How Much Does It Really Cost To Own A Car?

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If you’re a current car owner (or thinking of becoming one), it’s important to have a true understanding of all of the costs of owning a vehicle. While some expenses, such as fuel and monthly payments, are pretty obvious things to calculate, uncovering the hidden expenses of car ownership will ensure that you’re making more informed financial decisions.

Breaking Down the Basics

Let’s take a moment to break down some of the more basic and understood costs of vehicle ownership.

Fuel

Unless you’ve decided to kick gas and go electric, fueling your ride comes at a cost. As you’re evaluating this expense, there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re wondering how your car purchase will impact your wallet. Factors such as the type of fuel your vehicle requires or how frequent you’ll need to fill up are things you should consider in your budget.

Insurance

Car ownership can be quite the investment and insuring your vehicle comes at a cost. But car insurance is not a one size fits all and there can be lots to consider when deciding what type of coverage is right for you and your budget. Your driving history, the make and model of your vehicle, and even your credit history are considerable factors in the cost of insurance. Taking time to research your options in coverage and providers can help ensure you’re getting the best policy for your needs and your wallet.

LEARN MORE: The Best Time to Buy a Car

What Are the Hidden Costs?

Like many  of the financial decisions we make, there are often a few hidden expenses that catch us off guard – and car ownership is no different. As you evaluate your spending plan, ask yourself about some of the not-so-obvious costs to vehicle ownership. For example, will you have to purchase a parking permit for your residence or workplace? Does your regular commute have tolls? Is there a vehicle or personal property tax in your area?  Thinking about those not-so-common expenditures can help keep you more aware of the extra money you’ll be spending just by owning a car.

Car Ownership as an Opportunity Cost

Simply put, owning a car means not spending that money on something else. If you’re a current vehicle owner near or at the end of your financing term, now is a great time to think about some of the previously missed opportunities you could take advantage of with some extra funds in your pocket. Taking the money that you was once your loan payment and putting it towards high-interest debt, boosting your savings, or putting money aside for a large purchase to come are just a few ways to realize that change in your opportunity cost equation.


Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if car ownership is right for you. By having a better understanding of all of the that come with owning a vehicle, you can make a more informed decision about what’s best for you and your financial goals. And as always, we’re here to talk you through the process, whether you’re just thinking about these options or ready to make your move. Our team of knowledgeable auto lending specialists are available to you via phone by calling 804-274-1200 or stopping by the branch location most convenient to you.

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