Easy Ways to Save on Transportation Costs
In late 2014, when gas prices across the country were at their lowest in recent memory, auto manufacturers reported a big spike in the sale of gas-guzzling SUVs and other less fuel-efficient vehicles. Of course, gas prices have since gone back up, leaving those short-sighted SUV buyers stuck with a larger-than-expected total every time they fill up. But even without a gas-guzzler to fill, transportation costs can take up a significant part of anyone’s budget.
Drive Less – This obvious solution can also be the most difficult one to implement. We rely on our vehicles to get us to work, school and everywhere else we need to go. But there are other ways to get around that can help you save gas and wear & tear on your vehicle. Commit to trying one of these alternatives in the coming weeks:
- Walking or biking
- Using public transportation
- Working from home one day a week
Don’t Skip Regular Maintenance – Keeping your car well-maintained increases fuel efficiency and keeps small glitches from becoming big, expensive issues. In fact, simply maintaining optimal air pressure in your tires will help with fuel efficiency (so will keeping the trunk free of excess weight). While it might be tempting to save a few dollars by skipping regular oil changes and other scheduled maintenance, doing so will end up costing you more in the long run. You can also save by learning to take care of some basic maintenance yourself.
Compare Insurance Rates – Sites like InsWeb.com make it easy to shop and compare insurance prices. When it comes to auto insurance, you want to make sure you’re not under- or over-insured, and that you’re receiving all the discounts you’re eligible for. And if you think you’re saving money by skipping auto insurance altogether, think again. The fees and other penalties for being an uninsured motorist will far exceed the cost of insurance.
Don’t Overpay for Gas – Waiting ‘til you’re running on fumes leaves you at the mercy of whatever gas station happens to be the closest, rather than the cheapest. Instead, plan your fill-ups by using an app like GasBuddy to find the lowest prices in your area. You can also save by purchasing discounted gift cards and using those to pay at the pump.
DIY Carwash – Sure. It’s easy to just roll into the carwash and let the machines (or someone else), do all the work. But It’s also expensive! Wouldn’t you rather spend that money doing something you really enjoy? Or better yet, use it to build up your emergency fund. Washing your car yourself isn’t just cheaper, it’s also good exercise and a reason to be outside in the beautiful spring weather.