Almost everything about your commute has returned to normal. You’re back at the office, your kids have returned to the classroom, and you’re driving all over the city once again.
Too bad the cost of driving is anything but normal. The price at the pumps remains painfully high, and inflation has taken the price of repairs and auto insurance for a ride.
If you feel as though you’re spending a fortune to own and operate a car this year, keep reading. Here are some tips to help you handle these extra costs.
Retool Your Budget
A good rule of thumb is to update your budget any time your expenses change. Take the time to input the new cost of your monthly insurance premiums and weekly fill-ups.
You can also expect inflation to increase your usual maintenance and tune-ups, so you may face higher bills than last year.
Budget for the Unexpected
Before the pandemic, the AAA recommended you save roughly $50 per month for unexpected repairs.
In a year, that comes to $600. Nowadays, that might not get you very far, as the cost of maintenance and repair work has risen sharply.
Sit down with your budget to check how you can increase this monthly $50 to something higher. Even an extra $10 can help, although doubling this benchmark would get you in a good place.
What if you can’t save extra? In emergencies, you have the option to borrow a personal loan online. So, what is a small personal loan? It’s a small-dollar, short-term personal loan that gives you the cash you need to repair your vehicle.
Every short-term personal loan is different, so you’ll have to do some research to find out when you mustrepay it and how much it will cost you.
Save on Maintenance
Maintenance and repairs are non-negotiable, but the price you pay for this work might be. Here are some tips to help you spend less on tune-ups and unexpected repairs alike.
- Shop around and get quotes from different auto shops.
- Ask for an itemized estimate before allowing a mechanic to work on your car.
- Learn how to do simple maintenance tasks on your own. You can find out how to change your oil or replace air filters safely — just go online to look for instructions based on your make and model.
- Consider purchasing parts to save on the markup from buying these items straight from the mechanic.
Pay Less for Gas
Filling up can be painful, despite the latest dip in prices. Take some of the sting out of your next fill-up by following these tips:
- Use a gas credit card to earn points on every gallon and redeem them on gas.
- Download an app like Dash, GasBuddy, or Waze to locate the cheapest gas station.
- Consider getting a Costco membership to access their discounted prices.
Reduce Your Auto Insurance
Insurance premiums raised along with everything else last year. If you’re feeling the pinch, consider these tips to help you reduce what you pay for your monthly premium:
- Shop around and get quotes from other companies—you might find one with cheaper rates.
- Negotiate with your current insurer, citing good driving history and the rates of other companies to make your case.
- Bundle your auto insurance with home coverage.
- Accept a higher deductible, remembering you’ll have to pay this amount in the event of a collision before your insurance kicks in.
Follow these tips to manage your increasing driving costs. Small decisions may have the power to give your savings the green light.
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