Car ownership comes with its challenges. In addition to what you pay for the actual car, you need to consider the cost of maintenance, upgrades, repairs, and insurance.
The average cost of owning and operating a car was around $8,469 annually in 2017, according to a report by AAA. Routine maintenance alone costs approximately $1,186 per year. The bigger your car, the more you’ll pay to keep it running smoothly. Fortunately, since you have your own car, you have an option to get a car title loan to pay for your car repairs or maintenance.
Luckily, there are ways to cut vehicle expenses and keep more money in your pocket. Simple things, such as knowing your car’s service schedule and shopping around for lower insurance rates, can save you a fortune in the long run.
Eager to find out more? Here’s how to budget for car expenses and put some money aside!
Know Your Car’s Maintenance Needs
First things first, make sure you know the average cost of owning and operating a personal car. Consider the routine maintenance, oil changes, tire replacement, and so on.
Beware that some parts, such as the brake pads, tend to wear out faster and need regular replacement. If you know their average price, you can purchase them in advance, such as when they are on sale. Plus, you’ll find it easier to budget for car expenses.
Other parts, like radiators and alternators, don’t need to be replaced at specific intervals. However, they will still wear out or stop functioning properly at some point. Replacing them isn’t cheap, so make sure you set some money aside for emergencies.
Save Big on Gas
Gas prices are volatile and depend on several factors, from the type of car to your driving style. One way to reduce these costs is to change your driving habits. As it turns out, driving at lower speeds yields the greatest fuel savings.
Another strategy you can use is to shop around for the best deal on gas. Use online tools, such as GasBuddy, to compare gas prices in your area.
Also, stop buying premium gas unless it’s really necessary for your vehicle. According to an AAA report, American drivers waste a whopping $2.1 billion on premium gasoline each year. The truth is, there’s no benefit to using more expensive gas for a car that requires regular fuel.
Compare Car Insurance Rates
Auto insurance premiums vary greatly from one company to the next. How much you’ll pay also depends on your type of car, driving record, deductible, and other factors.
A good starting point is to request at least three car insurance quotes from different providers. Compare them on a like-for-like basis to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Consider paying a higher deductible to lower your rates. The more you pay upfront, the better rates you’ll get.
Don’t forget about car insurance discounts. Most insurers offer lower rates for taking defensive driving courses, bundling your insurance plans, or maintaining a clean driving record.
Cut Vehicle Expenses the Smart Way
These are just a few of the many ways to reduce vehicle expenses. If your car isn’t under warranty, create an emergency fund for repairs. Reassess your insurance needs each year and shop around for better rates.
Another way to save money on car ownership is to do small repairs on your own. Changing the oil or replacing a tire, for instance, is something you can do yourself.
Even if you’re on a budget, it’s never too late to increase your income and save big. Check out our growing your wealth section to get more tips on making the most of your money and improving your financial situation.