For people on a budget, car expenses are one of the harder things to afford. It would be nice if the only time we spent money on our cars is when we bought them, but this is unfortunately not the case. Each month we have to spend money to use our cars and keep them running. These expenses add up over time, and without realizing it they may become a large portion of your monthly budget. To help you out, here are a few ways you can save money on your car expenses each month.
Find a More Affordable Car
The first thing you’ll want to consider is getting yourself a more affordable car. Even if you’re not currently looking for a new car, getting something that is more affordable than the model you’re currently driving isn’t a terrible idea. Look for a car that allows you to have lower monthly payments, either by purchasing something cheaper or getting a good deal on a lease. When working with the car dealership, do your best to negotiate a lower price on the new purchase and get the most for your current car. Sometimes the solution is simply that the car you’re driving is too expensive. Find something a little more basic, and watch the savings pile up.
Reduce Your Insurance Costs
Next, insurance is a major part of any car costs. You need to have insurance for your car, and this is something you likely have to pay each month. There are several factors involved which determine how much your car insurance is each month, but there are ways that you can reduce your payments.
First, it’s important that you have a clean driving record. If you have a lot of speeding tickets or a history of accidents, your insurance rate is likely going to be higher than you would like. Obey the rules of the road, and drive carefully to reduce car insurance costs in the long run.
After that, you should focus on your credit score. Insurance agencies often look at your credit score when trying to determine what rate to give you, so improving your credit score can help you to get better rates. Make your payments on time, reduce your debts, and once your credit score goes up, talk to your insurance company about lowering your rate.
Finally, not all insurance companies are the same. In some cases you may find a better deal if you switch to another provider. If you feel you are paying too much for car insurance, look into other providers in your area. See what sort of rates you can get, but also look at reviews for that company. For example, you could look at Mercury insurance reviews, see what previous customers have had to say, and then make your decision. Going through this process helps to ensure that you are not only paying a reasonable amount, but that you are working with a reputable company.
Perform Regular Maintenance
Another large chunk of car expenses is when we need to make repairs. Anyone who has owned a car knows that repairs can happen at any time, whether it’s from a flat tire, worn down brakes, or something wrong with the engine. While you may not be able to avoid repairs entirely, you can try to make them occur less often.
The key to this is regular maintenance. By having your car serviced at regular intervals, you can prevent problems from arising, and ensure your car continues to run smoothly. While you’ll have to pay for the maintenance costs, this is often lower than the cost for a full repair after the problem occurs. Look in your owner’s manual for the recommended maintenance schedule, or check out this guide, and then set up an appointment at a trusted mechanic if it’s time.
Finally, a great way to save money on car expenses is to use it less often. To do this, consider setting up a car pool. For instance, if you live near some of your co-workers, you could each take turns driving each day. This will save all of you money on gas, put less miles on your car, and even help out the environment. There are some downsides to carpooling – such as a large time commitment – but it’s a great way to cut back on expenses if need be.
Be Willing to Make Sacrifices
In order to cut costs on your car expenses, you may need to make some sacrifices. This could be in the type of car you drive, the amount you drive it, or time spent dropping your car off for maintenance, rather than something else. If you’re willing to make some small sacrifices however, you should find you are able to save a little money each month, and hopefully put those savings to better use.