For many people, owning a car is essential. However, due to the cost of owning a car, this isn’t always easy to do. You not only have to figure out how to pay for the initial cost of the car but for all the costs associated with owning a car going forward. Luckily, there are a few things you can do that will make affording a car a little easier. Here are 6 things to try:
Buy the Right Car
The most important thing you can do is buy the right car. When buying a car, it’s important that you pick one that fits into your financial budget. If you choose a car that is too expensive for you, it won’t matter how many other tricks you apply. Spend time figuring out exactly how much you can afford on car payments each month, then be sure any car you consider is within that range.
In addition, you should think about how the car you buy will impact your monthly expenses. For example, if you drive a lot, the car’s gas mileage will play a big role. You should therefore look for a car that offers good gas mileage to make the car more affordable.
Negotiate the Terms
Once you find a car you like, there are ways to make it even more affordable still. Your best bet is to try to negotiate the price lower. This is possible for just about any car, whether you are buying it used or new. To negotiate a better price, you should first do some research to learn the actual value of the car. You should then have some backup options available so that you don’t feel pressured to buy that specific car. Lastly, if you’re going to a car dealership, try to go towards the end of the month. Many dealers have quotas they need to meet and will provide bigger discounts as the month is closing.
When negotiating the price of the car, remember there are two payments to consider. There is the money you are putting down on the day of the sale and the monthly payment. Putting more down now could mean a lower monthly payment and vice-versa. Think about whether you are willing to spend more now or if you’d rather have a higher monthly payment going forward.
Choose Cheaper Insurance
A major expense for all car owners is insurance. It is illegal to drive your car in the United States without insurance, but not all insurance rates are the same. Before deciding on one, you should explore the different insurance options available to you. You may be able to find a more affordable plan just by browsing around a little. There are also insurance providers that charge based on the number of miles you drive in a month, which can provide significant savings for people who do not drive as much.
Protect Against Breakdowns
An unexpected expense when owning a car is the repairs. One minute you’re driving around fine and the next you’re stuck on the side of the road with smoke coming from your engine. To protect against the high cost of repairs, there are two specific things you can do.
First, you can perform regular maintenance on your car. Doing small tasks like changing the oil, rotating the tires, and replacing the brake pads can go a long way. Check your car’s maintenance schedule and be sure you stay on top of it.
Second, look into getting mechanical breakdown insurance. Mechanical breakdown insurance is extra insurance you can get for when your car breaks down instead of an accident. With mechanical breakdown insurance, rather than paying a large sum unexpectedly, you can pay a small amount each month and have all your car repair costs taken care of.
Perform Your Own Repairs
Unfortunately, no matter how good you are about keeping up with your maintenance, your car will still likely need repairs one day. If you want to save yourself some money on these, you can learn to do the repairs yourself. Some repairs only require a few basic tools and the time to learn how to do it from YouTube. If you consider yourself a handy person, look to see if you can do the repair yourself first before taking it to a repair shop.
Find Affordable Repair Shops
Finally, if you’re not comfortable repairing the car yourself, you’ll need a car repair shop. But before you take your car to the first one you find, do some research. Call around and ask for different quotes on your repair. Then read online reviews to see what kind of service you can expect. Every auto repair shop is different and you’ll want to find one that provides good value for your money.