David Bakke is a contributor for the popular resource, Money Crashers Personal Finance. He writes about smart shopping, insurance rates, and savvy saving strategies.
Since auto insurance rates vary by state, how much you pay really depends upon where you live. The highest monthly auto insurance premiums are in New Jersey, where on average it costs a little less than $100 each month. If you're lucky enough to live in Iowa, you probably pay less than $50. Either way, it's a significant expense, and if you're not factoring it into your monthly budget, you're making a big mistake. However, there are several ways that you can reduce your monthly expenses so your auto insurance doesn't take such a bite out of your finances. Here are five things you can do immediately to trim costs.
1. Get Stuff for Free
Believe it or not, there are a variety of things you can get for free. Sign up for the rewards program at your preferred office supply retailer, and you can get things such as batteries, printer paper, sticky notes and other miscellaneous supplies for free after 100% cash back rebates. Just be sure to use your rewards for other necessary purchases so you're not wasting your savings. You can also get computer software for free at the website CNET, and check the IRS website for a list of websites where you can file your tax return free of charge.
2. Refinance Your Mortgage or Reduce Your Rent
You can free up some serious funds for car insurance by refinancing your home loan, as rates are at all-time lows. If you're a renter, look for ways to reduce your rent. Haggle over price hikes when your lease renews by pointing out your loyalty to the complex, or even offer a service such as administrative help to the property manager for a break on your monthly rent.
3. Adjust Your Diet
Another simple way to generate funds for auto insurance is to adjust your diet. Introduce more fresh fruits and veggies and cut back on red meat, and you'll be sure to cut your bill. To maximize your savings, do a quick Internet search to see if there's a farmers' market in your area. Getting your produce there can save you a bundle.
4. Save on Gasoline
To save money on gas, check out the website GasBuddy. Just input your zip code, and you'll receive a list of gas stations near you with the cheapest prices. Also, partner your daily commutes to and from work with errands that need to be run so that you can reduce your overall mileage. Every little bit you can save helps.
5. Cut Entertainment Expenses
There are plenty of ways to save money while still having a good time. Invite friends and family members over for a movie night, rather than visiting the theater. You can rent movies at Redbox for only $1.50 per day. And instead of a night of expensive bar-hopping, invite your friends over for cocktails and have a trivia night. Make up your own questions based on past group experiences, and it can turn into an evening of fun and laughter.
If you're currently paying your auto insurance on a monthly basis, you likely incur a processing fee for each payment. Therefore, your ultimate goal should be to streamline your finances enough to where you can pay off your premium in full each time it renews. You can get there if your organize yourself, investigate every possible option to save, and set aside those savings in a separate account.
Also, you could save money on your insurance if you shop around now - get your free insurance quotes here.