College students usually don’t have much money. Students living on campus have most facilities within walking distance and save money by not owning a car. It’s healthier to walk or bike to classes. Everyone knows owning a vehicle is expensive, but for many students, a vehicle is their most prized possession. Owning a car gives you freedom to take trips or visit friends. Most people remember asking their parents if they could borrow the family vehicle for the evening. For many, buying their own vehicle was as significant a rite of passage to adulthood as graduating from high school. For these students, here are seven suggestions to help you save money on your vehicle:
Sharing your ride is one way to save money on the gas you need to get to classes or work. If you don’t have friends needing a ride, several websites focus on getting people together for carpooling including Lyft, Sidecar, and CarPool World. This requires time picking up and dropping off riders but the advantage is dividing the cost of gas in half, or thirds. Students who own luxury vehicles may want to check out Uber which operates less as a carpool and more like a private car service.
As a vehicle owner, you can perform several routine upkeep tasks that will keep your car running longer and save you money.
- Oil changes, recommended every 3,000 miles, generally cost $30 – $40. Step-by-step instructions are available online and, with practice, the entire process should take less than an hour.
- Dirty air filters can lower gas mileage up to 20 percent and changing them at least once a year, or every 12,000 miles, will save you money.
- Low tire pressure requires up to 11 cents more gas per gallon to drive. Check your car’s owner manual to find out the recommended tire pressure for your car and add air consistently to maintain that tire pressure.
Stay on your parent’s insurance, if possible, as this is the best opportunity for students to save money on insurance. If that is not an option, here are some more ways you can save money on your vehicle:
- Good grades can reduce insurance costs up to 25%.
- Keep your driving record clean by following speed limits, observing other drivers, and never driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Defensive driving classes reduce insurance costs.
4. Slow Down
Studies have indicated that gradual slowing and accelerating at stop lights versus abrupt stops and starts increase fuel efficiency up to 35%.
Gas prices vary greatly from station to station and you may be paying $5 – $10 more than necessary every fill-up. This unnecessary expenditure adds up rapidly over the course of a year. Locating stations that offer lower cost gas is simple these days as Apps such as Fuel Finder, or Gasbuddy.com will direct you to the nearest pump location.
6. Fuel Card
On top of watching where you fill up, there are other ways to save money on gas for your vehicle. One of the best ways is using a gas card. These gas cards not only help you to get discounts on your gas costs, but with many of the cards there are other money saving benefits. For example, a Fleetcare card helps you build credit and manage vehicle related expenses like tune-ups, repairs, tires, fan belts, or new wiper blades. Most of these cards don’t require any setup or annual fees.
7. Share your Car
Some students make $5,000 – $10,000 a year by renting out their vehicles to others. Two websites, GetAround and RelayRides, offer their own insurance, and let individuals list their cars for rent.
Saving money on your vehicle will help you financially throughout your college years. Students can still choose to walk or bike to their classes or job but having transportation gives you more freedom of choice. If you pay attention to the details, you can go to school, own a car, and still have enough money to eat.
Nicole is currently a successful small business owner, but she remembers those times when she was in college and just trying to make ends meet. She enjoys helping college students find ways to suceed financially while in college.