Here’s our car money saving tips on how you can save money and still get where you need to go.
Your car might be the second biggest monthly expense after your rent / mortgage. Is it really worth it?
Here’s what we think you should consider.
121. Choose a smaller car
Smaller cars will often cost less to run as they get better gas mileage compared to a bigger car with a much larger engine.
Perhaps you really want an old V8 muscle car but can’t really justify it when you’re mainly stuck in traffic most days on your way to work.
However, a smaller car may not be appropriate if you have a large family, want to tow a boat at the weekends, or need to carry lots of tools for work.
122. Choose an older car
An older car may have lower monthly payments, or be cheap enough for you to pay for it outright.
This would mean that it costs less than your newer car, perhaps without sacrificing performance, space or reliability.
This may be one of the more obvious car money saving tips, but not everyone considers it.
123. Choose a newer car
A newer car may be more economical and have lower running costs, thanks to advances in technology.
You might be able to get the same performance and better gas mileage from a much smaller engine, thanks to a better engine management system, or lightweight construction.
You might be able to get a deal on the servicing or insurance too.
Parts may also be cheaper or more readily available for newer cars, as they are likely to be in higher demand.
This may not be one of the more obvious car money saving tips, but probably one worth considering.
124. Do your homework
Look at magazines, watch reviews online, browse manufacturers’ websites and visit dealers.
You can learn many car money saving tips before you even go to see a dealer.
You’ll learn a lot and get an idea of what you can get for your money.
Certain car brands have a good reputation for reliability, for a reason, so something German or Japanese might give you more performance and better reliability at a price you’re happy with, compared to the American brands you’ve bought before.
Maybe paying more for a premium brand will be worth it in the long run as it gives you the space, features and comfort you need, whilst being nice to drive and having a higher resale value than a lesser brand.
Paying more now for something like a BMW or a Mercedes, compared to a Ford, could pay dividends when you come to sell it.
Why not see what used car prices are compared to new car prices for the makes and models you’re looking at?
125. Don’t buy on price alone
Whilst you might be tempted by something like a new European or Japanese supermini because it’s so cheap, will it really meet your needs?
The low running costs might be appealing, but what if
- It struggles to get up hills
- You can’t overtake on the freeway
- It suffers badly with depreciation
- It is barely big enough for the whole family to get in
It might not be the best choice of car for you and your family.
A cheap old car might need things like:
- New tires
- New brakes
- New suspension
Making it more expensive than it initially appeared.
Sometimes car money saving tips will recommend that spending more money is the right thing to do.
126. Can you compromise?
Think with your head as well as your heart.
Do you need all the features and functionality?
Would you miss:
- Those expensive wheels over the standard ones?
- The louder stereo?
- The concierge service?
- The non-standard metallic paint?
- The rear heated rear seats?
- The TV?
- The winch?
- Drive to work alone in the city in an SUV?
- Keep your bikes in your garage not in your station wagon?
127. Could you get rid of your car?
Could you get rid of your car?
Would getting a bus, train or cab work out cheaper?
If you don’t use your car a lot, as you live in the city centre, is the monthly expense of keeping a car worth it to you?
If you go away most weekends, or have to take the kids places then you do need a car.
But if your car spends more time on the drive than being driven, it might be to time to think about getting rid of your car, or changing it for a cheaper one.
128. Buying a car
We’re not car experts, but we’ve learnt a few things in our time.
If you’re buying a pre-owned car privately, remember that cash is king.
If you can turn up to the vendor’s hand with a pocket full of money, you have a lot of power.
Note any defects, and use them as a bargaining tool to knock the price down and don’t be scared to make a low offer.
Sometimes people just want a quick sale, and pile of dollar bills on their kitchen table can be very convincing.
It’s a good idea to look at several cars and try them out before making your mind up, so that you don’t just buy the first one you see.
Remember that you can walk away at any time, and that you don’t owe the seller anything.
If you’re buying a newcar then beware of the optional extras, and the other tricks of unscrupulous sales people.
- Time sensitive offers
- ‘another customer coming to look at it’
- ‘their finance’
- a low trade-in price for your car
These tricks can all be used to get you to buy a car there and then, without you even realizing it.
Maybe the car you came to look at has ‘just been sold’, and you’re now going for a test drive in a much more expensive car. You’re bound to be impressed because it’s much nicer than the car you turned up in or the one you wanted to look at.
If you’re tempted to go for several optional extras, remember the purchase price is likely to go up several thousand dollars.
As is the wait time.
You might be encouraged to compromise and choose a “lesser” car in a color you don’t want, without the features you need. And because it’s in stock and you can have it immediately.
There are many more tricks you need to be aware of when buying a car from a dealer too.
Remember, don’t feel pressured into buying something that isn’t right.
129. Check the history of a pre-owned car
If you are buying a pre-owned car, check its history and condition first before buying.
You don’t want to find out about its colorful past when it’s too late.
Perhaps you didn’t know it had been in an accident, that some of the electrics don’t work, or that the tires will need replacing very soon.
Having full service records and seeing things like all the electrics working properly is likely to mean the car has been looked after.
130. Look around first
Before you hand over any money for a pre-owned car, look online for similar makes and models, as well as locally.
- Are the prices you’re seeing comparable?
- Are cars cheaper a few miles away?
- Is there a better deal somewhere else?
Remember, a car that seems too good to be true, probably is.
Your car might be costing you a lot of money that you can’t really afford, but changing to a cheaper or older car might result in more problems.
Perhaps you know a smaller car is no good for your active lifestyle, that you don’t need a gas-guzzling SUV now that the kids have left home, or you get the bus to work.
Whilst we’re not car experts, these tips might help you to choose the right car and save money.