We all need access to transportation, whether through owning our own car or being able to take a bus, train, or taxi as needed. No longer are we confined to our communities; modern transportation allows us to go most anywhere.
Personal transportation costs, however, can put a crunch on any budget – siphoning funds from other areas of your life and draining your savings. High gas prices, insurance, car payments, maintenance, and more can crimp your style, doing a number on your finances like nothing else.
There is no need for you to drive yourself to the poor house because you cannot afford to keep up with spiraling transportation costs. The following tips can help you not only contain your costs, but leave a little extra in your wallet each week:
Save on Gas – If your car “requires” that you fuel up with premium gas, consider using regular gas instead. You’ll lose some power, but you’ll save at least twenty cents per gallon. Don’t worry about your car not having a “taste” for regular fuel as your engine will automatically compensate for the reduction in octane. Potential Annual Savings: $200.
Save on Insurance – Older cars often still have collision coverage on them, even though the replacement value is negligible, therefore considering dropping this coverage. In addition, review your policy for additional savings and consider having one insurer cover both your homeowners and car insurance policies. Potential Annual Savings: $250.
Save on Car Payments – Lots of consumers think that the company financing their car is the one that they’ll have to stay with until their wheels are paid off. Like housing, there are hundreds of companies clamoring for your business who might be interested in taking over your loan. The lower your credit score, the lower your interest rates should be. Potential Net Savings: $500.
Save on Maintenance and Repairs – Your dealer may say that he knows your vehicle best, but plenty of independent mechanics are skilled in servicing a variety of modern vehicles. If your car is under warranty, then go to your dealer. Once it is off warranty, line up a trusted local mechanic who knows your brand of vehicle and can provide a competitive service rate. Potential Savings: The sky’s the limit!
Save on Warranty Costs – If you plan on keeping your car for many years, then consider purchasing an extended warranty. However, select vehicles – Kia and Hyundai, for example – have comprehensive warranties for the first three years of ownership and have a 100,000 mile powertrain warranty included. If you want a warranty, tailor that plan to cover what is NOT covered, allowing the manufacturer to pay for your other costs. Potential Savings: $300-$1500.
Save on a New Car – Sooner or later you’ll decide that your current car is too old, doesn’t meet your current needs, or you’ve tired of driving it. Right now can be an excellent time to buy a car, not just because it is the end of the model year or that the calendar year is fast coming to an end, rather car sales are way down and manufacturers are in the bargaining mood. Arrange financing on your own and walk into your dealership to take advantage of cash back savings and whatever other deals you can negotiate. Potential Savings: $1000-$15,000.
Save on Public Transport – If you don’t own a car or you take public transportation part of the time, you can save money by hopping on a bus, hailing a taxi, or catching the train. However, mass transit costs can be exorbitant, even when some of the costs are defrayed through taxes and grants. Fortunately, many of the publicly run mass transit authorities reward frequent users with weekly or monthly passes which can shave dollars off of your ride. Potential Savings: 10-50%.