4 Budgeting Tips to Help You Drive on a Budget


With the economy reopening and people returning to work, you have a question to ask yourself. Are you ready to navigate the roads? How about your wallet? Is it ready for the resulting bill, something that adds somewhere between $2,000 and $5,000 to your annual cost?

If you’re worried your commuting costs are on a collision course with your budget, here are some tips to help you tamp the brakes and manage your auto expenses.

1Retool Your Budget

If you adjusted your budget to reflect your remote working habits, it’s time to update your spending plan to account for your return to the roads.

While your auto budget may fluctuate from year to year as your car ages, you can create an accurate budget by comparing the averages for your state and what you’ve paid in the past for:

  • Annual tune-ups
  • Gas
  • Insurance
  • Regular maintenance, including oil and fluid changes, re-alignments
  • Snow tires

2Add a Cushion

The AAA recommends drivers save at minimum $50 a month on top of their routine bills to go towards emergency savings. You may tap into this cash cushion if you’re involved in a fender bender you don’t want to go through insurance, or you find yourself broken down on the side of the highway.

If an emergency happens before you can create your cushion, online direct lenders may grant you a cash loan to cover these unexpected emergency expenses.

Online direct lenders may provide a variety of financial products, but you’ll notice these products tend to fall into two camps:

  1. direct lender payday loans
  2. direct lender installment loans

Compare them carefully. While direct lender payday loans generally must be repaid by your next payday, direct lender installment loans have a longer term. You may break up your repayment over several installments.

Location also plays a big role in your cash loans’ rates, terms, and conditions, even if you’re looking online. Online direct lenders must follow each state’s unique lending laws, so their products may differ depending on where you live.

So, for example, if you’re looking for a reliable lender in Utah, stick with Utah installment loans. Otherwise, you may end up waste time researching rates and terms that don’t apply to you.

3Switch up Your Commute

Do you work and live in the same city? This convenient living arrangement gives you a chance to walk or bike to work. Commuting on your own steam comes with some convincing advantages:

  • Puts less wear and tear on your car, which may translate into fewer maintenance costs
  • Reduces how often you need to fill up your tank
  • Increases your physical activity
  • Driving less may lower your insurance
  • An outdoor commute may improve your mental well-being

4Change Your Driving Habits

Road rage may be hard to tamp down when you’re stuck in gridlock, and another person cuts you off. But try not to let it get to you. Making rash decisions behind the wheel can lead to costly and dangerous consequences.

Stay safe by always driving the speed limit, keeping safe distances, and adjusting for driving conditions.

Bottom Line

Don’t let your commute drive away with your budget. Sit down with this spending plan to make sure you’re prepared for the typical expenses you might face, including some you may not expect. Better yet, change the way you commute to see the biggest effects on your finances. Happy driving!


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