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How to Save on the Routine Expenses That Come with Driving a Car

Feb 11, 2022

Paying to gas up, maintain and repair your car is just as much fun as driving it! … Said no one, ever. If you own a car, you get it: Some expenses just come with the territory. But when money is tight, it can be tricky to find ways to stretch your dollar just to afford gas or make car or insurance payments. And when prices or premiums rise, or the car breaks down (always at the worst possible time) … then what?

If you’re looking for ways to save on your auto-related expenses or you want to get rolling on a New Year’s “improve my finances” resolution, we have a few easy tricks to share. The more you are able to put into play and practice, the more those seemingly inflexible car expenses actually become doable, and paying for them becomes less painful. Because, why pay more when you don’t have to?

Insurance Discounts

When was the last time you called your car insurance company and asked them how you can pay less for it? Lowering your insurance rate is an easy way to cut back on your auto expenses. Some companies will offer “good driver” discounts, or they may have a device they can send you that tracks your driving and usage, then offer discounts based on the results. You’ll also want to review exactly what you’ve been paying for. Are there little extras like road assistance that you just never use (or honestly, can probably get for free)? If you’ve had complete coverage on a new car that is now several years old, consider downgrading to the standard liability coverage (or whatever the minimum coverage is in your state).

Otherwise, it’s a good rule of thumb to shop around periodically to see if another insurance company will offer you similar coverage for a more affordable price. Then with that information in hand, it’s worth a phone call to your current company to see if they can beat that lower price to keep your business!

Paying a Little More Could Save You a Lot

If you’re still making payments on your car, consider paying a little bit more on top of your monthly payment. Hear us out: If you rounded your payment up to the nearest $50, that could mean thousands of dollars in savings over the term of your car loan because you’ll avoid paying extra interest. Even better: If your lender allows additional payments, split your monthly payment in half and pay that amount every two weeks. At the end of the year, you’ll have made 26 half-payments — or 13 full payments instead of 12 — and at the same time helped spread your household budget a little further. You probably won’t even notice the change, and you’ll pay off your loan a lot faster.

Stay on Top of Routine Maintenance

As you well know, a car requires maintenance. And yes, it’s about as exciting an expense as you can imagine (as in, not at all). But you also know what they say about prevention: An ounce of it is worth a pound of cure — or in this context, could save you a lot of money in the long run.

Like with most things that require care and attention — after all, your car is an investment you’ll want to keep around for years to come — it’s best to both do a little checkup on your vehicle regularly and keep up with any scheduled maintenance. Regular maintenance includes replacing brake pads, belts, fluids and other parts as often as your owner’s manual outlines. In addition, visiting your local mechanic to run regular diagnostics will help preserve the life of your car, thus saving you money in the long run. While the unexpected could still come up despite your best efforts, being proactive in this area of vehicle care will help you at least minimize bigger and more expensive maintenance needs you begin to dread when you see that “check engine” light come on.

Drive with Care and Caution

This kind of goes without saying, but we will anyway: It’s important to drive carefully and avoid speeding if you want to save money (among other, more serious things). Not only does driving safe and under the speed limit help protect you from accidents, but it also means you’ll avoid speeding tickets. If you’ve ever received a ticket, you know that not only does your wallet take a hit now, but it can quickly make your monthly insurance payments skyrocket for years to come.

If you do have a tendency to go heavy on the gas pedal, also keep in mind that aggressive driving puts a big strain on your vehicle in just about every way. It stresses out gears, the transmission, brake pads, suspension, and much faster, so you’d probably end up replacing those parts sooner and more often than you’d like — and like we said earlier, none of those are cheap. Rapid accelerations and high-speed driving also wastes gas, so you’ll find yourself needing to fill up your tank more often (translation: spending more).

Effective Alternative Transportation Methods

Other solutions to curtail extra short- and long-term car expenses include carpooling when and where you can, taking public transportation if it’s available, and just generally limiting the amount of time you are on the road. Plan for when you need to be somewhere, and find an alternate way of getting there. Even if just temporarily, these methods will help you cut back on your gas bill and put less wear and tear on your car.

Lease New, Quality Tires with Acima

Did you know that the quality, tread-depth, and air pressure of your car’s tires all have a major impact on its gas mileage and fuel efficiency? However, getting four new tires at once (not to mention alignment and tire rotation) can be a huge upfront cost and is not always affordable. So here’s our final tip: Lease your new set of tires through Acima!

When you choose to lease-to-own* your new set of tires through an Acima automotive retailer, you can make manageable lease renewal payments and pay as you go, rather than all at once or on credit. You can schedule your payment due date to align with your payday. This alternative to financing means you can get the new tires you need today and own them when you want by making the number of lease renewal payments outlined in the lease agreement or by exercising an early purchase option.

With some research and proactive preparation, you can get a handle on any current vehicle costs as well as any that may pop up down the road. So don’t skimp on taking care of those essential expenses that come with driving a car. Instead, let our lease to own* solutions help you stay on budget and in control of your finances.