How to Save Money on Your Car

It’s a fact that millennials are buying fewer cars than previous generations. But it’s not necessarily because they don’t want to own cars. Purchasing and owning a vehicle is expensive!

Particularly if you’re not automotive-inclined, it can feel like car ownership is the path to fiscal destruction. It doesn’t have to be, though. You can reduce or eliminate many of the costs you associate with car ownership with only a little effort.

Let’s look at a few of the ways you can bring your costs down and make car ownership something you enjoy, rather than avoid.

Get a Good Deal

Dealership prices have come down in recent years, but there’s still no better way to get a deal than to buy private-party. A private owner won’t have the costs of running a dealership to support.

If you do choose to visit a lot, find a car you like, but don’t be afraid to walk away. You might get a call the next day with an offer you can’t refuse. Many dealerships build their entire sales process around financing these days. If you can avoid committing to finance and drive the cost down before you reveal a willingness to pay cash, you could win big.

Find Reasonably Priced Coverage

Insurance language can be like Greek. You want to make sure you’re covered, so you go with an out-of-the-box policy. Doing this could incur costs you shouldn’t be paying. There are numerous discounts for good grades, safe driving habits and even alternative-fuel vehicles you can receive on your insurance. Make sure you investigate all your options to save on coverage to get the most from your dollar.

Do Your Homework

Look hard enough, and you’ll find some impressive deals on older luxury cars. Heck, you can buy a V12-powered Mercedes from the 1990s for the price of a modern Honda Civic. You shouldn’t necessarily do that, though.

Understanding the cost to maintain your car is one of the best ways to avoid down-the-road headaches. Get something practical and reliable, and you’re likely to avoid the expensive maintenance and hard-to-find parts that come with owning a more exotic car. You’ll also have less to worry about if it should accrue a door ding while you’re picking up groceries.

Do DIY Wash and Repair

Whenever possible, clean and maintain your car on your own. Dealerships will charge you outrageous prices for simple maintenance like rotating your tires and changing your oil. With a little space and some time spent educating yourself, you can do it all for a fraction of the price. The same goes for washes. Pick up a bucket, some car wash liquid, a chamois and a wash mitt, and you’re halfway to a lifetime of free washes for the price of maybe one. Get a car vacuum and it will pay for itself for the cost of just a few trips to the car wash.

Don’t Cheap Out

It sounds backward, but the last tip to saving money is to spend money when appropriate. Too many people know something’s broken on their car and avoid having it checked out, only to find out that the problem has mushroomed into a major repair by the time they pay attention. If something’s broken, fix it right away. It might hurt a little now, but you’ll avoid a big hit to your budget later.

You can do those things, can’t you? Being a frugal car owner is much better than going without. Who knows? You might enjoy it and join the ranks of car aficionados who don’t just turn wrenches to save money, but for fun. But just saving a few dollars is enough.