Like most of us, you’re probably looking for ways to cut your budget on every front, from brown-bagging it for lunch instead of going out, to going back to basic cable, to cutting up all of your credit cards except the one with the lowest interest rate. But when it comes to your car you just can’t seem to come up with a good way to cut costs. But even if you can’t necessarily take driving out of your daily schedule, you can save on everything car related, like gas and maintenance, for example. Here are 5 tips that will help you cut down on your car expenses:
By: Carol Montrose, for Brake Bleeder.
1. Ask about insurance rebates.
Your insurance provider may offer discounts for any number of reasons, such as a clean driving record, multiple policies (bundles), additional safety features on your vehicle, low mileage, or even the form of payment you choose (automated). But if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.
One great way to cut back on car expenses all around is to set up carpools whenever possible. You can carpool for work and when you take the kids to school (if neighbors or friends in your area have children at the same schools as yours). This will save you on gas and maintenance while doing a good turn for the environment.
3. Get a gas app.
The price of gas varies from place to place and station to station, sometimes by a significant margin. And unless you want to waste your gas driving around to compare prices, you could end up paying too much. Luckily, there’s an app for that. Actually, there are several. Find one that’s free to download to your smartphone and you’ll never overpay for gas again.
If you’re making payments on a car, you may as well get a lease, for several reasons. First and foremost, the monthly payments are always less with a lease. And if you do decide to buy later on, you’re payments to that point will act as a down payment and you’ll get a loan to buy the car for less than new (saving you a boatload of interest). Also, you can trade it in for a new vehicle in 2-3 years if you change your mind.
5. Go green.
You might not be interested in eco-friendly cars because the sticker price is higher than comparable models, but if you purchase an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle you can get a federal (and possibly even a state) rebate to offset the cost. Plus you’ll save a ton on gas. It all adds up to savings over time.