Budgeting With Your Car

Cars can be one of the biggest drains on your bank account and so if you have some great tips and tricks to keep the cost down you’ll save a big amount of money as time goes on.

The first thing to do is to make sure that your care is A) reliable and B) easy to repair. You want a reliable car so that it wont break. You want a car that’s easy to repair so that if it does break you can fix it easily and without spending a lot of money. Some car companies are more reliable than others - that’s just the way it is. I’ve had my fair share of American made cars and as much as I loved some of them I’m sorry to say - they simply don’t make for very reliable cars. There’s always something breaking and something that’s already broken and that doesn’t make for very cost-effective driving. In my personal experience - Toyota is the easiest brand of car to maintain and repair. Not everyone will share this opinion - I’m just telling you what’s always worked for me. The one time I had an issue with my Toyota was when someone else rear-ended me and tapped in my bumper. I didn’t want to send it through my insurance company so I fixed it myself and it ended up being about half what the deductible would have been for it to go through my insurance.

The next thing you can do to save money in your car is to keep it well maintained. I know it’s tempting to skimp out on changing the oil and rotating your tires but I promise that if you do you’ll end up paying a lot more in the long run for any damage you caused your car by not maintaining it. Keep up on regular work that your car needs done, have it looked over by a good mechanic every know and then, and learn how to do some basic fixes and you’ll end up saving yourself what could end up being a big chunk of money in the long run.

Invest in good tires for your car. This seems like an area where you can go cheap but it’s definitely not. Good tires will keep your car in better condition, give you better gas mileage - which amounts to more savings, and protect you in any kind of inclement weather. They also make your car safer to drive and are less likely to go flat or blow out on the freeway. Good tires can make a big difference so get the nicest ones you can afford.

Hold off on any exterior work to your car. Yes, we all want to have a car that looks fantastic and expensive and brand new but that isn’t always an option. And when it really comes down to it it’s better to have a car that runs then one that looks really nice but is stuck in the driveway. Instead put that money towards replacing necessities on your car that go through major wear and tear before you start investing money in new paint or rims.

Learn some maintenance and car basics on your own. Minor things on an easy to fix car can still rack up good amounts of money in a shop when you factor in labor charges but if you learn to do some basic repairs on your own you can save yourself some good money. Just learning how to check your tire pressure, change your oil, and other such minor maintenance aspects of the car can add up in cost over time and are well worth the investment of learning to do them yourself. If you’re really afraid of working on your own car then hunt down a friend or family member who will be willing to work on you car for free or less than what a shop would charge but be forewarned - friends and family that know cars often get called on by everyone and their dog to do work so they won’t always be thrilled to hear that you need your car looked at. Keep that in mind when you ask for their help.

Be careful with your car. Simply being careful and cautious with your car can save you serious money long term. That means don’t just park it anywhere - if you do you’re likely to get scratches and dings that can be costly to repair. Parking illegally can also lead to tickets and those aren’t cheap either. Take the time to park a little farther away if you have to -it’s worth not getting at ticket and it’s good exercise for you as well. Also if you don’t watch where you park your car it’s more likely to get broken into and robbed which means you not only lose your stuff but you often have to pay for a new window, door handle, and so forth. It also means driving carefully. This also means being careful as you drive. Avoid potholes and curbs as you can damage your car by hitting these. Be conscious of pulling in and out of places so that you don’t back into anything, hit a mirror, or otherwise scrape your car up. Just being aware when you drive can end up saving you good money.

Don’t drive aggressively or carelessly. Accidents are expensive. Speeding tickets are expensive. Avoiding those two biggies can save you a ton of money not only in repairs and fines but also on insurance. Most insurance companies have policies for safe and careful drivers now. Driving kindly and carefully can save your car and save your money. On top of all that when you drive aggressively you also wear your car down. Your clutch will wear down faster, your car will need maintenance work more often, you’ll have to replace your tires sooner, and all the while you’ll be getting terrible gas mileage.

Overall budgeting with your car isn’t so much about going cheap as it is about being careful and maintaining your car to the best of your abilities. If you take the time to do that then you’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort down the road just by taking some preemptive measures. If you’re willing to put in the advance planning and the time to learn and save you can do a lot to be more budget-oriented with your car and you can even end up helping your car last longer and run better too.