Today is all about monthly car and transportation expenses. I don't know anyone that doesn't have to pay one or the other.
My car and transportation expenses are about 5% of my total monthly budget. Part of the reason this category is such a low expense for me is I don't have a car payment.
As much as I would love to have a shiny new car, I am actually pretty content with my car. She turns 11 this year! She was a college graduation present and we have completed 165,000 miles together.
My goal is to get to 200,000 miles! My car still runs pretty good and I think we have a few more years left together.
My car expenses
I have really cut down on my driving since moving to a very walkable city. Even though I drive very few miles each month, I still have car expenses.
Because parking is a premium where I live and there really isn't street parking, I have to pay to park in my apartment's garage. This expense costs me $55 a month.
I actually track this expense under my housing expense because it's part of my rent payment. This is a tough expense for me to pay but I don't really have any other options. I chalk it up to part of the city living experience.
Car insurance is also significantly higher here. I am not sure if this is a west coast reason or a heavy population reason. My premium basically doubled when I moved here!
I shopped around and finally found a true low mileage care insurance program with Metromile. This helped get my premium back down to what it was before moving to the city. I spend around $50 a month on car insurance.
Gas and oil changes
I am averaging one oil change a year, which costs around $40. I use high mileage oil so it's a little pricier than an average oil change.
A tank of gas can usually last me 6-8 weeks. Gas is high on the west coast and I am glad I don't have to fill up very often!
I also have really cut down on detailing my car since I moved. Back home in Florida, there was a car wash and detail on every corner. Here is Seattle people don't really seem to care about their cars as much and I think that has rubbed off on me a little. I am saving a lot of money in this area!
My car does need some maintenance. I have been putting it off, mostly because I am not doing that much driving and don't feel like spending the money. I also need to buy two new tires before fall of this year. I plan on spending around $1000 this year on maintenance and 2 new tires.
In addition to my car expenses, I also pay transportation costs. I ride the bus to and from work almost every day, which costs a total of $4.50 a day or $22.50 a week. Unfortunately, my work doesn't reimburse for my bus pass so I have to pay this expense.
Other ways to reduce car expenses
I have pretty much reduced my car expenses as much as possible. Here are some other ideas to reduce your monthly car and transportation expenses:
Related post: How to Lower Your Car Expenses
- Depending on how much money your car is worth, consider reducing insurance coverage and increasing your deductibles. I have always had the maximum deductible possible because I always knew I could up with my money if needed. I have also reduced my coverage needs as I rarely drive.
- Qualify for as many safe driver discounts as possible. Sometimes it's worth doing an online chat with an agent or calling your insurance provider to talk about additional discounts.
- Skip the emergency roadside assistance. Fortunately, I have only had 1 flat tire and managed to put the spare on with my boyfriend. Otherwise, free roadside assistance was available through 411 back home. Finally, if you have a friend or family member that can come help you out, it might actually be quicker than the roadside assistance offered through your car insurance.
- Combine Insurance plans. I mentioned this in a previous post, but I used to merge my homeowner's insurance with my auto insurance and had significant savings.
Do you have a car payment? How old is your car?