So you’ve finally broken down and bought your dream BMW. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted in a vehicle, but the monthly payments, maintenance costs and gas station trips are rather expensive. How can you reduce your BMW’s financial burden?
Here are a few money-saving strategies to offset your car’s costs and lessen the strain on your budget.
1. Stay Vigilant With Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance isn’t always easier than corrective maintenance, but it is always more cost-effective. Staying vigilant with your BMW’s maintenance will help you identify minor problems before they devolve into major ones. Set a routine schedule for each of these tasks based on the manufacturer’s recommendation:
- Exterior wash
- Interior decluttering
- Wheel and tire balancing
- Filter and fluid changes
- Fuel system cleaning
- Motor mount inspections
You might spend more time and money taking care of these tasks in the short term, but the long-term return on investment is worth the effort. It significantly reduces the chance of costly mechanical problems and repairs in the future. Plus, you get to learn more about your new BMW, as a bonus.
2. Drive for Fuel Efficiency
No doubt you’re tempted to drive your BMW like a brand-new sportscar, but that driving style isn’t mechanically or financially sustainable. Instead, you should take the cheaper route and drive with these fuel efficiency habits in mind:
- Remove unnecessary weight from the car.
- Avoid idling when possible.
- Control your acceleration.
- Drive the speed limit.
- Don’t slam on the brakes.
- Anticipate the flow of traffic.
- Use the windows more than A/C.
- Activate cruise control on long, straight roads.
Most BMW models also have the ECO PRO feature that alters the gas pedal and transmission parameters to conserve fuel. The driving performance won’t be the same, but it can be extremely useful if your main goal is to save money.
3. Comparison Shop for Gas
Gas prices have fallen in recent weeks, but a tank of premium gas for your BMW is still much more expensive than normal. That recurring $70-plus expense will add up fast. It might be in your best interest to comparison shop for gas until the prices restabilize. Here are a few mobile apps to help your search:
- Gas Buddy
- Gas Guru
Drive around your community and take note of the price ranges of the various gas stations. Do any brands have lower average prices? Are the stations in the less-traveled parts of town a little cheaper? As a general rule, gas stations near busy intersections and highway exits are the most expensive. You might find a cheaper station a short distance down the road.
4. Take Toll-Free Roads
Tolls are crucial for building and maintaining busy roads throughout North America, but nobody likes paying them. Try to dodge toll roads as much as possible and stick to the side streets. If you need to drive on a toll road, use a transponder and avoid peak hours to minimize the damage to your wallet.
You should also know how many tolls to expect during long-distance trips. Interstate travel almost always includes a handful of toll roads, especially on the east coast. The more money you save on tolls, the more you can devote to your new BMW.
5. Take Advantage of Insurance Discounts
We’re willing to bet the insurance for your BMW is also on the expensive side. If so, you need to take full advantage of all available discounts. First, consider bundling your auto and home insurance together. You can get a discount from five to 25%, depending on your policy and provider.
If you have children, add them to your policy to rack up those teen driving discounts once they start driving. Little things like low annual mileage, good driver report cards and safety education courses can lower their rates significantly over time. Students and military members might also be eligible for discounts.
6. Keep Mods to a Minimum
Everyone wants to deck out their sportscars with fresh modifications, but it’s just not practical if you’re trying to save money. Instead of dropping hundreds of dollars on a new spoiler, that money could go toward preventative maintenance or your next monthly car payment.
If you insist on making changes, keep them cheap and simple with small interior customizations. You’d be surprised how much of a visual difference some mods can make.
7. Know Your Vehicle
Despite your preventative maintenance efforts, you will have to take your BMW into the shop eventually. When the time comes, you must know your vehicle so mechanics don’t cheat you for extra repairs you don’t need. You don’t have to be an expert, but knowing the basics of BMW mechanics will be enough to demonstrate your competence.
Dream Cars Can Be Budget-Friendly
The term “dream car” suggests that the car is beyond our financial grasp, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Dream cars can be budget-friendly, including your favorite BMW. You just need to make a few sacrifices and play the long game. Remember these money-saving tips and enjoy your dream car!