You’ve heard of the “Cash for Clunkers” government program that recently ran out of the original $1 billion. The Senate just approved an additional $2 billion for the program last night to extend the popular program and President Obama is expected to sign it into law as early as today. But just because it’s popular doesn’t mean you should take advantage of it.
Here are the details of the program. You can trade-in a gas-guzzling “clunker” that is less than 25 years old and gets 18 MPG (miles per gallon) or less. Check fueleconomy.gov for official MPG numbers. You must buy a new car in conjunction with the trade-in. The car must have be registered and insured for a full year before the trade-in. The program runs through November 1, 2009 or until these additional funds run out. Check out the cars.gov for full details.
If you were looking to buy a new car already (before you even knew about the $4,500 rebate), you can get a pretty good deal for a trade-in if your car qualifies. I would check out Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds to figure out a rough private party value for your car. If it’s worth way less than the $4,500 rebate and you have the money to pay for another car, I would take advantage of it. If you don’t have the money or have to take out a loan, why get into debt, especially if your clunker works just fine? It just seems like a waste to me, especially when the working clunkers have to be scrapped.
Another piece of legislation that you might not have heard about is the extension of the $250,000 FDIC insurance through 2013 that was passed back in May. The limits are expected to go back to the original $100,000 per depositor on January 1, 2014. In the meantime, you’re protected up to $250,000 on bank accounts, CDs, IRAs, and other accounts. You don’t have to worry about losing your money if a bank fails.
Photo credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst