Every year you put thousands of dollars into keeping up with your vehicle. You knew that having a reliable means of transportation would come at some cost, but never imagined you’d be strapped for cash at times trying to afford it all. There are a lot of associated costs that come with owning a vehicle including the car note and insurance to the maintenance and repairs. It’s no surprise that the cost of these things increase every year making it difficult for families to maintain. If you’ve found yourself in a similar boat, fortunately, there ways to keep your car and manage the costs.

DIY Maintenance

Likely the biggest expense on a car is the routine maintenance caused by normal wear and tear. After driving your car for several thousand miles, it will need things like fresh oil, more coolant, clean filters, and new brake pads. Most car owners take their vehicles in to be serviced by a mechanic, not realizing that the job is easy and the labor is expensive. You can cut the middle man out and order your own parts online and complete your own car maintenance. As a result of keeping up with the maintenance, you’re left with fewer needs for repairs and you save money on gas mileage.

Refinance Your Auto Loan

Lots of car owners end up paying high car notes each month because of high interest rates. If the bulk of your payments are going towards the interest instead of the principal balance, you should refinance your auto loan to see if you can get a better rate. A lower interest rate means that more of what you’re paying is going towards the principle which helps you to pay off your loan sooner, saving you thousands of dollars each year.

Take Advantage of Car Insurance Discounts

Car insurance companies are always looking for new customers as well as ways to retain their old ones. This means they’re often willing to provide significant discounts and offers to eligible parties. If you think you are paying too much for car insurance, take advantage of car insurance discounts including multi-car insurance packages, bundling (home, life, and car), and offers for those who have good driving records, certain upgrades and safety features on their car, and more. Talk with your current car insurance company to find out what they have to offer to get your monthly premium down to something you can afford.

Safe Driving and Responsible Maintenance Save on Gas

The price of gas continues to fluctuate with each passing day. Though you can’t control how much the gas will be from one day to the next, you can keep your out of pocket expenses down by being a smart, safe driver and a responsible car owner. Driving the speed limit, for instance, keeps you from filling up at the tank so much..  Just as having your oil, air filters, and tires rotated as advised can reduce the amount of gas your car is guzzling up each day. Lastly, keeping an eye on deals at the pump may only seem like a few pennies per gallon, but can total up to a decent amount at the end of a month.

Look for Coupons

There are coupons for just about anything you need to have done to your car. You can get a few bucks off an oil change from a major auto shop, buy three tires and get one free at select vendors, or get discounts on everything from maintenance, repairs, and auto parts. These coupons might only seem like a few dollars here and there, but over the course of a year, these savings could add up to anything from an extra car note to the cash you need for your next road trip.

Owning a car is convenient, but it’s also very expensive. Most consumers don’t become aware of how expensive until they’ve had their vehicles for a few years and all the perks like warranties and free services have worn off. If you are having a difficult time managing to handle the true cost of car ownership, don’t trade in your ride for public transportation just yet. It’s very possible that with a few changes, you can keep your car and save money along the way.