Each month I look at my budget, I’m amazed at how much money we pour into our vehicles. With the registration, insurance, gas, oil changes, tires, and general maintenance, vehicles are such a drain on my income! This post was actually inspired by some of my co-workers and how they save money on vehicle expenses.
The Convenience Of Vehicle Expenses
Each morning I get up to work, I expect my vehicle to be outside and for it to work when I start it. Have you ever been half asleep in the morning and go to turn your vehicle on to only hear clicking? You turn the car off and try again, convinced that you did something wrong. Click, click, click – nothing. If this has happened to you, you know how this quickly will ruin your day.
As you sit there, you hope this was all just a dream. After you finally snap out of it, you realize that you are already late for work and now you need a ride to the store to buy an overpriced battery. After getting to the store, the clerk takes up more of your time and tells you they need to test the battery to see if it has any covered warranty or if it is truly dead. By the end of the process, you get home and get the battery installed only to realize it is pretty much worthless to go into work today – it’s already lunchtime. More vacation time and money wasted.
With this drain on our finances and time, there has to be a better way to get from one place to another. Let’s examine some of the expenses that we do have control over in regards to our vehicles and the others that may be non-negotiable.
Alternative Travel Methods To Save Money On Vehicle Expenses
Say what?! This is where my co-workers inspired me. First off, the people who ride the City bus scare me. I certainly do not want to sit next to someone who hasn’t showered in a month or be pickpocketed when I get up to leave. With this idea in my head, I learned that many of my co-workers take the bus to and from work. I couldn’t believe it. It turns out, we have what is called a RAPID Bus that picks up people on the outskirts of the city and drives them to a central location to be connected to other buses or the light rail.
Still not convinced, I further inquired and found that these RAPID buses drive in the carpool lane to bypass all the rush hour traffic, to and from work. In addition, most of the people who ride this bus shower daily because they are all business people. My friends told me that the bus is just as fast, if not faster than them driving on their own to and from work due to the carpool lane.
If you have never thought of using public transportation, I highly encourage you to look into it. There may be plenty of viable options out there for you that you did not know about. Perhaps you had a false ideology of public transportation like I did? I am going to look further into this because it saves my co-workers hundreds of dollars each month. They save in gas money and maintenance costs because public transportation is so cheap.
Ride A Bike To Save Money
I wish I lived closer to work – within 5 or 10 miles because I would totally ride a bike to work. My wife and I have 2 vehicles, but if I was close enough to work – I would sell my car and just have a bike. That way, we would still have one vehicle for vacations and driving the kids to doctor appointments etc, but there would be no need for a second vehicle. If you live somewhat close to your place of employment, consider selling a vehicle and using a bike exclusively! Imagine the defined gluteal muscles you would have!
With one less vehicle to pay for, you could save a ton of money and stay physically healthy at the same time. Win-win!
Carpool To Save Money
This is the most obvious one, but if you find the right carpool partner or partners, it can lighten up your day! I carpooled in the past and many friendships were solidified during this commute time together. By carpooling, I was able to cut my gas bill in half and my maintenance fees were also lower. Most big cities have forums you can join to meet people looking for carpool pools if you’re not sure who to connect with.
Save Money On Vehicle Expenses
First and foremost, if you still have a car payment – get rid of it, either the payment or the car. If you’re not actively trying to get rid of that payment, think about all the possibilities and money that would be available if you didn’t have a car payment. I have written several articles about why car loans are a bad idea and how many used cheap vehicles are still reliable. 5 Reasons Car Loans Are A Bad Idea. and The 29 Most Dependable Used SUVs, Vans, And Pickups Made In 2015 and The 21 Most Dependable Used Cars Made In 2015.
So get rid of that payment quickly or get rid of that vehicle and buy something cheap with cash. It’s about putting your money towards what you value in life. Does that vehicle add value to your life or would you rather spend that money on experiences/debt/investments? If it doesn’t add significant value, don’t waste your money on it!
When was the last time you shopped around for vehicle insurance? Do you still have the insurance policy you had when you were a teenager? Shop around for cheaper vehicle insurance every couple of years. By shopping around, you keep companies competitive and have a high chance of saving a couple hundred dollars every year.
Motorcycles And Toys
A few years ago, I was paying for vehicle insurance and registration on a motorcycle that sat in my garage. I didn’t have the time to ride it and I had moved on from that phase of life to a more convenient manner of transportation. My cheap car could get me from A to B without being in the rain, melting in the summer, or freezing in the winter. I realized I never actually rode it, yet I continued to pay maintenance and fees for it.
If you have vehicles, boats, or ATVs that you are no longer using – make sure you are not paying registration and insurance on them if they never leave your garage. Just make sure none of these vehicles park on the street or you will face hefty fines.
To save even more money – sell all those old vehicles and toys that you don’t use anymore
Gas Rewards Programs
My wife gets on me about this one. I am in the habit of getting gas when I need it rather than going to the cheaper place to use our rewards. Many supermarkets utilize gas points to encourage you to purchase gas from them. Pay attention to these programs because you can enroll in them without any added costs to you. Find out when you usually fill up your tank and schedule your points usage around that time.
We have a Costco Cash Rewards Visa card that we use for gas purchases. The card provides us with 4% cash back every time we fill up at Costco. The reward is for the first $7,000 in gas, and then 1% thereafter for the remainder of the year. In addition, I have found that gas at Costco is usually cheaper than the surrounding stations.
Have you heard of the free mobile app, GasBuddy? You can download and open the app, and it will tell you the gas prices of all the stations in your area. By going a mile out of your way, you may be able to save 10 – 20 cents per gallon! It is not a cumbersome app and is quite beneficial if you seriously need to save some cash.
I hope you found some of these tips beneficial. If you think someone else could use these pointers, please share this article across social media. Don’t forget, if you still need to subscribe to my blog by email, I put a handy link at the bottom of this article so you don’t miss any of my posts. Keep learning my friends, you work too hard to be this broke!