Investing a large sum of money on an automobile is only the beginning. Motorists keep paying every day little by little for things like maintenance, gas, insurance, parking and repairs that they don’t realize they end up spending a lot of money on. Yearly cost of running a car is about $11,000 a year, according to AAA and this figure goes up considerably with bigger vehicles. Having a car should be fun and convenient. When it starts eating away a large portion of a household budget you will not have fun.
All it takes is to be on the lookout for ways of saving money while doing the everyday things like filling the tank, loading your automobile, going for an errand and buying insurance. Here are 10 ways of cutting them without overly compromising on the benefits.
- Spend Money on Good Maintenance
It may look ironic that the first item in the list involves spending money. However, spending on looking after it can actually save you. Mechanical breakdowns cost you a lot more to fix. In addition, clogged filters, dirty oil and out of tune engines will result in higher petrol consumption.
You should keep an eye on auto repair costs too. Some garages are known to take advantage of their customers’ lack of maintenance knowledge. They charge ridiculous amounts for simple repairs and not even do a good job. When you are not dealing with a decent mechanic you will be swindled more than one way. Always, check the reputation of repair shops, ask for recommendations and never give a go ahead without getting quotes. If it looks unreasonable take it to another garage for a second opinion.
- Mind the Mileage
A car can quickly become the first choice of transport because of convenience. There are many other alternatives like cycling, taking public transport and carpooling. You should use the alternative methods wherever possible. Cycling keeps you fit and saves you money, not only on petrol but also parking charges. It could be cheaper to take public transport especially in the cities because of congestion and high parking expenses. Furthermore, you get lower car insurance rates when you are a low mileage driver.
- Be a Good Driver
Be defensive, not aggressive. Learning defensive driving reduces accidents and inadvertently vehicle insurance premiums. Furthermore, it consumes less petrol when you avoid speeding and stepping on the brake all the time. Just follow the rhythm of the traffic, see the problems ahead and slow down gently.
- Find Cheap Petrol
This is one of the easiest ways of saving money. You make a habit of watching forecourt prices and pick the cheapest gas station on the route to fill up. You probably get the same petrol regardless of which station you fill it from. So, why pay more by failing to watch the prices.
- Find the Cheapest Auto Insurance Premium
Many people are under the false impression that their insurers are looking after them. You need to ask yourself this question; do you have good cheap car insurance? It is not the case more often and motorists are pleasantly surprised to find good discounts. It makes sense to get a few quotes, especially if you haven’t checked the prices for some time.
- Get Rid of Rarely Used Vehicles
You may feel you are left out without owning one but keeping two or three in the same household can be a luxury you cannot afford. A car costs about $9,000 a year to keep according to AAA figures. It will be less if you drive less but still won’t be less than $5,000 a year for the second that is sitting at home all day long.
Most families, especially in the cities, can do with one. You probably can take or already are taking public transport. Your children are going to school with a school bus and you have a car already if you need for anything else. Think about the value of the second or third one and get rid of it if you can. Put the money into something else like a retirement fund or investment.
- Buy the Cars that Keep their Value
One of the unseen expenses is the value depreciation. Some lose their value like a stone while others are always in demand and keep their value. Generally, better quality automobiles maintain their price longer. Also, you may want to consider buying a nearly new used one that has already lost enough. They lose their value the most during the first year of purchase.
- Don’t Get Traffic Tickets
They are very annoying and expensive. You will face license point deductions, higher premiums and fines when you get traffic tickets. Even a simple parking ticket can set you back fifty bucks. Keep the DMV record clean and you will enjoy all sorts of savings.
On the other hand, getting caught Driving Under Influence of alcohol or substance can cost you over $10,000. You need to take into account court defence bills, fines, loss of license and insurance costs. In addition, you will suffer many inconveniences, spend time dealing with problems and face the humiliation of losing a license. Don’t Drink and Drive!
- Mind Parking Charges
Today, parking charges have become another source of income for local authorities and tax for motorists. That is why you may need to consider if it is wise to drive to city centers when you are going to stay there for a few hours. Public transport can work out a lot cheaper. You may have to walk to the nearest subway stations. But usually you cannot find parking space wherever you want so you end up walking anyway. People don’t think about these small details and just hop on their vehicles as it is convenient to do so.
10. Buy Roadside Recovery Coverage
These plans are fairly cheap and highly useful. The recovery mechanics can come and fix it on the roadside so that you can continue the journey. Or take it to a garage if they cannot fix it. Try calling for towing and you will see that one towing will cost you three times the yearly membership fee. And you still need to pay for repairs. It is smart to buy Breakdown Coverage from companies like AAA for peace of mind.