Top 5 Cheapest-to-Own Cars | Car Buying Tips

Top 5 Cheapest-to-Own Cars

When buying a car, remember to look beyond the sticker price. Owning a car is much more than simply purchasing it. Consider maintenance cost, insurance, taxes, registration fees, fuel economy, and standard features. If you are looking for a car that is cheap to own, paying a bit higher initial price may be worth it in the long run.

Kelly Blue Book (KBB) researches and keeps track of all vehicle ownership costs and publishes its 5-Year Cost to Own Awards annually. They calculate how much it costs to own a given car over a period of five years in 22 different categories. Based on this research, we present you the top 5 cheapest-to-own vehicles for 2018.

1. Chevrolet Spark

Top 5 Cheapest-to-Own Cars | Car Buying Tips

Chevrolet Spark was ranked number one by KBB in the category: Subcompact Car with KBB 5-year cost to own: $21,819. Its initial price ranges from $13,050 to $17,475. Some of its main advantages include:

  • A well-equipped information and entertainment system that comes with the basic model
  • Great power and handling for a city car

It has a few drawbacks, such as the small cargo area and the lack of sufficient power on the highway.

2. Toyota Corolla iM

Toyota Corolla iM won in the category: Compact Car with KBB 5-year cost to own: $30,856. It has an initial price that starts at $18,850 up to $19,590. The car is praised for:

Top 5 Cheapest-to-Own Cars | Car Buying Tips

  • The abundance of standard features that come even with the base model, and
  • The excellent cargo capacity.

Some of its disadvantages include a loud engine with not so much power and fewer comfort and entertainment features compared to other vehicles in the same class.

3. Honda HR-V

Honda HR-V takes the first place in the category: Subcompact SUV with KBB 5-year cost to own: $32,874. The price tag on a new car is between 19,670 and $26,540. The vehicle has many advantages that make it a good choice:

Top 5 Cheapest-to-Own Cars | Car Buying Tips

  • Adult-friendly back seat
  • Sufficient cargo area
  • High quality of the build
  • Above-average reliability

There are a few drawbacks though, like the awkward touch screen and the firm front seat cushions, which are minor for an SUV of this class. The biggest disadvantage is perhaps that it takes some time to reach highway speed.

4. Toyota Prius c

Toyota Prius c is at the head in the category: Hybrid/Alternative-Energy Car with KBB 5-year cost to own: $33,454. Its initial price starts at $20,630 and is the least expensive Toyota hybrid. The things that you will like in this car are:

Top 5 Cheapest-to-Own Cars | Car Buying Tips

  • The clean lines
  • The spacious interior
  • The direct steering

Some of its disadvantages are that the engine gets quite noisy when pushed and the budget materials used for the interior. Otherwise, it is a great vehicle compared to its rivals.

5. Honda Civic Si

Honda Civic Si was chosen as the top performer in category: Sporty Compact Car with KBB 5-year cost to own: $33,484. Its price ranges from $18,840 to $34,100 depending on the extras it offers. The car is loved for many reasons that include:

Top 5 Cheapest-to-Own Cars | Car Buying Tips

  • High-grade cabin
  • A lot of cargo room
  • Spacious and comfortable seats
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Very comfortable ride and great agility

As for the negatives, the available infotainment system is a bit tricky to use.

It is worth noting that according to KBB Hyundai is the Best Brand winner since the cars it offers come at an affordable price and is also cost-efficient in the long run. The Best Luxury Brand winner for 2018 is Acura. They manage to make vehicles that are both luxurious and great value and are worth investing in them.

Date Ideas in Long Beach CA

10 Budget-friendly date ideas in Long Beach CA

Long Beach has it all – from scenic views and gorgeous weather to affordable places that you can visit with your family and kids. When it comes to date night ideas, Long Beach CA doesn’t disappoint either.

Date Ideas in Long Beach CA

Here are ten budget-friendly date ideas in the Long Beach area.

Beautiful places to visit for free with your date

If you like nature and walks, then one of these three options might be the best date idea for you and your partner.

One of the most romantic places to take your date in Long Beach CA is the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden. You get an amazing, romantic experience, completely free! The garden has a Japanese motif and includes a pond with koi fish that you can feed. You can sit in the tea house and enjoy the tranquility around you. With a variety of gorgeous flowers to please your eyes, it’s no wonder the place is one of the most common locations for weddings.

The garden is located in the campus of California State University. It is open Tuesday-Friday, from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm and Sunday from noon to 4:00 pm. Unfortunately, it is closed on Saturdays and Mondays, so take this into account when planning your date.

El Dorado East Regional Park is another great option to spend time with your date. At daytime, the park offers many other attractions, in addition to the great landscape. You can call and reserve a picnic area, book a train ride or rent a pedal boat. The park stretches over 388.2 acres and includes playgrounds and fishing lakes as well. You can go cycling with your partner along the wonderful bike trails the park offers.

There’s an entrance fee you need to pay for your vehicle but it varies from $5 to $8 depending on the day.

Rancho Los Alamitos Ranch and Gardens is another free place you can take your date and learn some Long Beach CA area history while you are at it. It is one of the last working ranches, where you can enjoy beautiful gardens, old trees and escape from the hectic life of the city. You can also learn about the Bixby family who owned it. The ranch is open for visits Wednesday through Sunday 1-5 pm.

Best Long Beach street walks for dates

Another clever idea for a date is to visit some of the most interesting streets in Long Beach CA. Here is our selection of three unique places to visit:

If you don’t mind an unconventional date and you love flea markets, then the Long Beach Antique Market is the place to visit. More than 800 sellers gather together at the Long Beach Veteran’s Stadium every third Sunday. For an entrance fee of $6 from 6:30 am to 2:00 pm or $12 from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm, you can find vintage furniture, toys, glassware and many more items.

If you like unique stuff like vintage clothing or furniture, then the area of East 4th Street centered around Cherry Avenue is the place to go with your date. The stretch is known as “Retro Row” because of the numerous vintage shops located on it. Most of them open at noon and close at 7:00 pm. If you get tired of walking, you can have a drink at Art du Vin or see a movie at the Art Theater.

Another great walk is along the Pine Avenue, especially at night. There are many restaurants and bars, where you can grab a drink. The night is anything but silent, since most of the restaurants turn into de-facto nightclubs, where you can dance. In other words, Pine Avenue is a great way both to start and end your date.

Great date ideas that are not for everyone

Here are a couple of *really unconventional date ideas.

  • Country Line Dancing at the Cowboy Country

If you love country music, the Cowboy Country is the right place for your date. This is a country music dance club that even offers lessons at 7:00 and 8:00 pm. The price for this entertainment is also quite affordable – only $3 on Wednesday and $5 on Friday and Saturday (the club works only on these three days). Besides, the entry is free from 6:00 to 7:00 PM.

  • Battleship USS Iowa Museum

Located in neighboring San Pedro, the Battleship USS Iowa Museum is great for WWII artefact lovers. The fee is less than $20 and you can also enjoy several special events such as Movies Under the Guns, where they play free movies on board the battleships.

A fancier date within your budget

For those who can’t imagine a date without a restaurant, we offer two interesting options. They are a bit more expensive, but are still budget-friendly.

  • The Queen Mary

The Art Deco theme is a rather romantic suggestion for a date, as is a drink or dinner aboard a ship. Queen Mary and its Observation Bar are a great way to enjoy the view while listening to different styles of music on Fridays and Saturdays – jazz, blues, Latin, etc. In addition to that, one of the top 100 most romantic restaurants in the U.S. is also to be found aboard Queen Mary. That is Sir Winston and you won’t regret taking your date there. The good news is that parking is free with restaurant validation after 6PM.

To end the night, explore the decks of the ship and enjoy the great view of downtown Long Beach CA.

  • The Sky Room

One of the great restaurants in Long Beach CA is The Sky Room, located on 40 S. Locust Ave, near Pine Avenue, on top of Breakers Hotel. As you can guess from its name, the restaurant offers magnificent view of the city. In addition to great food, you can also dance to live music playing mainly Latin or Swing on weekends. Note that this is a fancy restaurant so avoid casual wear and dress up for your date.

Investing in a Budget-friendly Cars

Budget-friendly Cars that deserve a look

If you are considering investing in a new car, make sure prioritize what is important to you in a vehicle. Price should not be the only consideration. You need a vehicle that gives you the maximum comfort and suits your needs.

Six budget-friendly cars to buy new

Investing in a Budget-friendly CarsPurchasing a new car is a good investment, especially if you get a quality vehicle packed with extras at a reasonable price. Here are a few great options:

  • Approximately $16,000
  • 138 horsepower
  • Turbocharged 1.4L ecotec engine

This car which comes in 10 different colors offers a lot of amenities: it has 10 airbags, forward collision alert, rear park assistance, OnStar automatic crash response system, air conditioning, infotainment display, keyless entry, 7-inch diagonal color touch-screen display, Wi-Fi connectivity, tilting and telescoping steering wheel. This car is small and compact, which makes it the best car for singles or young couples. In addition, the rear 60/40 split-folding seats make a lot of space in the back for those who travel.

  • Approximately $15,500
  • 6-liter four-cylinder engine
  • 137 horsepower

This car not only looks good on the road but also provides you with a lot of comfort, utility and good performance. It has both manual and automatic six-speed transmissions, it is quiet, has a lot of back space, and drives smoothly on the road, which makes it an excellent choice for people who commute or take road trips.

  • Approximately $15,000
  • 6-liter four-cylinder engine
  • 138 horsepower

This car has long warranty coverage, quick acceleration, LX non-telescoping steering wheel, and big seats for more comfort. It is a great choice for people who need a ride that is going to take them from point A to point B with comfort. Kia Rio Sedan comes with a stellar list of extras that feature 15-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, fog lights, dual illuminated vanity mirrors, four-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB port. It guarantees both security and good time while on the road.

  • Approximately $13,800
  • 4-liter four-cylinder engine
  • 98 horsepower and 94 pound-feet of torque

     This is a great and inexpensive car for people who need a daily driver. This car comes equipped with a rearview camera, 7-inch touchscreen, 4G LTE hotspot, 15-inch steel wheel, air-conditioning, 60/40-split folding rear seat, trip computer, OnStar telematics system, Bluetooth connectivity, and USB port. Furthermore, Chevrolet Spark is a really safe car thanks to the four-wheel antilock brakes, hill-hold assist, front and rear side airbags, front-seat knee airbags, stability and traction control, automatic crash notification, and forward collision alert. Chevrolet Spark makes the best choice for people who have just started driving because it is easy to maneuver, offers smooth drive, and is easy to park because of its compact size.

  • Approximately $13,800
  • 74 to 78 horsepower
  • 2-liter three-cylinder engine

This model also makes a perfect daily driver. It has 14-inch steel wheels, rear view, LED taillights, a tilt-only steering wheel, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, four-speaker sound system, USB connectivity, fog lights, key-less ignition, cruise control, 6.5- inch touchscreen. Mitsubishi Mirage is a very safe car thanks to its four-wheel anti-lock brakes, front-seat airbags, a driver knee airbag, front rear parking sensors, and traction and stability control. It is surely a good choice at a great price and deserves to make it to your list of potential options.

  • Approximately 12,800
  • 6-liter four-cylinder
  • 109 horsepower
  • 107 pound-feet of torque

This car provides safety, smooth ride, class, a lot of room inside for a more comfortable ride, and a large trunk. The model comes with four trim levels: S, SL, SV, and S Plus. It offers 15-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, tilt-only steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, trip computer, sound system, keyless entry, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, USB port, satellite radio, audio system, and more. Nissan Versa S provides excellent safety measures like antilock brakes, traction and stability control, airbags, cruise control, and rearview camera. Moreover, this model has passed a lot of crash tests with excellent results, which makes it an excellent choice in terms of road safety.

Two suggestions for affordable used cars

If you are thinking about a budget-friendly vehicle, you should also consider buying a used car. There are many good models that will meet your needs without stripping you out of cash. Here are two suggestions:

1982 – 1992 BMW 3-SERIES

These are, indeed, older models. However, they are classics and are a great choice for new drivers. Prices can be as low as $2000 and you will have paid for a car that looks good, drives well and is budget-friendly. If you are wondering which car to buy for your son who just got a driver’s license, the BMW 3 Series are the right choice and are made to last for years ahead.

2001 – 2007 VOLVO S60

These are, once again, classic cars which are made to last years! The prices start from $2000. You will have peace of mind driving these models because they have passed a lot of collision test with great results. Besides, we all know that Volvo engines are made to outlive their owners, so you can trust in the reliability of the make.

The list above is far from exhaustive, but hopefully it will help you decide on the best option for you.

friendly towns in the Long Beach area

10 budget-friendly towns in the Long Beach area CA

Long Beach is one of the most beautiful and attractive cities in southern California. It falls within the Greater Los Angeles area and is the 7th most populous city in California, 36th in the whole USA. It has very good infrastructure, pleasant climate and attractive cultural life, however it is not the most budget-friendly place to live in.

If you are budget-minded, it makes sense to a choose a smaller town in Long Beach area that will offer attractive housing rates combined with friendly community, beautiful parks and nearby schools. Below you will find a list of 10 budget-friendly towns near Long Beach that are worth considering.

Friendly towns in the Long Beach area CA


Cypress is a quiet suburban town about 16 miles away from Long Beach and is a perfect choice for new families who want to move to Orange County. It has a population of less than 50,000 people and you can get an affordable home in one of its great neighborhoods. The combination of low crime rate and excellent weather makes this small town an attractive place to live. It is also worth taking into account that it offers higher median household income than the average for California, which makes it the perfect budget-friendly town for newcomers. Some of its notable natives and residents are Tiger Woods, actors Matthew Morrison and John Stamos.


Despite being home to Disneyland and host of two major sport teams – the Anaheim Ducks ice hockey club and the Angels baseball team, the town is actually a great choice for those who have to live on a tighter budget. The housing value in Anaheim stands at around $415,900, which is much lower than most other places in Orange County. Its theme parks, great cityscape, long history and great temperatures turn it into the epitome of ‘California Dreamin’. If you are looking for a fun and adventurous place that is still affordable, then you can move to Anaheim and enjoy life to the fullest.


The motto of Westminster, California is “The City of Progress Built on Pride” and it definitely lives up to the idea. In addition to its excellent climate, proximity to LA and Long Beach and great local amenities, it offers lower housing prices than most of the Southern California (standing at $462,100), stable housing market and high income per capita. The combination of those factors makes Westminster an attractive and budget-friendly place.


Placentia is known for its quiet neighborhoods and is even called the “bedroom community”, which means life is quite easy and peaceful there. The town has a population of a little more than 50,000 people and a higher average household income of $75,693 than most California cities. According to the Orange County Register, it was named the second-best place to live in California. Its excellent weather, proximity to lakes and low unemployment rate make it appealing to anyone looking to enjoy what California has to offer on a budget.

Signal Hill

If you want to stay close to Long Beach but avoid living in the city, then Signal Hill is the place for you. Situated on a hill and completely surrounded by Long Beach, the town offers great parks, high employment rates and excellent weather for those who decide to move in. The discovery of oil back in 1921 changed the place forever; however, it still remains one of the preferred California towns for those who want to live on a lower budget.


Carson has a mild Mediterranean climate with a bit lower summer temperature due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. It has a population of almost 92,000 people but is attractive for new families since it is described mostly as a working-class city with middle-class neighborhoods. This means that the quality of life is quite good and yet not too expensive. It offers rich cultural and art life and is home to some of the big employers in the USA including Pacific Bell, Xerox Education Services, Inc., etc.

Hawaiian Gardens

Hawaiian Gardens is the smallest town in Orange County, California and has a population of a little more than 14,000. There was a small decline in house prices last year and at present the median home value in Hawaiian Gardens is $362,400. This is one of the lowest rates in Long Beach area and makes it one of the most budget-friendly places in entire Southern California.

Seal Beach

Seal Beach is a wonderful and cheap town that can easily be the top choice for families moving to the area of Long Beach, California. It offers great education infrastructure and excellent employment opportunities, being home to Boeing. In addition, the housing value stands at just $286,400, which is one of the lowest in the state. Another plus is the close-knit community in this town with population of just over 24,000.


Paramount is a city with long history located in the Greater Los Angeles area. It is home to a large community of Mexicans and due to the numerous Mexican restaurants offering delicious food it is also known as the “second Sinaloa.” The city is home to Zamboni Company, whose owner was the inventor of the ice resurfacing machine. It is a preferred place for many people moving to the Long Beach area because of the low home value (around $393,100). The median list price per square foot in Paramount is $305, which is significantly lower than the Long Beach – Los Angeles area rate of $410.


Compton is one of the oldest cities in Los Angeles County, California and is known as the “Hub City” because of its central geographic location. It has a relatively large population of more than 96,000 people, but the housing price remains quite low compared to the rest of the Los Angeles – Long Beach area. The median list price per square foot is $310 and despite the increase seen last year, the median home value in Compton is still quite low – $369,500. The city is designated as an “Entrepreneurial Hot Spot” and is a great place for those who want to work and live a budget-friendly life.