Many people see the New Year as a good time to make resolutions and financial goals often top the list. One way to take more control over your wallet is to make smart choices when it comes to your car.
Below are a few tips to help you make informed—and rewarding—decisions before heading out on the road.
Be a Shrewd Shopper
If buying a new car is on your to-do list this year, you’ll want to be as prepared as possible before you start the hunt. Edmunds.com provides several tips to optimize your savings when shopping. Use the Internet to research deals, rebates and car specifics, and establish a payment you can afford before you negotiate. Bankrate.com provides a handy calculator that can help you determine what makes sense for your budget, allowing you to factor in specific terms and any additional payments.
To Sell or Trade, That Is the Question
When buying a new car, you’ll have to decide whether you want to trade in your current one at the dealership or sell it on your own. According to DMV.org, selling your car privately typically is going to bring you more money, but the drawback is that finding the right buyer can take more time and effort. The advantage of a trade-in is that it’s often a much easier and less stressful process. In any case, you’ll want to be realistic about the value of the car you’re selling, being aware of things that may skew your judgment, such as your emotional attachment. You can research your car’s value on sites like Kelley Blue Book, which also recommends that you clean, organize and repair your car before trading it in.
Of course, another option is to donate your car to charity, which, as MSN Autos points out, can be attractive to those with cars that are not very highly valued. It’s an easy way to get the car off your hands, and you may be able to claim it as a tax deduction.
Save Money on Insurance
Another way you can save money on your vehicle expenses is making sure you’re paying the right price for your car insurance. According to Kelley Blue Book, you should consider car insurance costs before you buy a new vehicle since prices can vary greatly between different makes and models. Be sure to compare providers and consider combining your homeowners and auto policies under one carrier for greater discounts. Kelley Blue Book also notes other money-saving measures such as discounts for safe drivers, driving fewer miles per year by joining a carpool and increasing your deductible.
There’s an App for That
Whether you’re in the market for a new car or you’re just looking for ways to save with the car you have, your smartphone can be one of your biggest assets. Apps like KBB.com and Edmunds.com will help you research cars on the go, a huge benefit when you think you’ve found the right one at the dealership, but want to do a little more investigating. RepairPal and iWrecked can help if you have a hard time keeping track of your car’s maintenance schedule, want to research repair prices in your area or want to be prepared in the event of an auto emergency. Business Insider shares an extensive list of 15 apps to help you save on gas, including GasBuddy, which helps drivers find the lowest gas prices within the vicinity of their location, and Waze, a navigation app providing traffic updates and routes that help drivers avoid traffic jams and save gas.
Do you have any money-saving tips to add to the discussion? Let us know in the comments below.
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