Recent world events have a lot of us worried about money and employment security. If you have been struggling with cash flow and are in need of a new vehicle, consider the tips below to boost your savings before you take on new payments.
1- Start Small
A little bit of savings, properly invested, can make it much easier to save more as you go. Consider doing a short-term no-spend. For example, if most of your discretionary dollars seem to disappear on the weekend, start planning on Wednesday to enjoy a weekend.
Watch a movie you own on Friday night, make a homemade pizza, and relax with family and friends. On Saturday, plan a picnic in a local park with your children to get some exercise and protect your budget. On Sunday, try a new recipe instead of eating lunch out.
On Monday morning, put a sizable percentage of that extra cash in your car savings account. Reserve some to look for other fun cheap and free activities. Living in a state of constant want will not be sustainable. However, doing without money doesn’t have to mean doing without friends, family, and fun. Ask for the support of those in your social circle and invite them to join you on those thrifty outings.
2- Create a Separate Account
One of the best ways to save cash over time is to make it hard to get to. Set up an online savings account that will pull money out of your regular bank account every month, then lose your password so it’s a hassle to get money out of the account.
If you are good at budgeting, make a line item in your budget for this savings account. If COVID has messed up your budget, you’re not alone. Set a small, non-negotiable contribution and add more if you can.
3- Buy Smart
If you’ve been without a car or limping along in a vehicle you don’t trust, the shiny new cars on the lot may be calling to you. However, the smart choice is to do your research before you go to the dealership to make sure that you are not paying too much for your new vehicle.
Paying too much for your car means you will pay more in interest. If you have to make more payments over time, you will need to carry more insurance until the payments are done. If you’re not mechanically minded, look around for mechanics who will check out your potential new car before you buy. The inspection fee you pay to a trustworthy mechanic on the car you walk away from can be the best investment you ever made.
Look for videos on how to do these basic checks. You don’t have to be able to change your own oil, but you need to know when your car is in trouble because the oil level is low. When you take the car out for a test drive, leave the radio off and listen for bumps, clinks, and dings.
4- Make Sure You Have Enough for Maintenance and Care
Make sure you have enough in savings to keep your car maintained. Simple actions, such as checking your tire pressure, getting your oil changed, and monitoring your coolant level are critical to keeping your new car on the road.