01 Nov Saving Money on Car Expenses
While cars are an infamously bad investment, it’s also true that it’s hard to get by in modern life without one. Cars cost Americans over $8,000 per year. That includes insurance costs, gas, maintenance, fees, registration, and depreciation. In fact, a car is usually the second-biggest expense in life, after housing costs.
So, how can you cut back on car expenses?
Making Smart Decisions on Purchasing
One of the biggest decisions you’ll make about your car is whether to buy an older one out-of-pocket, or get a lease on a newer car. Buying out-of-pocket can be a smart move considering the depreciation rate of newer cars. You also don’t have a lease and interest hanging over your head. You own that car, scott-free. Remember, though, if you have an older car, to budget for repairs. It’s wise to set aside some money every month for repairs and maintenance costs, so that an unexpected new part won’t cripple your budget.
Usually, an older car will be cheaper for you. However, there are some exceptions. Namely, gas-guzzlers. If you have a commute to work, and your old car gets 10 miles to the gallon, you could be looking on huge gas bills each month. So, make sure to crunch the numbers and evaluate whether you have the best car for your specific needs.
And remember! When buying a car, always barter it down. Whether you’re working with a dealership or an individual, car prices are almost never set in stone.
Conducting Regular Maintenance
While $30 or more every few months might seem really annoying to you to get your oil changed, it’s usually worth it. At-home maintenance is usually more trouble than it’s worth if you don’t know much about cars beforehand and have the tools on hand. Keeping your tires well-balanced, your fluid levels high, and your oil clean will contribute to a longer life and less repairs for your car. However, many services will recommend more frequent tune-ups, oil changes, and tire rotations than what your car actually needs. So check your owner’s manual to see the maker’s recommendations.
Saving on Gas Costs
Here’s one secret most people don’t realize: that high-octane gas at the pump doesn’t do your car any good! Unless your car is a very expensive sports-model, a fine-tuned machine, it doesn’t know the difference between expensive gas and the cheap stuff. While occasional fuel tank cleaning can be nice, gas is really not something that you should be spending more than baseline on.
Another way to save on gas costs is to have good driving habits! Accelerate gently, avoid dramatic starts-and-stops, coast when possible, and use cruise control on the freeway to keep your speed steady. Remember that for most cars, the most efficient speed is 50 mph, so stick close to that level when you can.