One woman weathers a career change and upside-down car loan to pay off $133,000 in debt

One-third of adults age 30 or younger have student loan debt, with the median burden hovering at $17,000. In Debt Diaries, we introduce you to those who took on their debt and came away with a better understanding of themselves. Their testimonials offer hope — and tools — to show that you, too, can overcome debt.

Amanda Williams is the founder and owner of Debt Free in Sunny CA, where she helps guide others to debt-free living by sharing tips, and fostering an in-person and online community. She and her husband, Josh, celebrated paying off more than $133,000 in debt in less than four years on July 5, 2018.

Amanda Williams Debt Diaries Profile (ABC Photo Illustration / Photo Courtesy Amanda Williams)

How Amanda’s student loan debt began

I took out private student loans to go to school for massage therapy. After graduating, I worked on several cruise ships

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How To Get the Most Money When Trading In Your Car

More than 40% of new vehicles purchased at dealerships involve a trade-in, according to Edmunds. If you’re bringing an old car to the dealership as part of your negotiations for a new set of wheels, your job is to squeeze every possible dollar out of the vehicle you’re trading in. By knowing how to handle the process, you’ll be able to get the best deal possible.

Last updated: Aug. 5, 2020

Maintain Your Car

The best way to get the most out of your trade-in is to keep your car in good condition, well-maintained and serviced on a regular schedule. That includes basics like regular washes, oil changes, tire rotations and fluid top-offs. Don’t smoke in your car and don’t transport pets, but if you do, pay extra attention to keeping the interior clean.

Keep Service History Records

When you do get your car serviced, maintain records of those oil

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Pandemic revs up race for U.S. online car sales

By Nick Carey

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) – After years of being part of a future that never quite arrived, the coronavirus pandemic has put U.S. online car sellers on the map.

Now comes a race to spend vast sums on digital commerce platforms specifically designed to handle auto sales. Without deep pockets, many startups and others trying to join the online game will likely be left in the dust.

“The big three (auto) e-commerce players will grow substantially, but it will be hard to be a new entrant,” said Toby Russell, joint chief executive officer of Shift, which will go public to join rival Carvana and Vroom later this quarter.

“The pay to play on this thing is in the hundreds of millions and the early journey is hard, especially building out the technology,” Russell said.

Online sales still only account for around 1% of the roughly $840 billion

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How to Buy Your First New or Used Car

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

Teens might love the freedom a first car can bring, but it also brings a lot of responsibility. They need to be ready for significant expenses even after figuring out how to pay for the car. There’s fuel, maintenance, repairs, insurance, taxes and more.

Here are some strategies for getting behind the wheel as painlessly as possible. And because an important element of driving includes sharing the road responsibly, you should read our guide to car safety.

What Can You Afford?

It’s critical for teens and their parents to establish a reasonable budget. Money available for a down payment and for making monthly installments on a loan will determine the range of car choices. 

One key consideration is whether the car is meant to see a teen through high school or college and beyond. That will determine how new

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11 tips for first-time car buyers, from establishing the right budget to how to have a perfect test drive

New Chevys for sale fill the lot at Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch, Illinois, July 17, 2014.
New Chevys for sale fill the lot at Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch, Illinois, July 17, 2014.

John Gress/Corbis/Getty Images

  • Lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic are making first-time car buyers out of many.

  • Whether you’re buying new or used, it’s important to do your research before you commit to anything.

  • Vehicle maintenance is also an important thing to remember.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, taking public transportation or flying might not seem so safe right now.

For many, the next logical step is to consider car ownership. People who have never owned a car before now suddenly find themselves endeavoring on the daunting task of car buying for the first time ever.

Car dealerships, in response to a drastic decline in foot traffic in their showrooms, have adopted virtual tours and car deliveries to make the process easier for those wishing to stay

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Before You Walk Onto a Car Lot, Beware Yo-Yo Financing

Imagine you’re proudly driving around town in your new car when your cell phone rings. It’s the dealer telling you there is a problem with your financing.

“Basically, they tell you that you’ve got credit [and a deal]. You drive the car home and then they call you back up and say, ‘oh by the way, that credit didn’t work. You need to bring your car back in. You need to sign new terms.’ And the new terms are always worse,” says Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

The practice is called yo-yo financing.

How Common is Yo-Yo Financing?

Sadly, yo-yo financing is common with both new and used cars and usually ends with a higher interest rate and worse loan terms. Rheingold says women, African-Americans and Latinos are disproportionately victimized.

Yo-yo financing often happens with a spot delivery of the vehicle, meaning a customer

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Is It Smart To Buy a Used Car During the Pandemic? Here’s What Experts Say

In April, Bloomberg reported that a used car price collapse was imminent as a result of factory shutdowns and decreased new-vehicle demand. Additionally, as rental car companies like Hertz, Avis and Enterprise were looking to sell-off their fleets after being hit by hard financial times, an influx of used cars on the market could drive prices down even further.

Did Bloomberg’s predictions come to fruition? And even if prices are low, is it safe to buy a used car in the middle of the pandemic? GOBankingRates spoke to car experts to find out.

Since May, Used Car Prices Have Been on the Rise

Bloomberg’s predictions did prove to be right — but you likely missed the boat on the best used car prices. If you snagged a used car back in April or May, you could have gotten a good deal. But prices have gone up since then, said Joe

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25 Tips and Tricks for Buying a Car Online During the Pandemic

The coronavirus shutdown has forced car dealers and auto manufacturers to place a much greater emphasis on selling vehicles online. The process isn’t new to the COVID-19 crisis, but the current situation has compelled virtually every major automaker to expand their online offerings to the point that you can now research, select, test drive, negotiate for and purchase virtually any new car without leaving your home. Here’s what to keep in mind when buying a car.

Last updated: July 10, 2020

Don’t Panic, Not Much Has Changed

If you’re feeling overwhelmed about the prospect of buying a car online for the first time, don’t. Much of the traditional car-buying process — shopping, researching, applying for loans, etc. — takes place online anyway, so not that much is different. The important thing is not to forget the basics.

Open Your Mind, Even If You’ve Already Made It Up

If you’re about

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Best Ways To Sell Your Car During the Coronavirus Crisis

Thanks to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, life across the globe has turned upside down. Even formerly common activities, such as dining out or shopping for groceries, have become difficult to conduct safely in 2020. Selling a car is no exception, as the process generally involves close contact with a number of people. GOBankingRates came up with a list of safety precautions for you to consider so that you can still sell your car safely during the coronavirus crisis.

Last updated: July 9, 2020

Thoroughly Clean and Disinfect Your Car

No matter when you are selling your car, you should thoroughly clean and sanitize it before you show it to buyers. However, in the COVID-19 era, a thorough disinfection is required.

Not only will disinfecting keep both you and your potential buyers safe, it can also be used in your marketing ad. Certain buyers may be interested to know that you

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Johnny Depp threatened to throw Amber Heard’s pet dog out of a speeding car window, court hears

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard arriving at the High Court in London - Victoria Jones/PA
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard arriving at the High Court in London – Victoria Jones/PA

Johnny Depp dangled his former wife’s pet dog out of a speeding car window during a furious row in which he physically assaulted her, a court has been told.

During the argument in March 2013, early in their relationship, the Hollywood superstar grew so angry with Amber Heard that he also allegedly tried to set fire to a painting she owned, accusing her of having an affair with its painter, the artist Tasya van Ree.

The High Court in London was told on Wednesday that as the row continued on the way to a film set the next morning, Mr Depp – said to be still high on cocaine and whisky – dangled Ms Heard’s tiny terrier Pistol out of the speeding car window.

A few weeks later he sent a series of disturbing texts

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