Maintain your car and save
If you're following the frugal path and are about to buy a used car, take it to a trustworthy mechanic before you close the deal. If you don't have a good mechanic, find one. Seek out word-of-mouth recommendations from friends with well-maintained cars.
Treat your relationship with your mechanic like you would with your doctor. This is the person who will help prevent expensive disasters if you pay him or her regular visits and follow his or her advice.
"If you maintain your car, you're avoiding expensive repairs down the road," says Leona Dalavai Scott, editor of AutoInc., a publication of the Automotive Service Association in Bedford, Texas.
It's far cheaper to change a few hoses than to replace a blown engine, Scott says. So, take the time to get your car serviced regularly and save money in the long run. And if you bought from a dealer, take full advantage of the warranty and follow the recommended maintenance schedule.