Buying a fuel efficient car:
If you need a car, consider making fuel efficiency one of the criteria for picking a model. Money saved from better fuel economy is like free money in your pocket. The alternative is a gas-guzzler that would cost you more to travel the same distance.
Buying a Used car:
If you do proper research on reliable used cars, and you also get your mechanic to do a thorough check of the car you want to buy, you can easily pick up a 4 to 6 year old car at approximately 60 – 70% off the price of buying a new one. I recently purchased a 6 year old Toyota Matrix for 75% less than the price of a new one. I got my mechanic to do a thorough inspection of the car, and I have not had any problems with the car to date.
Basically here is how I go about buying used cars:
- Decide on the main utility of the car (what I need it for e.g. back and forth to work, hauling stuff e.t.c).
- Decide on how much I want to spend on the purchase.
- Go online (MSN Auto, Kelly’s Blue Book) to check out the reliability rating of the different make and models of the class of vehicle I want to purchase and the average price of the model/year.
- Narrow down make and model to about 2 or 3 types.
- Do an online search to see what is available. (I am willing to drive out of town for a good deal).
- When I find some vehicles I like, I confirm their reliability rating online and arrange to take the vehicle for a test drive.
- While checking out the car, I also use my handheld on-board Diagnostic Reader to check the car for Error codes and also to confirm that the on-board computer was not reset to hide any Error codes that may have popped up earlier. (OBD readers cost less than $70 and have served me and my friends well over the years).
- If after the test drive, and diagnostic check everything is okay, I arrange for my mechanic to do a thorough inspection of the car (with it on a hoist) before I make my offer.
- If the mechanic finds a few minor things that need to be fixed and still gives the car a thumbs up for being in good shape, I try to negotiate the costs to fix the repairs out of the price of the car with the seller. There you have it.
Fueling up (Gas):
Most cars will work well with just regular gas, but if you drive a car that requires using premium gas, check your gas station to see if they have special days that premium gas goes on sale. The next time you stop to fill up, you can ask the station attendant what day their premium gas is on sale)
Using Public Transportation:
If the bus stops are close to your home and office, and you do not need your vehicle for work, you should consider taking the bus. You will save on gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, and will not have to pay for parking. (parking downtown can cost anywhere from $ 80 and up. ($ 960 + taxes a year).
Depending on how flexible you are with your travel dates and destination, you can wait for last minute deals (check if there a websites you can put your email address so that you are alerted when a deal comes up. You can use travel websites like Travelocity or Expedia to find the lowest flights , car rentals, hotel or even vacation destination package.