Your car is a necessity for traveling. While you might have to deal with some traffic or a lot if you live in LA, the convenience of owning a car generally outweighs the problems. However, your car can also be a drain on your pocketbook if you’re not careful.
Consider the 6 tips below to help you save money behind the wheel so you can get the most out of your vehicle investment:
1. Buy a pre-owned car.
Buying a new car can seem like a wise investment since you won’t have to account for repairs in the near future. However, most pre-owned cars are a better value in the long run since, in some cases, you’re paying almost half the price of a model that’s only a few years old. In fact, a car that’s just left the dealership drops about 20 percent in value immediately. Over a few years, that number is even higher. Just make sure you get any pre-owned car looked at by a trusted mechanic before buying.
2. Know your needs.
Distinguishing your needs from your wants can save you thousands of dollars when considering a vehicle. While that luxury vehicle might be nice, it can lead to a lot of stress if you can’t really afford it. If you need a car to get to and from work each day, you may not be spending as much time in it as you think right now. Don’t go overboard and always buy a little below your means. Your future self will thank you.
3. Look at your insurance.
The best insurance isn’t always the answer. If your car is 10 years old and the value isn’t as high as it used to be, dropping that comprehensive package may be worth it.
4. Consider after-market add-ons.
Adding something to your car you want or fixing a part is fine. However, products from the dealer can really run up your bill. Look for after-market add-ons instead and you can save a lot.
5. Learn to conserve gas.
Planning routes on long trips or even running errands can save you gas and real money. Learn basic city-driving techniques and you’ll save even more.
6. Do your own maintenance.
You can’t replace that windshield on your own most likely, but swapping a battery or spark plugs isn’t that hard. Learn what you can do and save.