Car expenses. A necessary evil? A car can be a huge drain on your budget when its not properly maintained. And sometimes, even with proper maintenance, it can catch you by surprise.
Here are a couple of ways to ease the money pain when it comes to owning and operating your wheels.
- If you can car pool, or if there is public transportation, leave the car in the garage. Don't drive the kids to school if they can ride the bus. You'll save money on gas and reduce wear and tear.
- Combine your trips. Instead of running to the store to get ice cream, and then later dropping the kid off at their friends house, make one trip instead of two. Takes a little planning, but you can do it! Arrange car pools with other parents to run the kids from place to place.
- Find the lowest gas price in town (or even outside of town if that's what it takes) and fill up your gas tank. In the long run, it can be less expensive if you keep your gas tank full instead of hovering around empty because if you're close to empty, you're going to need to buy the gas no matter how much it costs!
- Have your ride services regularly. Check you tire pressure, oil and other fluid levels weekly. Follow the manufacturers suggest maintenance schedule (see your owners manual).
- Shop around for insurance! It can be a pain to check every year, but it can save you a lot of money. Insurance premiums can creep up on you if you don't pay attention.
- You can save a bunch of money if you can learn to do your own maintenance like oil changes, filters, spark plugs, etc.
- If you think that your car is acting strange, get it looked at before it gets real strange and expensive! Don't procrastinate! Minor issues can result in major repairs if not addressed sooner than later.
- Check around for a lower car loan rate. Yes, you can refinance a car loan. No, you're not stuck with the high rate that the dealer gave you! Another lender would be happy to give you a better deal. Check around!
- Don't take the car to the dealer for things like brakes, oil changes and mufflers. Specialty shops are no where near as expensive as the dealership. Shop around for price. You'll be surprised....
- Know your mechanic. Ask people that you work with or who are in your circle (like church or other community groups) who they recommend for a mechanic. Why? You don't want someone who is going to recommend unnecessary repairs or who's work is shoddy...