Updated: May 31, 2017
Buying a car is a significant financial commitment. While it can definitely make your life more convenient, there are also a number of ways it can come back to bite you.
Gas, car insurance, and maintenance costs add up, and they can quickly get out of hand if you are not careful.
If you do not want your car to turn into a money pit, there are some steps you can take to make your car ownership experience as economical as possible.
A brand-new car depreciates in value by ten percent the moment you drive away from the dealership, and it loses another ten percent in value over the first year you own it.
This is not to say that you should buy an old car, but you can often get a better deal if you opt to buy a car that is a few years old rather than brand-new.
The difference in performance is usually negligible, but the difference in your payments is almost guaranteed to be substantial.
Have the Best Insurance
Of course, you need to have car insurance, but not all policies are created equal. When you are shopping for plans, you need to find the balance between affordable payments and appropriate coverage.
There is no point in making small payments if your coverage is unhelpful when you are in a bind. On the other hand, there is no point in paying for a broad policy that does not fit your circumstances.
To make sure you get the most bang for your buck, it is helpful to talk to an insurance agent who will help you find the best policy for your location, vehicle, and budget.
For example, if you are buying auto insurance in Raleigh and you have a four-year-old Corolla, then your insurance agent should be mindful of these factors when matching you with a plan.
Car repairs are a major source of expenses for almost everyone. Despite this fact, few people have the foresight to devote any effort to regular car maintenance.
Doing things like getting your oil changed and your tires rotated can improve your gas mileage and prevent major problems from getting a foothold. You can also save money by replacing or repairing parts when they first begin to show signs of trouble, rather than waiting until they have broken completely.
Getting regular tune-ups will save you money in the long run, and it will also wildly improve your car’s resale value.
Walk When You Can
Just because you have a car does not mean you always have to use it. You can prolong the life of your vehicle by opting to walk, bike, or use public transportation whenever you get the chance.
These practices are overall better for your health and the environment. Besides, there are many situations in which having to find and pay for parking is simply not worth the convenience of driving.
Earn the Luxury
Having a car is a luxury. If you can afford that luxury, you should live up to the responsibility. All it takes to adopt these healthy financial habits is a little bit of planning.
Your car ownership experience will be much more pleasant, and you will enjoy the benefits of having financial wisdom for life.
This article is written by Ellie Jones, a car enthusiast from North Carolina.
Photo credit: rubelroy