Things No One Tells You About Being a Mom

I’ve teamed up with Poise as part of the Mom It Forward Blogger Network to tell you the truth about being a mom.

Being a Mom

Babies are marvelous aren’t they?  They come into our lives smelling sweetly like only a baby can smell, with soft skin, and tiny fingers.  They are expert cuddlers from the get-go and just as fast they have you wrapped around their finger.  No matter how many parenting books you’ve read, kid’s you’ve babysat, or birth stories you’ve watched, nothing will prepare you for the journey that is motherhood.

Babies are completely worth it but there are several things that no one tells you about motherhood beforehand.  I’ve rounded up a group of mama friends to give you the low-down on embarrassing mom moments no one ever warns you about.  We share these frank experiences, or words of wisdom, to help you to embrace motherhood with a bit more knowledge and confidence.

Names have been changed to protect the embarrassed. 🙂

Courtney: I pee on myself every time I sneeze, laugh, or cough… It’s horrible.

Bethany: My body odor changed.  Like after a workout, I’ll never be able to do anything but immediately shower.

Carrie: Baby happened to prefer the boob that was naturally larger anyways. Now I have huge boob and little boob.

Jenn: Yep, saggy boobs, floppy boobs, mushy boobs…sense a theme here? Lol feet grew a tiny bit with each pregnancy too so I’m now a size 9 instead of an 8. Ummmmm premature balding thanks to hormones….. Definitely cannot run or workout without peeing first haha

Judy: Nursing is a nightmare for the first few months, because my body thinks I have triplets. All I have to do is bend over, and it starts coming!. I remember just standing there in shock, watching this 3-foot spray coming out of me, while my husband just stood there and laughed.

Jenny:  I get SO HOT so easily now. (Not fun when you live in the south and most of the summer is 100* and 100% humidity) I sweat a lot more too and the odor. 🙁 I’m so embarrassed.  Also, I can’t start dishes or anything having to do with water until I go to the bathroom first. 😬

Ashley: Um… Wardrobe malfunctions due to toddlers performing alligator death rolls to escape.

Marcy: I have the inability to hold my pee sometimes.  There are times that I end up cleaning the bathroom floor after a failed attempt to get my pants down fast enough.

Sarah:  Cabin pressure mixed with full boobs equals milk facial for baby. Sorry baby…

Tiffany:  I second the squishy boob comment not to sound weird but I had really great boobs before I got pregnant. Didn’t really realize they’d get so…floppy… Lol

Alexia: with the saggy boobs..and hair loss!! If my hair doesn’t stop falling out, I’m gonna need some rogain soon!!  Oh and the trend where girls shave the side of their heads I’ve achieved that naturally, thank you hormones.

Anne: My boobs. I mean after #3 they just weren’t even close to the same.

Stephanie:  Mommy brain is a real thing! Hubby makes me close my eyes sometimes just to finish a sentence! And one time, I was with a couple of my close guy friends and one of them had to tell me I was leaking through my shirt…

Kristen: This isn’t really a body thing per se, but my child pulled my skirt down to my ankles in front of a window at a restaurant downtown during lunch hour.  Also my dad was there.

Lauren:  This one stretch mark on my boob is perfectly placed so a big blue vein shows through. It looks really funny lol.

Stacie:  My boobs don’t hang evenly. Or they aren’t the same size, not sure which it is.  It started during pregnancy! I need to find some thicker bras now or I’m always wearing patterned shirts to help camouflage the problem!

Ashli:  Jumping jacks are not the best form of exercise any more, unless you enjoy seeing yourself on every jumping Jack.

Catherine: The jiggling. When I jog, it sounds like my body is giving me a standing ovation…..

Brittany: Pretty sure I thought I had regained decent bladder control at 3 months PP but the trampoline park with my husband’s work proved me wrong…

Carla:  Awful hair postpartum! It fell out (as it’s supposed to) but I have curly hair and the new hair growing in at my part is an inch long and always frizzy! Not even hair spray can tame that beast!

Jessica: Feeling like you have an internal canyon just above your belly button from where your abs are trying to come back together.

Abigail: Oh, yeah, Jessica, the way your abs look when you try to do a sit-up. It freaked me out the first time I saw it! My Dr. said he had a patient who was a fitness trainer who tried to sue him because of that!

Crystal:  The loss of the ability to hold my flatulence. Working out, going to the park, making dinner… Seriously, I just cannot control it.

Heather:  The feeling that your insides are going to fall out with every step for the first…oh…2-3 months!  I was anxious to get back to running and when I did (after my 6-wk checkup), I almost looked behind me to be sure I hadn’t left my uterus a few steps back…

Meredith:  Finishing coaching a volleyball game only look down and find 2 ginormous wet circles on each boob. Lovely. Also the hair regrowth that sticks up straight and NOTHING will keep it down.

Hillary:  The fact that I just found a ginormous chunk of pizza that had been in my hair for 3 hours and I had no clue. Also, The faint smell of ketchup that plagues you all day until bed time when you realize that your toddler smeared ketchup across your chest at lunch.

There you have it!  Real life accounts from real moms.  Which was your favorite?

standing ovation

This quote from Catherine was my favorite! It’s also my least favorite because it’s so true!

I noticed a theme throughout these, did you?  Boobs and pee.  I have no advice to help you get your pre-baby boobs back but at least there are products out there to help you with the pee.  Kegels are great but while you’re working those muscles back into shape you might want to look into a product that has you covered. The Poise brand teamed up with Brooke Burke-Charvet to start a dialogue about light bladder leakage (LBL) and to empower women to seize their Poise moment.  That moment being the point where they stop letting leaks interrupt their lives and reach for products, like Poise Thin-Shape Light Absorbency pads.  The new Poise Thin-Shape Light Absorbency pads are the thinnest pads for LBL.  They offer 3-in-1 protection, are designed to move with you and are 40% thinner than the original, but they stay 3 times dryer.  If you’re part of the 1 in 3 women who suffer from LBL, visit Poise.com to request a free sample and learn more about LBL.  For instance, did you know that there are more people with bladder leakage in their 20’s than in their 80’s?  Before having kids I would have never believed it!

Motherhood is a journey and as anyone who has ever been on a road trip will attest, it’s more fun with friends.  The best advice I can offer new moms is to befriend other moms, especially veteran moms.  You need someone who understands you and someone that will pick out that food that’s been in your hair all day.

Homeschooling on Vacation

This post is sponsored by Browning Dodge and contains affiliate links.  If you’re in the market for a new reliable vehicle for travel check out BrowningDodge.com.

How to Homeschool on Vacation

While I’m just setting off on this homeschooling journey of ours I’m jumping in with both feet.  That’s nothing new though.  Since both of my kids have been born though I’ve been talking to them about everything I do, reading to them every chance I get, telling stories when we’re not around books, asking them questions, helping them explore the outdoors around them, and instilling in them the values and manners that are so important to me.  I’m intentional.  Very intentional.  So much so that it’s exhausting some days and then we loosen up and try again.  Life is a constant struggle like that, isn’t it?  Try, try, try, try too hard, don’t try, wait – okay try again, try, try, try.  Balance.  Balance is such a simple word to say and yet it’s the most difficult one to live out.

We’re officially starting school tomorrow and yes, cute stage photos will be coming along shortly.  While I have my lesson plans ready and all my hand picked curriculum laid out in a row I’m going to work at my plans diligently and try to make learning as fun as possible.  Learning should always be fun!  Then a handful of weeks later I’m going to throw it all out the window for a five day break.  Why you ask?  Because we’re going on vacation!!!  I’m very excited about the time away and am just as excited about teaching my kids, especially my daughter about the beach.  We just picked a travel date yesterday and I’ve already got our packing list made and our meal plan ready.  Now I’m starting on what I can teach my kids about the beach before we go.  Just because I like to throw my thoughts out on a page sometimes I’m writing this post.  Additionally, I’m hoping it will be helpful for others who want to combine homeschooling and vacations.  If you’re a seasoned homeschool mom I would love your opinions and ideas so feel free to comment with those below.  Now, onto my plans…

Plan the Trip – I’m hoping to show my daughter the state we’re traveling to on a map of the US.  I also want to show her a detailed maps of roads and highways and show her the different paths we could go and let her highlight the way her mom and dad have already chosen to go.  Maybe we could even put stickers on places that would be great for rest stops.  She’ll also love to watch our gps in the car as it travels along our chosen path.

Read – Because we love reading this is a natural fit for our family.  I’m excited to research fish, sea turtles, other ocean life, and books that include swimming.  For my son the book list will probably look like: Rainbow Fish bath book (bonus points because I can take it to the beach since it’s a plastic book!), Dr. Seuss’ Clam-I-Am (All About the Beach), Over the Ocean (In a Coral Reef), Seashells by the Seashore, and Curious George Goes to The Beach The beginning reading list for my daughter includes: The Berenstain Bears By The Sea, National Geographic Readers: Sea Turtles (I just discovered that National Geographic has early reader books, how exciting!), The Usborne Internet-Linked First Encyclopedia of Seas & Oceans (there are several copies on Amazon now for $0.01 + shipping! I just bought one and thought I’d share.), Secrets of the Seashore Shine-a-Light book, and Seashore beginners book.  I also want to check out the state and area we’re traveling to and see if there is any history that would be appropriate and interesting for young kids.

Audio Books – Maybe we’ll listen to audio books, maybe.  Maybe we’ll just talk and have a blast singing Justin Robert’s tunes at the top of our lungs.  Yea, we’ll probably just do that for the majority of the trip but we’ll have an audio book cd or two packed just in case.  Lamplighter audio books are superb.  We love all of their material that we’ve read or heard.  Adventures in Odyssey is another great choice – check out their The Ultimate Road Trip: Family Vacation Collection.

Plan the Itinerary – I want my daughter to help plan the itinerary of our trip.  She won’t get the last say of course and itineraries are meant to be broken but it will be fun to work together on our plans while building the anticipation of the trip.  We can plan for things like a sea shell hunt, going for ice cream, ordering something we’ve never tried before at a restaurant (maybe a buffet is a good idea to try this at!), playing putt putt, and drawing a picture of the ocean from our balcony.

Busy Bags – Between now and our departure date I plan on making lots and lots of busy bags for our trip.  Some will be simple activities like a Melissa & Doug Water Wow book (no paint, just water – I love these!!), Dover Sticker Activity books (the prices vary but they’re always under $2 shipped from Amazon – these are great for little ones sitting in church too!), lacing cards, Melissa & Doug Scratch Art (I haven’t tried these before but they look fun for kids!), and The Cube (a smaller version of the Rubik’s cube. It’s 2×2 instead of 3×3.  I don’t think I would instruct them on how to use it but let them have fine motor fun with it.).  I also plan on including my own homemade busy bags that may include felt pieces of clothes for the felt doll, or clothes pins that have a number on them that need to be clipped onto the correct paper with that many items, etc.  I’m thinking of randomly rewarding my kids for good behavior on the trip by giving them a small toy.  My daughter would love a small princess doll or anything that came from the dollar store and my son would love any figurine puppy or Thomas the Train Minis (Have you seen these?  They are so tiny and adorable!).

Games – In the evenings before bed I think it would be fun to spend time relaxing together playing a board game.  My son is just now at the age where he can comprehend the basic rules of games.  I think the game Cootie would be a great game for us as a family.  We can talk about the colors, count the pieces, and of course the counting on the die.

Observation – I’m hoping to try and observe as much as possible and point out things to my kids.  Sure, sometimes I’ll just be exhausted, hot, and ready to put the kids down for a nap but most of the time I’m hoping to be a fun mom.  Observing which toy makes the biggest splash in the water is still fun.  I don’t plan on finding a butterfly and waxing on about metamorphosis.  Just taking opportunities to observe and talk about the things we see is an incredible way to bond as a family.  Learning is a bonus!

I think that’s all I have.  As I said earlier, if you have any other ideas to share please let me know.  I want to have a fun, relaxing, and educational vacation without having to go to museums all day and I think that’s possible!

America’s Best Road Trips

This post is brought to you by SheridanFordSales.com

There’s nothing like a good old fashioned road trip with your windows cranked down and the music cranked up.  What better way is there the see the beautiful United States of America (excluding a flight to Hawaii of course!)?  Now that that’s settled all that’s left to do is take off work, pick where to go, and head out on that open road.  To help you choose I’m listing a handful of America’s Best Road Trips!

Grand Canyon

  •  –  The Grand Canyon, Arizona.  Ever since the Brady’s visited there on TV Land I’ve wanted to visit. I’ll just make sure not to get lost like Bobby and Cindy did.

Amish Country

  • –  The Amish Country, Homes, OH.  If you’re wanting to get off the grid for a while and enjoy life a the slower place this is a great place to visit.  Their food is delicious and their craftsmanship is to be admired.

The Blue Ridge Parkway

  • –  The Blue Ridge Parkway which stretches 469 miles along the Appalachian Mountains and connects two national parks, North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains and Virginia’s Shenandoah.

Overseas Highway

  • –  Key West, Florida by way of U.S. Route 1 or better known as the Overseas Highway.  This is a gorgeous stretch of road that I would love to visit some day!

Maine's Coastline

  • –  Maine. I would love to visit Maine in the fall but I hear Maine’s coastline is lovely all year long.  There would be plenty of fun spotting light houses and enjoying fresh lobster.

Red Rock Scenic Byway

  • –  Red Rock Scenic Byway, starts at Sedona, Arizona.  This 7.5 mile stretch is a beauty!

Route 66

  • –  Route 66, Illinois to California.  Go get your kicks on Route 66.

Million Dollar Highway

  • –  Million Dollar Highway, Silverton to Ouray, Colorado.  This section of U.S. Highway 550 reaches more than two miles above sea level as it weaves its way between two historic gold-mining towns. It’s breath-taking because of the view and the altitude.

I know I’ve had to have left off some superior destinations because our country is so vast and beautiful! Please let me know what else I should have included in the comments below!

Make Over Your Mornings – On Sale!

This post contains affiliate links.

I’ve spoke before about how Crystal’s Make Over Your Mornings program was very beneficial to me.  Life changing even.  Her Make Over Your Evenings was also very, very helpful.  Well, right now through August 15th there is a tremendous sale on both of these and I just had to share.

You can snag Make Over Your Mornings for just $10!!
Her companion course of Make Over Your Evenings is also on sale for just $10
OR purchase BOTH courses for just $17!!! (That makes each course 50% OFF)!

If you’re running on that hamster wheel of exhaustion, slow down and savor this course because it can revolutionize your life.  That sounds like an enormous, unattainable claim but the topics she covers really, truly helps you prioritize your life and what matters to your family.  Once you have your priorities laid out you can arrange the rest of your day around them.  Plus, she shares a lot of practical tips that are very helpful too!

 

Sandwich Sushi for Kids

This post and giveaway were made possible by iConnect and Buddig. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Buddig Giveaway

Over the summer I’ve tried a lot of creative lunches for my kids and I’ve shared a few of them with you already here and here.  Today’s idea incorporates one of my kid’s favorite food items…the tortilla.  I love tortilla as much as the next person but my kids have a unhealthy fascination with this bread product.  They would eat it as a snack all day long if I let them.  Just this morning I caught my daughter sneaking a tortilla from the fridge this morning to eat with her breakfast. (Who does that? lol)

Not only does this lunch include their favorite things tortilla, Buddig Premium Deli meat, blueberries, Craisins, and peanuts but it’s also fabulous because the kids can make their own lunch themselves!  My kids still need a little supervision, especially with the cutting part, but it’s exciting to watch them make their own creations.  I’ve watched this time and time again, when my daughter helps prepare a meal she seems to takes ownership of it and will eat it better than if I prepared it myself.

This creation is a smiley face.  The sandwich sushi rolls are the eyes and nose.  The blueberries and Craisins make up the smile.  The peanuts make the hair.
Sandwich Sushi

Check out our amateur stop action how to video:

A video posted by Ashley (@embracingbeauty) on

Totally doable and fun, right?  Spinach leaves or lettuce could easily be added as ears.  Ranch dressing could be earrings.  The sky is the limit!

Summer of Smiles:

Buddig not only makes great tasting and affordable lunch meat but they’re offering a fun contest this summer.  The summer of smiles! 🙂  There are so many reasons this time of year that make us smile – warm weather, sunny days, picnic lunches, family vacations & more.  Consumers are asked to post a picture of their family enjoying summer and flashing their biggest smiles on Facebook using the #BuddigSmiles.

Every week from June 16 – August 18 Buddig will randomly select 12 entries to receive a $25 American Express gift card – that’s 108 total winners and a whole lot of smiles! 🙂

5 Tips to Make a Used Car Look New

This post is brought to you by Reedman Toll Chevy.

Tips to Make a Used Car Look New

So you picked out that perfect used car. It’s the one that ran well, had less miles, and you hate to admit it, but the biggest reason you chose it over the one at the other dealer is because it was prettier. Follow these five tips for keeping your used car looking new, so your car keeps being as pretty as the day you picked it out.

1. Wash the car often throughout winter, and even more often if you live near salt water. This helps prevent rust caused by salt on the roads and in the air. Be sure to get an undercarriage wash in winter, since most of the damaging salt will be under your vehicle.

2. Wax your car to give it a nice clean shine. The wax will also prevent dirt buildup, and even protect from salt damage. I suggest going even further and applying a window treatment like Rain X as well. The windows will be less likely to fog or ice up, and rain and snow will slide right off.

3. Clean your headlights. There are numerous tips and tricks online for clearing up your headlight lenses, but a store bought kit is best. A kit will contain not only what you need to clean and clear the lenses, but also treatments to preserve and protect them from weather and UV damage so they don’t cloud up again in a month.

4. Keep plastic bags in the car. Their uses are endless – keep your trash tidy, collect your things when heading in the house, put wet clothes from the beach or gym in them – all help keep your car sparkling clean. With all the work we do outside and around the house, bags get the most use as shoe covers when dirty or muddy feet have to ride in a clean car.

5. It would be a shame if you did all that hard work, only for the elements to wear down your car’s appearance anyway. To protect your car’s looks, park in a covered or shady area as often as possible. Don’t park under trees for long periods of time or you’ll have wet leaves and tree sap sitting on the paint. Parking in the shade of a building or in a garage will even protect your interior materials from the sun. If you don’t have access to a garage, tint your windows within the legal limits of your state and use a sun visor for the windshield. This will keep the fabric, leather, and plastic inside the car from breaking down, cracking, or fading.

These simple protective measures will keep any used car looking like new for years to come. Do you have any easy tricks for keeping your car sparkling and fresh?

How to Throw the Ultimate Tiki Party

This post is sponsored by Wayfair.
Tiki Party

Summer is here and summer nights practically beg for a party, right?  Summer music playing, fresh squeezed lemonade, a giant inflatable pineapple floating in the pool, and kids running around in hula skirts.  I can picture it now!

Here are some ideas for creating some fun summer memories with The Ultimate Tiki Party!  Click on the pictures below to be taken to the product detail page on Wayfair.com.

Family Summer Bucket List

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Banana Boat® and OFF! ® . The opinions and text are all mine.

Now that the kiddos are home from school on summer vacation, I’m sure you’re racking your brain and surfing Pinterest to try and think of new activities to do with them. This is both good for your sanity and their development. 🙂 Even though we homeschool I want to be intentional about summer so we can enjoy it to it’s fullest. I have waxed on and on about how wonderful summer is and how most of my childhood memories are from summer vacations so I won’t belabor that here but I have a fun family summer bucket list to share with you.

To keep things fun and exciting here’s our personal summer bucket list. It has 16 different activities so we can pick one big activity to do each week and some of the little ones we can do multiple times. There are even a few of these ideas that will be perfect for rainy or those unbelievably hot days.

Family Summer Bucket List

As many of you know we just moved into a new house and a lot of things are different here. Good but different.

Schwinn Girl's Bike

For instance we have to drive our bikes to the bottom of our incredibly steep driveway before we can go riding.

Pond

We also have a pond out in front of our house so now have the opportunity to teach our kids how to fish. I’m excited about that!! In the picture above you can probably spot the crane but do you see the squirrel too? He was actually laying in the road when I drove by and hopped up and ran away when I came up. I guess even squirrels enjoy basking in the sun!

Tree Swing

We live in the woods now so we don’t have a yard (yet, we will have some grass by next year if we can help it!). That means we can’t play ball as easily outdoors as we did last year but now we have a really great tree swing!

Having a pool will be a little more challenging as we try and pad the concrete so we don’t make a hole in the bottom.

Banana Boat

No matter how many things have changed, there is one thing that has remained a constant for us and our kids – SUNSCREEN. It’s not only a must for our own outdoor safety but that goes double for our kids. Banana Boat® always has our family covered and their new SunComfort™ sunscreen is supposed to help sand brush off easily – I love that feature and hope we get to go to the beach sometime to test it out! It moisturizes, is water resistant for 80 minutes, and is available in SPF 30 and 50. No matter what, Banana Boat® SunComfort™ has us covered for gardening, hiking, or any backyard adventures we undertake.

Insect repellent is as equally as important for summer outdoor play. Especially with us living by a pond now I want to be extra cautious about bug bites and the nasty things they carry so we frequently spray each other down with OFF! Active®. We always spray it on our own hands first before applying it to our kids and we make sure to wash the skin exposed to the spray with soap and water when we come indoors.

To help us remember to apply the proper protection before leaving the house we have a basket that we have sitting by the front door of our house. Now when we go to put our shoes on we’ll always be reminded to protect ourselves against the sun and mosquitoes. If you want to make a little basket like this of your own you can find all the items including the basket itself at Walmart.

Summer Must Haves

Sunscreen? – Check!, Insect repellent? – Check!, fun water bottle? – Check!, bubbles that my son insists on having anytime he’s outdoors? – Check!

What do you have planned for this summer? I’d love to hear your ideas and add to my ever growing to-do list.

.

6 Ways to Prepare Your Used Car for Winter

This post is brought to you by Reedman Toll Subaru.  

6 Ways To Prep Your Used Car for Winter

It’s that time of year now, where just when you think it can’t get any hotter, the next month is hotter yet.  With all this heat, followed closely by back to school excitement, sports and extracurricular activities, and countless holidays, it’s easy to forget the cold season ahead.  Make sure you’re prepared for the first cold bursts ahead of time with these 6 ways to get your used car ready for winter.

– Keep a cold weather kit in the car.  Hand warmers, a scarf, warm hat and gloves will all be needed if you have to change a tire in winter.  Blankets will help the whole family if you’re stuck on the roadside a while.  Sand or ice melt will help you get out of a slippery situation, and make sure there are jumper cables in there in case your battery gives out from the cold.

– Speaking of the battery, have the battery and oil checked and replaced if necessary.  A battery on the brink of death will not last through winter, and a freezing day is not the time to be stranded in a parking lot with no power.  Old and dirty oil can thicken and prove harmful when it’s cold,

– Windshield washing fluid is a necessity at all times of the year.  In the winter months, you’ll need a fluid that will not freeze.  While you’re at it, get a fluid that acts as a de-icer to help clear your windshield in the morning.

– Wax and wash your car before the ice begins to form on roadways.  This will help protect against the elements as well as the salt that will cover the roadways.  Wash your car regularly after snow storms or periods of ice, and be sure to get an undercarriage wash.  Keeping the salt off will prevent rust and extend the life of your car.

– A preowned car means someone else cared for it before you.  Have moving parts, such as bearings and joints, inspected before winter.  A good starting point would be to check the parts that should have been serviced by the current mileage per the manufacturer’s suggestions in the book.  Moving parts need lubrication to prevent wear, and cold weather is hard on these parts.

– Changes in temperature cause condensation.  Condensation in gas lines is a bad thing.  Make sure to keep your car half full or more at all times.  A low gas tank can allow condensation in the lines, and introduce water in the engine.  A low gas tank will also leave you without heat if you happen to be stuck on the side of the road in the cold.

6 Things to Watch Out for When Buying a Used Car

This post is brought to you by Reedman Toll Jaguar.

Things to Watch Out For When Buying a Used Car

When shopping for a pre owned vehicle, it’s easy to get swept up in that “new car fever” and forget to ask the important questions. But someone else has driven that car, and you don’t know where it’s been or what it’s been through. Don’t let that dissuade you, though! Six simple tips will get you through the process with a car you can trust, whether you’re buying certified pre-owned or from the classifieds.

1. A car listing that exclaims things like “brand new radiator” and “just had a front end alignment,” or a laundry list of recent improvements, should be a red flag. It’s possible the owners were simply upgrading their car, and then decided on an alternative. It’s also possible the car was in a collision that required replacement and repair of parts. Don’t run away just yet, but ask about the car’s history or order a history report online.

2. Postings that “need love” or “with a little TLC it could be a great vehicle” mean something needs fixing. Be diligent to find out as much as possible about what needs repaired, and make sure that when the repairs are added to the purchase price, the vehicle still falls within your acceptable budget.

3. Trust your instincts. If the car doesn’t feel right, seems a bit rough, makes a strange sound when turning, or anything you are unsure of, ask questions. When you ask a question, make sure to get an answer. A seller who only replies with “that’s normal” or “oh all of the models from that year do it,” but won’t explain the reason why, is hiding something from you. A trustworthy salesman will do his best to explain and fully answer any of your questions.

4. Take the care for a test drive even if you’re in a hurry, on a budget, and this car is the only one available now that you can afford. Don’t trust the vehicle to be running great just because a stranger said so over the phone. Don’t let yourself be surprised after your purchase. Make sure you drive the vehicle on a fast road, a slow road, around some turns. Pull in and out of parking spots to test slow, sharp turns, and test the brakes in an empty parking lot if possible.

5. While you’re in the parking lot, do a leak test. Park the car and let it run for a few minutes, with the air conditioner off if possible. Then move the car and check the ground where you’d parked for any fluids that may have leaked.

6. Don’t fall for a seller’s claims that they have other offers on the table if you don’t accept their terms right away. If they had an offer they wanted to take, the car wouldn’t be available to look at. Don’t take an offer you aren’t happy with just because they rushed you. And remember, it works both ways! You have the power to simply walk away from a sale if you aren’t happy or comfortable with the transaction.