The Toyota Prius Four tops a new Consumer Reports tally of the best new car values.
The magazine's February 2013 issues reports the Prius has a price tag of $26,750 and a cost per mile to drive of 49 cents. In second place, we have the base model of the Honda Fit, with a price tag of $16,915 and a cost per mile of 46 cents.
The Scion xD and the Scion xB claim the third and fourth place, respectively, on the tally.
Who stunk it up in the Consumer Reports investigation?
The BMW 750Li which sells for $97,525 and has an operation cost per mile of $1.80.
Despite the recent high cost of gas, fuel costs only account for less than a fourth of the expense of operation. So where is all the money going? Depreciation. When you buy a new car, the value drops like a rock the minute you drive it off the dealer lot. Other factors that figure into most looks at true cost of ownership include insurance, maintenance, and the interest on a car loan.
The hottest selling phone today is the Samsung Galaxy S III. And today only (Jan. 9, 2013), Amazon.com is selling the Samsung Galaxy in white for 1 penny! The offer is valid only for new Sprint subscribers.
With this deal, you get a true unlimited data plan from Sprint, which is a much cheaper alternative than AT&T or Verizon. This Sprint deal comes with a 2-year contract and $350 early termination fee that goes down over time.
The monthly service fee is, relatively speaking, a deal.
I say "relatively speaking" because it was announced that on Friday (Jan. 11, 2013), Straight Talk will offer the iPhone on a $45 a month unlimited plan for calling, texting, and web.
Compared to AT&T and Verizon, the closest equivalent for monthly service is about $118 or $120. So this Straight Talk option is almost 2/3 cheaper. And compared to Sprint, it's about half their price.
The bad news is because you're not in any contract with Straight Talk, the phone is full price. That means you'll pay $649 for the iPhone 5 and $449 for the iPhone 4. But by paying $45 a month, you more than make up the cost of the phone over the same 24 month period that you could be in a contract.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is trying to develop a bargain iPhone with hard plastic case, not the brushed metal case. It will contain cheaper components inside too.
This is Apple's latest answer to the fact their share of the smart phone market is down to 14% from 23%.
Are you paying big bucks for a burglar alarm? New self-install kits are available that don't require a landline and only cost $15 each month for monitoring.
SimpliSafe.com offers a $200 self-install starter kit for apartments and a $300 kit for homes. Both options feature non-contract $14.99 monthly monitoring, which includes a cellular link to emergency dispatch. The home system includes wireless sensors for complete protection of up to 2,500 square feet.
While this could represent a great money saving opportunity, a lot of people may be leery of self-install system. If you still prefer to go with a traditional burglar alarm monitoring company, here are a few general pointers to keep in mind: