5 Mobile Apps To Help Lower Vehicle Costs

mobile apps t save money on cars

The average annual costs of owning and maintaining a typical sedan in the U.S. was $9,122, or about $0.608 per mile based on 15,000 miles driven, according to the 2013 AAA Your Driving Costs study. That number represents a 2 percent increase from the previous year.

Some automotive-related expenses are unavoidable, but proper maintenance and due diligence can cut costs significantly. Download these five apps to start saving money immediately:

aCar

It’s difficult to find a more comprehensive app that offers a fully functional free version. Once you install aCar, enter all your vehicle information including make, model, and year. You can then track gas mileage by entering your odometer reading at the time of fill-up, along with the number of gallons and price of the gas. The app also keeps records of all maintenance and repairs to determine the total costs to keep your car on the road, and whether it may be time for a new one.

The aCar app is Android and Blackberry compatible. The free version is adequate for most car owners. The $5.99 Pro version allows data import and export, and has multiple language options.

Flat Tire Help

For those who do not have roadside assistance and technical expertise for these types of emergencies, Flat Tire Help is the app for you. It gives simple step-by-step instructions, complete with detailed images, for changing a tire on any type of vehicle. Flat Tire Help will save you towing fees and help get you to the nearest shop to determine if the tire is salvageable or new tires are necessary.

Flat Tire Help is available for Android devices for $0.99.

GasBuddy

The average price of a gallon of gas across the U.S. on October 11 ($3.25) was the lowest recorded since 2010, according to AAA. Missouri had the cheapest gas in the country that day, but the range between stations was substantial. A Conoco in South St. Louis had $2.65 gas, while a West St. Louis BP was selling gas at $2.93. That is why the GasBuddy app is so invaluable.

Simply enter your city, state, and zip code, and GasBuddy does the rest. Prices are updated throughout the day by the app’s community of users to ensure accuracy. Those who report prices accurately receive rewards points that enter them in prize giveaways.

GasBuddy is free and compatible with Android, Blackberry, and iOS devices.

Car & Auto Insurance Quote Finder

Auto insurance premiums vary greatly by state, age, and several other factors. But the National Association of Insurance Commissioners placed the average yearly costs at $797 for 2011, the most recent data available. That means insurance can represent upwards of 15 percent of annual expenses for some car owners.

Car & Auto Insurance Quote Finder allows you to compare several quotes from multiple companies to find the best deal. It acts as a virtual marketplace that puts all the quotes in one place and saves you from surfing the web from site to site.

The app is available for all iOS 5.0 or later devices.

Torque Pro

Automotive technicians hook your car up to fancy diagnostic machines to determine a repair and maintenance schedule. Of course it will cost you upwards of $200 for this service. The Torque Pro app can do all that and more for you for a fraction of the price.

You’ll first need to get a Bluetooth on-board diagnostic tools, which costs about $15. The other caveat is that your car must be a 2000 model or later, as older vehicles do not have the port to plug the adapter in below the steering wheel. Once you sync the adapter and your phone, it sends emission, fuel economy, torque, and other data depending on the vehicle. Mechanics and other car geeks rave about its accuracy and overall usefulness.

The total investment for the app ($4.95) and Bluetooth adapter will pay for itself the first time you use it.

Optimize Your Investments with Personal Capital

personal capital investment tool review

Many my friends want to get their investments squared away without having to track every small dip and tick of the market. They are living busy lives and they don’t have the time (or really the desire) to nitpick their investments. They’re also tired of all the crazy fees that seem to be tacked on.

I feel the say way and I think you probably do too. (After all, that’s why you’re here – to save time and money, right? )

Free Financial and Investment Tools with Personal Capital

If you are looking at optimizing your accounts, Personal Capital has some wonderful tools to get you ready. One of our goals is to retire early. I’ve been using them because I was looking for a more robust tracking tool to gauge how our investments were doing. We have several accounts between the two of us and I wanted one place I could log into to get a snapshot of our progress.

We also wanted to see if there were some ways we can optimize our portfolio so we could minimize fees and instead use that money to grow our net worth.

I first heard about Personal Capital from Financial Samurai and I’ve been pleased with their service so far.

Portfolio Check-Up

Even if you think things are going well, it’s also handy to do a check up on your portfolio to make sure things are truly squared away. Besides making sure that your asset allocation meets your plan, you should also see if there is a way you can lower your fees. Personal Capital offers a free portfolio review so you can eliminate excess fees from your 401(k) like us.

Personal Capital will review your portfolio to make sure your investments are reaching their potential. You have the flexibility of tracking your portfolio by account or asset class.

401(k) Fee Analyzer and Mutual Fund Fee Calculator

Nobody wants to their hard earned money working for someone else when it could be put to better use (like growing for your retirement). Besides typically having fewer investment options than an IRA, 401(k)s can sometimes have higher expenses with their funds. That’s a double whammy.

The money comes from you, so you’re the one losing out. If you have a 5.75% front load instead of investing $500 a month, you’re investing $471.25. That might not sound like a lot, but it adds up over time. There is also no proven advantage into getting a loaded fund versus a no load fund with the same performance level. How can you avoid such a waste?

Personal Capital will also benchmark your 401(k) for free so you have a clear idea of whether or not, you need to update your holdings. It’ll be a change that will speed up your portfolio’s growth as the years pass.

Stay in the Loop with Personal Capital

You can set it up so Personal Capital can give you helpful and informative weekly updates on your finances, allowing you to know right away if you need to make any adjustments.

We’ve been using them for about a year now and I enjoy how easy it is to get a snapshot of our finances with them. With the free tools that they offer, it has been a great solution for us. Since most of our financial system is automated, Personal Capital is a tool that keeps us in the loop without having to log on everyday. If you’re in a similar boat, I recommend checking them out and signing up today.

For those who have already tried out their service, please share your feedback in comments.