Minimalist Car: Fantastic Ways to Reduce Expenses While Still Owning a Car (Part 2 of 2)

I first described 6 fantastic ways to reduce expenses while still owning a car in Minimalist Car: Fantastic Ways to Reduce Expenses While Still Owning a Car (Part 1 of 2).

Here are 7 more ways!

1. Carpool to work if you can or take public transportation.

These days, most corporate offices have some sort of Rideshare program they offer, or a nearby CTA/bus station that employees can use. Look into what your company has to offer when it comes to cutting costs when driving to work.

If no such program exists, ask your fellow coworkers to see who lives closest to you. If it works out, you can set up your own carpooling system, and make an additional friend or two while you’re at it.

2. Shop around for cheaper auto insurance.

When I used to pay some $600 on auto insurance twice a year, I was thinking, “Man! Why is it so expensive?!”

You know that commercial for Geico where they continually repeat “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance”? Well, I gave it shot.

Now I pay half of what I used to with my old auto insurance company, saving hundreds of dollars a year.

Shop around if you’re dissatisfied with what you’re currently paying now.

You’re the boss and can decide who you want to give your business to.

3. Clear out your car each time you park.

Don’t just leave the 40-lb. cat litter sitting in your trunk after you’ve parked. Spend the couple of minutes it would take and bring the damn thing in!

Extra weight bears its toll on the wear and tear of your car and tires. So leaving all your groceries, heavy sports bags, and all sorts of gear and equipment as you drive around town will inevitably run its toll on your car, gas, and tires.

4. Avoid getting car washes and detailing too often.

“Would you like a car wash with that?”

Just because you can save $0.10/gallon if you purchase a car wash with your fuel purchase doesn’t mean you need it or should. You end up spending whatever savings you were able to get and then some on the car wash! These expenses can really add up if you’re not aware of how often you add these extra services on top of everything else you have to pay for.

5. Avoid accessorizing your car and decking it out with the latest and greatest.

Owning a car can be much like owning a PS3 gaming system. Once you have that PS3, now you have to buy games for it, various controllers, memory cards, and a wide assortment of accessories that go along with the system. It adds up and brings in more expenses than you might have initially realized.

Be aware of what you are eyeing for your car, be that a new spoiler, lighted license plates, interior upgrades, seat cushions, head rest pillows, little knick knacks that hang from your rearview mirror, etc. Identify what is essential for your car needs (which would not include any of the aforementioned items) and eliminate the need for the non-essentials.

You’re the car owner; don’t let the car own you.

6. Pay attention to parking restrictions, especially if living and driving in the city.

You can easily avoid a $100 parking fine if you paid attention to the running meter or the signs posted around that say, “Do Not Park Here Between 7 a.m.-6 p.m.” Sure, sometimes you just don’t see the signs; it has certainly happened to me before.

Seeing that parking ticket slipped ever so casually underneath my windshield wiper as its orange paper mocks me makes me look around twice before I park somewhere, especially when it comes to city parking.

Even the way you display your parking slip can be grounds for a policeman to issue a fine. Once, this guy, in a rush to get to the secretary of state building in time, put his parking slip inside his windshield … but at the opposite corner of what the directions said it needs to be. Lo and behold, when he comes out, there’s a ticket on his windshield, for having “displayed the parking slip incorrectly.” You just never know! So pay attention and read the directions so you can avoid these fines.

If you’re parking in a lot of your friend’s apartment/condominium complex overnight, be sure to have the appropriate parking permit displayed in your car. You wouldn’t want to wake up the next day not only to find your car missing but now you have to pay the towing company for towing your car! Double whammy.

7. Renew your license, parking registration, auto insurance, etc. on time.

This is an easy, administrative task that doesn’t have to take long. Nowadays, you can renew your driver’s license online, through the mail, or on the phone. It’s gotten much easier with these options, especially if you dread waiting 3 hours in a stuffed, noisy, hot room full of disgruntled people and even more disgruntled secretary of state employees!

You don’t want to be caught with an expired license which then can be extrapolated from you, along with your driving privileges. Not fun.


Please remember that driving is a privilege, not a right. You earn the right when you take into account the responsibilities associated with such a dangerous mode of transportation.

Also, these tips are geared towards reducing expenses while owning a car that correlate with smart, savvy driving habits.

Be smart. Be savvy. Drive safe and if you don’t have to, don’t drive at all.

Be minimalist. Find alternate ways of getting around. If that doesn’t have to involve a car, even better.

If these tips have helped you, it would make my day if you’d share the love by passing this blog post along to others who might benefit. And if you have tips of your own, I’d love to hear about them in the Comments section! Take care, my friends, and drive safe!

  • tokyin

    A few more ideas:

    Don’t drink and drive! Even though after that a person will drive with great style, but it can surely get very expensive if caught.

    Walk (or bike) to buy groceries/bank if it’s within 15 minutes. Most people should be able to walk 15 minutes without problem – and it is good exercise! 1 stone kills 2 birds.

    Have someone pay for your gas. =P

    On the highway, drive somewhere between 60 and 65 mph. Gas efficiency is the best with this speed.

    Avoid traffic congestion and driving in the city if possible. Cars won’t be as healthy if it’s always involved in stop and go traffic; plus gas efficiency is much lower.

    Avoid getting car wash altogether…. Do it on our own can save money, especially if you wash your car while it’s raining cats and dogs – you can get a free shower.

    Finally – I think this is very important (if not the most important) – find a trusted, well known and well-respected car maintenance store to take care of the car. I once have something fixed for my car @ $50 in a shop, instead of $300 in another shop that is full of con-artist.

    Very nice ideas on how to save $$$ while owning a car!

  • Castles in the Air

    I get free car washes all the time thanks to Mother Nature! I haven’t washed my car (in a car wash) for definitely over a year. I don’t mind, the Fit can withstand it. :)

    Great ideas on how to reduce expenses while owning a car! I’ll be sure to speed down the highway (does driving faster increase your efficiency? like say, 85 mph?) in order to have good gas efficiency. lol!

  • tokyin

    Sure, driving 85 mph will have good gas efficiency – your gallon of gas will last very very long since you will be sitting in a police car.

    Better yet, driving 118 mph. You will probably see Jesus before you exit the highway. =P

  • Castles in the Air

    Sweet deal!!! LOL!

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