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Reducing the Financial Burdens of Auto Ownership

Who doesn’t love to save money? I know I do. And I’m pretty sure that guy over there does, too. Regardless of your financial situation, saving money is crucial to surviving tough economic times, as we’re enduring now, and ensuring that your financial future is brighter than your financial present. But, as many people tout the “money pit” that is purchasing a car today, let’s remember that you don’t have to toss your financial well-being out the window to save money when owning a vehicle. After all, we’re going to need transportation to get to work, the grocery store, or our favorite concert that we’re still recovering from today... but, I digress...

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Let’s take it from the top, shall we? When buying a car, always be sure to keep specific things in mind:

  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Maintenance Costs
  • Insurance Costs

These things are “built in” to the price of your soon-to-be vehicle, whether you realize it or not. All of them are required, and all of them will hit you where it hurts if you aren’t expecting them. So, we’re warning you now…expect them! We aren’t here to tell you how to budget, or what you can afford. Instead, we’re just here to deliver some information that can help prevent the unexpected costs of vehicle ownership, and ensure that you really understand how much money you’re going to be spending on that shiny new car.

To help frame the information a bit better, we’ll go through these topics and provide some information that can help you.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is everything today, isn’t it? With rising fuel prices, hybrid engines, and lengthy commutes all taking a toll on your gas budget, it’s important to consider how much gas you’ll be using on a daily basis. Consider your fuel budget, calculate your commute, and do your best to estimate how many miles you’ll be driving a month. With that information, you can then look at the posted fuel efficiency and determine which vehicles fall into your range, and which simply aren’t economically viable. Here are some resource links to help get you acquainted with some gas mileage considerations:

Here’s a great commute calculator:

Calculating Car Maintenance Costs

Auto maintenance can get expensive. Even if you’re a DIY kind of person, purchasing a car in which the parts are hard to find or simply expensive can devastate your bank account. A simple online search can help you find information about the average repair cost for a particular make/model, and put you in touch with others who have owned and maintained the same vehicle. This information is invaluable, so don’t skimp on your research time, here! Check out these tools to help you calculate maintenance fees for a particular vehicle:

Insurance Costs

Oh, the dreaded auto insurance conversation…everyone has to have it, but nobody really wants to pay for it! But, it’s mandatory, so we’ll have to bite the bullet and proceed with our insurance talk. Do you want to save 15% or more on your car insurance? Of course you do, which is why those silly ads on television work. However, if you aren’t shopping around, you are likely getting a rate that is simply “ordinary”. Small concessions like raising your deductible or taking a driving class can help to lower your rate. Further, some affiliations you have such as your employer, where you bank, or specifics clubs you are involved with may also have discounts with particular providers. Shop around, and you’ll save money. Period.

Here are some places to help you find cheaper rates on your insurance premiums:

So, there you have it…our guide to saving money when owning a vehicle. Keep these things in mind BEFORE you head out to the local car lot, and you’ll make a prudent decision that benefits your finances for the foreseeable future!



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