While public transport and good ol’ walking are preferable, they just aren’t always an option. If you do need to buy a car, there are ways of making sure your purchase suits your financial situation. If you have your vehicle, there are ten simple ways to keep the costs down. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to making buying and owning a car more affordable.
BUYING A CAR
Choosing the make and model, transmission type, and aesthetics for a car is the fun part. However, certain aspects have a bearing on the cost. How you intend on paying for your vehicle also has an impact on your financials.
- Did you know…that an automatic transmission costs more than a manual transmission? You can also weigh the importance of other features like cloth vs. leather, sunroof, roof rack, etc. These options have a significant impact on the price of your vehicle. If, however, they are a priority for you – for example, you have children and leather is easier to clean, or you ride and camp and will utilize a roof rack on the regular – the bearing on your monthly payments will be minimal.
- Do your research. Even if you are looking at buying a new car, do your research. Compare it to preceding models, looking at gas consumption, rust, and weaknesses. Cars are like phones; specific models/years tend to have more “bugs” than others. For example, while most manufacturers have reduced their CO2 emissions and improved fuel economy over the past five years, certain companies have increased emissions and seen a decrease in their average MPG (mile per gallon). You can find detailed reports on the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) website. These details can save you a ton in the long run.
- Financing. If you are looking for your forever car…or at least your next decade or so car…and you have an emergency fund in place, financing a car is a great option. Your monthly payments go straight into your car, and you will own it outright when you are finished. Put as large as possible a deposit down on the vehicle and pay the maximum you can afford. This will help you to incur less interest.
- Leasing. If you don’t have an emergency fund in place, leasing a car might be wise. If anything happens to the car, it will be covered under warranty. You can even build-in oil changes and regular maintenance into the monthly lease. While your monthly payment might be slightly higher, you won’t need to fork over hundreds or thousands in the event that something goes wrong. Another upside to leasing is that you can swap it for a newer model after a few years. Before you lease, remember that you are responsible for keeping the terms of your agreement, or you can be looking at paying way more than you anticipated. For example,
- regular maintenance,
- staying within the allotted yearly & total mileage,
- returning the car in an unaltered state, etc.
- Work out a deal. Bargaining is a big part of buying a car. If you aren’t a forward individual who is comfortable with negotiating, bring along someone who is. You can easily work in an extra set of tires, accessories, a better warranty, and the like into your contract. Even if it still costs you more, you will receive a better rate than advertised.
OWNING A CAR
Once you have your car, be wise about how you use it and maintain it. Paying attention to smaller, simple details can save you money in the long run.
- Parking garage. While paying for an outdoor or interior parking spot may be an extra expense, it will add considerably to your vehicle’s longevity. For example, a car parked on the street is open to damages and liabilities, accidental or otherwise. Not to mention, when it comes to Winter and having to move your car for city snow removal, tickets and towing are not unusual for those who park on the street. If you have the option of parking indoors, even just for the winter months, you will save your car a lot of wear and tear from the freezing Canadian temperatures that lead to rust, etc.
- Keep your gas tank full. Ask any mechanic; the damage that comes from driving your car on empty all the time is more than you would imagine. When you drive on the last ¼ tank of fuel, the sediment from your gas tank gets thrown into the engine and can cause significant problems. If you plan on keeping your car in good condition, always keep the gas tank at least half full. There are many ways to save on gas that can help you keep costs in check.
- Rustproofing. Seasonal rustproofing is an excellent investment, especially for specific makes of cars, known to encounter early rust issues. Make it part of your pre-winter preparation – winter oil change, tires, and rustproofing! Good maintenance will save you money in the long run, preventing costly but avoidable repairs.
- Obey the speed limit. Did you know that the difference in gas consumption between 100 km/hr and 120 km/hr is significant? Keep your fuel consumption in check by driving the speed limit.
- Save ahead. Create a savings account on the side for all vehicle-related costs. If you don’t already have an emergency fund, you can simply open a regular savings account with your bank. Have your bank arrange a transfer of $10-20 per paycheck to that account. When your license, registration or maintenance is due, you will be prepared. If you need immediate help with an expense, you can opt for a quick, online loan. Not only does 24Cash provide safe and reasonable same-day loans, but they also look out for your well-being.
Owning a vehicle is a definite expense. For some, it’s a luxury they can manage without. If however, you rely on a car to get to work and care for your family, the above suggestions will make owning and maintaining a vehicle more affordable. The key is careful research, preventative planning, and smart driving!
24Cash is a Canadian company that puts its fellow hard-working Canadians first—offering reasonable services to those in need without compromising your dignity or your credit score.