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Thursday, June 24

My Frugal Miser - Found Another Expense to Cut

I will never, ever cut costs where saving a few dollars today will inevitably cost me more in the long term. Unfortunately, most publicly traded companies don't hold this belief, but I'll have to save that rant for another day.

One example is automobile maintenance. Have you ever had a major repair on your car that probably could have been prevented? Most of us have, whether it's uneven tread wear on tires that weren't properly rotated or having to replace the rotors because you didn't service the brake pads when they needed replacing.

Still, I have found one more way to cut costs, and it was staring right at me all along. I own a second car, a Toyota Corolla, which my partner uses for daily commuting and we also use for road trips and errands. I am responsible for the maintenance on both my vehicles, mainly because my Type A personality flares up when I have to sit back and watch someone not take care of something like I would.

Anyway, the Corolla has always been serviced by the Toyota dealer from whom I bought the car. It was time for the 90,000 mile service so I called my mechanic to find out what all needed to be performed. The price he quoted me was $440. Nothing is wrong with the car - this is the cost for the manufacturer's recommended maintenance.

Needless to say, I started thinking more and more about this expense. I pulled up my records in Quicken to find out how much I've spent for preventive maintenance. I was shocked when I realized I have spent about $4,000 for servicing the Corolla at the dealer.

So, for the first time since I bought the car, Susie (yes, that's her name) won't be heading down to the dealer for her checkup. She'll be seeing a new doctor. I already had the oil changed, which at $23 was about 20% less than I would have paid. From a quick check, I am confident I can get everything done for under $200.

Moral of the story: we often develop wasteful habits. Once something becomes a habit, we often don't question the cost. We just do it. Taking a step back to re-evaluate can yield significant savings.

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