Russ Darrow Tips For Driving Safely On Icy Roads

Posted on January 4, 2017

Driving on ice or snow is a much different experience than driving on traction-friendly dry pavement. Before you venture out into a snowstorm this season, brush up on your winter driving skills with these 15 tips.


1. If you can, just stay home. The safest way to navigate icy roads is by not being on them.


2. Drive much slower than you think you should. Never go above 45 MPH, even on the interstate. You can still slide at 10 MPH, though, so don’t let your reduced speed make you feel overly confident.


3. Don’t completely stop unless you have to in deep snow. Roll through intersections slowly to avoid getting stuck in the icy patches that surround 4-way stops.


4. Know how to get your car unstuck. It’s likely to happen at some point this winter.


5. Don’t hit the brakes too hard. The best method for braking is to put your heel on the floor and angle the pad of your foot to firmly (but gently) press down on the brake. Don’t do it too quickly, or you may find yourself sliding.


6. If you’re sliding or fishtailing, it’s a good sign you’re driving too quickly for the road conditions.


7. If you do slide, turn into the slide. Turning away from it can cause you to overcorrect and slam the other way. Turning into it can help you recover and regain traction.


8. Don’t use cruise control. If you hit an icy patch you didn’t see, you want to be able to immediately stop adding gas instead of fumbling for controls. Hitting the brakes can cause an even worset spin or fishtail.


9. Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Doing either too quickly can cause you to lose traction and slide.


10. Be a defensive driver. It doesn’t matter how good you are at driving in bad weather if the person next to you brakes too hard and hits your car.


11. Try not to be a good Samaritan. Stopping for others can put you, your car and other drivers at risk. Rubbernecking doesn’t stop just because it’s icy, and drivers can lose focus on the road if they see multiple cars that may look like they’ve been in an accident. If the situation doesn’t look life-threatening, call 911 and report the accident instead of stopping yourself.


12. Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid it freezing up when temperatures drop below freezing. This will make it easier to start in the mornings.


13. Have your emergency kit in your car’s trunk. Many of these items can be the difference between calmly waiting for emergency response vehicles to reach you and shivering in your car until help arrives.


14. Do one thing at a time. Keep your wheels straight while you decelerate, then turn, then accelerate. Driving on snow or ice means simplifying all of your actions.


15. Don’t drive distracted. It’s never a good idea to play with your phone or give your radio your full concentration, but icy roads can be especially dangerous to distracted drivers.


Being overly confident in your driving skills or in the safety features that should help you stay on the road can be the quickest way to find yourself sliding off of it. If you do have an accident, stay calm and call 911 if you can and need to.


Hopefully, you’ll be able to stay on the road safely this winter, especially if you keep these 15 tips in mind.


How to Get Your Teen a Reliable Car

Posted on November 3, 2016

With kids going back to school, which means even more expenses for parents, but parents of sophomores and juniors likely have another dilemma on their hands—how can they afford to get their soon-to-be-drivers a vehicle?


Don’t make it a gift


Giving your child a set of gift-wrapped keys for their 16th birthday is a lovely idea. It’s also wildly impractical for many American families today, especially for households with multiple kids. It’s hard enough to buy one extra vehicle, much less two or three.


Involve your teenager in the entire process. They should be just as invested in you picking out a reasonably prices vehicle. Hopefully, this will help motivate them to share payments on it, as well. You should look for a vehicle with a short payoff period, as your child may not be able to keep up a loan without your direct supervision. However, you can look for 2-3 year loans that will realistically be paid off before your young adult leaves the house.


Share payments


You shouldn’t carry the burden of car payments alone. Get them a dependable vehicle (hopefully with a warranty) that will last them into their 20s. This will give them the experience of paying off a loan with you as support to make sure they get their credit history off on the right foot. Then, when they’re ready to have a loan under their own name as an adult, they’ll have both the credit history and the experience to be successful.

Budget and save


Don’t take full responsibility for saving the money for your child’s first car. Your child should also be pitching in money from their part-time job, lawn mowing work or babysitting. If they’re currently getting by on just their allowance, it may be time to encourage them to look outside the home to make a little extra money for their vehicle. At minimum, they should pay for the car’s gas.


Skip other expenses


Sure, your high schooler may want to go on that trip to Europe or to join an expensive league sport, but is it worth them having to bum rides from their friends or wait for you to pick them up? Part of sharing the responsibility for the vehicle means they may have to give up other fun activities.


Get a reliable vehicle


To get your teen a vehicle that will last them through college or their early working years, follow the three-step checklist:


1. Does it have a clean title?

2. Has it been inspected and reconditioned by a trained mechanic?

3. Does it come with a warranty?


Making sure your child’s vehicle will allow them to spend their first working years free of a car payment can help set them up for success with their credit score and their first apartment or home search. Having one less bill to worry about may mean the difference between making their own rent or moving back home, after all!



Russ Darrow's Short Guide to Cost of Ownership

Posted on September 29, 2016

If you’ve figured out an affordable monthly car payment for your budget, determining the total cost of ownership is the next step in learning how to finance a car. Even the best laid plans can sometimes fall apart, which is why it’s important to anticipate unexpected expenses along your way to buying a car. If you have extra money at the end of the month, consider saving cash for any surprise budget strains.


Expenses Affecting Total Cost of Ownership

Make sure you can afford the true total cost of ownership of your car before committing yourself to repaying a contract over a 3-5 year period. These are typical car expenses you can expect.

Weekly / Biweekly Expenses

  • Your car payment
  • Fuel costs

Monthly/ Seasonal Expenses

  • Oil changes
  • Wiper blades
  • Window washer fluid
  • Service checks by mileage

Semi-annual or annual costs

  • Registration / license plates
  • Car insurance premium

Service and warranty packages can help to lower the total cost of ownership by minimizing some expenses.





Russ Darrow's fuel efficiency tips

Posted on August 19, 2016

With warmer temperatures and motorists getting ready to put more miles on their vehicles, Russ Darrow Group explains ways in which drivers can be more fuel-efficient. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the United States consumed approximately 104.43 billion gallons of gasoline in 2015. While this is 1.5 % less than the record high consumed in 2007, it’s still an incredible amount.

To maximize your car’s fuel efficiency, follow these expert tips from Russ Darrow. 

Check your tires. Keep your tires properly inflated and aligned to reduce the amount of drag your engine has to overcome. Properly inflated tires can reduce fuel consumption by up to three percent. Your tires lose about 1 pound per square inch (PSI) each month, especially when it’s cold out, so make sure to check your tires at least once a month.

Keep your vehicle well tuned. A properly tuned engine maximizes power and enhances fuel efficiency. Regular maintenance, such as oil changes, air filter changes, and sparkplug replacements, will improve fuel economy as well as lengthen the life of your vehicle. 

Lose some weight. Weight is one of the biggest causes for loss of kinetic energy. Having excess weight in your car wastes fuel, especially during acceleration. Take some time to clean out your trunk and backseat to eliminate any unnecessary items weighing your car down.

Don’t be a drag. You want your car to be as aerodynamic as possible for highway driving. After 30 miles per hour, your car uses more energy to overcome wind resistance. To minimize drag, close your windows and sunroof while driving on the highway and remove bike racks or roof boxes when they’re not in use.

Be a smooth operator. Driving consciously and smoothly will help save fuel and keep you safe. Accelerating too quickly or slowly can put a strain on the motor and limit fuel economy. It should take about 15-20 seconds to reach 50 miles per hour, providing your car with a gentle start to reach an economic speed. Once you successfully reach your desired speed, cruise control is also a useful tool to help maintain it without wasting energy and fuel.

Consider a hybrid or electric. Car manufacturers are working hard to offer a variety of options when it comes to vehicles that provide increased gas mileage and/or a reduced impact on the environment. This includes the 2016 Honda CR-X LX Hybrid, the 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid EX, the 2016 Nissan LEAF SL (electric), and a variety of hybrids from Toyota, including a RAV4, Prius, Avalon, and Camry.


Russ Darrow's Tip's | Staying safe while Ballpark tailgating

Posted on August 5, 2016

Ballpark tailgating is a tradition at sporting events and enhances the experience of attending a game. With the baseball season in full swing, Russ Darrow Group offers tips on how to make the best of tailgating and how to stay safe. So fill your vehicle with friends, brats, and beverages because the ballpark is calling.

      The first step to ballpark tailgating is to organize the people, the meeting spot, and the food. Make sure everyone knows where to meet and what to bring. To make finding one another easier, place a flag on your vehicle or set up a tent. This doubles as an easy signifier of your spot and shows your support for the team.

      Arrive to the stadium early to prepare your tailgate. You’ll need time to set up, prepare food, sit back and relax, and properly pack up before heading into the game. In Milwaukee, Miller Park opens three hours before a game and requires tailgating activities end 30 minutes after the game starts. Knowing that, give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the day and respectfully clean up your area before entering the stadium.

      Research the restrictions of your tailgate spot before arriving. For Miller Park, only self-contained-charcoal units or state-approved, gas/propane units with fuel-valve turn-offs are permitted. When you’re done grilling, let the coals cool off and dispose of charcoal in the coal bins provided before putting the grill back in your car. It doesn’t hurt to keep a fire extinguisher and first aid kit on hand just in case.

      Food is often the most important part of tailgating, so it’s crucial to make sure it stays safe to eat. Keep all perishable foods in a cooler with plenty of ice. To prevent cross-contamination, wash utensils, cutting boards, and other surfaces every time raw meat comes in contact with them. Be prepared with a meat thermometer so you know when your meat is grilled to perfection. If any perishable foods are left out for over an hour in hot temperatures, play it safe and toss them out to avoid eating spoiled food and getting sick.


      Tailgating parties and baseball games often times go hand-in-hand with consuming alcohol. Be sure to choose a designated driver before arriving to ensure you and your friends have a safe ride home. If all else fails, call a cab, Uber, or Lyft to safely bring you home. 


Russ Darrow's Tip's | Staying safe on the side of the road

Posted on August 5, 2016

      Summer means more leisure activities and family road trips. With an increase in driving, the chance of experiencing vehicle troubles may increase. Russ Darrow Group explains how to stay safe on the side of the road should your vehicle become disabled.

      When you notice something wrong with the vehicle, the first step is to slow down and pull over to the side of the road. Try to coast along the shoulder until you’re away from any curves in the road behind you. When you reach the side of the road, put your car in park, engage the emergency brake, spin your steering wheel away from the road, and activate your hazard lights.

      Never work on your vehicle from the side that’s exposed to traffic. This puts you at a greater risk of being hit by oncoming traffic. If you can, drive your vehicle farther off the road and try to reach the trouble area from the front or the side that’s away from traffic.

      If your engine ceases operation and you’re unable to exit the road, stay in the car and engage your hazards. While sitting in an inoperable vehicle in traffic is unnerving, attempting to cross traffic on foot is dangerous. If it is dark out, keep an interior light on so you are more visible.
      After calling for assistance, make additional attempts to notify other drivers your vehicle is inoperable. Motorists recognize an open car hood or white rag as an indicator that the vehicle is unable to move. In the event of this type of an predicament, keep an emergency kit in your car that includes reflective triangles that can be used to warn oncoming traffic.   

      While having vehicle trouble is scary in itself, remaining calm and following these steps will help you, your passengers, and other vehicles on the road stay safe.





Russ Darrow Group Keeps Teen Drivers Safe

Posted on August 4, 2016

       Summer is a wonderful time to get back outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. These exciting times means it is even more important to remember the rules of the road and how to stay safe behind the wheel. Russ Darrow Group offers guidance for teen drivers to help keep everyone on the road safe. 

Buckle Up

Not only is wearing a seatbelt the law, it also has been proven to save lives. According to Consumer Reports magazine, in fatal crashes involving 16-20 year olds, 60 percent were unbuckled at the time of the crash. 

Stay Off The Phone

Teens seem to be constantly consumed by their phones, but it is imperative that they refrain from using them while driving. Research shows texting while driving can cause a driver to lose focus for 4.6 seconds. While this may seem short, accidents happen in a blink of an eye. If you do receive a call or text while driving, hand it over to the passenger to take care of. If you’re by yourself, wait until you arrive to your destination or safely pull over to the side of the road to respond.

Obey The Speed Limit

Speeding is a major contributor to fatal accidents, especially in high traffic areas. Going too fast gives drivers less time to stop or react to changing situations. Obeying the speed limit helps keep you safe and prevents you from obtaining expensive speeding tickets that can cause high auto insurance premiums.

Minimize Distractions

Eating, drinking, changing the radio station, or talking with multiple passengers can be distracting and cause you to pay less attention to the road. These distractions make it easier to lose control of the vehicle. Teens should limit themselves to only one passenger and avoid multitasking while in control.

Consider Other Drivers

Drive like you own the car, not the entire road. Always be aware and cautious of those driving around you. Stay at least one car length behind the car in front of you, increasing this buffer zone as you drive faster. 

Russ Darrow Group encourages teen drivers to use their heads while driving and respect the other cars on the road. Obey the rules of the road, wear a seatbelt, and eliminate any distractions to keep you, your passengers, and everyone on the road safe. 


Russ Darrow's Tip's | Corrective Maintenance versus Preventative Maintenance

Posted on July 20, 2016

       The Differences between Preventative and Corrective Maintenance Unlike preventative maintenance which is done with the goal of preventing a problem, corrective maintenance is done to correct a problem or fault once it has been detected. Its goal is to restore operability. Another difference between preventative and corrective maintenance involves the procedures. For example, with a preventative service order, the technician knows exactly what needs to be done such as change the oil, inspect belts, or lubricate moving parts.  

       With a corrective maintenance service order, the tasks depend on what’s found. Corrective maintenance often requires extensive diagnosis before any repairs can be made or parts replaced. For example, a technician may need to speak with workers who witnessed a malfunction to gain a better understanding of what happened before inspecting the equipment. By understanding the symptoms and potential causes, the technician can make a better diagnosis. Because of the unknowns associated with corrective maintenance, the process typically takes much longer than a preventative task. For example, when creating a service order for a routine tune-up, you’ll know exactly how long the tune-up should take as well as the typical parts that might be needed. With a corrective service call, the time and parts required are unknown variables.

       When is Corrective Maintenance Appropriate? While preventing breakdowns is desirable, corrective maintenance can’t be avoided completely. There’s no way to predict an unexpected breakdown, defect, or fault. Even perfectly maintained equipment could be vulnerable to defects or external factors such as power surge. Careless operation of the equipment could also require corrective measures. In addition, some preventative measures could be cost-prohibitive with little benefit. If the equipment is nearing the end of its useful life or on schedule to be replaced soon, it may make more sense to postpone costly preventative repairs and take a wait-and-see approach. Another consideration involves how the equipment is used and what would happen if it experienced a major breakdown.

        Preventative and corrective maintenance each have their place. Knowing the differences can help you make the best choice.


Russ Darrow Tips | 5 Good Car Cleaning Products To Have

Posted on May 31, 2016

Our Service Technicians take care of each used car in our Russ Darrow inventory, and they are pros when it comes to cleaning the vehicles. Here are five cleaning items we think are a must for your used car:

1. Dashboard Wipes: No need to have a roll of paper towels and some car cleaner – get the combination cleaner/paper towel dashboard wipes from your local automotive shop. Kids? Pets? If so, we might suggest keeping them in the car for quick cleanup.

2. Handheld Vacuum: Pennies, french-fries and gum wrappers are among some of the most common items found in the hardest-to-reach places in your used car. Equip yourself with a handheld vacuum (and long, narrow attachment) to suck up the mess.

3. Car Air Freshener: After time, any used vehicle can begin to develop a musk… And some not so pleasant. There are thousands of car air fresheners on the market. Pick up one that suits your senses – your passengers might thank you for it.

4. Headlight Cleaner: After the miles begin piling on your used car, your headlights can begin to oxidize, and become cloudy. Today, the spray of a simple headlight cleaner might be all that is needed. It will not only look better, but make night-time driving a little safer too!

5. Car Wax: Yes, waxing your car makes it look nice and shiny, but it also protects! After you finish washing your vehicle, take the time to wax it at least once a year – you’ll notice how the water beads off!

If your vehicle needs more than a good cleaning, and you’re ready to buy and newer car, come see our inventory! 


Leasing or buying - Which option is better for you?

Posted on May 12, 2016

Over the past few years, the popularity of car leasing has soared. When you compare leasing with buying a car and suffering the humongous monthly installment fees, leasing provides a better and more viable financial option.

'Auto Leasing Defined'

You would "lease" a car by paying for the costs by which the vehicle depreciates in value. You can calculate depreciation costs by subtracting the car's value by the time that the lease ends, from its original value. There are cars which depreciate more than other brands. The rule of thumb is, the smaller the amount that your car depreciates, the lesser the costs to lease.


Once you decide to go for leasing over buying a vehicle, you may choose the one with the least depreciation value.


If you decide to go for this option, you need to learn about "lease term". This is the number of months that the vehicle is leased. Typically, leases last for 24, 36 or 48 months, depending on your contract.


'Leasing or buying: Which option is kinder to your pocket?'


-Automobile leasing requires you to have a good credit, so if your credit score is low, it is better to go for buying. You may even be disapproved for a lease if your credit history is not good. Or, at the very least, you will be required to pay higher monthly dues.

'Car Leasing Tips'


-You will find out that most luxury cars have the lowest depreciation values. 

-Leasing a car may put a big dent in yur budget when it comes to car maintenance. You need to make sure that you are a "car-friendly" user when you opt to go for auto leasing.


-Definitely go for leasing if you are the type who wants to own the latest cars in the market. In the long run, leasing will be a better option for you as compared to buying the latest car model then trading in or selling the old one that you have.



Russ Darrow Group Opens Nissan and Volkswagen Dealership in Sheboygan

Posted on April 29, 2016

The Russ Darrow Group is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Motorville Nissan and Volkswagen dealership in Sheboygan – the company’s first dealership in the city. Russ Darrow will be relocating inventory to the all-new Russ Darrow Nissan of Sheboygan and Russ Darrow Volkswagen of Sheboygan, located at 5515 Racetrack Road.

The new store will include two separate Nissan and Volkswagen showrooms in addition to a large selection of new and pre-owned vehicles from a variety of makes and models. An additional 1,000+ vehicles are available within the Russ Darrow Group system and can be acquired to meet a customer’s specific needs. Customer comfort and amenities to enhance the car buying experience include free Wi-Fi, televisions, and a lounge.

“This addition will be our second Nissan dealership and our very first Volkswagen dealership,” said Mike Darrow, President of the Russ Darrow Group. “We are looking forward to serving Sheboygan and the surrounding communities by providing great customer service and tremendous value through our Live Market pricing, Russ Darrow Rewards loyalty program, and our exclusive refinancing program with”

“To support the efforts at the new dealership, we are seeking new employees for the position of sales and service technicians. Anyone that is interested in applying is encouraged to contact”

Russ Darrow Nissan of Sheboygan will also feature a full-service maintenance and repair department for all makes and models, a parts and accessories department, plus express service with 30 minutes or less oil changes.  John Domask will serve as the dealership’s General Manager.

“We are a family-owned business in Wisconsin for 51 years and we’re excited to be given the opportunity to join the other well respected employers in the area, such as Kohler Company, Johnsonville Sausage, Acuity, and many others, to not only employ and serve local residents, but also support Sheboygan in philanthropic endeavors and civic involvement,” said Darrow.

Russ Darrow Group, headquartered in Menomonee Falls, recently celebrated its 50th year in business and is Wisconsin’s all-time volume auto retailer since 1965. It owns and operates dealerships in Milwaukee, Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, Waukesha, Wauwatosa, West Bend, and Greenfield, representing Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Toyota, Scion, Honda, Nissan, KIA, Mazda, and Mitsubishi. With over 1,000 employees, the company also operates a nationwide fleet and leasing business and has its own in-house financing company.


Russ Darrow's Gas Saving Tips

Posted on April 20, 2016

Stopping to get gas can be a pain no matter how often you have to fill up, or what kinda of car you drive. Here are three helpful tips to get the most out of your fuel while at the gas pump


Pump Slow - When pumping your gas, set the trigger on the slowest setting. This will help you avoid getting the vapors sucked back into the ground which may cause you to get less for your money!


Fill Times - Wednesday morning is usually the best day of the week to buy gas as they will begin to increase for the weekend rush after that time. Also, if you happen to see a gasoline tanker filling the tanks, come back another day or go to a different station. As the tanks are being filled, the turbulence can stir up sediment, which can clog fuel filters and fuel injectors.


Filtered pumps at reputable stations - Is the gas you buy for your used car filtered at the pump? Some gas stations don’t have pump filters leaving you with the possibility of getting dirty gasoline. Or even worse, they may water down their product. Find a station you trust, and stick to it!


Read the original Article Here


Russ Darrow's Guide to Budgeting Basics

Posted on April 11, 2016

Saving money begins with budgeting where you spend your money. You need to make a plan and stick to it, especially when you are on a tight income. To start, sort what you spend your money on into two categories: what you need and what you only want.

Focus on the future and the long term instead of instant gratification. Your needs are things you need for survival, like shelter, basic clothing and food. Your wants are everything else.


Cut Costs without Major Lifestyle Changes

You’re probably identifying a lot of things as “wants” that you would have considered to be absolute needs. But, you don’t have to overhaul your entire life to save money. Consider making some of these small changes:

  • Stop paying for cable. Instead, use a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
  • Pack your lunch. Not only can you save an estimated $2,000 per year if you don’t eat out, you can also make healthier choices.
  • Cancel email deals and alerts. These are just tempting you to spend money on things you don’t need or want.
  • Buy used. You can often find great, gently used home décor, clothing and even electronics for a fraction of their retail prices at thrift stores.
  • Cancel memberships. Get rid of the gym membership you don’t use, and consider cancelling the membership to the discount store if you rarely go.
  • Reduce your phone bill. There are many ways to do this, but most boil down to mply comparison shopping or asking for a better rate.
  • Visit your local library. Not only do they have books, they also have music and movies that you can check out for free.
  • Save on your insurance. If you’re not sick often, consider calling your insurance company and requesting a higher deductible, which will lower your monthly payments.

Save Money at Home

Your home may not feel like your castle, but it’s probably responsible for a huge chunk of your spending. Cut utility costs and bills by following these steps:

  • Change your showerheads and sinks. Low-flow versions can save up to 50% of your water consumption. 
  • Add insulation. Reduce as much as 20% of your heating and cooling costs with new/more insulation, according to Green Energy Solutions, Inc. You can pick up a roll of insulation for about $15 at most home improvement stores.
  • Change your bulbs. LED bulbs are more expensive upfront, but operate for just pennies. Fluorescent bulbs also last about 4-10 times longer than regular incandescent light bulbs.
  • Fight drafts. Weather stripping your home prevents drafts, which could keep your heating and cooling costs from skyrocketing during summer and winter. Use a programmable thermostat. Your home doesn’t need to be exactly 72 degrees while you’re gone, even if you have pets. You’ll save on both heating and cooling costs.
  • Lower your water heater’s temperature. Keep your heater’s temperature at 130 degrees, which is hot enough to kill germs and safely wash dishes. Do laundry in cold water.

Save Money on the Go

  • Be a better driver. Read this short guide for great tips on eco-friendly driving.
  • Use apps. The GasBuddy app helps you find the cheapest gas based on your location.
  • Stop speeding. Going from 70 MPH to 55 MPH could save you almost 20% fuel efficiency.
  • Pump up your tires. Tires lose about a pound of pressure each month, which is bad news, since driving with tires that are just 3 pounds underinflated makes your vehicle's fuel economy drop by 1%.
  • Clean your car. If you're hauling around an extra 100 pounds, for example, you're lowering fuel efficiency by up to 2%. Time to get rid of that extra load.
  • Consider a warranty. Especially if you’re buying used, a warranty could help you save on repair costs.
  • Keep up with maintenance. Though oil changes cost money in the short-term, they’ll keep your car on the road for much longer if you perform them at the manufacturer’s recommended miles.

Top Couponing Links

If you’re not already a couponer, we highly suggest you get to clipping. Coupons are basically free money. The best part is you no longer have to cut paper coupons since there are endless digital coupon websites and apps.  


Top Budgeting Method: The Envelope Method

It goes like this: Let’s say you have budgeted $500 a month for groceries. When you receive your first paycheck of the month, withdrawal $250 and put the cash in an envelope. On that envelope, write "Groceries” and only use it to pay for food at the store. If you go food shopping and leave the envelope at home by mistake, turn the car around and go back to get it.

Make sure to take enough money to cover your groceries for that trip. If you take $150 and you tally up a bill for $160, take some things out of the cart. Put any change back in the envelope. When you get paid again, put another $250 in the envelope. That’s your $500 for the month for food. If you want to go to the store but don’t have enough money, raid the fridge for leftovers.

Use the envelope system for items that tend to bust your budget. Common examples include groceries, restaurants, entertainment, gasoline and clothing. When the money runs out of each envelope, don’t spend any more until the new month starts and new money goes in your envelope.


Tips for using the envelope method

Direct deposit into a separate savings account for bills, and have the payments automatically withdrawn from the same account.

Most employers offer the option to have a certain percentage or dollar amount put into a separate account, straight from your paycheck, which can help you start saving. You can automate a portion of your check to the account and build your nest egg without thinking about it.


Make Payments on Time to Improve Your Credit

While you are putting a lot of time and effort into getting your financial health back on track, don’t let something silly like not making your payments on time mess up all the hard work you’ve done to improve your credit and your overall financial life.



Crashers, M. (2012, January 18). U.S. News. Retrieved from
Geary, L. (n.d.). Bankrate. Retrieved from
Hamm, T. (2014, January 22). The Simple Dollar. Retrieved from
Holbrook, S. (2013, May 31). U.S. News. Retrieved from
Ramsey, D. (n.d.). Dave Ramsey. Retrieved from
Shin, L. (2015, February 26). Forbes. Retrieved from
Washicko, C. (2013, July 9). U.S. News. Retrieved from

Russ Darrow Service | Why you should get your car serviced at a dealership

Posted on March 10, 2016

At Russ Darrow we want all of our customers to feel confident in the service and safety of their cars. That’s why all Russ Darrow service departments employ highly trained, skilled mechanics to service your vehicle, and most are ASE Master Technicians. So what does ASE stand for? ASE is short for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. For over 40 years, this independent non-profit organization has worked to improve the quality of vehicle repair and maintenance by testing and certifying automotive technicians. This certification program helps take the guesswork out of finding a good mechanic. Vehicles are becoming more technologically advanced, which means they often require more highly trained mechanics. That’s why each ASE certified mechanic must pass a difficult national test to prove they have the skills and knowledge needed to do the job. Once a technician becomes certified, they can go on to become an ASE Master Technician, which shows they’re the best of the best. 

To earn Master Technician reputation, technicians need to pass a specified group of tests in a series and also document at least 2 years of relevant on-the-job work experience. An ASE Master Technician must recertify in all test areas every 5 years or they lose their master reputation. 

Why does this matter to you? When you take your car to a Russ Darrow service team, you’re not only getting a great value, you can be assured that your vehicle is in the best hands. Visit our website to take advantage of these great Russ Darrow Service Specials


Russ Darrow's guide to oil changes

Posted on March 3, 2016

Any car that is ideal knows that oil changes ARE important. However, have you ever asked yourself, WHY ARE oil changes important? Listed here are a couple things to learn about the importance of an oil change:

1. Your engine requires oil – The pistons that fire in your engine must have oil in an effort to slide easily as part of your engine cylinders. says, “Without oil, the pistons and bands inside the cylinder block shall get incredibly hot from the friction build without the oil to keep it from occurring. Whenever this happens, the point that is next that the pistons and rings will bond to the cylinder walls and stop your engine from operating. If this happens, your motor is officially deceased.”

2. Oil changes are preventive – getting oil that is regular at the dealership where you purchased your vehicle allows the technicians to take a look at other important features of your automobile they foresee being an issue in the future. These service technicians could offer advice and quite often fix the problem you time and money in the end before it becomes a serious problem – potentially saving.

Hopefully this helps you better understand the importance of an oil change. Our technicians are standing by to simply help with any vehicle issues you could have. Visit our Russ Darrow Service Department today


Russ Darrow's guide to general vehicle maintenance

Posted on February 24, 2016

Regular maintenance or preventative maintenance will definitely go a long way in ensuring your vehicle works at optimal condition. For example, no one truly enjoys the trips to a mechanic because our brake pads are worn right down to the rotors or drums and have to spend more time, and dollars to repair the brake system. What time that is little takes to be sure my wife and I do the "regular" items to our vehicle, helps make the time well spent. The pay me now or later on pay me cliche, in this instance, is not more true. The tips which are following aid you to keep your vehicle ready to take you wherever you have to get.


Enough can’t be said about regular oil changes and oil filter replacement. The recommended schedule is every 3, 000 miles. As a result of my prompt attention to oil this is certainly regular filter changes. It should go without saying but a lubing of the chassis or "lube job" some call it, should be performed at the time that is same have the oil changed.


The air conditioner filter, when dirty, is a problem that is typical you notice your vehicle has less power and it is using much more fuel. A check that is easy of filter gives you an idea of how dirty it's. Mechanics will almost always concur that this action that is simple go a long way in improving your vehicle’s performance. Air filters are instrumental in decreasing the quantity of dirt, dust as well as other damaging contaminants going into the engine. Simply put, your pickup operates less efficiently when the filter is clogged with grime and dirt. Filters should be replaced every 3,000 kilometers. Also, have the air filter changed once you have an oil change performed on the vehicle to save time or an trip that is extra the mechanic.


And while we’re speaking about filters, the fuel filter is probably the most forgotten or overlooked item for regular checkups. Car experts don’t understand why this occurs but it does. 


Regular replacement of this brake pads is additionally very important. Many expert mechanics will concur that all parts to your braking system system tend to be the most safety that is essential on an automobile. You should be in a position to stop your automobile quickly and properly. All brake pads will sooner or later wear out. You require to consider that the brake pads tend to be starting to become exhausted if you start hearing squealing like noises or perhaps the feel of this pedal upon braking is "mushy. The duty for the brake pads is to provide friction with the pad to make braking or stopping possible. Brake pads are quickly diagnosed for deterioration with regular examinations.


Operating in a dance with the ignition and distributor coils. Many things can indicate issues and spark plug wire malfunction. There may be corrosion at the cables or connections. Resistance can increase as the wires get older. The materials encasing the wires may be wearing or shredding completely.


The initial sign of trouble usually comes when you begin noticing a missing or kind that is stuttering as soon as the vehicle is running. There’s a tugging that is significant symptom that feels to you personally that the vehicle can’t obtain the energy to move. Keep your spark plug wires clean. Constantly troubleshoot for cables appear worn out or are not properly applied to your spark plugs. Replacing your spark plug wires will mean efficient starting and less ignition type problems that may follow because of used spark-plug wires.


Wash myself! Well maybe this one isn’t really vehicle "maintenance" by itself, but doesn’t an automobile that is clean you feel better? Again, have you ever noticed the car appears to run smoother when she’s clean? Having the engine steam cleaned on a maintenance that is regular can additionally get quite a distance in expanding the life span of your engine. Engine cleaning will keep the grime and corrosion from gathering on the spark plug wires too. It'll assist when you are overlooking your engine for leaks, unplugged or wiring that is loose keep the corrosion off your vehicle’s battery.


While these aren’t the only real maintenance that is"regular recommendations available, you can investigate your vehicle’s handbook for various other ideas that can help extend its life and ensure that is stays working in optimal problem.


Russ Darrow's Simple ways to improve your credit score

Posted on February 18, 2016

Need to improve credit rating? Sadly, a credit history isn't like a sports car, where you can rev the engine and almost instantly feel the end result. Credit ratings are similar to your record that is operating consider many years of past behavior, not just your present actions. As well as making the moves that tend to be right  you have actually become consistent. A few easy steps can push your score in the direction that is right.
Below are a few techniques are simple enhance your credit score.

View those credit card balances
One of several major facets in your credit score is how much credit this is certainly revolving have versus how much you are actually utilizing. The smaller that percentage is, the higher it is for your credit rating. The optimum: 30 percent or lower. To boost your score, "pay down your balances, and keep those balances low," says Pamela Banks, senior plan counsel for Consumers Union. What you might not understand: Even you still may have a higher utilization ratio than you'd anticipate if you pay balances in full every month. Which is because the balance is used by some issuers on your declaration because the one reported to the bureau. Even if you should be paying balances in full each month, your credit rating will still start thinking about your balances that are monthly. One strategy: See if the credit card provider will accept payments that are multiple the thirty days.

Eliminate 'nuisance balances'
"an easy method that is good enhance your score is to eliminate nuisance balances," says John Ulzheimer, a nationally recognized credit expert formerly of FICO and Equifax. Those are the balances that are small have actually on lots of charge cards. The main reason this strategy can really help your score: One of the things your score considers is just how many of your cards have balances, claims Ulzheimer. So, charging $50 on one card and $30 on another, in place of with the card that is samepreferably one with a good interest rate), can harm your score, he says. The answer to enhance your credit rating: Gather up dozens of bank cards by which you have small balances and pay them off, Ulzheimer says. Then choose one or two cards which are go-to you need to use for every little thing. "That way, you are not polluting a lot to your credit report of balances," he says.
Leave (ideal) old debt on your own report
Some individuals erroneously believe that old debt on their credit report is bad, says Ulzheimer. The minute they manage to get thier car or home paid down, they are from the phone looking to get it taken off specific credit report, he says. Negative products are detrimental to your rating, and a lot of of these shall disappear completely from your report after seven years. But, "arguing to get old reports off your credit report simply because they may be paid is a idea that is bad" he says. Good debt -- debt that you have managed well and paid as agreed -- is perfect for your credit. The longer your history of good debt is, the better it is for your score. One of many approaches to improve your credit score: keep debt that is old excellent accounts on so long as possible, states Ulzheimer. This is certainly also a good reason not to shut old accounts where you've had a repayment record that is solid. Looking to get rid of old debt that is good "like making straight A's in high-school and attempting to expunge the record 20 years later," Ulzheimer says. "You never want that stuff to come your history down."
Use your calendar
If you're buying a home, automobile or student loan, it pays doing your rate shopping within a period period that is quick. Every time you apply for credit, it causes a dip that is little your score that lasts a-year. That is because if some one is making programs which are multiple credit, it generally means she or he would like to use more credit. However, with three kinds of loans -- mortgage, car and more recently, student financial loans -- scoring formulas enable the undeniable fact that you'll make several applications but remove only 1 loan. The FICO score, a score frequently used by lenders, ignores any inquiries which can be such in the 30 days prior to rating. It's going to count those made within a typical shopping period as just one single inquiry if it finds some that are over the age of 30 times. The size of that shopping duration is dependent upon the credit score used. Then you have 45 days, says Ulzheimer if lenders are utilizing the newest kinds of rating software. With older forms, you ought to hold it to 2 weeks. Older forms of this software won't count student this is certainly multiple inquiries as you, no matter how close together you make applications, he says. "The takeaway is never dillydally," Ulzheimer claims.
Always settle payments on time
In the event that you're planning a purchase that is big like a home or a car), you are scrambling to assemble one big chunk of cash. Although you're juggling bills, that you do not wish to start out bills that are sending. Even if you're sitting on a pile of savings, a drop in your score could scuttle that dream deal. One associated with biggest components in a credit that is good is simply month after thirty days of plain-vanilla, on-time repayments. "Credit scores are based on what is in your credit report," says Linda Sherry, director of nationwide concerns for Consumer Action. In the event that you're bad about paying your bills or paying them promptly -- it damages your credit and hurts your score, she states. That will even expand to items which aren't normally connected with credit scoring, such as collection books, she says. Which is because even if the original "creditor," like the collection, doesn't are accountable to the bureaus, they may eventually contact a collections agency for an bill this is certainly unpaid. That agency could really well list the item on your credit report. Saving money for a purchase that is big smart. Just do not slight the bills that are regular pay them late to do it.
Don't hint at an increased risk
Sometimes one of several best methods to improve your credit score is always to maybe not take action that could sink it. Two of the biggies are missing payments and suddenly paying less (or charging significantly more) than you normally do, says Dave Jones, retired president for the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. Other changes that may scare your card issuer however always dent your credit rating: using completely money advances or even using your cards at companies that may show current or money that is future, such as a pawnshop or a divorce attorney, he claims. "You only do not desire to do anything that will indicate risk," says Jones.
Don't obsess
You ought to be laser-focused on your own score whenever you understand you'll quickly require credit. In the interim, be mindful of your expenses and responsibly utilize credit. Your score will mirror these investing that is smart. Are you getting prepared to make a purchase that is big such as a home or motorcar? At the least a months which can be few advance, spring for a duplicate of one's credit scores, Sherry says. While the score you can get may possibly not be the exact same one your lender uses, it will level you on numerous of the exact same requirements and provide you with a indication this is certainly good of well you're handling your credit, she says. It shall offer specific how to improve your credit score -- in the shape of a few codes or factors that kept your rating from being higher. You the credit score it used, due to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act if you are denied credit (or don't qualify for the lending company's most useful rate), the financial institution has to show. Another move that is smart Regularly hold up with your credit report, says Sherry. You're entitled to 1 of every one of your three credit bureau reports (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) for free every year through Smart customer tip: Stagger them, Sherry says. Send for example every four months, and you may monitor your credit for free.

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