Owning a car and driving it can be costly. Driving can easily take up a significant portion of your budget, from monthly payments and gas allowance to repairs and insurance. As a car owner, you need to look at your driving expenses and see where you can make adjustments to save money.
There are several ways to reduce these costs, and you might be surprised by how simple some of these methods can be. Here are some tips you can use to start driving on a budget.
1. Compare Insurance Providers
Car insurance is something you cannot forego because, as Investopedia confirms, it serves as protection against financial losses if an accident happens or your car gets stolen. Try to get price quotes from several reputable insurance providers and compare them before deciding. If you’re looking at an insurance firm like Progressive, take time to read Progressive Insurance reviews to get a better idea of what the company can offer.
2. Lower Your Insurance Premium
There are a few ways for you to lower your car insurance rate. If you already have an insurance provider for your house, see if you can get a bundled rate. For a family with multiple car users, you might want to check the multi-car discount offered by your existing provider.
You may have gotten your current rate when your credit score was low or when you had violations on file. Try asking for a new quote once your credit standing improves or your violation record has expired.
3. Use Cashback Cards on Fuel Purchases
Fuel is one of the main expenses you need to look out for as a car owner. It’s something you cannot avoid as a driver, so you might as well make the most out of your fuel expenses. Use a cashback card when filling up. You might be surprised by how much money you’d earn back over time.
4. Mind Your Tires
Tires are some of the most neglected parts of a car, yet it’s one of the most important in a vehicle’s performance. The type of tire you use impacts handling and fuel efficiency. Having the right set of tires will enable your car to handle better and be more fuel-efficient. Cheap tires may also have a shorter lifespan, forcing you to replace them earlier.
In addition, you should keep your tires properly inflated at all times. Underinflated tires cause more friction, lowering efficiency and causing extra wear and tear.
5. Follow Your Maintenance Schedule
Unexpected car repairs not only disrupt your cash flow but can also eat up a significant portion of your emergency fund or savings. One way to minimize the risk of car breakdowns is to keep up with your car’s maintenance schedule. A well-maintained car is less likely to give out from normal usage.
6. Drive Less
The easiest way to lower driving expenses is to drive less. If given a chance, you may try carpooling or biking to your destination to save on gas and parking fees. Try walking instead of taking your car to places less than a mile away from you. This way, you’re not only saving money but also getting a quick exercise.
7. Search for Cheaper Parking Spaces
Commuting to work means having to pay for parking daily. Not all are blessed with a free parking slot in their office building, so most drivers are forced to use pay parking spaces. Parking fees are an inevitable expense, but it doesn’t mean you can’t reduce it.
Don’t settle for parking spaces closest to your workplace. Most of the time, paid parking areas within a few meters of office buildings have the highest hourly rates compared to those a few minutes away. Try using apps to find a cheaper alternative within the area. A few dollars of savings a day could go a long way in a few months.
8. Consider OEM Parts for Repair
If you need to buy car parts for repair, consider getting original equipment manufacturer (OEM) components instead of the branded ones sold by dealerships. These parts have the same configurations and quality minus the fanciness of brand emblems on them. However, avoid settling for cheap parts to save a few bucks. Low-quality components are not as reliable as original ones. They can even cause damage to your vehicle.
9. Improve Your Driving Techniques
Driving habits like speeding and accelerating suddenly and braking not only impact fuel economy but may also cause damage to your car. Avoid these practices by learning to drive smoothly and you’d be able to save on gas and repairs in the long run.
Smooth driving also means shedding unnecessary weight from your car before leaving. Don’t make a habit of treating your car as extra storage for your belongings. Leave behind anything that you won’t need for your trip. Remove accessories like roof racks if you won’t be using them.
10. Do the Cleaning Yourself
Regular cleaning removes debris that may cause damage to a car’s exterior, the engine, and other moving parts. Cleaning the vehicle yourself not only saves you money from car washes but also ensures that the car receives proper cleaning techniques.
Avoid drive-thru car washes because the machinery and brushes they use may scratch the paint. Wash the car by hand using car soap and microfiber cloth. Not only are you making sure that your vehicle stays clean, but you’re also ensuring that no damage is inflicted on it. You may also treat this activity as an additional workout.
These tips are only a few things you can do to save on your car expenses. Regardless of which methods you use, the important thing is to realize that driving on a budget isn’t something that’s unattainable. Don’t hesitate to share these techniques with your friends and family members.