Even if you own your car outright, maintenance, insurance, gas, and repairs can place a strain on your budget. For those who are still making payments, a large portion of your monthly income is spent on an essential machine that you use for only a fraction of the day. Here are four tips to save on your vehicle expenditures.
Plan all of your weekly trips to be done at once. Are you running out to the grocery store, dry cleaners, and home improvement depot multiple times a week? If at all possible, plan to do all of your errands in one trip a week. Not only does good planning save gas and wear and tear on your car, you will also save by avoiding the little impulse purchases you’re tempted by every time you step into a store.
Learn to do your own minor maintenance. There is no reason in the world you can’t change the oil and air filter, rotate the tires, and change your brake pads yourself. While the initial outlay to purchase the necessary tools will be more than the cost of hiring a garage at first, they will last a lifetime if properly cared for and stored. Have a savvy friend or family member show you how to do these things. You will be amazed how quick and easy these tasks are.
Don’t buy another car when you can fix the one you have. So many people are encouraged to buy a new car when a major breakdown occurs. If a new transmission costs a thousand dollars and the car is only worth $1,200, why would you pay to have it done? Because the car is otherwise sturdy, well maintained, and you don’t want to pay more to purchase something else. The only exception is if your car is having multiple, expensive problems. When this happens, it’s time to look for another vehicle, preferably gently used with low miles.
Ask yourself if you really need to drive. All too often, people jump into their car to make a drive of a few blocks. Can you walk to your destination? How about catching the subway or the bus? In most cities and suburbs, public transportation can take you almost anywhere for a few dollars. With gas prices skyrocketing and maintenance schedules being factored by mileage, consider alternative forms of transportation.
Owning a car on a shoestring budget is possible. However, following these frugal tips will ensure your car costs you the least amount possible.