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Five Ways to Save Big on Transportation From Kristen Hagopian

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Everyone would like some more wiggle room in their bank accounts, yet most of us also know better than to ask the boss for a raise in the current economic environment.  Heck, most of us are scared to ask them to switch out the stale butterfingers in the vending machine.  That being said, if hyundai you want to significantly increase your bank balance, it’s easier than you might think!  Looking at the biggest areas in which we spend – and then rather effortlessly reducing them – can lead to huge savings with minimal headaches.  

Case in point: Transportation.  We all pay more than we need to for it, and with a few changes, you can pocket huge savings with some small moves.  Read on for some fabulously frugal ways to save hundreds, if not thousands, on your transportation costs.  Put one (or all!) of them to use and watch your savings grow effortlessly.

Buy smart:  According to AAA, owning a car and driving it 15,000 miles/year costs can cost over $8000, when you factor in gasoline, maintenance, financing, etc.  SUVs are even worse, costing over $10,000/year!  If you’re in the market for another car, do yourself a huge favor, forget the new flashy models, and buy used from a reputable dealer.  Go for a model at least five years old with good gas mileage, and you’re well on your way to major savings down the road.

Classic quote: It’s not the age, it’s the mileage.  If you’re driving 1000 miles per month in a car that averages 15 miles per gallon, you’ll spend $240/month at $3.65/gallon.  Drive a car that averages 25 miles per gallon instead, and you’re spending $144/month instead, saving you $96 month, or $1100/year.  Another important note: get your oil changed every 3,000 miles!  It will save you tremendous (expensive) wear and tear on your car, and maximize your gas mileage to boot.

Revisit your car insurance – if you used to be unemployed but are now starting a new job, perhaps getting married or just now building up your credit rating, have a talk with your insurance agent to see if these new, delightfully responsible moves could give you any leverage with your auto insurance rates.  Even a minimal cut in rates will add up huge over the course of the year.  Check it out.

Car Pool – don’t skip this part, hear me out!  Carpooling is back, and it’s hipper than ever.  Households are cutting back big time on expenses, and many are going with one car, rather than the usual two.  Carpooling can be a godsend.  Your gas prices are cut in half, and car insurance rates can drop as well depending on how good a mood your insurance agent is in.  The potential hassles are obvious: you don’t want to pick a CP buddy who is constantly late, who doesn’t share your stuffy driving style of actually stopping at red lights, etc.  But like screening any other partner in life, take your time to find the right match, and the savings will be great.

Rethink Public Transportation – what if being ultra open-minded about switching out your car for the train bus & trolley saved you thousands of dollars a year?  If your current travel involves home, work, shopping and pleasure activities that could easily be handled by your local public transportation, you might want to join the growing number of Americans who hop the train and permanently gave up their car keys, along with gasoline, insurance, garage fees, maintenance… you get the point.

If you’re one of the millions of hard-working Americans who drive hundreds of miles a week, chances are excellent you’re spending too much for the basics.  Try even a few of the ideas above and see how the savings could add up huge for you as well.  

Kristen Hagopian hosts “The Brilliant Frugal Living Show” Tuesdays at 11A on Philadelphia’s WFYL 1180AM.  Her next Brilliant Frugal Living Conference is October 22nd in West Chester, with $5 of every ticket sold being donated to the Chester County Food Bank to assist families in need.  Log onto www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com for more information!

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