How to Save Money on Food While Traveling: 10 Easy Tips

You scour the internet for the best deals on flights and lodging when planning a trip. So don’t throw all your financial cares to the wind once you’re on vacation — particularly when it comes to putting food in your mouth.

It can be easy to overspend on food when you’re away from home. You’ve got to eat, and food just seems to be more expensive when you’re traveling. But with some advanced planning and creative thinking, there are ways to lower your food costs on vacation.

10 Tips to Save Money on Food While Traveling

This advice will help you enjoy your vacation without stressing about overspending.

1. Pack Snacks

Bring snacks from home so you don’t have to buy overpriced airport fare or get stuck paying convenience store prices for munchies on a road trip. Trail mix, granola, crackers and apples are all good for traveling.

Pro Tip

If you’re visiting attractions like theme parks or the zoo, check their rules about outside food. For example, Disney World guests can bring snacks and food that doesn’t require heating.

2. Bring a Water Bottle

No one wants to pay $5 for a 16 oz. bottle of water. But tourist spots capitalize on you not having other options to quench your thirst. Take an empty water bottle with you and fill it up at a water fountain, a fast-food joint or straight from the tap. You may even come across filtered water fill-up stations. A reusable filtered water bottle is a good investment if you don’t have access to filtered water.

3. Go Grocery Shopping

If you’re staying somewhere that has access to a kitchen, go grocery shopping and cook instead of eating out for every meal. Or if you’re driving to your destination, bring non-perishable groceries from home or pack up a cooler with ice for things that have to stay cold.

Even if you don’t have a full kitchen, there’s a lot you can do with a mini fridge and microwave. Cereal, oatmeal, muffins, fruit and yogurt make for easy breakfast options. You can whip up sandwiches for lunch for a fraction of the cost of having one made at a deli. While you’re grocery shopping, don’t forget to stock up on snacks.

4. Choose Lunch Over Dinner

If you’re dying to sample the food at a high-profile restaurant, go for lunch when the prices are often cheaper. Once you’ve had your nice meal of the day, choose a cheaper option for dinner, such as a quick-service restaurant or sandwiches at your hotel room.

5. Find Discounts

Sites like Groupon and LivingSocial offer deals on dining — in addition to discounts on entertainment, shopping and more. Travel brochures or restaurant guides in your hotel lobby or visitors center may include coupons for eating out, too. You can buy discounted restaurant gift cards on sites like or

Pro Tip

Several chain restaurants like Applebee’s and Ruby Tuesday will give you free food or a percentage off your bill by signing up as a new member of their eClub or rewards program.

If you’re on vacation to celebrate your birthday, take advantage of birthday freebies and discounts.

6. Order Appetizers as a Meal

Appetizers generally cost less than a full meal but can be just as filling. Check the menu prices. You may find you can order a side dish or house salad along with your appetizer and still spend less than you would on an entree.

7. Order Water

When dining out, choose water instead of soda, alcohol or other pricy drinks to cut the cost of your dining bill. Filling up on water before and during your meal can make you less likely to order a pricy dessert. Or you might be too full to finish your meal and wind up with leftovers to eat later. Besides, it’s easy to get dehydrated while traveling, especially if you’re doing lots of outdoor activities. Use mealtime as an opportunity to hydrate.

8. Take Advantage of Happy Hour Specials

Plan your dining to fall within happy hour to save money on food and drinks. Some establishments offer happy hour early in the evening while others gear their specials to late-night patrons. Others have deals only on certain days of the week. Check individual restaurants for details.

9. Research Dining Options in Advance

While planning your trip, check out the restaurants, bars and other eateries near where you’ll stay and the places you’ll visit. Look at menu prices to see if the offerings fall within your budget. Sites like Yelp can help you filter out spots that are too expensive and steer you to the best spots in unfamiliar cities.

10. Embrace Free Food and Drinks

Enjoy the free cookies, coffee and continental breakfast at your hotel. Drink all the free samples on winery or brewery tours. If old friends or relatives live near your travel destination, take them up on their offer to come over for dinner. Free food is the best for budget travelers.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.




Negotiate a Better Deal

The very thought of haggling, no matter what you’re haggling for, creates a crushing wave of anxiety in a surprising number of people. And while some personality types jump at the chance of striking a deal, many of us avoid negotiating at all costs.

But negotiating skills can be learned. And knowing how to negotiate when you’re buying a new car, making an offer on a house, asking for a cheaper cable or internet bill, or planning a wedding can save you a lot of money.

Here’s how to get what you want, for the price that you deserve. (For techniques to negotiate practically anything, see How to Haggle for Almost Anything.)

A new car

Supply shortages and high demand are driving up car prices. The average price of a new car hit a record $41,378 in August, jumping 16% from the previous year, according to J.D. Power. Automakers have been struggling to manufacture enough cars because of a computer chip shortage and other factors related to the pandemic.

Nonetheless, there are ways to negotiate with new-car dealers, says Ronald Montoya, senior consumer advice editor at industry analyst Edmunds. (For strategies on buying a used car, see How to Get a Good Deal on a Used Car.)

Be flexible with features. In a balanced market, you’re in a better position to negotiate for a car that has every feature that you want, but that’s not the case today. You may, however, score a deal if you’re flexible on options. “Right now, you may have to be a little less picky if you want to negotiate a lower purchase price,” says Joe Wiesenfelder, executive editor of “Opting for a less popular color could also save you a couple hundred bucks,” he adds.

Compare apples to apples. Pitting dealers against each other is a tried-and-true tactic, Wiesenfelder says, but before you start shopping around, make sure that you know which trim level and options are your must-haves so that you can get comparable quotes. “Ask for the dealer’s lowest out-the-door price,” says Montoya. Also ask for a breakdown of fees, and ask questions if you don’t know what a fee is for.

Negotiate the sales price before you talk financing. More than half of a dealer’s revenue comes from service and financing contracts, says Wiesenfelder, so the dealer’s goal is to sell you not only a car but also an auto loan (and other extras, such as an extended warranty). If you’re planning to pay cash for a new car or get a car loan from a different lender, Wiesenfelder suggests that you do not tip your hand about your payment method while you’re haggling over the car’s price.

Trade in your car at the same dealership. Selling your trade-in to the same dealer can put you in a stronger position when negotiating a new-car purchase, especially in today’s market. “Dealers are clamoring for trade-ins right now, given that there’s a huge shortage of used cars,” Wiesenfelder explains. Bonus: If you trade in your car at a dealer instead of selling it to a private party, most states charge sales tax only on the difference between the price of your trade-in and the vehicle you’re buying.

Hate haggling? Let a professional do it for you. If you’re not comfortable negotiating, consider hiring a car broker who charges a flat fee to shop around and negotiate on your behalf. Many car brokers are former car salespeople who know the trade from the inside out. A car broker’s fee generally costs between $200 and $1,000, according to, but you typically reduce the cost of the vehicle by at least the amount you pay for the service. One service that doesn’t accept compensation from car dealers on the back end is the nonprofit CarBargains. For $250 for a new car purchase or $375 for a lease, you specify the make, model and trim level of the vehicle you want, and CarBargains shops at least five dealers in your area.

A home

Home buyers have experienced serious sticker shock over the past year and a half. And because there continues to be extraordinarily high demand from buyers and an acute shortage of homes for sale, home prices are still on a tear: Existing homes sold for a median price of $359,900 in July, up from $305,600 in July 2020, according to the National Association of Realtors.

“Unless a house is grossly overpriced, homes are selling within days and with multiple offers,” reports Adam Linder, a real estate agent with Northrop Realty, based in Rehoboth Beach, Del. Indeed, homes typically remained on the market for just 17 days in July, NAR says.

In a seller’s market, Linder says, buyers must use clever tactics when making and negotiating a home offer.

Make a cash offer. Although mortgage rates are enticing—the average rate of a 30-year mortgage was 2.87% at the beginning of September, according to Freddie Mac—nearly one-third of U.S. home purchases so far this year have been all-cash deals, a Redfin survey in July found.

Making a cash offer can be a winning bidding-war strategy. “If you’re paying in cash, you have an automatic leg up, because sellers are looking for security,” Linder says. “Sellers want to be confident that the sale will close, and cash buyers can give that to them by waiving their financing and appraisal contingencies.”

Offer a lease-back agreement. With homes selling so quickly, sellers who put their house on the market before purchasing their next home may be enticed by a lease-back offer. A lease-back (or rent-back) is an arrangement in which someone sells their home and then rents the property from the new homeowner, typically for up to 60 days.

Want to make your bid more attractive? You could offer to pay for the seller’s utilities while they’re renting the property from you—or offer a free lease-back if you know that you’re facing a lot of competition.

No matter what, make sure to charge the seller a refundable deposit to cover any damage that they do to the property while they’re renting from you.

Get creative. “We’ve seen a lot of creativity from buyers in this market,” says Natascha Tello, a real estate broker at Keller Williams Realty in Miami. A few strategies that buyers are offering include disposing of a seller’s furniture; paying for a seller’s moving costs; covering any appraisal gap; waiving a home-inspection contingency (except for major repairs); and paying part of a seller’s closing costs.

Cable and internet bills

U.S. households shell out $116 per month, on average, for their cable and internet bill, according to a recent report from doxo, a bill payment service. Your bill can easily exceed $200 if you subscribe to premium channels and high-speed internet. The good news is you have ways to lower your cable and internet costs without giving up your favorite shows or a fast internet speed.

Compare providers and plans. Although the U.S. has more than 2,800 internet service providers, most markets have only two or three, says Ben Kurland, cofounder of BillFixers, a company that negotiates with TV, internet service, cellular and landline companies on behalf of consumers. makes it easy to compare plans, prices and customer ratings for the internet providers where you live. The website also shows what the average internet plan costs in your area. Still, calling the providers to discuss their plans and pricing is a good idea, because many cable and internet companies offer new promotions frequently.

Call on a weekday. When you renegotiate your bill, Kurland recommends calling the company on a weekday during the afternoon. “Most customers aren’t calling during that time, so you’re going to get much shorter hold times,” he says. “Also, senior-level representatives tend to work the main shift, and they tend to be more familiar with the latest promotional offers.”

Talk to the cancellation desk. Ask to be connected to the company’s cancellation department. “That will take you to a retention representative, and retention reps typically have access to the best available rates and promotions,” says Kurland.

Joseph Supan, a senior writer at Allconnect, a company that helps customers compare internet and TV plans, says it’s important to stay calm and collected. “Kill the agent with kindness,” he advises. “Instead of saying, ‘You just raised my plan to a ridiculous price, and I want to cancel my service,’ say, ‘I’d really like to stay with your company, but my new rate is out of my price range. Is there anything you can do for me?’”

Turn down the first offer. “It never hurts to play hardball,” Supan says. Translation: Don’t accept the agent’s first offer. You can often get a better deal if you push back. Customer retention representatives “have a list of codes for promotions, and their goal is to retain you as a customer for the highest-priced plan that they can,” says Kurland.

Offer to sign a long-term contract. If you’re not planning on moving anytime soon, see whether your provider will lower your monthly rate if you sign a long-term contract, such as a two-year subscription. “It’s pretty common to see a $10-per-month discount when you sign a long-term contract,” says Kurland.

Can’t get a better price? Ask for free perks. If your provider won’t lower the price, Kurland suggests asking for freebies, like faster internet or six months of free HBO, but “mark your calendar for when the promotion will expire,” he says.

Call in the pros. This author used BillFixers, which lowered his cable and internet by bill $30 a month, saving him $180 over a year. (The company takes 50% of what it saves consumers in the revised deal’s first 12 months.)

Wedding costs

With many couples downsizing weddings because of COVID-19, the average cost of a wedding dropped from $28,000 in 2019 to $19,000 in 2020, according to The Knot. Trimming your guest list is one way to curb costs, but it’s not the only way to save money. Wedding industry experts recommend these negotiating strategies:

Choose an “off peak” day and time. You can often get a better price when renting a wedding venue if you marry on a Friday or Sunday instead of a Saturday, says Noelle Ahmad-Snedegar, the owner of Washington, D.C.–based wedding and event planning company Lily & Grayson Events. Similarly, having your wedding in the afternoon can help you negotiate a lower rental price.

Downsize the band. The average cost of a live band for a three-hour reception is $4,000, plus a tip of typically 10%, according to Going with a smaller band saves money because most bands set rates based on the number of “pieces,” or how many band members perform. (Look for a band with members who can play multiple instruments, Ahmad-Snedegar says.)

Prefer a DJ? Most DJs charge by the hour, meaning you can save money by creating your own playlist for the ceremony and cocktail hour and hiring a DJ only for the reception.

Hire wedding professionals who are just starting out. Self-employed wedding planners, day-of coordinators and other vendors who have only a couple of years of experience or less may be more willing to negotiate, says Joyce Scardina Becker, a wedding planner and designer at San Francisco–based Events of Distinction.

Scale back on dessert. Most wedding cakes are priced per slice, with some bakers or caterers charging up to $12 a slice, according to The Knot. Ordering a cake with smaller slices can lower the tab. So can ordering a small display cake for the cake cutting and having a sheet cake in the back to serve your guests.

Reuse floral arrangements. Couples spend an average of $2,000 on wedding flowers. To save money, Nicole Fauls Maitland, the owner of Urban Allure Events in Chicago, suggests repurposing floral arrangements. For example, place the floral arrangements that you used at your ceremony on your dining tables at the reception.

Send your photographer home early. Consider having a photographer shoot only your ceremony and the first half of your reception rather than the whole day. Another negotiating tactic: Ask the photographer to throw in a free engagement photo shoot before the wedding, Maitland says.


6 Ways to Save Money on Your Pumpkin Spice Latte

A Starbucks cup sits on a countertop inside the coffee shop.

Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Whether or not the start of fall brings cooler temps to your neck of the woods, the season is marked universally with the annual rollout of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte. It’s back now for the 18th consecutive year with the ever-so-popular mix of espresso, steamed milk, real pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.

While “skipping the Starbucks” is often touted as a way to save money, you can still enjoy this fall flavor without blowing your budget. Here’s how to save money on the PSL and other fall drinks all autumn long.

How to Save Money on Pumpkin Spice Lattes

1. Join Starbucks Rewards

Join Starbucks Rewards to start getting free drinks — including PSLs. You earn one star for every dollar you spend if you pay as you go with cash or a debit or credit card. Pay on a preloaded digital Starbucks Card on the app and get two stars per $1 spent.

(You get three stars per $1 if you use the Starbucks Rewards Visa card, but The Penny Hoarder isn’t a fan of too many rewards credit cards.)

Along with getting free brewed coffee and tea refills, Starbucks Rewards members get a free custom drink, such as that Pumpkin Spice Latte, when they earn 150 points.

That means spending $150 or $75 depending on how you pay. Yes, that’s a good chunk of change to spend to get a reward, so remember that it’s pretty easy to rack up a bill at Starbucks without even realizing it.

2. Buy Discounted Starbucks Gift Cards

Use CardCookie, Raise and other discount gift card sites to stretch your coffee dollars further. Buy a gift card for less than its face value, and you’ll get more for your money at Starbucks.

As of this writing, you can save as much as 9% on a Starbucks gift card on CardCookie. A $50 card, for example, costs $45.50.

3. Join My Panera

Starbucks isn’t the only chain offering up a sweet fall latte. Panera Bread just debuted its Cinnamon Crunch Latte. It’s freshly brewed espresso, foamed milk and cinnamon syrup topped with whipped cream and cinnamon sugar. And the popular chain has its own My Panera rewards program that offers discounts and free stuff.

4. Celebrate Your Fall Birthday

If you’re a member of Starbucks Rewards, you’ll enjoy a free drink on your birthday. If your birthday is in the fall, why not make it a pumpkin spice latte?

Dunkin Donuts also offers free birthday drinks through its DD Perks Rewards program and has an extensive pumpkin spice menu.

Many other cafes also offer free birthday drinks, so if you find yourself at a coffee shop with pumpkiny concoctions on your birthday, be sure to ask!

A woman wearing an orange sweater has her hands around a coffee mug with a pumpkin spice latte inside of it.
Getty Images

5. Make a DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte

Indulge in a pumpkin spice latte anytime with this great do-it-yourself recipe from Farmgirl Gourmet. This recipe makes two 10-ounce lattes, so you can share one with a friend.

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons canned (or homemade) pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee or espresso
  • whipped cream


Stir the milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice together in a pan over medium-high heat. Bring it almost to a boil, but avoid boiling (that will make it too thick). Stir constantly, and it should start to froth in about a minute.

Pour the concoction into two mugs, then slowly add the strong coffee or espresso, pouring it in by the edge of the cup so that the milk stays frothy. Add whipped cream and a dash of pumpkin pie spice on top, and indulge in your homemade creation.

6. Make DIY Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

This simple recipe from Delish requires just five ingredients and produces 1-3/4 cups of pumpkin spice creamer to add to your coffee.

You’ll Need:

  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks


Whisk together the heavy cream or half-and-half, pumpkin puree, maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice in a small pan over medium heat. Add a cinnamon stick or two and turn the heat up a bit until it boils, whisking occasionally.

After a minute, take it off the heat and let it cool for about five minutes before you add it to your coffee.

According to Delish, the leftover creamer will keep in your refrigerator for a week, but be sure to give it a good shake before using.

Kristen Pope is a former contributor to The Penny Hoarder.




8 Ways to Save Money When Buying Tires for Your Car

With vehicle ownership comes many expenses, from car insurance to maintenance to new tires. Depending on the type of vehicle you drive, replacing a set of tires can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. So saving money on tires is critical for many tire buyers.

Fortunately, there are many easy ways to save money on a new set of tires.

How to Save Money When Buying Tires

There are countless tire options at many price points, but even the cheapest tires can be expensive. That’s why it’s crucial to leverage these tips to save money on tires.

1. Compare Prices Online

The Internet makes shopping and comparing prices easier than ever.

Check out individual brick-and-mortar tire shops’ websites. Look at places like Pep Boys, Tire Kingdom, Walmart, Costco, Sam’s Club, and Goodyear to find tire prices online and compare them. You can also see a far more extensive selection of available tires and their prices at large online tire retailers like Tire Rack and Discount Tire Direct.

You can even go outside the tire industry and check websites like eBay or Amazon.

When shopping, keep these variables in mind:

  • Fees. Some online shops include extra fees with new tires, including disposal, a new valve stem, mounting, and balancing. Check with the retailer to get an idea of these costs so you can see the entire picture.
  • Sales Tax. When shopping online, some companies exclude sales tax if you live outside the company’s home state. For example, if the company is based in New York and you live in Florida, you may not pay sales tax, which can greatly reduce the cost.
  • Shipping Fees. Always look into shipping fees. Most online tire retailers ship for free, but it pays to double-check.

2. Watch for Circulars

Watch for tire ads that come in the mail or newspaper. These often highlight special offers you may not find anywhere else, like buy-three, get-one-free deals and percent-off specials. When reviewing these sales, always read the fine print, as they often have limitations and requirements to get the sale price.

For example, a 25% off sale may only be on specific tire sizes, or that buy-three, get-one-free deal may only be for the tire — you still have to pay for balancing, the valve stem, and disposal fees.

3. Search for Rebates

There’s not much markup on tires, so the retailers may not offer great sales too often. However, tire manufacturers often offer rebates for meeting certain purchase requirements. For instance, Firestone may issue a $100 rebate if you buy any set of four Firestone tires.

These rebates are generally through the mail, so you must mail the rebate form with a copy of your receipt and wait to receive a check or gift card in the mail for the rebate amount. These rebates often take weeks to process, so patience is key.

You can find the rebates advertised on tire manufacturers’ websites, but you may also find them on a retailer’s site or in a circular.

4. Look for Takeoffs

While used tires are rarely worth buying, takeoffs are a different story. These are tires that a person purchased, used for a few days, and returned within a specific period — typically 30 days or less.

Often, the buyer simply didn’t like the way they rode or handled. The tire retailer will put different tires on their car and place the used tires back on the shelf at a deeply discounted price so long as they’re not defective.

These takeoff tires are still basically brand-new and can save you big money.

5. Shop During Holidays

Like many retailers, tire service shops use holidays as reasons to slash prices. You can often save money on tires by shopping around holidays, including:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Presidents Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Independence Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Labor Day
  • Black Friday

6. Use Competitive Shopping

When looking to save money on buying tires, the last thing you want to do is get just one price quote and get the work started. Instead, get multiple written quotes on the same or similar tires and get the lowest cost through competitive shopping.

Once you have three to four quotes, take the lowest quote from one tire shop to the others and see if they can beat the price. If you get a better price from another shop, repeat the process. Continue repeating this process until you get the best price possible.

7. Focus on Things Other Than Brand Name

Unless you’re a race car driver, you just need a set of quality, long-lasting tires. There’s no need to shop for the big brands. Big-name tire brands like Michelin, Bridgestone, Firestone, Dunlop, and Goodyear are high-quality, but they’re among the most expensive options.

You can get quality tires from lesser-known brands like Kumho and Hankook at significantly lower prices.

Instead of looking at the brand, focus on the tire’s performance and durability. Several other key features are more important than the brand name.

Speed Rating

Most vehicles have a recommended minimum speed rating for their tires. This letter rating indicates the sustained speed a tire can structurally handle. For example, a V-rated tire can handle sustained speeds of up to 149 mph, while a Y-rated tire can handle 186 mph.

You can find the speed rating stamped along with the tire size on the sidewall in one of three ways:

  • Before the R: 225/60VR16
  • After the Two-Digit Load Rating: 225/60R16 92V
  • Before the R and After the Two-Digit Load Rating: 225/60VR16 92V

Note: The R just stands for “radial,” as in radial tires. It comes before the tire size (the tire in this example has a 16-inch diameter).

Load Index

Load index is the amount of weight each tire can support while inflated. Verify the cheaper tire matches or exceeds the load-index minimum your car requires. You can find the load index requirement in the owners manual or on the tire placard inside the driver’s side door jamb.

The load index is a two-digit code stamped after the tire size on the sidewall. For example, if the tire code says, “225/60R16 92V,” the load index is 92.

The load index ranges from 1 through 112, and the higher the number, the more weight it can support. has a more comprehensive explainer if you want more details.

Treadwear Rating

Tire treadwear rating is often mistaken for a direct translation to how many miles a tire will last. It’s more of a comparative number.

The baseline treadwear is 100, and a tire with a 200 treadwear rating lasts twice as long in testing before its tread wears out. A 300 treadwear tire lasts three times as long in testing.

Each tire manufacturer performs its own testing on the same 400-mile test track in Texas to ensure uniformity in the treadwear ratings. The tires complete a 7,200-mile test. Every 800 miles, the testers check and adjust the air pressure in the tires, perform an alignment, and rotate the tires.

After the test, the testers measure the remaining tread and compare it to the remaining tread on the baseline 100 treadwear tire.

Compare the cheaper tire’s treadwear rating to that of a more expensive tire. That gives you an idea of how long the cheaper tire will last relative to the more expensive competitor.

But note that while tire manufacturers complete treadwear testing under strict National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rules, each uses its own baseline tires. So a 500 treadwear Kumho tire may not last quite as long as a 500 treadwear Goodyear because they used different baseline tires. However, the number can still be helpful when making an apples-to-apples comparison.

You can find the three-digit treadwear rating stamped on the tire’s sidewall after the word “Treadwear.”


The warranty may be the single best way to compare a less expensive tire to a pricier competitor when all other variables remain equal.

Most tire manufacturers include some type of mileage warranty on their tires. Generally, these warranties range from 25,000 miles to 80,000 miles.

These mileage warranties mean the manufacturer guarantees the tire’s tread will remain above the wear bar for a specified number of miles. The wear bar is a small, raised section of rubber running across the grooves in the tread that indicates the tire has reached the end of its useful life. If the tread reaches the wear bar early through no fault of the vehicle or driver, the tire company gives you a prorated credit toward a new tire.

For example, if a $100 tire with a 50,000-mile warranty only lasts 25,000 miles, the tire manufacturer owes you $50 — 50% of $100 — toward a replacement tire.

If a less expensive tire has all the same or better ratings than an expensive brand-name tire and a matching or longer warranty, you can save money on the cheaper tire and feel confident you’re getting an otherwise equivalent tire.

8. Go for All-Season Tires — if Possible

In areas where winters get cold and snowy, it’s not uncommon to switch from summer tires to winter tires. However, keeping two sets of tires on hand can get quite expensive. If you live in a temperate region or one where snow is light and rare, you can get away with one set of all-season tires instead of separate sets for summer and winter, saving you money in the process.

Continue Saving Money After Buying Tires

Sure, you can save money when buying tires with the seven tips above, but you can save even more money by helping your tires last longer. There are several maintenance strategies you can use to extend the lifespan of your tires and save even more money.

1. Maintain Your Tire Pressure

Tire pressure impacts fuel economy and the longevity of your tires. Too little pressure can cause excessive wear on the outer edge of your tires, but too much pressure can accelerate tread wear in the center of your tires.

To avoid these issues, check your tire pressure at least once per week and compare it to the pressure recommendations in your owners manual or on the tire placard inside the driver’s door jamb. Always check and adjust your tire pressure before driving, as time on the road increases the tire’s temperature, which increases its pressure. Adjust the pressure as needed.

Never inflate your tires to the maximum pressure listed on the tire’s sidewall. It’s too much pressure for most passenger vehicles.

Many tire shops will check and fill your tires with air for free, and gas stations usually have air stations that cost around $1 to use. You can also buy a small portable tire pump with a pressure gauge for $20 to $30.

2. Perform Regular Rotations

Tire rotation is a maintenance procedure that places each wheel and tire in a different position on the vehicle. That changes each tire’s angle and rotation slightly to prevent it from wearing unevenly, which can happen if it remains at the same angle and in the same position for too long.

Every vehicle has its own recommended tire rotation schedule in the maintenance schedule section of its owners manual. Perform this maintenance as the manufacturer recommends to maximize your tires’ lifespans.

Tire rotations are often free with oil change services. If they’re not free, they’re still inexpensive, generally $20 or less.

3. Check and Adjust the Alignment

Your vehicle’s suspension flexes with the road, which can sometimes throw its alignment off. Alignment is the angle at which your wheels sit against the road. Driving with the alignment out of specification can cause excessive wear on one part of the tire, significantly shortening its life.

At least once every six months, have a repair facility check your vehicle’s alignment. If it’s out of specification, the shop can perform the alignment. That helps maximize your tires’ life.

Alignment checks are often $20 or less. If you need an alignment, expect to pay $50 to $100, depending on the complexity. The shop usually removes the alignment check fee if you complete the alignment service.

Some repair shops offer lifetime alignments for an extra cost. If you plan to keep your vehicle for a long time, it may be a worthwhile investment, as you can get the vehicle aligned as often as you like at no extra cost as long as you own it. Lifetime alignments usually cost $150 to $200.

Final Word

Tires can be one of the most expensive things to maintain on your vehicle, but it’s worth it. They’re the only point of contact between your car and the road, so you want the best tires you can afford.

That’s why you may want to consider getting a road hazard warranty on new tires. It may not save you money, but it can protect your investment. These tire insurance policies generally cover 100% of all flat repairs and offer prorated replacement guarantees if the tire is irreparable.

By using these tips, you can maximize your tire investment. Then, with the right tire maintenance, you can ensure your new tires last as long as possible, saving you even more in the long run.