For most people, a car is an expensive necessity. But you can take steps to save money on transportation and on the purchase and maintenance of your vehicle. Take advantage of carpools and public transportation, take care of your own vehicle and follow these tips to save on getting from point A to point B.
- Consider public transportation, if it's available. It's better for your budget and the environment.
- It's a little riskier but almost always more economical to buy a 2-year-old used car than a brand-new car, since most cars incur about 50 percent of their depreciation during the first two years. Just make sure to have pre-owned vehicles thoroughly inspected by a mechanic.
- Car pools are good for your wallet and the environment. If possible, start one and share the expense instead of paying 100 percent.
- Instead of air travel, consider taking trips by bus or train.
- If you must fly, don't assume you can find the best plane fare without a lot of research. Use a good Internet travel site with "intelligent agents" that update you regularly about fares on routes you choose. Some will even let you know if a lower fare becomes available.
- Consolidate your errands and plan your route efficiently. Walk instead of driving when you can.
- Shopping for the best car insurance rate is a must and is easy to do online. When you compare insurance rates, make sure deductibles, coverages, etc., are the same.
- Choose a higher deductible on collision insurance or drop it if your car is older.
- You must have liability insurance, but it's also a good idea to carry insurance for uninsured motorists.
- The smoother you drive, the more you'll save on gas. No sudden stops or starts.
- Change your oil at recommended intervals and follow your manual's maintenance schedule.
- Subscribe to an emergency road service, which can easily pay for itself the first time you use it.
Since you're a conscientious consumer, you'll want to get what you pay for, even in financial services. If you have experienced an unresolved issue with a company about a financial service or product, be sure to file a complaint on the Consumer Complaint Database at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You'll have a good chance of fixing the issue and at the same time you'll be helping everyone else since it will help the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau do its job to supervise companies, enforce federal consumer financial laws and write better rules and regulations. Visit Military OneSource for more information on consumer protection and smart spending.