When you look at your overall spending throughout the year, it’s clear that cars take up a considerable amount of all our finances. In fact, just behind mortgages and rent, they tend to be the second most expensive part of a person’s life. If you own a car, you have to resign yourself to the fact they cost a lot of money. However, you don’t have to resign yourself to how much exactly they’re costing you. From the big one-time spends to the little ones you make every week, there are lots of ways to cut down how steep your auto costs are. We’re going to look at a few here.
Get your credit sorted
If you’re at the point where you’re looking for a new car or a new insurance deal, there’s one way to immediately improve the kind of deals you get. Credit ratings influence how much the monthly payments are on both of these agreements. If you have a history of getting into debt or falling behind on loans, it impacts your credit history. It puts you at a higher risk, so loan companies charge you more money. Get your credit report checked out so you see what you can do to improve it.
Budget for how much new car you can afford
One way to not find all those costs adding up to bite you in the rear is to do your calculations well in advance. Find out how much car you can afford with a loan or financing option. Take into account how much you tend to spend of fuel. Add in insurance costs. Finally, set some aside for maintenance costs. At the end, you should have a good idea of how much car you can reliably afford. It can also give you an idea of areas you can save in.
Choosing a more efficient car
The choice of car itself has a big effect on just how much you’ll be spending on it. The obvious cost the car directly influences is how fuel efficient it is. Before you buy a new or used car, check out its RPM and how its consumption compares to others in your budget. Sites like A1 Carriages have tools to help you do just that. There are some cars that will also cost you less simply because of how long lasting they are. It’s just as easy to find which cars tend to last longer in the hands of a responsible owner through the internet, too.
Using less fuel
Besides the kind of car that you drive, it’s easy to make changes to your car that will influence how much you spend on fuel. For one, consider using it less for those short distance trips. Take a look at your engine, too. Faulty or old spark plugs can have you using more fuel than you should be. Even your driving habits can have an effect on your fuel usage. For example, those who like to get off to a roaring start tend to consume a lot of fuel doing it.
Spending less time at the mechanics
One way it’s easy to spend a little less money is by needing less trips to the mechanics. Of course, we’re not suggesting you let your car suffer all kinds of problems. Rather, the key lies to being more proactive in the maintenance and fixes of your car. Some of the more serious problems and those all-important scheduled checks can’t be ignored. However, simpler procedures like changing the fluids are easy to learn. Get a bit more hands-on with your motor and you can save thousands over the years.
Choosing insurance carefully
Insurance is another one of the long running, regular costs we have to running a car. Our choice of insurance can also have a huge factor in how much we spend overall. For one, consider what kind of insurance you’re likely to need. Naturally, you want coverage for those unforeseen problems. Liability insurance is required by law in most places, for example. Collision is optional, but well worth considering since you don’t want to be out of pocket in the event of an accident. Some draw the line at comprehensive, however. A lot of the damage that can be done naturally, like hail or storm damage can be protected against.
Getting something back out of it
This isn’t so much a way of saving. It is, however, an important part of making better financial choices regarding your car. Car resale value is something that you tend to think more of as you become a more experienced driver. Particularly, how to retain it. Cars depreciate, there’s no stopping that. They begin to lose value as soon as they leave the garage. However, there are ways to slow that tide. For example, keeping your car free of dents or scratches.
Keep your old car just a little longer
Did you know that actually holding onto a car for a bit longer can actually be a more economically viable option? Obviously, if a car has great resale value, you want to sell it while it still has it. But you shouldn’t jump the gun and sell it too early, either. For one, it lets you enjoy life without car finance payments. That can give you the perfect opportunity to save some money. That money can be used to pay a bigger deductible or your insurance or take a chunk off your next car loan.
There are a lot of ways to make the joy of owning a car a little less painful on your wallet. The first step is to make the best financial decisions when you’re buying a car. Budget and find out what insurance and finance deals are best for you. The efficiency of a car, fuel-related and otherwise, is something you should consider more often, too. Then there are running ways you can keep down those costs. Drive a little less. Look after your car a little better. Keep learning more methods of these and you’ll be saving a lot in the long run.