How Much Is Your Car Costing You?
First and foremost, you need to figure out exactly how much your car is costing you on an annual basis? Then you can look for areas to cut down. Here are the major expenses that you’ll be expected to pay when owning a vehicle:
- Fuel: According to this article on Huffington Post, the average American spends about $2,120.40 on gasoline each year.
- Insurance: The average American spends about $1,800 per year on car insurance.
- Car Payments (if leasing): We spend approximately $3,000 per year in car payments.
- Tolls: The average American will spend a minimum of $60 per month on tolls, which equates to about $720 per year (give or take a few hundred dollars depending on whether or not they carpool or take an alternate route).
- Maintenance and Repairs: Americans spend about $3,000 per year in maintenance and repair costs.
- Traffic Tickets: While there were no official statistics for the United States as a whole, it’s safe to assume that the average speeding ticket can cost upwards of $400. Then there’s the increase in your insurance premium, which will vary from person to person. For the sake of this example, let’s assume an expense of $500 per year assuming one traffic ticket per year.
Add these expenses together and you’re looking at approximately $11,000 per year in car-related costs. For the average American, that’s nearly 33% of an annual salary spent on your vehicle. Fortunately, we’ve got some tricks up your sleeve that we believe will help you save. Let’s check them out now.
Take the DIY Approach
Things like changing out your fluids, swapping out spark plugs, or replacing belts and hoses can be learned relatively quickly by watching YouTube videos, reading your vehicle’s owners’ manual, or getting help from a mechanic-savvy friend. Learning how to perform these simple tasks yourself can save you thousands of dollars each year in maintenance costs. Granted, more complicated issues should be diagnosed and/or repaired by a professional so that you don’t accidentally damage your vehicle even further.
Hitch a Ride on the Local Bus
While it’s certainly not ideal or convenient, consider taking advantage of your city’s public transportation system. A round-trip bus ride will cost you about $2. If you’re spending more than this amount per day in fuel costs, which is common for people who live in a crowded metropolitan city, then hopping on the local bus can potentially save you $1,000+ per year in car costs. Look at the bright side: you can sit back and relax on the bus while stuck in traffic rather than be uptight in your vehicle.
Got co-workers who are willing to carpool? Then take advantage of it! By splitting your fuel costs with two or three other people, you’ll save a lot of money in fuel. But there’s also another awesome benefit to carpooling: most states have special “carpool only” lanes that can be used by vehicles with 2+ people. This means spending less time stuck in traffic, which A) Cuts down on fuel costs even more, and B) Decreases the chances of getting into a fender bender with another vehicle (since there’s less “stop-and-go” traffic in the carpool lanes).
Final Tip of Advice
If your vehicle is still costing you too much money, even after applying the above tips, consider selling it and sticking solely to public transportation. For motivation, think about the extra $11,000 that you’ll have in your bank account at the end of the year.