Car expenses are a fact of life. The costs associated with driving your car are facts too. The cost for driving the average car is $8,121 per year and $10,488 per year for SUVs. While you can't get rid of all the expense, you can greatly reduce your costs by following these tips in the three areas that cost you the most.
Save Money on Your Car
Buying a car is your biggest expense. But, there are many ways to cut these costs. First, buy a used car. Buying a used car saves you money for several reasons. The first being they cost a fraction of the price of a new car. Second, you'll pay less for collision insurance and taxes.
To find the best deal on a used car, you need to shop smart. Do this by researching models you're interested in online. Also, visit online forums where owners talk about and report problems. You'll get valuable insider tips and learn the good and bad about the model you're interested in.
Go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and check safety recalls. This will help you be sure you're not getting a car with built-in problems.
Also, ask the dealer for a Carfax on the car. Most dealers give one free report. If you're shopping for several models, visit the Carfax site. For around $25, you can get unlimited reports for one month. A Carfax report is valuable because it gives estimated mileage, owner history, title and accident history.
When buying a used car, don't overlook getting it inspected by a car mechanic you trust. Experienced mechanics can spot problems others miss.
You might also find a good deal on used cars by checking into certified cars. Certified cars are those used by companies by their employees. Most certified cars have less than 75,000 miles and are less than 5 years old. For the best cars, stick with certified cars offered by the manufacturers.
When looking for ways to cut car expenses, don't forget about car maintenance. You can extend the life of your car and get better gas mileage if you do a few simple things like keeping your tires properly inflated, getting regular tune-ups, checking and changing your air filters, and using the right oil.
Save Money on Your Insurance
Insurance is the second biggest expense when it comes to cars. But, there are several things you can do about this annoying but necessary cost.
First, shop for lower-priced insurance. This alone can save you hundreds of dollars especially if you're young. Around the age of 25, insurance rates become more reasonable due to established credit rating, careers, and marriages.
You can also drop collision and comprehensive coverage if you drive an older car. Many time the insurance is more expensive that the car. This can reduce your premium by one-third.
Another good tactic in the war against rising insurance and car costs is to raise your deductible. If you have a wreck, you're still covered; it will just cost you a little more but you'll save over the long run.
Save Money on Your Insurance
Next to insurance, gas is where we feel a big pinch in our wallets. To cut your gas expenses, first, buy a car with good gas mileage. To know which cars get the best gas mileage on the market, visit http://www.fueleconomy.gov and http://www.epa.gov.
Buy the cheapest gas. Look online for sites that show you the best gas prices in your town. Visit sites like www.GasBuddy.com and find your best price. Saving a few cents per gallon adds up over the year.
Use credit cards that give you gas rewards. Some credit cards give you 5% back on gas when you charge up to $100 per month. This can add up to $60 per year.
Drive smart. Tire-squealing starts and stops can cost you 33% more in gas mileage at highway speeds and 5% at in-town speeds. Slow down. For every five miles per hour you go over 60 mph is like paying another 24 cents per gallon. Use cruise control and go at a steady speed. This saves gas.
Also, don't forget to combine trips when running errands, carpool, and use public transportation.
Pinching pennies isn't always fun. Instead of thinking about how you have to save money, think instead on the ways you'll spend the money you save. Putting it into this perspective makes saving money on your car much easier.