The Average American Spends $798/Month on Their Car. 3 Ways to Pay Less

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You love your car. It’s your ride. It fits your needs as well as your style.

But have you thought about how much you actually spend to have it? According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s report on Consumer Expenditures in 2017 (released in September of 2018), the average cost to own a vehicle — including purchase, insurance, gas and other expenditures — is $9,576 annually.

That’s $798 per month, folks.

If you spend nearly $800 on your monthly car expenses, you’d probably like to shave that number down a bit. You’re in luck. Use these three tips to save some of that money for the drive-thru window.

1. Kick Your Overpriced Insurance Premium to the Curb

If you have a car, you probably need insurance, right? Right. But that bill takes a big chunk out of your bank account each month.

For many, car insurance is just one of those things where we cave in and pay. Because, just like the electric bill and phone service, we need it, right?

Yes. There’s no getting around car insurance, unfortunately. But one way you could save money is by shopping around and comparing rates at least once a year. Less than 50% of us do that, according to this survey from The Zebra, though 81% of us report wanting lower rates.

So, just like you compare the prices of flights, shoes and laptops before purchasing, why not compare car insurance?

If it’s been more than six months since your last car insurance quote, you should look again. 

And if you look through a digital marketplace called SmartFinancial, you could be getting rates as low as $22 a month — and saving yourself more than $700 a year. 

It takes one minute to get quotes from multiple insurers, so you can see all the best rates side-by-side. Yep — in just one minute you could save yourself $715 this year. That’s some major cash back in your pocket.

So if you haven’t checked car insurance rates in a while, see how much you can save with a new policy.


2. Pump the Brakes on High Gas Prices

If you’re a savvy saver, you probably already use GasBuddy to help you find the cheapest gas station in town. It’s an easy — and free — way to avoid overpaying.

But once you pull up to the pump, here’s something else you can do: Get a discount card from GasBuddy to automatically save 10 cents per gallon on your first purchase (and 5 cents per gallon after that).

The free discount card is tied directly to your checking account. It works at 95% of gas stations throughout the country, so you don’t have to drive around town just to find “your” station. Plus, you don’t have to wait for a rebate — it’s immediate savings.

Simply and securely sign up through GasBuddy. Connect your bank account, enter your address, and GasBuddy will put a card in the mail.

It’s time to put the pedal to the metal on your monthly car savings. Step on it!

3. Get a Better Loan

When you bought your car, you probably got a loan to do it. No problem.

But you probably didn’t get the best interest rate. That means you’re paying more in interest that you should. That’s a problem. You might be able to save a nice chunk of change by refinancing your auto loan.

Tyler Omoth is a former senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.