When times are tough, finding little ways to save money and get more room in your monthly budget is a lifesaver that can prevent depleting a savings account. One of the best ways to cut expenses while causing minimal disruption to quality of life is by reducing the amount spent on monthly car expenses. This is doubly true when gas prices and inflation are on the rise. When auto bills are climbing fast, tackling the problem directly is the logical way to preserve financial health.
It can seem difficult, at first, since there’s little that’s more central to the average American’s lifestyle than their car. However, there are a few ways to achieve short and long-term savings with little to no cutbacks on travel and driving. Keep reading and learn 7 ways to reduce car costs and get your budget in line.
1. Choose the Right Oil and Gas
Many people make costly mistakes regarding the oil and gas they choose. While premium octane gas is a popular option, many cars have no need for it and run perfectly well on standard fuel.
Check the manual for recommendations from the manufacturer, and save, in some cases, up to a dollar with every two gallons by switching to standard. On the other hand, don’t pick just any motor oil. Always choose the oil grade that the vehicle’s manufacturer recommends, even if it involves spending more money upfront. It will save long-term on repairs and maintenance, so it’s always worth it.
2. Keep Up With Routine Maintenance
Even after paying off the loan, extensive repairs are an extremely expensive cost of car ownership. However, most of these repairs never need to happen. Following a healthy routine maintenance schedule can help nip these problems in the bud before they occur, trading sudden, high expenses for modest overall expenses that most people can pay on a consistent schedule. Trust the maintenance recommendations from the manual to extend the vehicle’s lifespan as much as possible, and arrange regular check-ups to find issues sooner rather than later.
That said, there are many routine maintenance costs that a person can complete on their own. If they learn the basics of taking care of their car, they can save twice as much. First, they save by performing maintenance tasks regularly and avoiding serious issues. Second, they save by doing it themselves rather than hiring a mechanic.
3. Reduce Auto Insurance Costs
One of the biggest expenses with the clearest opportunities for cost reduction is auto insurance.
Not only is it a major expense, but there are quick and practical ways people can cut what they spend. Many providers will reward vehicle owners for taking steps to become better, more responsible drivers. They can also change their type and style of coverage to get lower costs and better results.
There’s no doubt that auto insurance is essential to the average person’s financial and personal safety since they never know when they might have an accident that they can’t handle alone.
However, many insurance plans involve items that the covered individual simply doesn’t need. If they’re looking for a quick way to reduce regular auto expenses, then looking for ways to reduce their coverage that won’t hurt them in an emergency is the first way to go.
Consider Changing the Type of Insurance Plan
There are all sorts of different insurance plans available that can result in dramatically lessened costs for the consumer. One major factor is the amount that a person drives, as some plans are suitable for people who do extensive driving while others are more suitable for the casual commuter.
If someone drives a middling amount, they should consider looking for opportunities to drive less and switch to a pay-as-you-go insurance plan.
Cut Back on Driving and Switch to Pay-As-You-Go
Pay-as-you-go insurance charges the motorist based on the amount they drive, and it can offer solid coverage at incredibly low prices if they don’t rely heavily on their car. Of course, that’s a big if for many Americans.
Nonetheless, most vehicle owners can reduce the amount they drive by supplementing driving with public transit, carpooling, and cycling, depending on their traveling purposes and the local area. Even modest cuts to the amount of driving that a person does can result in major savings when they combine it with switching to a pay-as-you-go insurance plan.
Look for Auto Insurance Discounts
Many auto insurance providers offer extremely competitive rates to new customers as a method of poaching them from the competition. If they’re not tied too closely to their current provider, they could consider taking advantage of these discounts and switching to a new provider. Alternatively, they could use the threat of switching providers to negotiate a lower rate with their current provider.
Take an Online Defensive Driving Course
Getting certified through an online course for defensive driving will show insurers that the certified driver has the desire and the know-how to demonstrate responsibility as a citizen on the open roads. Knowledge of defensive driving corresponds to safer performance on the road, so just completing one of these courses can help someone cut their auto insurance expenses almost overnight.
Anyone who wants to learn more about getting the greatest value for their money is in the right place. A few small changes can make a big difference in your overall monthly budget when it comes to car maintenance. You might also be interested in: What is an Auto Warranty and 8 Different Coverage Options