Money-Saving Tips for Buying and Maintaining Our Rides

It doesn’t matter if ours still has that “showroom smell” or is so old and beat-up, prayers are regularly offered up to the car gods just before turning the key; for many of us, cars aren’t always “just” a luxury. For many of us our automobile is a necessity, a lifeline to the things we need to do, and the places we need to go, every day.

While we at Sage Personal Finance are fans of walking, biking, carpooling and public transportation (those actions are not only green, they save you cash), for some folks, a car can be the only way to get to work, to school, or to the grocery store.

If you have to have a car, it’s always wise to keep the vehicle in good repair, take steps to increase fuel efficiency and look for practical ways to save on gasoline.

DriverSide is a great general maintenance and repair site (it can help you buy or sell a vehicle too) that covers the lifecycle of car ownership. In addition to buying tips and practical repair and maintenance advice from experienced mechanics, the site notifies users about recalls and recommended repairs. A must-have resource if you “must have” a car.

In addition to offering maintenance and repair tips for car owners, The US Department of Energy’s website, offers advice on driving more efficiently to keep fuel costs as low as possible.  Even if driving is a necessity, following some of the common-sense advice on the site will help drivers to “sip” rather than “guzzle” gasoline on the open road.

Now that your car is primed, tuned and ready to roll out of the driveway, it’s time to find cheap fuel. Where to begin?

AAA’s daily Fuel Gauge Report is a great starting point. The site helps consumers gauge the average price a consumer can expect to pay for gasoline in any state and on any given day of the week.

Once you know what gas stations charge on average for a gallon of fuel, it’s time to zero in on finding the best possible prices for gasoline in your neighborhood — and GasBuddy is where thousands of volunteer “price spotters” gather to report and share information about fuel prices in the US and Canada. In addition to real-time reporting of gas prices, the site has a “trip cost” calculator, gas price charts and even smartphone apps for finding (and reporting) cheap gas on the fly.

How are you saving money on your car and on transportation in general? Tell us about sites that help green the planet – and your wallet!

-Cindy M.

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