3 Ways to Save Money on Your Automobile

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Driving is a big expense, and one that’s hard to avoid. However, there are some ways to reduce the cost of having a vehicle – today, I’m going to share three things that I have done personally to cut costs on driving:

1. Buying a Car:

Buying a vehicle is a big expense, so I have personally always opted to buy used. This option is not for everyone, but it’s worked very well for me. The key here is to do extensive research on the type of car you want to buy, and when you’re looking at a listing, check through everything thoroughly: What is the vehicle’s mileage? Does it have any known problems? What issues does this model generally end up with over time? Buying a lemon that requires tons of repairs will not only negate any potential savings from buying used, but even worse, can pose a safety hazard; so it’s crucial to know exactly what you’re getting into. I would recommend talking to car-savvy friends and doing online research on a site such as Cars.com, which provides information and videos on popular vehicles so that you can begin your research, as well as listing cars for sale in your area. Knowledge is power, so read everything you can find and weigh up if buying used might be a good option for you.

2. Auto Insurance:

Jai and I go through an insurance agent to get the lowest possible rate on our auto insurance, while maintaining a good level of coverage. I’ve personally found that using an agent gets me better rates than calling insurance companies directly to compare, although I’m sure this varies. If you’re also a homeowner, there may be a discount for bundling your home and auto policies, but not always – for us, it’s actually cheaper to keep both policies separate! We also keep our policy affordable by having a good driving record; driving safely is its own reward, but it also has the side effect of lower insurance rates.

Finally, my last tip is something no one can control: Aging! Being over 25 gives both of us a better discount on our policy. I guess we can take that as cold comfort as we get older? 😉

3. Gas & Carpooling:

Currently, Jai and I are a one-vehicle household. I work from a home office the majority of the time, so there simply isn’t a need for us to have two cars, since we can coordinate our schedules for when either of us may need the car. This would be difficult for most people, but you can consider if there may be opportunities to carpool or reduce your driving time by walking or taking public transportation; this is not always feasible, especially if you live in a rural area, but it’s something to look at as a way to cut down on maintenance and gas costs.

2008, the golden year of coupons!

2008, the golden year of coupons!

You can also take advantage of rewards programs to save money on gas at many grocery stores. When I started this blog 10 years ago, I wrote a post about an epic deal we got on gas at Safeway when I bundled my gas rewards where we ended up filling up my father-in-law’s large truck, and then siphoning off some of the gas into mine and Jai’s cars at the time. Yes, you have to be crazy committed to get that kind of deal, but hey, we did get 32 gallons of gas for $48.25! 😉 Extreme couponing aside, I still take advantage of gas rewards at places such as Safeway and Fred Meyer; I also find that having a Costco membership is a good way to access lower gas prices.

Do you have any tips I missed for saving money on your automobile?

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