Ways to Save Money on Transportation Costs

Never buy a new car -- The moment you drive a new car off the lot, it depreciates significantly.  In fact, a very high percentage of the total depreciation that occurs over a car's life occurs when you drive it off the lot.  Buy a car that is just a year old and you will pay close to what the car is actually worth.  This way, the person who owned the car before you pays for all that depreciation.

Hide your trade-in from the car sales person -- In order to maximize the profit he makes when you buy a new car, the sales person will offer you less for your trade-in if you manage to effectively negotiate a lower price for your new car.  If you can, hide your trade-in from the salesperson by parking around the block, etc., and refuse to discuss or negotiate the trade-in price until you have negotiated the price of the new car.

Have car dealers compete for your business – Visit the website CarWoo.com and provide information about the particular make and model of a car you want to buy or lease and get quotes from local car dealerships without revealing your identity.

Haggle down the price of the car – Most car buyers aren’t aware that they can get a much better price for a new or used car by negotiating with good information found on car websites such as Kelly Blue Book at kbb.com or Edmunds.com or TrueCar.com.  Find out what they think a car is worth before you make an offer. At TrueCar.com you can get a list of dealerships with the lowest prices.

Don’t buy a new car or truck in April and May – With tax refund checks being distributed and more customers on the lot, many car dealerships aren’t in the mood to bargain during these two months.  Better for you to wait until July and August when the new models come out and dealers are trying to clear last year’s models from their lot.  It is also better to buy at the end of the month when car sales people are anxious to meet their sales quotas that month and more willing to go down on price.  Overall, the best time of the year to buy a new car if you want a discount is the day after Christmas, December 26th.

Buy a car with a high residual value -- Most cars depreciate significantly after they are purchased, losing almost half of their value within two years.  Buying a car with a high residual value (35% or more) means you might get significantly more when you sell it or trade it in five years from now.  Find out your car's residual value at www.edmunds.com.  As of early 2005, cars with the highest residual value are the Nissan Altima, Ford F-150, Toyota Camry Solara and Toyota 4Runner.

Check out auto insurance rates before you buy a car -- Find out what it's going to cost you to insure a specific vehicle before you buy it, as different models have different rates.

Improve your credit score -- Insurance studies have found a correlation between insurance claims and credit scores; therefore, most states allow auto insurers to charge premiums three times higher for those with low credit scores.  Improve your credit score and lower your insurance premiums.

Don't buy a gas guzzler -- If you can't afford to drive a big SUV, then don't.  The amount of money the owner of a small economy car has to spend on gasoline each month is significantly less than what the owner of a gas guzzling SUV has to spend. 
Wash your own car -- This can save you as little as $10 per month or as much as $30 per month.

Don’t Buy Built-in Navigation Devices – A car with a built-in navigation device typically costs $1,600 more than one without a navigation device.  Since you can buy a portable one for significantly less, it is a waste of money to pay for this.

Share a car – When you consider that it costs $8,500 to drive a mid-sized car just 15,000 miles, it’s no wonder that more and more people are selling their cars and taking public transportation or sharing a car with others.  Many companies are popping up every year giving consumers the opportunity to rent a car for as little as one hour.  Companies such as ZipCar and Hertz on Demand are parking their cars in urban areas, college campuses and well-populated areas where people can easily rent them for an hour or just a day. Even the large car rental companies are getting in on the action.  By relying on public transportation and occasional car rentals, you can save thousands every year.

Keep your car longer --  The average age of a car in the USA is eleven years, which is surprising when you consider how much of a car culture America is.  People are keeping their cars longer because new cars are just so expensive.  If you do buy a new car, take very good care of it and drive it for 15 years or until it starts to be so decrepit you’re concerned about your safety.

Hybrid cars might not save you money -- At the present time, hybrid and electric cars come with a very expensive sticker price.  The amount of money they will save you on fuel might never offset the high price of the car, and even if it does, it will take you at least five years to start saving money on gas because the initial price of the car is so high.  The biggest benefit a hybrid has now is that it is better for the environment.

Use public transportation -- You can save an average of $10,000 per year by giving up your car and relying on public transportation and occasionally renting a car to get around.  If you don’t own a car you don’t have to pay for maintenance and repairs, insurance, taxes, licensing, and tolls. 

Reduce your commute.  Money magazine reported in July 2013 that the average couple who commutes 20 miles to work each day loses $125,000 of wealth every ten years. Moving closer to work would be worth the cost of selling your home and relocating.

Next topic:  Ways to Save Money on Gasoline
See also:   Ways to Save Money on Car Repairs

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