Owning a car is likely one of your largest expenses. The expenditure on gasoline, insurance, maintenance can take a large toll on your budget. If you are looking for ways to cut your bills related to car expenses, here are some practical tips to save money on car costs.
1. Use GetUpside app for cheap gas and cash back
The gasoline prices vary from station to station. GetUpside is a great app that not only help you find the cheapest gas station but also offers you up to $0.25 cash back for every gallon you buy gas using the app.
The app was first launched in Washington DC area but it quickly expands to additional states. It is easy to use, no gimmick, no string attached. Check first to see whether it comes to where you live.
Sign up for GetUpside app. Use my code “MRVAQ” to receive 15¢ cash back per gallon on your first use.
2. Carpool to work
Find a colleague who lives near you and carpool to work. You and your colleague can rotate to drive your own car, which can not only cut gas cost but also save maintenance costs and wear and tear on your car. If you can find more than one colleague to carpool, you will save even more.
3. Use vanpool/public transportation or bike to work
Many employers offer incentives for choosing vanpool and public transportation to commute to work. That is even better. You can not only take advantage of these free money, but also help the environment by reducing carbon emissions.
If your work place is not that far from home, you can also consider the possibility of bike to work. It helps you save money and increase physical activity.
4. Don’t run your car low on gas
Don’t wait until your gas tank is almost empty to get gas for your car. When the fuel light comes on in your car’s dashboard, you probably hurry to the nearby gas station to fill more gas and its price may not be the cheapest one. Running low on gas can also increase the risk of accidents and car damages.
5. Try to avoid driving in the rush hour
If you have flexible working schedule, avoid driving in rush hour. Getting stuck in the traffic reduces your car’s gas mileage and the stop-and-go traffic can wear your car’s transmission and brakes out quickly.
6. Keep a clean driving record
Keeping your driving record clean is critical for saving on auto insurance. When you have an accident or tickets, your insurance premiums may go up. If you get a ticket, check out whether it is possible to clean it up, such as contesting questionable tickets, resolving “fix-it” tickets.
7. Get insurance discount by bundling multiple types of insurance
Many insurance companies offer discount if you bundle car insurance with other insurance such as home or life insurance. Shop around to see which insurance company has the best quote.
8. Regular tune-up
Keep your car properly tuned can save you more money in car maintenance in the long run. The regular oil changes every 3,000 miles and replacement of dirty air filter are the keys to extend the engine’s life time. There are few simple preventative things you can do yourself, such as check tire pressure regularly. Under-inflated tires can reduce your gasoline mileage and increase the risk of accidents.
9. Trade-in your second car
A family of four usually has two cars. As more and more people work from home, you may want to evaluate whether you really need to have two cars in your household. One more car means more gasoline, more insurance, and so on. With availability of Uber and Lyft, you can easily get a ride using their apps.
Sign up Uber using code “lornay58lue” and get $2 off each of your first 3 Uber rides.
Sign up Lyft get $5 in Lyft credit towards your first rides (credit amount may vary by market)
If you only occasionally drive a car for a longer distance, you can also consider using Zipcar, so you can enjoy the freedom of cars on demand ready to rent by the hour or day.
10. Combine Shopping Trips
If you can combine several shopping trips together, it will save time and gas money. Make a shopping plan each time before shopping so you can visit multiple stores to get what you need rather than having multiple trips. For some items, it may be a good idea to shop online to save money on transportation and earn more cash back.
11. Buy a used car
The value of a new car will automatically depreciate 10-20% once you drive it out of the dealer’s parking lot. You could look for a one to three years old used car which is in its nearly perfect condition and is much cheaper.
12. Take advantage of your membership for car services
Some of your memberships may offer discounts and free warranty for car services. For example, AAA members save 10% on car services at AAA Auto Repair Facilities. If you purchased your tires at Costco, you get a five-year Road Hazard Warranty and lifetime maintenance, including free tire balancing and flat repairs.
It is not that hard to cut car expenses. The basic rules are to drive less, drive safely, and drive mindfully. Little things can add up to big savings.