Owning a car costs more and more money each day. From car payments to insurance to gas to maintenance, the bills never stop. But there are usually easy steps we can take to cut our costs here and there to make owning a car less expensive.
Here are 8 ways you can cut your car expenses today.
#1. Refinance your auto loan.
Refinancing your car loan is one of the easiest and most effective ways to save money on your car. When you refinance your loan you are replacing your existing loan with a new car loan, ideally one that has better terms and conditions. Refinancing to a lower car loan APR can save you hundreds, if not thousands, every year. There are several reasons you may qualify for a lower car loan APR:
- You have paid off some debt since your initial financing.
- Your credit score has increased since your initial financing.
- Your income has increased since your initial financing.
- The market rates have decreased since your initial financing.
Refinancing your car loan also allows you to change your repayment period. This means that you can pay your principal off over a longer period of time. While you will end up paying more over the life of your loan, you can cut your monthly payments drastically, which may be a good trade off for you.
#2. Lower your car insurance.
It may not occur to you that you are probably eligible for a lower insurance premium. In fact, you should compare insurance rates every year when it is time for renewal. There are a lot of insurance companies with competitive rates that offer discounts for different things. Researching some different companies can help you determine where you might find the best rates. There’s no harm in getting several quotes to see if it's worth the switch.
You can also review your current policy to see if you need all of the coverage that you have. Minimum insurance coverage requirements vary from state to state so you will need to check your state’s laws to determine what you need. But reducing unnecessary coverage is a great way to save money with very little hassle. You can also ask your insurance company if there are other steps you can take to reduce your premium, such as taking a defensive driving class or participating in a usage-based insurance program. These programs monitor your actual driving and can offer discounts based on how safe of a driver you are.
#3. Bundle your errands together.
A great way to cut down on gas costs is to avoid driving as much as possible. One way to do this is to lump all of your errands together when you can. Instead of running out for groceries one day, to the dry cleaners the next day, and to the mall on the third day, simply devote one day to running around. You will save yourself many miles in backtracking, which will cut down on gas as well as wear and tear. And it’s better for the environment as an added bonus.
#4. Learn to do routine maintenance yourself.
Putting air in your tires, changing your oil, and swapping out spark plugs and headlights are easy maintenance tasks that can save you a good deal of money. Watching YouTube or having a friend show your ropes can make these tasks incredibly easy, and maybe even enjoyable. If you do not feel comfortable or safe doing them, at least shop around for a mechanic that is reasonable. Avoid going to the dealership for routine maintenance at all costs, unless the cost is covered by your warranty. Dealerships are notoriously expensive for things like oil changes, so a neighborhood mechanic is a much better bet.
#5. Carpool with a friend.
Carpooling with a friend or loved one is a great way for both of you to cut down on costs. If you are both going to work or to the gym, why not just go together? Splitting the cost of travel will make it more affordable, plus you can get some quality time together.
#6. Downsize your car.
Times and circumstances change our lives, and sometimes a car that was once practical is no longer a good option. If you have a car that is too expensive, too big, or too expensive to repair, you can always downsize to a more economical car. If you want to make the switch quickly, sites like Carvana can help you trade in with very little hassle. If you have the time to sell your car privately you will most likely make a bit more money, but it will take more legwork on your end.
#7. Comparison shop for gas.
Gone are the days when you needed to settle for the gas station down the street. Not only do most towns have a lot of gas stations to choose from, but there are many apps that will do the research of comparing gas prices for you. After all, it’s pretty unproductive to drive around wasting gas to compare prices. But apps like Waze, GasBuddy, and Gas Gurus can all help you get the best deal in town.
#8. Wash your car by hand.
Car washes are convenient but the costs can add up quickly. Instead get the hose and bucket out and wash your car by hand. Handwashing is also much better for your car's paint job, as the automatic car washes use more abrasive chemicals and mechanical brushes which can cause the paint to deteriorate. While you are at it, be sure to wax your car every few months to protect the paint even more. The cost of getting your car repainted in the future will far outweigh the investment of car wax and some elbow grease.
Those are a few ways you can cut your car costs.
Owning a car is expensive. And while we cannot change the price of gas or the cost of a new car, there are ways that we can cut our costs significantly. Changing our driving habits and being proactive when it comes to our insurance policy and our car loan can result in some big savings.
If refinancing your car loan sounds like a good option for you, Auto Approve is here to help! We specialize in car loan refinancing and can help you through the process. From determining if you are eligible to signing on the dotted line, we will be by your side the whole time to help you save money today.
So don’t wait any longer to start saving money! Contact Auto Approve today for your free quote!