This could probably start a new thread...but anyway
Have you ever had the car checked out thoroughly by a mechanic? If you're really concerned about spending money on it in the future, this could be an idea (although it might cost around $100 for a really thorough check!). At least you'll have some idea of what might be near breaking.
Working on it yourself can save a bit of money too. But be prepared to spend some $ on some decent tools. Once you start doing these repairs yourself, you will probably find that you need to buy/beg/steal/borrow some specific tools. Of course, if you buy the good stuff, then you've got it for life.
The story of my mechanical adventures under the bonnet:
(The Adventures of a Backyard Mech and his Camry)
I started doing my own services some years ago. Initially I just changed the oil between regular services by my mechanic. Then I became brave, and started changing the air filter and oil filter as well. I graduated to fuel filter and spark plugs. I also started changing transmission fluid when needed (not very often). Eventually I bought a timing light and an multi-meter, so I could tune the engine, and check the leads etc.
At some point, my tuning efforts were not solving the problem of revving engine and a (related) lack of power. After some reading and quite a lot of thought, I put these woes down to the distributor. This led me to give the distributor a rather good cleanup - solving a spark advance problem that had developed. What a huge step this was for me.
Many services, and even a radiator flush later, a wobble developed in the steering when taking a moderately tight left hand corner under power. This went on for some time, eventually becoming so bad that the vibration was feeding back through the steering wheel when driving along a straight highway (uphill or under power). Again after much reading and considerable though, I figured that the drive shaft joints (tripod joints in the case of my front wheel driven Camry) might be causing the problem. A quick exploration of the underneath bits revealed that there was a fair bit of play in the joints on both sides, with the rhs joint giving an audible knock when the wheel was turned around. What to do? I knew that this repair could cost me a small fortune at a mechanics. A quick trip to my local Toyota spares place revealed that a new (entire) driveshaft (for one side) would cost around $1200!! I didn't fancy shafts from a wreckers - who knows how much life they would have left. A reco CV business provided the solution. I removed the shafts myself, and took them into the (surprised) guy at the CV place. They were able to provide me with a pair of exchange shafts for $300. I saved myself about $100 on labor by doing the replacement myself (but spent $30 on a socket to remove the hub nut, and $16 on some special lock-tite stuff).
Since embarking on my mechanical adventures, I have helped friends rebuild an engine, and exchanged the original gearbox of a SWB '84 Pajero with the box from a late model LWB version (this involves a lot of stuffing about...believe me). I am learning something new all the time, and being able to fix these things on your own vehicle is very rewarding. Strangely I have stayed away from brakes and suspension - but I recently acquired a book on the subject, and I am looking forward to being able to service these components as well! I also service my partner's car, which saves even more $$$.
So get some books (especially a workshop manual for your car), and get your hands dirty. It's loads of fun!