Saving Money After The Purchase
- 1 Saving Money After The Purchase
- 2 Saving Long-Term
You probably put much thought into saving money when you bought your car, but the costs associated with ownership does not end there. Gas, maintenance, and repairs are just a few of the costs you’ll continue to pay as long as you own your car. Fortunately, you do not have to pay premium prices for these expenses. By paying attention to these tips, you’ll be able to save much money over the years.
Here are a few tips that will help you lower your new car expenses.
Saving on Insurance.
Insurance alone will cost hundreds of dollars a year, depending on your driving history and how much you drive. Probably the best way to save on insurance is to compare the rates offered by several different companies. The Insurance Information Institute suggests that you try several different types of insurance providers before making your decision. For example, you could start with online quotes, but also contact local agents directly, as well as insurance brokers that work with a variety of companies. 1 Additionally, you can ask the company you do choose to see if you qualify for any special discounts. Some companies may offer reduced rates for those who do not drive a lot, who belong to certain organizations, or who have enough credit. It is also smart to compare insurance offers every year, as rates can change over time.
Taking a higher deductible is also a good way to reduce your short-term costs, as is selectively reducing coverage options like collision or window coverage. If you make this choice, though, you should have enough money in the bank to cover those costs if they become necessary. Valley Auto Loans has a page for first-time car buyers that can give you other tips for getting cheaper car insurance.
Saving on Maintenance and Repairs.
Seek out a relationship with a mechanic or service manager at the dealership you take your car to whom you can trust. When you do this, you can feel confident that he is not making unnecessary suggestions. Signing up for any mailing list they might have could also make you eligible for coupons and other special discounts. Sometimes, if you are getting some routine maintenance like tire rotation done, your mechanic will throw in something extra, like an oil change or a yearly state inspection.
Simple maintenance checks can easily be done by nearly everyone, even those that wouldn’t describe themselves as technically savvy. There’s also a little-known tool that can save you a substantial amount of money on repairs. Most cars made after 1996 have an “Onboard Diagnostics System” (OBD System). This is a computerized system that logs potential problems with the car and turns on the “check engine” light when necessary. Sometimes, a check engine light indicates a real issue. Other times, it comes on for things like needing an oil change or not fully closing your gas cover. Once it is on, though, a mechanic will charge you money to check and reset it. Fortunately, you can buy your own. According to the popular blog BoingBoing, the device costs around $11 and can connect to an app on your phone for translation into plain English.
Saving on Gas.
Most cars still need gas to drive, and this can be a significant expense for those who drive often. It is smart to research all of the gas prices in the areas around your home and work to find the stations that typically have the lowest prices. The site “Gas Buddy” 2 lets you quickly search the stations around your area. Keep in mind, though that some locations offer special deals. For example, if you buy gas at a membership store like Costco or BJs, you will have to pay the annual membership fee. Some stations have rewards programs that will take money off the cost after you purchase specific items in their store. These things may make sense for you.
You can also save on gas by driving more responsibly. You use less gas driving at a steady rate than you do if you are always speeding up and slowing down. Your car also uses less gas when it is lighter, so resist the urge to keep the kids’ bikes or other bulky items in the car unless you are planning on actually using them. Plan your trips carefully so that you are not driving out of your way and wasting gas.
Saving on Cleaning.
For as much money as you spent on your car, you want it to continue to look its best. You may wish to improve the trade in value of your present car or keep your new cars value for many years. Of course, the cheapest way to do this is to clean it yourself. Purchase a soft sponge that you plan to use only for washing the car and take care of it in your driveway. If you live somewhere that it is hard to clean your vehicle, consider purchasing the monthly plan at a local car wash. For a fee that’s usually about the same as washing the car twice, you can visit the car wash an unlimited number of times in a given month.
Occasionally vacuum the car out using either your vacuum or you can usually find one at a car wash or gas station. The key to keeping things clean is to keep up regularly. If you always forget to bring in the soda you were drinking, there’s a bigger chance that you will spill something and stain the fabric.
Sometimes, you might want a deeper cleaning than you can get yourself. In those cases, it is smart to get on the mailing list for local detailing companies that offer those services. A professional cleaning should cost less than $50, but a full detailing will cost more. If you are on the mailing list, though, you’ll get access to special deals or coupons for these services.
Purchasing a new or used car is a big initial expense, and most people look for a new car entirely too soon. According to Bankrate, many consumers start shopping for a new car after owning their vehicle for around three to five years. 3 Recent cars though will usually stay in good condition longer than that, and some manufacturers even offer 10-year warranties on some parts. There will be occasional costs associated with owning the car, such as replacing the brakes or getting the 50,000-mile tune-up, but paying these costs can be far less than the cost of purchasing a new car. If you are unsure, ask your mechanic how long you could expect a particular fix to work.
Once your car is paid off, you own it, and you will not have to be making further payments on the loan. This is a significant monthly saving for most people. If you have gotten yourself to this point, you should feel proud and want to hold onto that feeling – and the savings – a bit longer. Many people who had bad credit when they got there alone, find themselves struggling with a car payment that is too large. They make payment after payment with high interest, not realizing they can shop for a better car loan. Refinancing your loan can make a lot of sense if you have had a high-interest loan for more than a year.
You may find out that your credit has improved, and you will save a significant amount of money for the term of the new car loan. If you are at the end of a car loan, and you will soon be without a car payment, Congratulations. You may be tempted to go out and get a newer car and start over again. This would be a wise time to start a monthly budget if you do not have one yet. With this budget, you will be able to save for that next car down payment while you get out of debt and build credit. Then you will be better prepared to get that lower car payment and have more money for the things you need.
A smart consumer looks for all the ways that she can save, and this is just as true for car ownership as it is for any other expense. If you have a brand new car that you just bought and you combine several of the tips mentioned above, you’ll find that you can reduce significantly all of your car-related costs.
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Sources and Citations:
- http://www.iii.org/article/how-can-i-save-money-auto-insurance ↩
- http://www.gasbuddy.com/ ↩
- http://www.bankrate.com/finance/auto/a-tightwad-s-10-tips-to-trim-car-costs-1.aspx ↩