With the price of fuel going through the roof, not to mention insurance, registration and maintenance costs. You’ll be spending several thousand dollars on your car each year. For some this may even equate to the value of the car each year. And if you’re like me, even though I work from home, I would spend up to 1 – 3 hours in the car on any given day.
Here’s a few tips to help you save:
1. Plan your errands for fewer trips
Get more done in a single trip. Unless it’s something important, I never go out just to do one thing. I ask myself whether that particular errand really needs to happen today, or whether it can wait until I’m in the area. Likewise, if I am going somewhere, I try to think of what else I can do while I’m there. And then I put in in my diary – it’s all in the planning.
And while you are out – refill your tank when you are passing a petrol station, so that you don’t need to go out of your way for fuel or make a special trip. This saves on time and fuel.
2. Service your car at a generic car service mechanic rather than your dealer
Shop around, I saved significantly when I moved on from my dealer, they really do charge a lot for a regular service, and the performance of my car has not changed.
Also, if you think that your car may need some additional work, do your research first. There are online troubleshooting websites for everything. Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous mechanics out there who will try sell you more than what you need. I know from experience, when my car broke down, the nearest mechanic told me I needed tons of work done on my car, when I suggested that it might be better if I return the car to the dealer – suddenly there weren’t quite so many things wrong with it. That is definitely one of the things that makes you go Hhmm.
3. Keep your tyres properly inflated
This saves on fuel and tyre wear so they last longer.
I learnt this the hard way, my tyres were not properly inflated or balanced, and the uneven wear meant that I needed to replace them a couple of years sooner than what I would have. But I shopped around for new tyres too – so it wasn’t that bad. Live and learn, and then blog about it.
4. Use your supermarket dockets for the discount
While not a massive saving, you could save $100 or so a year, and it there’s no real extra effort involved anyway – just don’t be overly tempted by the confectionary deals at the till – that’s how the get you.
5. Use motormouth.com.au or ravc.com.au or other Royal Automobile Club site in your state
These sites show you where the cheapest fuel price is. Save the website to the home screen on your phone for future use (and while you are at it, save this website too for more handy tips ).
Fill up during the week when the price of fuel is usually lower.
6. Negotiate your insurance
And shop around too. Every year when my insurance comes up for renewal, I call the insurance company for a better deal than the amount of my automatic renewal. I’ve saved each year.
While you are at it, check what is included in your policy. For example, I get 2 free break down call outs so I don’t need an additional policy for this. There is also the peace of mind in having this service available.
Bundling your various types of insurance needs will also give you better discounts.
7. Consider whether public transport will be cheaper or if carpooling is a possibility
Especially when taking into account the cost of parking. There’s the added bonus of less stress, you can catch up on your reading, Netflix, YouTube or phone calls, or even do some work, or online grocery shopping during this time. Compare your mileage costs per kilometre to drive in, plus parking and tolls, is it really worth it to drive? Also consider the time of day, as public transport has priority during rush hour.
Carpooling, may mean that you have travel expenses and stress once a week rather than every day. And there’s the social connection too while commuting.
8. Consider whether Car share hire is cheaper in the long run
There are a number of car share services available, such as GoGet, Flexicar and Green Car Share. If you live nearer the city, this option may be worthwhile for you, especially if you don’t need to drive that much, for example you use public transport for your commute to work. The cars are parked in designated locations, you book online and at the appointed time the access key that you have been allocated activates and you can drive the car, making sure that you return it at the end of the booking period ready for the next person. No need to buy a car, no maintenance costs, insurance, depreciation or needing the space to securely park the car overnight.
9. Pick 1 day a week when you pledge not to use your car at all.
How would you use the time if you just didn’t have to drive anywhere? It could also be a great excuse to stay home, ‘sorry I can’t make it to … [ fill in choice of activity that you would rather avoid], today’s the day when I don’t use the car – that’s my pledge to the environment!’ Kind of like Earth Hour for cars.
10. Walk and have your kids walk to or from school
I mean let’s face it, kids these days spend a lot of time in front of the computer and the exercise would do them good. It’s also an opportunity for them to socialise with their friends.
You could also consider walking or riding instead of driving yourself which has triple benefits – exercise, less fuel and good for the environment.
Share with us some of the ways that you save while driving in the comments section below.
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