tips from Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for on when an extended warranty might be worth it for tech and electronic devices.

Auto Extended Warranty Scam – Though this specific video was addressing a scam from a couple of years ago, scams like this unfortunately still exist. The rules here are good to take note of and follow as a general rule.

When & Where to Buy Extended Warranties – Vince Tseng, V.P. of Marketing for, discusses questions on extended warranties such as, when should you buy a warranty? From where? On what products, and at what price?

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How to Get Free Gasoline! Gas & Travel Savings Perks

No matter what we “hear” on the news and in reports, the price of gas has remained high in the U.S. for several years, and that’s most likely how it’s going to remain. The gas price-crunch is a discouraging situation for those planning vacation travel that includes any driving. But there is some good news: there are ways to find deals and save some money when filling your car’s gas tank. One resource for savings is our own’s Car & Gasoline Channel which is loaded with videos giving tons of tips on ways you can get better gas mileage and find the best prices at gas stations. Another way to receive some fuel tank savings AND enjoy your vacation at the same time, is through hotel promotions. Hotels are feeling the travel pinch too, and in an effort to entice visitors, hotels are appealing to traveler’s gas pump price woes! Here is an excerpt from the July 15, 2011 edition one of our favorite resources, the Bottom Line Personal Newsletter, which lists some current hotel promotions via USA Today:

Hotels are offering gas discounts.  Many US hotels are promoting fuel-related discounts this summer to entice travelers. Promotions include free gas gift cards, discounts on rooms when you provide gas receipts and special deals for people who carpool or take mass transit.
Examples: At Affinia Manhattan in New York City, guests can get a $20 gas gift card if they show a mass transit ticket and receipt.  Napa Old World Inn in Napa, California, gives guests who carpool a two-bedroom suite for the price of a standard room through July.  At the Barefoot Resort in Myrtle Beach, south Carolina, guests can receive a $50 gas gift card and free night if they book a seven-night stay and check in on a Saturday.

We did a Google search using the term: travel and gas promotions 2011. We found tons of current deals listed… worth taking a few moments to do an online search, or place a call, to see if your destination may be offering a special.

More travel and gas savings tips in these posts:

Road Trip Money Saving Travel Tips

ROAD TRIP!! There is something about the allure of the road;the freedom to be spontaneous, to take that side road just because you decided in the spur of the moment that you couldn’t possibly miss the world’s biggest ball of string or the museum of gum wrappers, or you just have to taste some local barbecue or explore that hidden waterfall. The opportunity to view the world and enjoy the scenery close and up front is often irresistible.  But even though it may seem like a more affordable mode of travel, a road trip can still be more pricey than what you had anticipated, especially with gas prices on the rise.  Well, we can’t steer you clear of potholes, but we can help you avoid some of the steep prices with these tips on how to save money while keeping your eyes on the road.

Off season. Just as it is with any other mode of travel or vacation planning, traveling during the “off season” will be a big money-saver on everything from lodging to renting a vehicle to park admissions and tourist attractions.

Book Early. Especially during the “on season.” This applies to hotels, parks, camp grounds, etc. It also applies to renting an RV. The earlier you book, the better deal you may be able to secure.

Consider a travel agent. Travel agents often have special promotional packages available to them that you cannot find elsewhere.

Go for smaller when renting a vehicle. Consider the size of your party and the amenities you’ll need, then determine the smallest vehicle you can rent to accommodate that. The smaller the vehicle, the more you’ll save on rental costs and fuel costs.

Rent RV time in bulk. Check the rental packages for buying your time in bulk, they are often better rates.

Check the RV or car rental company’s terms on mileage. Know before you go. There may be limits and penalties. Some discounts may apply to in-state only travel. Ask if any mileage discounts or specials may apply to the trip you are planning.

Avoid Purchasing Extra Equipment. Unless you are going to be doing this type of travel often, it may not be worth it to purchase extra equipment like bike racks and camping equipment. Check with your RV or car rental dealer to see if they offer packages which may include such equipment. You may be able to find good deals on this type of gear from other sports and camping equipment rental companies as well.

Rent an RV direct from an owner. You may be able to save mark-up fees and extra charges by renting a vehicle directly from the owner. One site which does this: Another which may also have mobile homes available is which specializes in swapping homes, apartments, boats, and sometimes recreational vehicles.

Be sure you’re getting the most out of your vehicle. Before you leave and frequently during the trip, make sure your vehicle is in good condition, some estimates indicate that a poorly tuned engine uses up to 50-percent more fuel than one which is running well. Make sure your tire pressure is correct; low air pressure can be a considerable gas waster.

Easy does it. You’ll save wear and tear on your vehicle, and save on fuel costs (and traffic tickets) if you keep your speeds under 60 mph; make your accelerations easy and smooth, and ease into stops. Heavy on the pedal and blasting quickly from traffic signal to traffic signal burns up the fuel fast!

Overpacking the car can be a real fuel drain.  The heavier the vehicle, the more fuel it requires, so keep it light.

Food and snack shopping at pricey service stations and convenience stores add up; shop from farmer’s markets or grocery stores to create your own light meals, snacks and drinks.

Watch out when using your debit card at gas stations, they may withdraw more than the amount of your purchase to hold on deposit until after the transaction is completed by the bank.

Use the proper grade fuel for your vehicle. It’s not worth using a supreme-grade fuel if the manufacturer doesn’t specifically require it  or if the car is performing well on regular-grade fuel without engine knocks or lugging.

Service stations in the U.S. change prices between 10:00 am and noon. So keep in the know on price trends; if prices are on the rise, get there before 10:00 am, and if prices are dropping get there after noon.

Gas prices usually rise on the weekends. If you can, try for weekdays to fill your tank.

Use gas finding apps to locate cheaper stations nearby, andkeep in mind if you’re driving a heavier vehicle like a camper or RV, it may not be worth driving too far out of your way.

Gas discounts can be had from various sources. For example, some super market shopper loyalty programs have partnered with gas companies and your accumulated grocery shopping reward points are good toward fuel discounts at those stations. Another discount resource: save an easy 10% off your fuel bill if you purchase gas gift cards in advance from a discount gift card site like or

Lodging. Even though you might be staying in your vehicle you may still need to secure a reservation in a campsite, trailer park, hotel or motel along the way. Try to plan ahead for those, particularly during the traditionally busier times of year as parks can often be booked several years in advance.  Check the internet, or road assistance groups like AAA, for coupons and special discounts.

Make sure you have a good road-side assistance program. The small monthly premiums of these programs can save you thousands of dollars in towing and repair fees, and can be well worth it for the convenience alone.

Insurance. Check with your car and homeowners or home renter’s insurance company to find out specifically what you and your vehicle will be covered for. Depending on your existing coverage, you may or may not need an additional Traveler’s policy for the trip.

Anytime you are making a reservation for anything – ask, ask, ask. Ask if that’s the best they can do for you, and if there are any special offers or discounts that are being offered which you may not be aware of.

More road trip travel money saving tips in these videos:

More money saving travel posts:

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Car Parking Money Saving Tip

More Proof positive that you can slash your parking costs – even in high-priced areas!   In a previous blog post we listed dozens of ways you can save money on parking, one of which was to use coupons downloaded from online. Nothing could be simpler to do. In your online search, you type in the name of the place you are going, followed by the term, “parking coupons” and dozens of offers will come up, complete with phone numbers, maps, directions – everything to make it as easy as possible for you to save a bundle.

Recently we drove into NYC for an event, and we actually forgot (yes, we admit it!) to print out a coupon. We arrived at a Quik Park parking lot near our destination, and immediately noticed that the lot was displaying had a HUGE sign stating that they accept competitor coupons! So we could have shown up with ANY NYC parking coupon and gotten a big discount! But, NNNNOOOO… because we forgot to take a couple of minutes to do a little online search our parking fee for the evening was $45.

Now fast-forward to a week later, we need to be in The City again,  but this time, we remembered our coupon! We printed a coupon for an Edison ParkFast lot which happened to be near our destination. Using our coupon, the parking fee for the same amount of hours as the previous week was…  $10. Yep, you read that correctly: Ten Dollars.  We received an easy $35 dollar savings for less than a 3-minute web search!

Another way to easily save on automobile parking, even without coupons, is through online price comparison sites and mobile apps like They allow you to search cities and neighborhoods for parking lot and street parking fees by map. You can compare prices by month, week, day, even down to the specific day of the week and the time of day.

So next time you’re driving for a day or night out on the town, head for online first, and save.

More Car Money Saving Tips in our posts:

And, visit our Car, Gasoline, Transportation and Travel Channels for even more savings.

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Cheap Parking Tips


Big cities = big parking problems. Big shopping days anywhere = big parking problems. Big special event = big parking problems. And airport parking = always big sky-high parking problems! And they ALL = BIG PARKING FEES!  We at SpendLessTV are centered in the NYC metro area, so we’re always facing big parking problems, and we know to expect extra additional difficulties during holidays, high shopping season and around special events.  Recently Joe, a SpendLessTV email subscriber, brought to our attention that parking discounts for major parking facilities and independent lots could be easily found online and offered substantial discounted prices.  Though we were a little embarrased that we hadn’t discovered this money saving avenue for ourselves, that didn’t stop us from immediately making use of this easy money-saver and bringing this knowledge to you, for an easier, more budget-friendly pleasurable parking experience!

Some of the companies mentioned here are specific to the NYC area and others are national. To quickly locate discounts in your specific geographical area, or one you may be traveling to, just try a simple web search using the following term, the results may surprise you:  “*Your City’s Name* parking discount coupon”.  We did a Google Search using Chicago as our destination city. You can see the results here.

For Further Price Savings and Time-Saving, try using the following options:

  • Reserve in advance, especially during peak busy seasons or hours.
  • Pay in advance.
  • Download Coupons – Be careful to note any restrictions – time of day, black out days, vehicle size limitations, etc.

Here are Some Specific Garages Offering Instant Online Savings:

  • Edison Park Fast: NY, NJ, and Baltimore. Offers coupons, specials, multi-event parking passes, pre-paid cards.
  • icon Parking: Manhattan NYC.  Offers specials, coupons, loyalty programs, Smart Car discounts.
  • Alliance Parking: Manhattan NYC. Offers coupons, buy-ahead discounts, reservations.

Airport Parking Deals:

Use long term airport parking instead of short term parking and you will save money. Long term airport parking fees in the NYC metro area run about $80 for 4 days. Short -term parking is double that. We found that alternative off-site options could provide  good discounts. However, when figuring price differences, remember to compare apples-to-apples (long-term rates to off-site rates). We found when these off-site providers featured their price comparisons they frequently quoted rates for airport short-term parking, which of course, makes the off-site provider’s own deal look even more appealing. To find off-site locations and special offers for your desired location enter the following term in a web search:  ” airport parking discount coupon  *Your City* ”

On-site JFK, NY airport parking info. |   On-site Laguardia, NY airport parking info. |   On-site Newark Liberty airport, NJ parking info. |   Westchester County NY, airport, NY parking info.

One of our finds for off-site parking in the NYC Metro area was Long-term off-site parking options. Much of what is featured also included valet service, and discount coupons.

Watch for offers from nearby airport hotels. Some offer free parking for your entire trip  along with free airport valet or shuttle service with only one night’s stay – a good option for catching those early morning flights.

Take Advantage of Web, Cell, iPhone, Mobile Device Apps:

Here is one we found that covered all the bases for parking and price comparisons at Cities and Airports Nation-wide:  Compare prices, daily or monthly.  Search by neighborhood, address, cross street, attraction.  Search results color-coded, shown on map, AND on a list, simultaneously.Price comparison calculator is featured right along with search results.  iPhone, BlackBerry Storm & Storm 2, Android Apps available.  Soon will have Blackberry Non-Touch, Windows Mobile, and Symbian Apps.

Related Money Saving Videos:

  • Save Money on Gas: What NOT To Do – Save money on gas & increase your fuel efficiency by finding out what NOT to waste your money on. David Rogers, the, shows.
  • Is Premium Gas Worth The Price? – Is premium gas good for cars or a waste?’s Kristin Arnold finally setd the record straight on this age-old question.

Visit our Car, Gasoline, Transportation and Travel Channels for more savings tips.

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Cheap Car Rentals, 22 Money Saving How-to Tips

You’re traveling on vacation or on business — you’ll need a rental car. Your own car is the shop and you aren’t covered for a loaner —  you need a rental car. You live in a busy metro area with great mass transit; you don’t own a car of your own, but you need to travel out of town for an afternoon and the train doesn’t go there — you need a rental car.  At some point, everyone will need to rent a car.  Every city, every car rental company, and each individual dealer all have their own set of terms, prices, taxes and fees.  Renting a car can be one of the most tedious, complex, and costly arrangements to figure out. Well,’s here to keep you rollin’ with the very best tips and tricks to receiving some deep money-saving discounts for cheaper car rentals and save you valuable time as well… well worth taking a few moments before you spend your money or start your engines!

22 Ways to Save Money on Car Rentals:

If you own a car and carry car insurance on it, you may not need to purchase additional car insurance on your rental car, check with your current homeowner’s and/or your current auto insurance companies to see if a rental car is covered. In addition, many credit card companies offer automatic  insurance coverage if you use that card to rent the car.

For the most part, Pre-paid gas option is not your best option. You’ll usually fair better if you simply re-fill the tank before you return the car.  And a “re-fill” does not necessarily mean you need to completely fill the tank if it was not completely filled at the time you rented it.  Check the tank when you pick up the car, make sure the proper tank amount is noted on your paperwork.You only need to replace what you used. If the tank was 3/4 full when you picked it up, you only need to return it 3/4 full.

Use a cell phone app or online site to price compare and locate cheap gas prices at local pumps.

Reserve the least expensive car ahead of time. Often the lot may be out of smaller cars and you will receive a larger car anyway, so you might as well wait and see first, if not, then ask if they can offer you a special deal for an upgrade at the last minute if you prefer a larger car.

— Make a car reservation yourself online as far in advance as possible. Keep tabs on the rates, and if prices drop, cancel your reservation and re-book at the newer, cheaper rate. There are no penalties (at least not at the time of this writing) for canceling a reservation.

— Ask In advance, and ask again when you pick up the car, if there are any potential extra fees, you should be aware of such as one-way surcharges, and then later check your final bill carefully for extra fees, and don’t be afraid to mention anything you may have a question about.

If you are not a member of that car rental loyalty club, you may wish to sign up to become one, especially if there is no fee to do so.  You may receive points for airline miles, or a discount, or an upgrade, but the best reason, is to avoid those long lines at the regular rental counter — You can sign up ahead of time online, Pssst…. but if you haven’t signed up ahead of time and you are there in the agency facing a 3-hour long line –  just walk right up to the shorter line at the “Club Member” window… tell them you want to enroll, and proceed in renting the car without the hassle of waiting in a long line.

— Askthe rental car company if they are affiliated with any credit card companies, travel membership groups like automobile clubs, your airline, AARP, hotel loyalty clubs, local colleges and universities, and any large local businesses or industries that might be in the area. Ask if they might be offering any current discounts, coupons or deals. There may be several current specials, but they may not volunteer this information, you usually have to ask.

Walk around the car and inspect it carefully in the presence of an agent. Many dealers are doing this as routine now, but if not, you may request to do this. Have them take note of any scratches, dents, dings, or anything out of place so you aren’t charged for it when you return the car.  Call immediately to report if something is not functioning properly once you’ve driven away, and get a name and/or some form of confirmation of having made the call.

Avoid extras! Do you REALLY need to rent a navigation system or a toll payment /tag transponder?

Consider renting a car from a non-airport location. Many cities charge additional taxes, as much as 20% in some cases, for airport car rental locations.

Check the weekly rate, even if you may not need the car for the full 5 – 7 days.  It may be considerably cheaper than paying a daily full price rate.  Also,confirm ahead of time, exactly what constitutes their definition of what a “weekly” rate is. It varies and may not be what you expect.

Typically weekend rates are less expensive than weekday rates, but again you will have to check at the time of booking for their current policies or specials.

— If you do not need a car for the entire time, calculate what renting for only the time you need a car would be. This may possibly come out better when you consider savings on garage and parking fees, tipping, and gas. However, if you cannot receive a discounted daily rate, you’ll need to calculate which option you would come out ahead with: a discounted weekly rate or, say, a three-day rental at the full-price daily rate.

If you are in North America and only have an occasional need for a rental car, consider using Zipcar, a concept designed to allow for anything from an hour’s need to a full day’s rental.  This can be very efficient, especially given that gas is included. The first 180 miles is also included. $60 annual fee. $25 one-time application fee. Cars are located in parking garages city-wide and on various university campuses. You reserve a car either online or via phone for a few hours or an entire day. You go to the car, hold your card over the windshield, the car unlocks, and the car is yours for the pre-reserved time. Return the car to the same parking spot at the end of your reservation. Round-trip rentals only – no one-ways permitted. Currently available in the following North American cities:
Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, London, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington DC.

Handy Tools:

Cheapoair :  In addition to Cheap Flights, provides car rental booking and compares prices across the full range of car types including Eco-friendly & Hybrid Cars from five  major car rental dealers with one easy click: Entrprise, Hertz, Avis, National, and Dollar.

TruPrice Car Rental Calculator: Translates car rental fees into total price, including thousands of fees, for nine car rental firms in 50 major U.S. airports.

Kayak:  Offers a search for rental cars from 5 travel sites: Priceline, Travelocity, Expedia,, Hotwire.

Travelmath Fuel Cost of Driving Calculator: This calculator gives you the option of using their  ‘Quick Calculator’ in which you enter a start and destination point to receive approximate costs. And another Fuel Cost Calculator where you can enter more specific details such as mileage per gallon, price of gas per gallon, and distance in exact miles. There are options for both U.S. and European travel.

Related Videos With Money-Saving Tips:

Rental Cars: How to Get The Best Deal – Author of the Pauline Frommer Travel Guides, Pauline Frommer herself, shares insider tricks for getting the best deal.

Renting a Car? What to Ask – Travel reporter, Peter S. Greenberg’s handy questions to ask before you rent.

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Car Coupon Ca-Ching

Coupon Score for the Honda Pilot 90,000-Mile Tune-up.

Time for the 90,000 mile tune up on Michael’s 2005 Honda Pilot.  Michael’s kept up with the oil changes and lucky, the car hasn’t really required much more than that. It’s served him well through various hauls to colleges, moving, and carrying yard supplies.  He was happy to keep the car for a lot longer, but wasn’t exactly happy about the thought of  the $902 it was going to take to do the proper safety inspection and service that the car needed.

But, Michael’s gotten pretty keen about scouting deals.  Pret-ty, pret-ty keen. He went online and checked for any coupons his local dealer might be offering.  They did have a page with offers.  It was a long page to scroll through, but finally way down at the bottom, he found a really small coupon – THE coupon:

We’ll match any other dealer’s coupon plus an additional 5% off.


So, he continued to search online for Honda dealer tune-up coupon offers and found this:

Honda 90,000-Mile Tune-up Special for ‘Senior’ Cars, 20% Off.

The dealer offering that 20% off coupon was in Arizona.  Michael lived in New Jersey at the time. But he brought a printed copy of the web page  showing the Arizona 20% special discount offer, and his dealer’s online coupon-match+5% discount offer …and they honored it all!

Michael’s  savings totaled  25% — $212.

Now, we call that being a sharp spender.  It took Michael maybe all of 20 minutes and a  just few clicks to find some big savings.  And thank you, Honda, for keeping your word!  Gotta love it!

Coupon and Car Related videos to take you far:

Text Message Coupons? – Valpak introduces a new feature.

Sharp Web DealsMinnesota’s Star Tribune consumer reporters, The Dollar Duo.

Buying a New Car, Don’t Get Taken – Author of the book, Fight For Your Money, David Bach.

And for more, check the SLTV Channel:

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