Owning a car isn’t cheap. There are monthly installments, insurance, registration fees, gas, maintenance, and repairs.
When you add it all up, you may be shocked to discover just how much your car costs you. According to the AAA, the actual cost of owning a new vehicle amounts to around $9,200 per year. That’s $767 per month.
Every car owner accepts that there’s a price to pay for the convenience of getting from A to B in the comfort of your vehicle. But is there a way to enjoy that convenience at a cheaper cost? Try turning to your smartphone for help. We’ve rounded 16 apps that can help reduce car-related expenses.
Best Budgeting Apps To Save Towards Buying a Car
If you plan to buy a car, the more you save for a deposit, the lower your outstanding loan balance will be. Perhaps you have a more ambitious goal of saving to buy a car with cash.
Buying a car with cash means you avoid debt and the interest that comes with it. That in itself can save a ton of money. These budgeting apps can help you achieve your goal of saving for a car.
Qapital lets you set saving goals and makes it easy to save towards them with autosave rules. Here are two examples.
- The “roundup rule” rounds up a purchase price and puts the balance into your savings. If you spent $5.50 on a purchase, it rounds it up to $6 and sets the 50 cents into your savings.
- The “set and forget rule” lets you set a specific amount that you want to be transferred to your savings every day, week, or month. E.g., Save 25 dollars every Monday or $100 every month.
Clarity Money is another app that can help you save towards a goal. Brought to you by Marcus by Goldman Sachs, you can choose to set up a High-Yield Marcus Online Savings Account for a higher return on your savings.
Clarity Money also tracks your spending and identifies unwanted subscriptions, and lets you cancel them from within the app. The savings from canceled subscriptions can be put towards your savings goal.
Similar to Qapital and Clarity Money, Digit is a micro-savings app that lets you save automatically. The app assesses your income, recurring bills, and current spending and calculates how much is leftover and redirected to your savings. Small amounts saved daily can quickly add up, and before you know, you’ll have the money for a car deposit.
Pocket Guard is another intuitive app that analyzes your income, expenses, and goals and creates a personalized budget. Whatever money is leftover is automatically “pocketed” in the savings goal of your choice. Pocket Guard also recommends financial services that can help you save on expenses like bills, loans, and subscription services and access discounts on shopping.
Best Car Buying Apps
Once you’ve saved up money to buy a car, how can you find the best deals? Before you head to a car dealer, use these apps to research vehicles and pricing.
iSeeCars.com is an excellent site to search for new and used cars. The site is essentially a search engine that crawls car sites, like Cars.com and Autotrader, and sites like Craigslist and eBay, so you can browse vehicles from dealers and private sellers. If you’ve found a used car you’re interested in, it also lets you check the vehicle’s history for extra peace of mind.
Kelley Blue Book
Kelley Blue Book is one of the most reputable automotive research companies with a wealth of information and reviews on almost every car imaginable.
Want an expert opinion on a vehicle you’re interested in? This is the site to do research on a vehicle model and check the market value. Knowing what a car’s market value is puts you in a better position to negotiate the price and avoid exploitation by greedy dealerships.
Auto Gravity’s mobile app lets you compare lenders and find an auto loan at competitive rates. Complete a quick online application and receive loan offers from lenders within minutes. Choose the best one, and you’re ready to approach dealers with a preapproved loan.
Are you struggling to find finance because of poor credit history? Auto Gravity will match you with lenders willing to provide loans to those with lower credit scores. You can also use Auto Gravity to find a good lease deal if you don’t want to buy a car.
Car prices vary from city to city and state to state. TrueCar helps you determine the average price of a vehicle you’re interested in buying in your area. The app is connected to thousands of car dealers so that you can compare prices across multiple dealerships. You can also check your current vehicle’s trade-in value to help you negotiate the best price.
Best Apps To Save On Monthly Car Expenses
Car running costs can put a dent in your budget. Here are four useful apps to help lower your monthly car expenses.
The average car insurance rate is $112 per month. It can be much more depending on where you live and how much coverage you choose. Not having car insurance isn’t an option, as almost all states require it. There are only two states that don’t — Virginia and New Hampshire.
To keep your auto insurance rate as low as possible, shop around at least once a year. The Zebra lets you compare insurance quotes. If you find a cheaper quote elsewhere, inform your current insurer before switching to a new one. They may be willing to lower your rate to keep you as a customer.
If you’re on the road a lot, you probably face a nasty gas bill every month. Download GasBuddy and find the cheapest gas station wherever you are.
Plus, there are more ways to save. Get the GasBuddy card, and when you use the card to pay for gas, you can save up to 25 cents per gallon. You can also earn GasBack cash when you shop at any of their participating retailers.
Fuelly tracks your car’s fuel consumption over time. If fuel economy drops, it can indicate that the tire pressure is too low, the wheels are out of alignment, or your car needs a service. If nothing mechanical affects fuel usage, you may need to adjust your driving habits for a better fuel economy.
Ready to sell or trade-in your car? With Fuelly, you can compare your vehicle’s fuel economy against other cars of the same make and model. If the fuel economy is still good, that’s a great selling point.
Carfax Car Care
CARFAX Car Care is a car maintenance app. It allows you to add up to eight vehicles so that you can keep track of maintenance for all the cars in your household. It will remind you when a service is due, store your service history, and alert you to any safety recalls. You can also search for auto repair shops in your area and view cost estimates.
Best Parking App
If you live in a city like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, you know how challenging it can be to find parking at an affordable price. These four apps are great for finding discounted parking rates.
SpotHero is excellent for anyone looking for monthly garage parking at lower rates. It has a large inventory of parking spots nationwide. Search for parking and reserve it ahead of time. Not only does this save money but also time. It is no more circling the block, hoping for a parking spot to become available.
Another great app to score parking discounts is ParkWhiz. Similar to SpotHero, you can search and reserve parking in advance. With ParkWhiz, you could save up to 50% on parking in major U.S. cities like New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, and Toronto, Canada.
Airport Parking Reservations
As the name suggests, this app helps you find parking near various airports in the US, Canada, and the UK.
Every traveler knows how expensive airport parking can be and how stressful it is to struggle to find parking when you’re rushing to catch a flight. Airport Parking Reservations lets you book parking at discounted rates at parking lots close to the airport.
ParkMe helps you find parking in 16,000 cities across seven continents. You can access ParkMe via GPS devices and car navigation systems. ParkMe is the only parking app that includes parking meters. Never get fined for an expired meter again. You can set a timer to alert you to when your parking meter is about to expire.
You can switch to other means of transport to cut down car expenses, but cars are still the fastest and most convenient way to get around.
So, before you ditch your car for a bicycle, try these apps to save money on car expenses.
Michael launched Wealth of Geeks to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.