University students in North America don’t have it easy. They can expect to spend as much as $19, 498 each year if they’re Canadian, while Americans have it worse with an annual average cost of $46,950. With bills like these, it only makes sense students are looking for breaks anywhere they can get them. While some will look for savings with scholarships and ramen diets, there’s another part of the budget to exploit: transportation!
If you drive a car to and from campus every day, you could be saving some money by following these sensible tips.
Save on gas
Thanks to the trade wars between Canada and the US, oil prices are high. Gas ends up being one of the biggest money sucks for students behind the wheels, so it’s important you know where to find the cheapest prices. An app like GasBuddy helps you pinpoint the cheapest gas station in your area. It’s a community-based platform that relies on users to update gas prices in real time. You can check your town or city to see where other users are reporting the lowest prices. If you return the favour, reporting prices as you see them come with good Karma; you earn points for reporting or updating a price, as well as completing challenges and other tasks. Once you earn enough points, you can enter to win a daily giveaway of $100 in free gas.
Think about insurance
Young, single drivers have to pay the highest auto insurance rates out of any demographic. Regardless of your driving record, your status as a student puts you in a group of inexperienced motorists who are most likely to get into an accident.
If you have a good relationship with your parents, talk to them about remaining on their insurance. Adding your name to their existing policy will increase their rates, but it will be less expensive than if you were to buy insurance on your own.
If this option isn’t possible, you don’t have to sign up for the first insurance you find. You might be able to find a deal by shopping around.
Choose your mechanic wisely
Treating your car well will reduce how much you spend in maintenance and repair costs. A reliable mechanic is a key player in your vehicle’s upkeep. They can tackle those tasks you don’t know how to complete on your own, like changing all season tires to winter tires or installing new brake pads.
They can also be a source of savings,if you know where to look. While your status as a young driver may hurt you on insurance premiums, it could lead you to a deal at your local repair shop. It depends on the place. In a city like Mississauga — a short commute from some of Canada’s most prestigious universities — mechanics are sympathetic to students. Young drivers can expect the best oil change Mississauga has to offer at a lower price. That’s because a local auto repair shop like Veerpreet Service Centre gives a 10% discount to anyone with a valid student ID. You can figure out which service centers in your area offer similar deals by calling ahead of time or checking their online reviews.
It doesn’t matter where you live — pursuing your post-secondary education is expensive. You can find surprising savings in your budget when you think about your vehicle carefully. If you’re prepared to do some research, you might just find deals on gas, insurance, and repairs. These savings may pale in comparison to what you’re paying in tuition, but when you’re a student, you can’t be picky!