Automobile Savings

Automobile savings can be fairly simple to implement...without totally sacrificing your image - you can still "look good" on the road!!

Car repairs and transportation costs continue to get more and more expensive everyday. With a little planning and a small amount of self discipline, your automobile savings can become quite significant.

Maintenance & Repairs

Regular oil changes and tire rotations will extend the life of your automobile, reduce your overall maintenance costs, and help you get better gas mileage.

If you're like me, you despise car repairs, as you have no idea how to do most of the work yourself, and you never really know if you are being taken advantage of or not.

Also, I'd suggest that you "shop around" and use a repair shop that has an excellent reputation, which also usually costs less than the new car dealer, therefore resulting in some significant automobile savings.

Recently, a very close friend of mine needed a new muffler for her 9-year old car.

She "shopped around", and was amazed to discover the differences in estimates....she received prices to replace her muffler from $120 all the way up to $375!!!

Now, in all fairness, the majority of the higher priced estimates she received were to replace not only her muffler, but also all of the pipes of her exhaust system, repairs that several of the servicemen said were not necessary.

What!?!? Why in the world would she have to replace her entire exhaust system, if all the pipes are still in good condition, and she simply needs a new muffler. It doesn't make sense to me, especially on a 9-year old vehicle that she will probably be getting rid of in the next few years anyway.

As mentioned earlier, I'm certainly no car repair expert, but the automobile savings for a fairly "standard" repair were astonishing to me!

Another short example... which left a very sour taste in my mouth...recently, I was in an automobile accident...just a slight fender bender where we were sitting stopped at a traffic light, and a lady ran into the back of us, sliding on the wet pavement.

No major damage, but since our car is only a year old, we wanted to get the rear bumper fixed.

A police officer came and we received the insurance information from the lady at fault in the accident (who was very apologetic, by the way, and felt terrible for causing the accident). We understood, accepted the lady's apology, and thank goodness no one was injured.

(Side note: Over the next week, I received 8-10 pieces of mail from "ambulance chasing attorneys" who had gotten a copy of the accident report from the local governmental office, and were trying to contact me about a possible lawsuit due to injuries sustained in the accident.

In addition, I received several phone calls as well, from "ambulance chasing attorneys", who left me messages wanting to "ensure that I knew what my rights were due to the fact that I was a victim in an automobile accident." What rights??? No one was hurt!!

Are you kidding me??? It was a little fender bender....what's wrong with our society nowadays??? Are there no morals or ethics left anymore??? Why has our society become so litigious?

In my estimation, this is WRONG, and our legal system needs to be fixed to prevent these bogus lawsuits from ever taking place, and the only way I think that can happen is if the attorneys themselves have some financial responsibility back to the defendant if they take on a ridiculously bogus lawsuit and lose.

In my situation, these attorneys were willing to represent me for FREE, and I would only have to pay them a fee if I sued this poor lady who caused the accident, and we won the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, this poor lady would be stuck paying legal fees in a bogus lawsuit, and even if she won the case, either she would be out the cost of the attorney fees to defend herself, or the insurance company would be out the money for the cost of the attorneys, which would ultimately result in increased fees for this nice she loses no matter what!!!

Again, this is wrong, and somehow our legal system needs to be fixed with respect to this.)

Sorry, I'm off my soapbox, and I digress...back to my story about automobile savings through repair costs...after the accident, we were contacted by the lady's insurance company to set up a time when their insurance adjuster could come out and check out the damage caused to our vehicle.

After looking at our car, he determined that it would cost $664 to repair it, and he provided us with an estimate detailing the repairs. He told us that the insurance company would send us a check, and that we could take the car anywhere we wanted to have it fixed.

Since the car was so new and we wanted to ensure the paint matched exactly, we decided to take it to the local dealership where we originally leased it. Also, hoping to possibly realize some automobile savings from the transaction (the difference between the check we received and the actual cost of the repairs), we didn't tell the dealership that we had an estimate from the insurance company, and simply asked them to give us an estimate to fix the car.

Boy, were we surprised when after only a few minutes of looking at the car, and evaluating the costs of repairs, the guy wasn't even finished yet with his estimate, and he was already up to well over $1,100!!! Remember, we had received an estimate and a check from the insurance company for only $664.

After informing the dealership repairman about our estimate, he basically said, "Well, whatever the insurance company quoted, that's what we'll have to go with, and if it costs any more than that to fix, we'll have to work it out with the insurance company". So much for some automobile savings and putting a couple dollars dollars in our pockets from this transaction.

But this still rubbed me wrong for another reason...what kind of BS did the dealership repairman give us??? If we didn't have the insurance company's quote, our cost would have been nearly double??? How can that be?

Next, were we going to have a fight with the insurance company over a "rental car" while our car was being repaired? And were they going to try to squeeze us into some cheap, compact car just to save a few bucks, even though our car being repaired was a mid sized car?

Personally, I'm a big guy (6'7" and nearly 300 lbs), and I didn't want my family to be squashed into some tiny, little compact car just to save the insurance company a couple of bucks. I didn't need a big, luxury sedan or a sport utility vehicle, but c'mon, let's be reasonable.

Well, I'm proud to say, after some slight negotiations, everything worked out fine with respect to the rental car. But please be careful here, as I've seen people get stuck with a final bill from the rental car agency of $5 to $10 per day, simply because the rental vehicle type wasn't negotiated up front, and the entire rental car cost wasn't covered by the insurance company.

And, ironically enough, after getting the car fixed, our final cost.....$664....exactly the same amount as the insurance company estimated! Coincidence???

Hmmm....I'm not sure about that. Although it all worked out, something tells me that there was something fishy going on there, and had we not had an estimate from the insurance company, we most certainly would have been gouged on the repair costs.

The moral of these stories..."SHOP AROUND" in order to receive significant automobile savings in repair and maintenance costs!

For that reason, I'd like to refer you to a service in your area called "Angie's List".

This service was created to help consumers find good, reliable service (in many different industries), at reasonable prices.

You can check out Angie's List by clicking here ==>> Angie's List

Get "like new" replacement parts from the junkyard for extra automobile savings

I'm certainly no expert on this, but I've been told that you can get replacement parts that are "like new" at the junk yard.

Oftentimes, these parts come from automobiles that have been in accidents, and are much less pricey than the brand new parts you'd have to buy from the dealership.

After all, why buy a brand new replacement part for a vehicle that is several years old?

Do your homework first, before committing to any specific repair costs.

Purchase a new automobile?

If you've purchased a new car and finally get it paid off, what do you do?

Go out and purchase a new one?

In my opinion, unless you plan on driving the same automobile until it's wheels fall off, an automobile is a depreciating asset, and I don't like to purchase depreciating assets.

If you've already done so, then try to get as much life out of it as humanly possible, before going to get a new one.

Automobiles are made to last for well over 100,000 miles nowadays, so stretching a few more years out of it will probably result in some significant automobile savings over the last few years of your car's life.

You've already used your hard-earned money purchasing the car, you might as well get a few years out of it without having a car payment.

Lease a new automobile?

As mentioned previously, I do not like to purchase depreciating assets, and an automobile is almost always a depreciating asset.

That's one of the many reasons I prefer to lease vehicles instead of purchasing them.

In addition, I prefer to drive a new automobile every few years, and leasing usually gives me better options, like lower monthly payments, resulting in extra monthly automobile savings.

In addition, since I am certainly not an auto mechanic, I like the fact that my automobile is under warranty for the majority of the lease term, and any potential high repair costs will usually be covered under the warranty.

I also like the fact that I can still purchase the automobile at the end of the lease term if I really like it, or I can turn it back in and walk away.

However, please be careful when leasing vehicles. Ensure you know your buyout price at the end of the lease, and be sure you're not going to be stuck in a situation where you have drastically exceeded the mileage limitations, as that can become rather costly.

Alerts when purchasing a new vehicle

Although I typically prefer to lease my vehicles, purchasing a vehicle can have some advantages if you plan to drive your car or truck for many years, again, allowing you to receive tremendous automobile savings during the final years of the car's useful life.

Many automobile companies are now offering incentives, like cash back, rebates, and low or no interest financing.

To be honest, I despise shopping for a new car, as I always wonder what the hidden costs are, and how I'm being taken advantage of. Plus, I've been treated differently by salesmen on car lots depending on how I'm dressed that particular day. Crazy, isn't it???

It doesn't make sense to me why a brand new car can significantly drop in value the minute you drive it off the lot.

This is due to the fact that if it is sold back to the dealership, they have to try to sell it as a used car, even though it's still basically brand new, and they just can't get the same money out of them once they are "used".

So then why is it that a new "demo" vehicle that one of the sales people drove for the last several months, is still considered "new", even though it has 5,000 miles on it.

Yet, as soon as we drive a brand new car off the lot and put 10 miles on it, the value drops drastically because it is "used".

Makes no sense to me...maybe one of my car salesman friends can help me understand this some day.

For this reason, I believe buying a used vehicle that was originally leased, has low mileage, and an extended warranty is oftentimes where the best deals are, resulting in significant automobile savings.

You can save a tremendous amount of money off the new car price, and you don't take that big depreciation hit that the original owner took.

Don't try to "Keep Up With the Joneses"!

Whether you decide to lease or buy, please don't get in over your head.

To be honest, no one really cares what type of car you drive. The days of having to "look cool" in your new car will soon be over.

News Flash: No one really cares which type of car you drive, and you certainly don't have to try to impress anyone!

Get something that serves it's purpose (to get you to and from your destinations safely and comfortably), is within your financial means, is comfortable for you and your family to fit in, is reliable, and gets good gas mileage.

Other than those features, almost everything else is pure fluff. Some of the wealthiest people I know drive the most down to earth, "average joe" types of vehicles, allowing them extra automobile savings. They certainly can afford a higher priced car, it's just an unnecessary expense.

Automobile Savings on Fuel Costs

In addition to buying or leasing a more fuel efficient automobile, there are other ways to save on fuel costs.

By planning ahead and combining trips, you can drive less often and save unnecessary miles as well as fuel costs.

In addition to having to buy gas less often, this will also reduce the wear and tear on your vehicle, thus reducing your maintenance costs.

For additional automobile savings, shop around a little bit for your gas

I'm not saying you should drive all over town to find the cheapest gas, as that defeats the purpose, but sometimes a gas station just down the street may have gas for $.10 or $.15 cents cheaper per gallon.

Also, many cities' local television and radio websites have sections on their sites indicating where the cheapest gas can be found.

It only takes a couple of minutes to see where the cheapest gas station is near you, and doing so can result in several dollars of automobile savings per gas fill up.

Your local grocery store = Automobile Savings

As I mentioned in the grocery savings area, one of our local grocery chains offers a discount of $.10 per gallon of gas on fill-ups for every a) $100 spent on groceries, b)$50 spent on gift cards, and c) two prescriptions filled at the grocer's pharmacy in a given month.

In addition, if you can be very disciplined and not get into credit card debt, our local grocery store offers Visa or Mastercards through the grocery chain itself, and you are able to use those credit cards for your gas purchases, and earn an additional $.05 discount per gallon of gas purchased.

Also, when it comes to gift cards, our local grocery store sells gift cards for many of the local restaurant chains, so if you dine out often, it may be beneficial to buy the gift cards at the grocery store, before going out to the gift cards enable you to receive a $.10 per gallon discount for every $50 of gift cards purchased...and as mentioned in my section on restaurant savings, a family can rarely eat out for under $50 anymore. Plus, if you don't use the entire gift card, the balance remains available for you to use in the future.

Warning: Please be sure that the grocery store doesn't charge you some sort of finance charge or bank fee to purchase the gift cards...I have seen some of the "credit card" gift cards cost a few extra dollars over and above their face value...a cost that is simply a finance charge for the issuer of the gift card. This will offset the automobile savings on gas prices, and make this "gift card" idea much less beneficial.

However, the main point here, is that by purchasing groceries, gift cards and prescriptions at your local grocery store, you may be able to enjoy several dollars of automobile savings per gas fill-up.

Car Pooling

A final no-brainer when it comes to automobile pool when you can with others who are going to the same places and live close by.

You can also take advantage of the public mass transit systems (busses, trains, trams, trolleys, subways, etc.) available in most cities.

Most mass transit costs are very inexpensive compared to the costs of operating and maintaining a vehicle.

Overall, by using some or all of the above mentioned strategies, your automobile savings can really become considerable. In addition, I'd certainly like to hear from you if you have any additional thoughts or suggestions with respect to automobile savings.

To Your Success...

David Jesse, Your Fellow Average Joe

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