In most areas of the country, owning a car is a necessity. Transportation is usually one of the most significant bites of any budget, and the costs of car ownership go far beyond just the car payment. Lowering the costs of car ownership is one of the best ways to enjoy your vehicle without busting your budget.
Add Up the Costs
To save on the costs of car ownership, it helps to understand what they are. The biggest expense is usually the car payment. Secondly, car insurance can eat up a considerable portion of the transportation budget. Maintenance, fuel, parking, tolls, registration, inspections, and cleaning all add up to annual costs that far exceed just the payment and purchase price.
Cutting Costs of Payments and Insurance
There are easy ways to cut costs when it comes to owning a car. For instance, learning how to lower car insurance isn’t hard. First, negotiating the lowest price possible when buying will keep your monthly payments low. Raise your credit score so that you can take advantage of lower interest rates on your next car purchase. Ask about rebates and incentives that lower the price of the car. The second way to save is by lowering your car insurance. While most people think car insurance rates as set in stone and non-negotiable, they are not.
Also, ask about discounts for safe drivers, paying the premium all at once, or for bundling other insurance in with car insurance. If you use the same company for homeowner’s insurance, renter’s insurance or motorcycle insurance, you can often get a better deal. Some companies will install a device on your car that measures your driving and rewards you with lower rates for safe driving.
Finally, simply asking how to lower your car insurance might do the trick. There are often discounts not widely advertised that can help you save.
Cut the Costs of Fuel
Fuel can quickly increase the cost of car ownership because its a commodity used daily. Fuel costs can fluctuate for any number of reasons, from weather to economic demand to civil unrest. The cost of fuel can often rise in the summer when more people are traveling. To cut fuel costs, consider consolidating trips, carpooling, or walking. If you are planning to spend the day running errands, map out your route so that you are taking the shortest route possible to reach your destination.
Did you know that UPS plans its drivers’ routes to avoid left turns? Turning left will eat up more fuel than right-hand turns. While that’s a bit of a drastic way to save on fuel costs, taking time to think of your route in advance can help stretch the budget. Finally, you can cut the costs of fuel by using rewards programs through supermarkets and discount stores.
Cut the Costs of Maintenance and Miscellaneous Fees
Maintenance, parking, tolls and other fees can eat up your budget as well. Keep the car maintained with regular oil changes, tune-ups, and tire care to prevent large repair bills later. Regular maintenance is especially crucial for high mileage vehicles. Take the car for regular car washes to avoid the buildup that can hamper performance. Finally, plan for parking, tolls and other fees in advance to save on costs.
Lowering the cost of car ownership is one way to enjoy your car without hassle. By cutting your insurance costs and planning to save on fuel, you can enjoy more cash in your pocket.