10 Tips to Reduce Your Cost of Transportation

by Dr. Ben on December 14, 2011

High transportation costs can really mess up your budget.  After housing, transportation is usually the second-highest cost.  And these expenses can be a budget-breaker.  If you live in an area with excellent public transportation, you may not even need a car.  However, most of us don’t, or have families, live a distance from work, take frequent day trips, or need to transport bulky items, etc.  So this article is addressed to those who need a private vehicle,

Here are some tips:

  1. Pay cash for a car, and buy a used vehicle instead of a new one (let someone else take the big hit on depreciation).  The exception might be if you have stellar credit, can negotiate a great deal and get zero interest financing on a new vehicle.
  2. Buy a used vehicle from a private party if possible (avoid dealer overhead).
  3. Get a CarFax report to review the pre-owned car’s history.
  4. Have the vehicle checked by a trustworthy mechanic; BEFORE you conclude the deal (Make it your priority to find an honest, competent independent mechanic – get recommendations).
  5. Try to buy a vehicle that gets good gas mileage (this wasn’t so important when gasoline prices were low, but now it can be a major monthly expense).
  6. Religiously maintain your vehicle with regular (3-5,000 mile oil changes, regular maintenance, etc.).
  7. Gas prices vary a lot, find those with the lowest price per gallon – don’t worry about “name brand” petroleum products.
  8. Treat your car gently, and with care.  No “jackrabbit starts” excessive speed, etc.  Maintain the exterior and interior with regular washes and waxes, and clean-ups.
  9. Comparison shop for insurance.  On-line companies (e.g. GEICO) sometimes have the best deals.
  10. Drive carefully and don’t get traffic tickets, they cost money and may harm your driving record, and increase your insurance rates.

I’m sure you can think of a few more ways to save on transportation like walking a few blocks to save on parking fees.  Put on your “thinking cap” and see if you can reduce costs in this important budget item.

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