For most Americans, our car is our lifeline. While we cherish our smartphones for keeping us connected, cars are really essential to our everyday lives. We use cars so much we don’t always realize or consider how much we really spend on car-related expenses each month or year.
If your New Year’s Resolution is to start getting your finances on the right track, looking at your car expenses could really help you get started. Below are some tips and advice that can help you save money in 2016.
<While driving is typically thought of as being more financially savvy, if you are driving to a place where parking will be really expensive and it isn’t a very far drive, you might save money and time by getting an Uber, Lyft or taxi ride. Athletic events, concerts, valeting, or going out in big cities, could easily cost upwards of $25 to park for the night. Furthermore, if there is going to be drinking involved, getting a ride is a much better idea.
Seeing everything always helps to get an idea of what costs are necessary or if there is any costs that could be reduced. Consider things like how much you usually spend on gas in a week, how many miles you commute (this will help to give you an idea of how frequently you will need an oil change), tolls, and average parking expenses.
Before getting an oil change or repair, check out the websites of a couple different shop options because usually someone in town will have a specials or promotion. Another great site to consider is Groupon. Groupon usually has a few local deals for car repairs and maintenance. These services typically include, oil changes, general maintenance, deals on tires and overall discounts. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Are there any alternative routes to cut down on your commute toll expenses? If your commute takes you through a $1 toll each way, you spend $10 per week on tolls. If you were able to take an alternative route just two days per week, you’d save an average of $16 per month and $208 per year.
Don’t be afraid to let other people drive or ask for gas money.
If you are the friend who usually drives, chances are you are paying for gas and parking -- and that adds up especially in big cities. So don’t be afraid to let someone else take the responsibility. Additionally, if you have a friend that always takes a ride because you are going, ask them to pitch in every once in awhile. You might find that they might be really generous, but be prepared to accept them saying “no” as well.
Even though you would technically be adding expenses by getting an annual membership to AAA, in the long run you could really be helping yourself. AAA’s most basic membership is only $66 for the year and includes all types of great common services that are generally more than $66 per service. Services include changing flat tire with an inflated spare, jumping your car’s battery, up to 5 miles of free towing, fuel delivery in case your car runs out in the road, and lockout service if you lock the keys in your car.
Also, AAA membership covers the member, not the car, so if you are a AAA member and with a friend who’s car needs service -- they will still cover the service for free.
Even better? AAA members can receive tons of discounts at all types of businesses, like airlines, car rental companies, theme parks and hotels - so there are many ways to save with AAA.