The ever-increasing cost of keeping a vehicle on the road in these economically lean times is something that will have given us all pause, but there are a few simple things you can do to save money.
Downsize your vehicle
Put simply, a smaller car is cheaper to run. Whilst the idea of buying a new car might seem like the antithesis to tightening the purse strings, in the long term you’ll make big savings. Smaller cars use less fuel, are cheaper to insure and tax, and tend to be less expensive when it comes to servicing and new parts.
A few years ago I might have baulked at the idea of cramming my car full of my colleagues, but for journeys that you regularly make, such as the commute to work, car sharing makes a lot of sense. The more people you can fit in the same vehicle, the more money you will all save on fuel and, if the group you’re sharing with rotates cars regularly, general wear and tear to your vehicle. Plus, the environment, and fellow road users, will benefit too.
Shop around for insurance
I know from long years of experience that it’s the easiest thing in the world to let your insurance roll over from one year to the next without bothering to check if you’re getting the best deal on your policy, but this is where you can make big savings with a little effort. Although price comparison sites are very useful, in the end speaking to an advisor is the best way to save money; I get my car insurance from a specialist provider as I find they tend to give the best quotes.
Change your driving style
You may not know this, but the way you drive your car is crucial to the amount of fuel you use, and therefore the amount of money you spend. Aggressive driving – quick accelerating and sudden braking – uses more petrol than the slow and smooth approach, and getting into a high gear as quickly as possible will help too. Don’t leave your vehicle idling as it wastes fuel so if you find yourself in a traffic jam, switch off your engine. Keeping your car in good condition is a good idea; ensuring your tyres are well inflated will prevent rolling resistance and a properly tuned engine will use fuel more efficiently.
Pennies turn into pounds
I find myself thinking in the tens and hundreds when it comes to motoring finances, but actually the old maxim of looking after the pennies and the pounds looking after themselves applies to driving as much as anything else. If you regularly spend a tenner on going to the car wash, doing it yourself will soon make a good saving; if you’re a coffee addict, take a flask instead of haemorrhaging pounds at the service station – you can save just as much on all the little extras as you can save on the vehicle itself.