Taking public transportation or walking are two of the cheapest ways to get to where you need to be. However, there will come a time when a car becomes a necessity for your life instead of a luxury. But buying a car can be a huge financial undertaking, becoming a car owner even more so.
There is a lot of information available on how to save money for your first car, but there is not as much for how to save money when you finally get your hands on one. Before you start looking for a car though, you should know how to save money when you actually become a car owner:
1. Start with a modest car
It may be tempting to buy a top-of-the-line car from the get-go, but unless you have unlimited income, starting with a modest vehicle is the most financially responsible way to acquire your first car. For instance, buying a simple yet new Subaru car for sale will definitely keep your finances more balanced than, say, getting a secondhand Mercedes.
Aside from the initial cash-out being more affordable, a modest car will set you back a smaller payment and insurance premiums than when you buy a more expensive car. Moreover, cheaper cars are less costly to repair and maintain. And if you are a first-time car owner, you are less likely to go broke in case you accidentally crash or scrape the car.
2. Consider used
If buying a brand new car will be a little too risky for your finances, the other option is to buy a used car. Used doesn’t automatically mean that the vehicle is problematic. Although they have already racked up some mileage, used cars can still serve you for years or until you can buy a brand new one. Furthermore, paying for the car in cash will eliminate monthly payments, which means you don’t have to worry about setting aside money for your car every paycheck.
Dealerships can also offer installment plans for used cars, which are way cheaper than payments for brand new cars. If you cannot pay in cash, go to a dealership that sells used cars and ask about their installment plans.
3. Be mindful of your gas consumption
The cost of the car is not the only thing you have to worry about when you buy your first car. You also have to consider how much gas you need every month and factor that cost into your budget. The best way to determine this is to ask a friend or a family member to drive you to and from work or school (or wherever you need to go on a regular basis) and estimate how much gas the car consumes for each trip. Then, you can come up with a figure of how much money you need to spend on gas for your daily commute.
Take note of the type of gas the car consumes as well. Gas prices may differ only slightly, but the cents in between can add up. That said, you should also take fuel type and cost when choosing your first car.
4. Learn basic car maintenance
You should know how to perform basic car repairs and maintenance before you become a car owner. These tasks aren’t awfully difficult to learn and almost everyone can do them without the help of a professional. By knowing how to do the maintenance yourself, you can save money on mechanic bills, roadside assistance fees, and car washes.
Furthermore, be sure to maintain your car regularly to avoid unexpected breakdowns and the maintenance costs that come with them. If you know nothing about cars, take the time to do your research or ask an experienced car owner for help.
5. Shop around for car insurance
In the US, it is mandatory for all car owners to have auto insurance. This type of insurance will help cover the expenses in case you get into an accident. You can even get non-owner auto insurance as long as you have a driver’s license.
To save money on auto insurance, shop around for the best one that fits your needs and your budget. Don’t wait until it’s time to buy the car so that you have plenty of time to compare policies.
Becoming a car owner also means that you’re adding more expenses to your budget. So before you set out to buy your first car, take note of these tips on how you can save money when you finally become a car owner.