In the Western world, owning and operating a car is considered very “normal”. In fact most families have at least two cars and they use these cars for everything: shopping, commuting, even entertainment. Most people, however, probably have no idea how much this is costing them.
Now, I’m not about to suggest that you go carless- as that’s something I am not willing to do. In fact, because we have only just started living in the same city, Poopsie and I actually have two cars. We plan to sell his car in the next few weeks and become a single car family. But zero car? That’s not for us. If you’re able to live without a car, that is awesome. This post is for those of us who do need a car to get around but still want to keep the cost down.
Poopsie and I are very anti-debt. Debt is one of the biggest drains on your savings rate. Not only are you required to make monthly repayments, but you’re charged interest on top of that.
People talk about good debt and bad debt. In our eyes, no debt is good. However, something like a mortgage is slightly better debt as it is hopefully held against an appreciating asset.
A car loan is not good debt. Not only do you lose a lot of value in depreciation (covered in one of the points below) but, except in rare circumstances, your car isn’t generating you any income and is therefore not an appreciating asset.
If you find yourself about to buy a car, do everything you can to save up the cash and buy it outright- your savings rate will thank you later.
There is some maintenance that is apparently quite simple to do yourself on your car, and it will save you a lot of money. Now, I admit, this is strictly Poopsie’s department. But I am sure if I really wanted to, I could learn. Things like changing the oil and the brake pads do not need to cost you an arm and a leg. Give it a try!
You’ve all heard the adage that “you lose $10 000 as soon as you drive the car off the lot.” This is very true. Cars depreciate fairly quickly.
In most cases, you’re better off buying a car that is a few years old. Remember, most people upgrade their cars perpetually, long before there is anything wrong with them. They trade these in or sell them privately and often, you can pick up a great car for a fraction of the price.
Leave the Car at Home
If at all possible, don’t drive your car. I know many people who get into their car to drive a minute around the corner- with no intent of picking up anything heavy. Our society has become so used to getting in the car that people use it for the smallest distances.
Whenever Poopsie and I can, we try to walk. This often means we don’t do much driving on a weekend as unless we are doing a specific activity, we tend to stick to a small radius around our house. If you can, leave the car at home and enjoy the fresh air and bonus exercise!
How do you save money on your car?