Whether you choose to buy your next vehicle with cash, or you've just paid off a financed vehicle, having the title in your hands doesn't mean you're free and clear — that vehicle may be all yours and not the bank's, but it's still going to cost you in maintenance and repairs if you want to keep it running smoothly. Take the money you would have spent on a car payment, or what you could afford as a payment if you had financed and stash it away in a maintenance fund, so when you do go to the mechanic, the bill won't be hard to swallow.
Image: David Davies.
This trick follows on the principle that if you've budgeted for something that you no longer have to pay, that doesn't mean you can't still afford it. It may be tempting to take that couple-hundred dollars every month you would have used for a car loan and spend it on something else, but tuck it away instead for car-related costs. The next time you have some unexpected repair, or need to take the car in for regular maintenance, it'll be easier to pay, and you won't have to put the costs on credit.
After all, the biggest reason most people neglect their vehicle's regular maintenance is because they're worried about what will turn up and how much it'll cost to fix. If you have some money stashed away just for this, there's nothing to be afraid of. How do you manage your car maintenance costs? Even if you buy a car with cash, how do you make sure you have the money to repair it when needed? Share your maintenance budgeting tips in the comments below.