Use Alternate Transportation
Riding public transportation, carpooling, walking, or riding your bike will help to drastically cut your transportation costs. Though riding the bus or carpooling can add time to your commute, you can spend that extra time catching up on your reading or listening to music. And of course, walking or riding your bike will get you some great exercise.
Downgrade Your Vehicle Options
Usually, the more expensive your car is, the more expensive your car payments and gas / maintenance costs will be. If you have an expensive car that you can't afford anymore, see if you can downgrade to a more economical vehicle. If you're lucky, the equity you have in your current car could pay for the "new" used car completely, meaning you wouldn't have a car payment each month.
Shop Around For Insurance
Car insurance can vary greatly, depending on the coverage and company that you go with. Shop around for the best deal. There are a million websites out there that can help you find the perfect coverage at the right price.
Just make sure that when you do the comparison shopping, that you compare apples to apples. Give each company the same requirements –type of coverage, deductable, and a good estimate of driving you do each year. Doing this simple step will make your job so much easier!
Find Cheaper Gas
You'd be surprised at how much gas prices can vary depending on the neighborhood and gas station. It could be $3.50 at one station and $3.75 at a station just down the street.
It's best to keep an eye out for gas prices as you drive around town. Also, there are gas comparison websites online, like gasbuddy.com, to help you find the best prices in your town…and you don't even have to leave your house!
Stick To Low-Grade Gas
Not all cars need the premium gas to run well. If your budget is tight, stick with the lower "regular unleaded" gas, which can run up to 30 cents cheaper than the premium grade.
Self-Service Is The Way To Savings!
Always pump your own gas and wash your own car. If you have kids, washing the family car can be a great weekend chore to do as a family. Why give the local car wash $10 (plus tip) to do something you or your kids could have fun doing on the weekend?
Do Your Own Car Maintenance
Learn how to change your own oil, checked your belts, and do other menial maintenance tasks yourself. This will not only save you money but the hassle of dealing with questionable mechanics.
Automobile maintenance classes can usually be found at your local community college or recreation center. If classes are not available, ask around – you might find someone willing to tutor you in the ways of your car.
Find a Trustworthy Mechanic
A reliable and trustworthy mechanic will be your best friend as your car ages and needs more repairs. They should be affordable and willing to work with you when your car dies and you don't have the extra money to cover the repairs. Many times, a good mechanic will be able to cobble something together so you can get to work and back until you can afford to do the full repair.
How do you find this "reliable and trustworthy" mechanic? Ask around and see who your friends, family, and coworkers use. Search online for names and reviews.
Most importantly, avoid taking your car to the dealership for maintenance and repair. These places are notorious for inflating prices by pressuring and upselling customers until the bill is comparable to the national debt.