Inexpensive At It’s Best: All You Need To Know About Keeping It Cheap!
In this day and age we have so many expenses: a house, kids, animals, groceries and yes a car!
Saving money is the key to financial success. But how can we save money on our cars when the prices keep going up?
Gas prices are up, car price tags are high and believe it or not, even labor for maintenance has risen.
We have to ask ourselves the question “How bad do you want it?”
What ever happened to those good old days? The days when a vehicle was made for the common middle-class American that was affordable?
There are still a handful of ways to save on a car. Not just the purchase of a car but its maintenance and cheap car insurance.
There are ways to hack the system and get the car you want without spending your savings or having to draw out a huge loan.
How bad do you want it? Let’s find out…
Here is a list of some of the cheapest cars. This means the cheapest price tag to purchase.
And in most cases these will also get you the cheapest car insurance because of the size of their engines. We will talk more about that later.
Some are gas, some are electric and some are barely a car at all.
- Now if we are talking brand new, the Fiat Pop is a nice little car with an even littler price tag. For only 15k This car comes with all of the high-tech features a modern vehicle should have. It is also quite small but has a comfortable interior. It gets great gas mileage and is easy to manage. The downsides to this car is that there is no luxury appeal at all. It is almost as cheap feeling as the price tag. But for those who don’t need luxury, this little car could be the one for you.
- The Chevy Spark is a nice car that has more quality features than the Fiat Pop. For a smaller two door car it is quite roomy. And with a price tag of just $13k, it’s worth every little penny. This car has a rearview camera, a touchscreen and 10 airbags. It’s safe and reliable. This car would make a great first car for a teen.
- Another new car with a small price tag is the Nissan Versa S. This cute gas-saver is only $12.5k and is a lot roomier than the two listed above. With a small transmission and lack-luster interior, you get a car which has no luxurious features. However this car can get up to 40 mpg and has four doors. Many rental companies use these cars for their clients because they are cheap and give you less stops at the gas station than most in it’s size range. This car isn’t going to be a favorite, but it will keep your payments very low.
Not Quite New…
- If you are looking for a car that still has some bells and whistles but isn’t brand new right off of the lot, you should take a look at a used Toyota Corolla. The 2015 Corolla will run about $13k. Even though it is a couple years old this car has a 5 star safety rating and up to 38 miles per gallon on the highway. Corollas are easy to maintain and run forever. You may be paying the same as a brand new Chevy Spark, but you are getting a little more quality in the brand name. Toyota has a reputation of being a long sustaining vehicle. The small engine will mean that car insurance should stay quite reasonable as well.
- 2010 VW Jetta is a sleek looking car that turns heads. But it won’t turn over your packet book. For around $7k this used car is cute and comfortable. It gets decent gas mileage as well as 40 mpg on the highway. This German made car is family friendly with a larger interior and four doors. It has a 9 out of 10 safety rating and comes in diesel.
- If you want a small SUV, the most cost affective will certainly be the Toyota Rav 4. You can purchase this cute SUV for around $12k. That’s a steal for all of the room and convenience this car will give you. With a V6 engine you will have optimum power for the gas mileage. This might be a good option for a new teen driver or when starting a family. The cost of keeping this vehicle is also inexpensive and easy to fix by yourself.
Let’s Talk Insurance
After purchasing a vehicle, the second largest expense to any owner is the cost of insuring the vehicle.
Every state has a minimum amount of insurance that an owner must maintain.
Other than insurance, registration is an annual cost for keeping a car. When purchasing older vehicles, passing smog may be an added expense as well.
We want to talk about newer vehicles that won’t have that issue.
There are ways to understand the costs of insurance and registration before you decide to purchase.
More often than not the larger the engine, the more the insurance will be. Safety ratings also play a part.
Take the state of California for example. The minimum amount of car insurance coverage is:
- Bodily Injury Liability Limits: $30,000 per occurrence/ $15,000 per person
- Property Damage Liability Limits: $5,000 per occurrence
This minimum coverage for a V6 engine, used car will run you between $600-$1,000 a year. That’s around $65 a month give or take.
There are a lot of other factors that go into assuming your insurance premium amount. It also depends on how old your car is and what you are using your car for.
Factors: Cheap Ways To Save
- Where you live is a factor. If you live in a large and bustling city, the insurance company realizes that you are at a higher risk of being hit or your car getting stolen. If you live in a quiet suburb, your costs could go down.
- How old you are. If you are over 25, you are less of a risk to an insurance company. If you are a good driver and continue to show this, every year your premiums should continue to go down.
- Are you a member of a club such as Veteran of America? Ask your agent about club and association discounts.
- Do you have a good driving record? Are you a high-risk driver? If you have ever had a DUI your insurance will cost more. If you have a perfect driving record and have taken a drivers safety course you will save.
- Are you married? Believe it or not married couples pay less over all for their car insurance.
- Raise your deductible to lower your premium. If you want to pay less monthly, then raise your deductible for when you are in an accident.
- Pay for your car insurance annually or bi-annually instead of monthly. This could save you in the end.
If you do the above-mentioned ways to save on your car insurance, you could look at reducing your overall bill by a couple hundred dollars a year.
That really adds up!
What have we learned so far?
If you are married, live in a quiet neighborhood and have a perfect driving record, you could scratch off hundreds on your insurance bill.
But what if you cannot help some of these factors?
What if you are single, living in a busy city and need a car?
You are in luck because insurance companies love to reward loyalty. Bundle your insurance accounts and save even more.
You can go above and beyond by taking a drivers safety course. You could be rewarded by a slash in your insurance premium.
At some point you will need to fix your car. There are always things that go wrong, no matter how reliable a vehicle.
You may choose to do maintenance by yourself. Or maybe you don’t have time and the repair shop is your only answer.
Either way, cars and labor are not cheap. Doing your homework on which cars cost less to repair is important when saving.
Here is a list of the cheapest cars to repair:
- A Honda CR-V leads the way in the least amount of repairs needed on a vehicle. Tests show that the engine light comes on the least amount of times as any other car. Even when sent to the shop, the costs of the repairs remain low. Hondas have always been reliable cars. Now, their price tags may be a little higher. A 2015 Honda CR-V runs about $25k which is a bit more than the Toyota Rav 4.
- The 2014 Toyota Tundra is one of the best trucks on the market and it needs the least amount of repairs. According to Forbes Magazine, this truck had very low “check engine” light repairs. These gas run trucks tend to drive more like a car and have low towing capacity which helps with maintenance costs.
- 2015 Toyota Camry leads the way when saving at the shop. According to CarsMD, this upscale sedan has very little problems under the hood.
- Now when we are talking about the cheapest cars to actually repair, Hyundai ranks as one of the highest. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they meet the standard of the above three, but once in the shop, they are easy to find parts for and take very little time to repair which saves you money.
- Any Toyota brand car is simple to work on. Most car shops have parts readily available for these cars. They are simple and reliable and also cheap to fix. Unlike the foreign Volvo, parts usually don’t have to be speciality ordered for the Japanese made Toyota. This is because parts are manufactured in America.
What is the average cost of maintenance?
What do shops charge for car maintenance?
- Oil changes aren’t usually over $50. Most car shops have a fast and easy way to change your oil and fluids. They buy their fluids in bulk at a lower price so this saves money. Oil changes are the cheapest part of maintaining a car but need to be done at least 3-4 times a year. You can budget for about $200 of oil changes annually.
- Spark plugs usually only have to be replaced every couple of years. It is usually cheaper for a shop to do this because you will need special tools. You will pay a shop around $250 to replace your spark plugs and it will take an hour or two.
- Tires on a mid-sized sedan should be replaced every few years or 30 thousand miles. It depends on the type of tires you have. Some warranties last longer than that. To replace four tires on a Toyota Camry it will cost you around $300. That is a lot less than a truck which costs around $1,000.
- One of the most expensive parts to replace, that also happens to be a common problem in many cars, is the catalytic convertor. This will cost you around $1,000 to replace in a shop but usually doesn’t start acting up until about 100 thousand miles. You should have at least a few good years of driving before having to shell out the cash.
According to CarsMD more than 10% of cars in the United States have their check engine light on at any given time. Yes, that box of steel and rubber you are driving needs to be maintained.
So let’s break this all down shall we?
Example 1: You purchase a 2012 Toyota Rav 4 with 40 thousand miles on it. That will set you back $12k (but a good price for such a nice car). In the first year of ownership you will spend $200 on oil changes, $600 in cheap car insurance and around $140 for the registration. Yearly total: $940. Total for the car and first year expenses: $12, 940
Example 2: You purchase a 2011 VW Jetta with 100 thousand miles on it. This will cost you around $8k. You have your yearly oil changes: $200. You need the spark plugs changed: $200. And the shop you took your car to says that it’s about time to change out that catalytic convertor if you want it to pass smog. This will set you back $1,000. Your registration is $120. You decide to wait on new tires until next year because of these expenses. Yearly expenses: $1,520. Total for car and first year expenses: $9,520
Example 3: You purchase a brand new Chevy Spark with 2000 miles on it. This costs $13k. Your first year you spend $300 on oil changes because you decide to upgrade to synthetic oil and also change the transmission fluid. You pay $200 in car registration. Nothing else needs to be maintained this year. Cost of car and first year of maintenance: $13,500.
As you can see, there are many ways to solve your money issues.
Budgeting for the real life expenses of owning a car is one way to do so.
Buying a car with a low price tag and low cost for repairs is another.
Whether you buy new or used, there will always be costs.
The average American spends $10 thousand dollars a year on their car. This includes gas, insurance, registration, car payments, and maintenance according to AAA.