Harry N. Stout
280- Ways You Can Save Money on Transportation Costs
We are all seeing the impact of inflation and higher energy costs on our out-of-pocket outlays for transportation. There have been large increases in the costs of fuel, parts shortages, and new and used vehicle price increases. To save our budgets, we have reached a time when we should be asking ourselves what actions we can take to reduce our household carbon consumption and footprints.
In this post, I have excerpted text from my book, The FinancialVerse Guide to Savings – 600 Cash Savings Ideas, that addresses 34 actions you can take to save on transportation costs. Here they are:
Buy your vehicle tires from Costco or other wholesale clubs. Simply put, they cost a lot less than buying them at the dealer or even a chain tire store.
Carpool to work if you still go to the office. If you have an opportunity to share a ride with someone who does not have the virus, you can significantly reduce wear and tear on your car, save on gas and take advantage of carpooling lanes that might make it easier to get to work.
Clean or replace your vehicle’s air filter. A clean air filter can improve your gas mileage by up to 11% according to CarsDirect. All you need to do is just follow the instructions in your vehicle’s manual and you’re good to go.
Consider getting rid of your car. Do you need a car? If there are alternatives that don’t cost you too much time or money, it might be worth getting rid of your car altogether. For example, if you live in a major city, it might be easier and cheaper to take the sub- way, bus or walk. When you get rid of your car, you eliminate a lot of related expenses, e.g., car payments, insurance, repairs, registration, taxes, inspection, tickets, gasoline, etc.
Cut back to one car in your household. Trying to get by with one car may seem like a challenge, but it’s well worth it if you are a two-car family. With the average car payment over $500 along with insurance, gas and maintenance, you can really do your bud- get a favor with just one car. The benefits do not include your contribution to an improved environment.
Don’t speed. Not only is speeding inefficient in terms of gasoline usage, it also can get you pulled over and result in a high-priced traffic ticket. Tickets can cost you a bundle between a ticket and higher ongoing insurance premiums. It’s far safer and more cost-efficient to just drive the speed limit.
Drive conservatively to get the best gas mileage. This would include not accelerating to red lights, stop signs or on the road when able. You should also consider driving at the speed limit and accelerating slowly to save gas.
Drive your car longer. With very high prices for new and newer model used cars, improvements in vehicle quality and the lower per mile cost for operating (including depreciation), it will likely pay you to hold on to your car for a few more years to avoid costly car payments. This is particularly the case if you have had a good repair history with your car. Drive it as long as it is cost effective to do so.
Keep the tires on your automobiles properly inflated. Once a month check the air pressure in your car tires by stopping by a local gas station that offers free air. If they aren’t inflated to the optimal level, fill each one to the maximum recommended amount as stated in your manual. An investment in a $3 tire gauge may have a return on investment of more than 30 times its cost. A survey by Edmunds found that keeping your tires properly inflated could save the average driver $112 in gas money.
Reduce the number of cars in your household. The average American family owns 2.28 cars and more than a third of house- holds own three or more vehicles. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spends $10,742 a year on transportation, the second largest expense, with much of it for maintenance and gasoline. Living on one less car in the household can save big money. This is one of the tougher money saving tips because we love the freedom of movement our vehicles provide. It will take some getting used to but cutting back to just one car can save the average family nearly $5,000 a year.
Rent out your least-used car. Most cars are only used a few hours per week. Web services such as Turo, HyreCar or Getaround let you market a car that is otherwise just sitting around but charge you for it. They claim you can generate thousands of dollars a year.
Stick to reliable, fuel-efficient cars. Buying that sexy new model might not be the best long-term purchase you can make. A reliable and fuel-efficient car can save you thousands over the long haul. Let’s say you drive a vehicle for 80,000 miles. If you choose a car that gets 25 miles per gallon over one that only gets 15, you’ll save 2,133 gallons of gas. At $3 a gallon, that’s $6,399 in savings right there. Reliability can pay the same dividends.
Use public transportation whenever possible. Whether it’s the subway, train, bus, cable car or ferry, you can beat expenses like gas, tolls and/or maybe even insurance by making your daily commute through public transportation. For a small percentage of the cost of owning a vehicle, you can get from one side of town to the next, to work and back and to important events. Each time you’re able to leave the car behind, you’ll be saving money.
Use vehicle sharing options. Instead of owning a car, you can use car-sharing services, slugging or carpooling when you need to.
Carefully maintain your car. That check engine light on your dashboard and that rattle in your muffler will cost a lot more tomorrow than it will today. Eliminate costly parts and labor charges rather than waiting until your car breaks down and it becomes an emergency situation, quite possibly requiring a loan. Effective maintenance includes keeping up with the service schedule, changing the oil as needed and keeping your tires properly inflated and rotated.
Consider using the Carvana or CarMax Internet buying platforms for your next vehicle purchase. There’s no haggling involved, and your car may be delivered to your door. Plus, each company offers a seven-day, money-back guarantee. With the advent of the pandemic, your local vehicle dealers have also worked very hard to provide a seamless Internet buying experience.
Consider fuel efficiency when you buy a new car. This is especially true if you put a lot of miles on your vehicle or if you are in consistent stop-and-go traffic. As the new models roll out, purchasing an electric vehicle may be a wise choice.
Consider switching to a less expensive car. If you use your car regularly and can’t get rid of it, it might be more practical to switch to a less expensive one.
Consider walking more. For example, walking a few blocks to the grocery store for that jug of milk will get you some exercise, ease off the environment and put off your next trip to the gas station. Every bit of activity helps keep you in shape.
Do your own car maintenance. Using YouTube as your teacher, you will find that you can do some minor car repairs, such as oil changes or brake pad replacement. Other fixes generally require a trained mechanic and could be costly. Be sure to understand your car’s warranty and whether doing the repair yourself negates the coverage.
Don’t buy a new car as soon as you’ve paid off your car loan on the old one. The advice is to wait as long as you practically can before committing to another car loan. A lot of people see paying off their car loan as an achievement—which it is!—that deserves a reward of a new, bigger car with a new, bigger loan. Instead, think about whether you really need a new car or if you’re existing one does the job perfectly well.
Don’t leave heavy objects in your vehicle. Get rid of the heavy junk in your trunk; it’s jacking up your gas mileage. The more a vehicle is carrying, the worse the gas mileage. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk cuts a typical car’s fuel economy by 2% according to a November 2016 post on Autoblog. Dropping the weight can save nearly $40 a year.
Drive a more affordable car. Vehicle loan or lease payments can be very expensive. This debt service load stretches the cash budgets of many borrowers. In addition to the payment, you must also pay gas, maintenance, insurance, taxes, registration costs and more. You should look to buy a car that you can comfortably afford not what you can fit into your budget. The cash savings can be substantial.
Fill your car up when you’re down to a quarter tank of gas. You won’t be stuck going to the nearest, most expensive gas station when your car is on empty. Use one of the gas savings apps like gasbuddy.com to find the lowest price for gas.
Get gas at superstore centers. Gas prices vary everywhere, but superstore centers tend to have the cheapest prices around when it comes to gas. Whether it’s Costco or another superstore, these places tend to offer discounts if you already shop there. Since these stores often require you to buy in bulk, you’ll be saving on groceries in addition to saving on gas.
Get rewards for buying gasoline. If your monthly gasoline expense feels like it’s out of control, you can use a cash back credit card to get as much as 5% back when you fill up at the pump. You can also join one of the fuel rewards programs offered by the major gas station chains.
Get your oil changed. To avoid any major mishaps with your car, it’s important to keep it in good shape. Get your oil changed based on the manufacturer’s schedule so you can keep the warranty in place and save money by avoiding more costly mechanical issues.
If you’re selling your car, do it privately. While it can be more hassle, selling a car privately can often get you thousands of dollars more compared to going through a dealer. This is true especially if your car is in above-average condition.
Look for free parking. Parking fees can really add up. Before heading to your destination, do some research and look for free parking spots. You may be able to find free parking using the parking app SpotAngels.
Only use premium gas if your car requires it. Unless your car needs the higher octane, you’re just throwing away money. Higher octane doesn’t give you more horsepower.
Plan your day to save on transportation costs. Does this sound familiar? You drive home from the grocery store and realize you’ve forgotten the dry cleaning. So, you drive to the dry cleaner, which is located two doors down from the grocery store. You return home and an hour later take your son to his music lesson in the same shopping center. Over time, those extra miles on your car can cost you a lot more in maintenance as well as gas expense. Keep lists for what you need to do, what you need to buy and where you need to go. It will not only save you money but a ton of time and frustration.
Ride your bike when you can. Many towns and cities are doing all they can to promote biking for commuting and running errands. If you live near your workplace or other places you frequent, consider investing in a bicycle. Riding even some of the time can save you serious cash on transportation, protect the environment and improve your health.
Use cruise control. Cruise control helps reduce wear and tear on your vehicle and can boost your fuel efficiency.
Work to improve your gas mileage. Start tracking your vehicle’s gas mileage to determine the actual expense per gallon. Some simple tips include maintaining proper tire pressure, checking the tire alignment and losing that lead foot of yours by accelerating slowly.
When it comes to saving money on transportation costs, it is the little everyday actions that add up. At the same time that you are saving money you will also likely be contributing to making a planet a better place to live by consuming less.
If you're looking for ideas on where to find cash savings, please check out The FinancialVerse Guide to Savings – 600 Cash Savings Ideas. Cash Savings provides practical suggestions on where you can save money in your day-to-day life. For most households, I believe they will find at least $600 in annual savings.