Earlier this month I shared how we budget for automotive expenses. To be of even more use, here is a big list of useful ways you can save oodles on vehicle expenses. Please feel free to share this with anyone you know who could benefit!
Saving Money on Fuel
Fuel can get expensive, even in this day of “low” gas prices. Here are some easy ways to save a buck on car gas.
- Maximize grocery rewards points. Check your grocer’s website for gas rewards information, or see information about Kroger fuel points or the Safeway Gas Rewards program. To get the most benefit out of your rewards you want to try to fill up at your maximum benefit, when the vehicle (or vehicles) are at their emptiest.
- Use discounted gift cards to purchase fuel. Discounted gift cards for many gas stations can be purchased at Raise.
- Sign up for your gas station’s fuel rewards program (not their credit card). Shell offers a fuel rewards card that gets you 3 cents off per gallon, and even more when you tie it to your spending cards.
- Use GasBuddy to find the best price for fuel in your area. The price of gas can vary widely from one station to the next. Finding a station that is 10 cents/gallon cheaper could mean saving anywhere from $1-3 each fill-up. Chances are, you’ll be able to find a gas station that has an even greater differential for more savings.
- Want even more ideas for saving on fuel costs? There’s a Forbes list of 10 savvy ways to save on gas. You might also be interested in this list of 20 ways to save on gas from Money Crashers (including maintenance tips that can increase fuel economy).
Saving Money on Insurance
- Consider switching insurance companies. Alternative car insurance programs like GEICO and Progressive really do save people money. I was a Progressive customer for several years, and was always very happy with their customer service. ***Right now I’m with Allstate, and I just got the chance to test out their customer service when I blew a stop sign this morning. Thank God there weren’t any injuries, but you can bet I’ll be sharing how we fared in their hands.
- Use a higher deductible for your collision or comprehensive coverage. A higher deductible plan will cost you less monthly. In the unfortunate event of an accident you can use your savings to cover the cost of repair or replacement.
- Experiment with various levels of insurance coverage. We prefer to carry comprehensive and collision on our Suburban, but not on our commuter car. We’ve also opted for uninsured/uninsured property damage on both vehicles because the increase in cost was minimal and a large percentage of folks in our state choose to drive without insurance.
- Consider dropping comprehensive and collision coverage on older vehicles. You can see the insurance requirements for your state at DMV.org. Remember that insurance is simply the transfer of risk. You pay for the ability to transfer risk from yourself to the insurance company. As your savings account increases you don’t need to transfer as much risk to the insurance company. This allows for crafting a policy that is much less expensive. ***So glad we didn’t drop collision on our newer suburban, since were were in that accident today!
- Ask about additional discounts at your insurance company. Bankrate has a good article that shows some of the discounts offered by insurers.
Saving Money on Vehicle Maintenance
- Wash your car at home. Better yet, pay your kids to do it. They’ll appreciate the money and learn from the work.
- Change your own oil. Keep in mind that the old adage “change your oil at 3000 miles” isn’t the current recommendation. Most newer vehicles are designed to have their oil changed at 5,000-10,000 miles
- Try YouTube for learning about basic vehicle maintenance. It’s surprising how many people put these tutorials online for specific problems. My husband has YouTube’d (that’s an accepted verb, right?) his way through more than one car repair.
- Use a vehicle maintenance schedule & keep your vehicle maintenance up to date. Whether it means doing the work yourself or bringing it in to a reliable mechanic, these preventative measures can pay off in the long run. I’ve created a printable vehicle maintenance schedule for your reference. You can snag this freebie by clicking the thumbnail below:
What are your tips for saving money on gas, insurance, or maintenance?
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