Automobile Insurance You Can Count On…One Hand
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After a home, a car is usually the second largest monthly expense that people face. Finding ways to save money when buying and insuring a car will put less of a strain on a family budget.

The first step is to plan ahead. If your current vehicle is past its prime, start saving immediately for a replacement. To determine your savings goal, research the highest and lowest prices for cars that you want. As a minimum, you should save for a period of at least six months. Set a realistic goal and budget. If you’re able to save in other areas, apply those extra dollars to your car fund. Reduce other debts so that your credit rating will improve. The higher the down payment that you make and the higher your credit score, the better the terms you will receive should you have to finance the purchase. Depending on how soon you start and the amount you save, it may be possible for you to purchase your next vehicle outright. This will save you the interest payments that you would have paid if you had financed the vehicle.

When the time comes to purchase a vehicle, determine the features that are most important to you and which ones are optional. Essential features may include the number of passengers you can transport, fuel economy and safety rating. Optional features include amenities, such as heated seats, Bluetooth connectivity and satellite radio. Rank all these options so you can determine the car that will give you the most number of features for the least price. With your list of features and budget, you have a realistic projection of what you can afford. Your goal should be to maximize your value.

Go online or to a dealer to find your new car. Test drive the vehicle and have it inspected if it’s a previously owned model. Negotiate the best price possible.

After you purchase the vehicle, you may be able to save money on your auto insurance. Your new vehicle might qualify for discounts that weren’t available for your older vehicle, such as fuel mileage and safety features. You may be able to reduce your coverage as well. A newer, more reliable car may enable you to drop portions of your roadside assistance program.

As with any large purchase, you can save money by planning ahead, shopping around and taking advantage of available discounts.

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Finding ways to save cash doesn’t have to be difficult. One way to save money that is very approachable and easily executable is trimming the automobile budget. Follow these five steps to reducing the expense of owning and operating a car.

1) Lighten up the load. Almost every car on the road is carrying unnecessary ballast. From daily items like clothing and groceries to more random things such as cans of paint, bags of concrete in the trunk and stacks of ancient electronics destined for Goodwill, these things weigh the car down and suck up more gas. Get them out. Avoid leaving anything in the car that isn’t necessary.

2) Keep up on regular maintenance. A great running car will go farther on a gallon of gas than a car that’s been neglected. This includes basic tasks such as oil changes and air filter replacements, but also requires that users check tire pressures regularly and keep an eye on the coolant condition and the check engine light. If that light is on, there’s something wrong that could be leaching fuel mileage.

3) Go easy on the gas pedal. There’s no need to stomp on the accelerator when pulling away from a traffic light or stop sign. Practice making smooth, steady departures from stops. Trying to rapidly accelerate away from a stop light only wastes gasoline and doesn’t save any time. And use cruise control on the highways and freeways when possible. By using cruise control, the car is traveling at a steady pace without unnecessary acceleration.

4) Beyond the basic maintenance that improves fuel economy, cars need to be properly aligned. If the front steering alignment is off, the symptom of such a condition is not only poor handling and control, but also decreased efficiency and premature tire wear. Tires are one of the continual expenses drivers face in owning an automobile. By making sure that the car’s front end is in good working order and is properly adjusted, the driver will be spending less money on tires over the life of the car.

5) Carpool if possible. Sharing the commute with another person reduces the amount of single-occupancy vehicles on the road and splits the cost of operating a car. And, carpooling has the added bonus of companionship on the morning and evening commutes. Having someone to share a commute with reduces stress and makes the day more enjoyable.