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money saving tips to keep more cash in your pocketThe average American household with an income of $50,000 to $60,000 spends close to $10,000 on automobile costs (e.g., auto payments, gas, insurance, and related expenses) — more than what is spent on health insurance or taxes. Of course, choosing to buy or lease a fuel-efficient vehicle could help drive down the costs. But if a new automobile is not in your plans, you may want to try these money-saving tips.

Search out gas savings. Fuel usually accounts for the lion’s share of day-to-day expenses. Before filling up the tank, use websites or smartphone apps to find the cheapest gas stations in your area and potentially save $.40 or more per gallon. You may also want to set up carpools rides to work.

Review your insurance coverage. Raising your collision-coverage deductible to $1,000 or more may result in a lower premium. Remember to ask whether you qualify for any special discounts.

Don’t ignore maintenance. Fixing a fluid leak or other small issue when you first notice it may prevent larger and more expensive breakdowns later. Change the oil only as often as your manual recommends, which may not be as often as some shops suggest.

Get estimates before scheduling repairs. If your car needs a common but costly repair (such as a brake job or timing belt), comparing rates with several shops could save hundreds of dollars.

Sources: Time.com, October 24, 2011;
Consumer Reports, February 2012

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