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5 Ways Your Car Can Pay for Itself

Feb 04, 2016 3 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Pool your resources for a collegial (and cost-effective) commute.
  • Plug 'n' play with help from Uncle Sam.
  • Wrap your ride in rolling ads—for a price.


If you’re like most people, your car is near and dear to your heart. In fact, a TransUnion study found that Americans are more likely to default on their mortgages and credit bills before missing a car payment; how’s that for prioritization?



Between the expenses of the monthly payment, upkeep, gas, and insurance, it’s time to get creative about getting that nice, shiny piece of metal to start earning it’s keep so you don’t feel like you’re being, (ahem,) taken for a ride!


1. Rent out your car while you’re at work

Most cars sit idle 95% of the time,1 and as it sits in the parking lot at work, it’s only doing one thing: depreciating. But did you know that you can rent your car for 15 days each month and in doing so could make upwards of $6,500/year?

Businesses like Getaround and Turo are making it possible for drivers in many cities to earn extra cash while fueling an adventure.


2. Share the load

With the average American commute being almost 30 minutes each way, that adds up to quite a lot of money spent on gas each year and a lot of wear and tear on your car. Why not consider carpooling and share those expenses? Particularly if you live in a suburb outside of a major city, chances are there are other people in your town that are making the same commute. Apps like Hitch-A-Ride, Getaround, Carpooling.com, and Zimride can help match you with commuters in the area going your way. And one more bonus: carpooling not only lowers your costs, but reduces carbon emissions, a huge savings for the environment.


3. Consider going electric

What if you could charge your car the same way you charge your phone? With electric vehicle tax incentives of $7,500 available in all states and several states offering additional incentives (up to $17k), it’s worth a look. Many states offer non-cash incentives including carpool lane access and free parking. Plus, research shows that the average household spends nearly $2,000 per year on gas, so savings can be significant.


4. Turn your car into a rolling billboard

We all live in an age of self-promotion, and with average new car payments hovering at $470/month, a little promotion can help put a dent in that looming number. Services like Brand Your Car, My Free Car and Carvertise can help you get paid cash for letting businesses advertise on your ride. The new look of your car may take getting used to, but the extra cash will likely make it much more attractive.


5. Shop around for insurance

If you’re one of the lucky ones with a short commute to work or find that you’re not putting that many miles on your car each year, check with your insurance company to see if you can get a reduced rate on your premiums for being a low-mileage driver. If your insurance company doesn’t offer a discount, look around and get quotes from other companies who may be more than happy to give you a lower premium.


What you can do next

With a little creativity—and help from the right resources—you can turn your depreciating asset into a money-maker you'll appreciate.


1. http://www.reinventingparking.org/2013/02/cars-are-parked-95-of-time-lets-check.html

This article is presented for informational purposes only. Prudential Financial (Retirement) is not responsible for the information contained in the external website(s) and makes no representations about information contained therein. The site(s) is/are provided to you for informational purposes only. No recommendations are intended and this should not be considered advice for which you should contact your qualified professional before making financial decisions.





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