Ah, driving! One of the most convenient ways of getting from point A to point B. Or, is it?
You’d be hardpressed to find an adult in the U.S. who doesn’t own or doesn’t plan on buying a car in the near future. Getting to and from your destination in the privacy of your own vehicle is a luxury many of us wish for despite some of the more obvious issues that arise such as congestion, increased CO2 emissions, and more.
But today we’re not tackling whether or not owning a vehicle is a good thing. Instead, we’re going to look at how you can reliably cut costs.
The American Automobile Association, also known as at AAA has been compiling statistics on car ownership and driving costs since 1950. Most recently, it found that the average person spends $8,849 on driving, without taking into account parking costs.
On the other hand, the U.S. Department of Labor’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has calculated that the average vehicle costs $9,576 per year to own and operate. What this means is that, on average, we pay $4,054 for purchasing the vehicle, $1,968 for gasoline and motor oil expenses, and $3,554 in other vehicle-related costs.
With all of that in mind, let’s look at 8 ways to cut down your costs!
1. Don’t just go for the cheapest car
You might think that cutting costs by buying the cheapest available car is the way to go, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s because cheap cars usually come with plenty of issues- they’re inexpensive for a reason.
If the vehicle is in poor condition, just think of the money you’ll be spending on maintenance costs, not to mention that the chances you’ll need a new car soon will skyrocket. For the same reason, they’re also not the safest to drive around.
If the cheap car comes with thousands of miles, you’ll be encountering the same problems, as maintenance issues might be waiting just around the corner.
You’ll save more money in the long run by going for a slightly more expensive option. You don’t have to buy a new car to avoid such high costs. Used cars that aren’t the cheapest of the bunch can and will serve you better for longer.
2. Scope out cheap parking
Parking is an expense we tend to complain about often, mainly because we’re unaware of better options around us. Nowadays you can use apps to help you find cheaper parking locations depending on where you live. A quick google search could net you the same results even before you start your journey.
If public transportation is available, consider making the bulk of your journey with your vehicle, finding a cheap parking spot, and continuing on with a bus. This could be especially helpful in densely populated areas, especially since parking here is often described as hellish and extremely expensive.
3. Get better fuel economy
Knowing exactly which kind of fuel fits your needs could drastically reduce your expenses. If you need to travel long distances, you might want to look into diesel despite how, recently, it’s been getting a lot of bad press. Alternatively, city drivers should look into buying a petrol engine.
If you already own a car then the best way to get better fuel economy is to simply drive slower and change between gears a little earlier- depending on the model of car you’re driving.
These two changes may be small and it could be difficult to get into, but they’re well worth it for your wallet!
4. Shop around for your car insurance
Nowadays you can find comparison sites for virtually everything, including car insurance. They’re convenient to use and put together a decent amount of information. But they’re not the best solution for those who really want to find the most affordable insurance for their needs.
That’s because these websites and apps don’t truly provide you with all the information you need. In order to get the best deals you have to go above and beyond, searching on several platforms and going directly to insurers.
While doing all of this could take a considerable chunk of your time, it’s better to do so now than pay extra for extended periods of time. Would you swap convenience for bigger payments? If the answer is no, then shopping around is the best way to find cheap car insurance that’s perfect for you.
5. Consider black box technology
It seems pretty unfair to pay for a one-size-fits-all car insurance, right? There’s an easy solution to tailoring your premium to your driving behavior, so if you want to cut down costs even more, here’s the solution for you!
A black box, also known as a telematics system, is a gadget that you install in your car which measures your driving. Information such as cornering, acceleration, overall speed, and what time of day you’re driving is collected in the box, which is then sent to your insurance company.
After enough data is collected, your insurance company will adjust your premiums accordingly. Suffice it to say, the more prudent and sensible drivers out there will get the better deals.
6. Never skip a service
In the moment, skipping a service might seem like a clever, benign way to save money. But it could have very harmful consequences, both to your finances and your health and safety.
If your mechanic doesn’t spot a fault early on it could evolve into something much bigger and dangerous. Compare the cost of fixing something minor today with the cost of getting into a potentially deadly accident later on.
Saving money is also about safety and skipping service could set you back thousands of dollars. The damage is simply not worth it.
7. Search for the cheapest fuel
Headed to the nearest gas station? You’re probably doing your wallet a disservice. Fuel prices can vary on a single stretch of the road, so researching beforehand could save you in the long run. Check if your local area has an app or website you can use!
As you wouldn’t leave other expenses to chance, it’s best to become just as diligent about cheap fuel. Still unsure it’s worth the effort? Try compiling a spreadsheet. With the numbers right in front of you, you’ll have undeniable evidence that sometimes, not going to the nearest gas station is the best solution for you!
8. Choose your tires carefully
You shouldn’t leave fitting your car with tires to chance, and you shouldn’t reach for the cheapest alternatives to save money. As with buying a cheap car, this could have costly consequences in the future.
Tires vary by materials and design, so picking one that is right for you could offer a better fuel economy and could last you longer. To put it simply, by going for something a bit more expensive you won’t have to swap them out as often, meaning more money in your bank account.
Additionally, taking good care of your tires can also save you money. Check them regularly and make sure they’re well inflated. If it’s time for a swap, don’t cheap out!
We hope this article has shed some light on how to cut costs responsibly. What are some things you do that help you save money?