Car ownership can be a huge responsibility and expense, and if you’re not prepared for it, it will end up costing you a lot more money than planned. From fuel, to insurance and repairs, the costs of owning and running a car can rack up very quickly. It’s not surprising that costly vehicles are one of the reasons people end up in major debt. And because a car is a depreciating asset, the last thing you want to do is rack up thousands of dollars on something that’s losing value each time you drive it. So how can you make sure your car doesn’t become a huge monthly expense that actually makes it harder for you to save and invest your money elsewhere? Here are a few tips to save on vehicle costs.

Shop Around for Insurance

Anything can happen on the road, and for that reason, it’s important to be covered. But the thing they often don’t tell you about insurance is that you can get great deals if you actually shop around for it. Instead of just accepting the terms one insurer gives you, be sure to get multiple quotes from different companies and try to get the best terms you can get. You can also take the different terms you get back to your insurer of choice to see if you can get them to give you a discount.

Buy Second Hand

We’ve already established that cars are a depreciating asset. One of the ways to avoid paying too much for something that won’t maintain its same value is buying a pre-owned car. You can find high quality cars that will cost a lot less because they are second hand. These cars aren’t even cast-offs, if you buy from a reputable dealer, they have been tested, vetted and given a stamp of approval. If you know what to look for, including low mileage, a good service plan and proof that the car was regularly serviced, you can buy a reliable car without paying thousands more for a brand new car.

Get Good Warranty Coverage

Your car is insured for things like smash and grabs or accidents, but what about for any mechanical issues or failures that might arise? One of the biggest stressors of owning a car is that an issue can arise anytime. Your car could hit a pothole and that could do damage, or you might start dealing with a funny sound, and those are things you need to be covered for. A service plan is great because it means you won’t always be paying for car issues out of pocket or deal with unplanned financial outlays caused by issues with your vehicle. Whether you choose a CarShield Extended Vehicle Service Protection or Good Sam ESP, it’s so important to make sure your car is covered for any unforeseen problems.

Drive If You Really Need To

If you want to keep your car costs down, one of the best things you can do is drive it only when it’s necessary. For example, you can drive it over the weekends and use the train during the week. If you live close enough to work, you can use a bike or the bus, or you can carpool with work colleagues. These are all measures you can take to keep the car and fuel costs down to make it more manageable.

Purchasing a car doesn’t mean the costs stop there. You’ll have to pay for fuel, insurance and possibly be on the hook for any costly repairs that may arise. To save money, you have to have a good strategy in place in the case of a mechanical issue or accident. By driving responsibly, you can actually take the money you would be spending on a car and invest it in ways that build wealth.